Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another candidate dissing his opponents

If the candidates continue clawing at each other like this, I'm going to really enjoy this campaign season:

Hillary, Obama and Edwards are all against the planned troop surge in Iraq. Hillary and Obama want a cap on troops in Iraq but are not now in favor of cutting off funds for the surge. (Obama is not ruling it out if it is the only option remaining.) They both favor passing a resolution indicating opposition to the surge.

Edwards, who wants an immediate cutoff of funds for the surge, thinks the resolution is a sham.

"What is the point in saying we are just against it?" Edwards said. "It is useless. It is exactly like a child standing in the corner and stomping his feet."
Yes, I agree. They do act like two year olds, don't they? (Wow, I can't believe I agree with Edwards).

And how is this for unintentional irony (don't drink anything before you read it):
Finally, Edwards is trying to establish a specific campaign posture: authenticity. Many Democrats believe that after eight years of a president who they believe was packaged and sold to the American people by clever handlers, Americans will now want an authentic candidate.

But how do voters discern that? (As the old campaign joke goes: "The people want authenticity? I can fake that.")

One way to demonstrate authenticity is to take a stand that is not popular, that is not politically expedient.

And Edwards has decided to sell America on sacrifice.

"I am totally comfortable with the word sacrifice, with asking people to sacrifice for their country," he said.

Among the sacrifices:

To reduce carbon emissions, Edwards recognizes that people may have to pay more for gasoline. And he is not ruling out new taxes or increasing old ones.
Now, that you've read the quote, check out his house. Do you think it's energy efficient? Do you think he's sacrificing for his country? How many SUV's do you think he owns? Do you think he'll plant trees to make up for clear-cutting the trees?


And how about this "authentic" blast from the past:

What do the troops think?

The American people are all up in arms about what is going on over there and want to end this war because we are losing too many men (or so the MSM have told us that is what we want). The Congress is ready to pass resolutions that make it clear that they don't support the war. But what do the troops think? Well, here's a video that answers that question:


And here's a link to a letter from a Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan.

Are these stereotypes?

A Muslim group object to the rules of a town council in Canada, calling them a "false stereotype:"

Don't stone women to death, burn them or circumcise them, immigrants wishing to live in the town of Herouxville in Quebec, Canada, have been told.
The rules come in a new town council declaration on culture that Muslims have branded shocking and insulting.

Quebec is in the midst of a huge debate on integrating immigrant cultures.


It points out that women are allowed to drive, vote, dance and own their own homes.


However, the president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, Salam Elmenyawi, condemned the council, saying it had set back race relations decades.

He told Reuters news agency: "I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion."
But are they a "false stereotype?" Don't these things happen in Islamic countries?

Female circumcision:
Worldwide it is estimated that well over 100 million women have been subjected to it.

Supporters of the practice say it is done for cultural and religious reasons, but opponents say that not only is it potentially life-threatening - it is also an extreme form of oppression of women.

Female circumcision is mainly carried out in western and southern Asia, the Middle East and large areas of Africa.
More information here.

Stoning women to death:
A leading Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Laureate says that the hardline Islamic regime is still using medieval punishments on its people, including the stoning of women for adultery and the torture of dissidents.
Examples of those who were convicted for adultery and their punishment here.

Burning women:
In Pakistan, Muslim and Christian women are being burned in what are regularly termed "stove burnings" -- the victims' relatives say the woman was burnt accidentally while cooking.

"What has been happening in the garb of stove burning cases ... it has been used as facade and the women have been victimized, kerosene oil being thrown at them and they being put to fire and the stove being blamed, said Rawalpindi Police Superintendent Shoaib Dastgir.

Here's a sad story of women in Afghanistan setting themselves on fire to escape their unhappy marriage.

Women can't drive or own property:
Women cannot go out in public without a male chaperone or without being covered from head to toe in black. They cannot drive, nor can they run a business in their own name; women must have a mahram, an agent, usually the closest male relative.
It seems to me that the council knew what they were talking about. The Muslim group might want to do a Google search before they complain next time. It didn't take me long to find these articles.

Joe Biden: The foot in mouth candidate

With John Kerry out of the race, you just knew that Biden would pick up the slack:

Mr. Biden is equally skeptical—albeit in a slightly more backhanded way—about Mr. Obama. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
What is striking about this remark is not only the racism but the condescension. Typical! (Here is his response to the uproar over his remark -- where it the apology? If this had been a Republican, there would be calls for him to apologize at least 30 or 40 times.)

And then there's this:
Though Mr. Biden, 64, has never achieved his national ambitions, he has in recent years emerged as one of the party’s go-to experts on foreign policy. In the past week, he has spearheaded the Democratic pushback against the President’s plan to increase troop levels in Iraq, opposing the move with a non-binding resolution that his party has rallied around.
If Biden is the Democrats point guy for their foreign policy, then no wonder it's incoherent. Just look at his plan for Iraq:
By contrast with what Mr. Biden describes alternately as his opponents’ caution and their detachment from reality, the Senator from Delaware has for months been pushing a comprehensive plan to split Iraq into autonomous Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish ethnic regions that is controversial, to say the least.

Under the plan, local policing and laws will be the responsibility of regional authorities. Most of the American troops would be withdrawn, with small numbers remaining to help with anti-terrorism operations. The ensuing chaos from ethnic migrations within Iraq would be contained with the help of political pressure created by a conference of Iraq’s neighbors.
It is nuts to try to split up the country the way that he is trying to do since it is integrated, especially in Baghdad.

And he doesn't care if other don't support it, he likes it:
Mr. Biden says that support for his Iraq plan is growing. The influential New York Senator Chuck Schumer has declared at various times that he supports the plan—albeit in an uncharacteristically quiet manner—as has Michael O’Hanlon, a prominent Iraq policy expert at the Brookings Institution.
But their support, for Mr. Biden, is almost an afterthought. If one thing is clear about him, it is that he doesn’t mind being alone.
“They may be politically right, and I may be politically wrong,” he said. “But I believe I am substantively right, and their substantive approaches are not very deep and will not get us where I want to go.”
Isn't Bush being criticized for this type of go it alone thinking?

And with this crappy plan, I don't think there is too much he can say about the plan of his opponents:
“From the part of Hillary’s proposal, the part that really baffles me is, ‘We’re going to teach the Iraqis a lesson.’ We’re not going to equip them? O.K. Cap our troops and withdraw support from the Iraqis? That’s a real good idea.”


“I don’t think John Edwards knows what the heck he is talking about,” Mr. Biden said, when asked about Mr. Edwards’ advocacy of the immediate withdrawal of about 40,000 American troops from Iraq.

“John Edwards wants you and all the Democrats to think, ‘I want us out of there,’ but when you come back and you say, ‘O.K., John’”—here, the word “John” became an accusatory, mocking refrain—“‘what about the chaos that will ensue? Do we have any interest, John, left in the region?’ Well, John will have to answer yes or no. If he says yes, what are they? What are those interests, John? How do you protect those interests, John, if you are completely withdrawn? Are you withdrawn from the region, John? Are you withdrawn from Iraq, John? In what period? So all this stuff is like so much Fluffernutter out there. So for me, what I think you have to do is have a strategic notion. And they may have it—they are just smart enough not to enunciate it.”
Though, it would be good if he pushed them to answer what would happen if we actually pulled the troops before the Iraqi troops are ready.

Update: A racist blast from the past:


Iran may be involved in the attack which killed five soldiers

Due to the sophistication, the investigators believe that Iran may have trained the insurgents who attacked a government compound in Karbala where five U. S. soldiers were killed:

Investigators say they believe that attackers who used American-style uniforms and weapons to infiltrate a secure compound and kill five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20 may have been trained and financed by Iranian agents, according to American and Iraqi officials knowledgeable about the inquiry.

The officials said the sophistication of the attack astonished investigators, who doubt that Iraqis could have carried it out on their own — one reason a connection to Iran is being closely examined. Officials cautioned that no firm conclusions had been drawn and did not reveal any direct evidence of a connection.

A senior Iraqi official said the attackers had carried forged American identity cards and American-style M-4 rifles and had thrown stun grenades of a kind used only by American forces here.


An Iraqi knowledgeable about the investigation said four suspects had been detained and questioned. Based on those interviews, investigators have concluded that as they fled Karbala with the abducted Americans, the attackers used advanced devices to monitor police communications and avoid the roads where the police were searching.

“I hear that there are a number of commando and assassination squads that are disconnected and controlled directly by Iran,” the senior Iraqi official said, citing information directly from the prime minister’s office. “They have supplied JAM and others with significant weaponry and training,” he said using shorthand for the group, from its name in Arabic, Jaish al Mahdi.
I'd been reading various points of view on this attack and the consensus has been that Iran was involved and this appears to confirm that (here).

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Senate clears the way for minimum wage vote

This is what it looks like to be bipartisan and I would think that Pelosi would be pleased to see Republicans and Democrats coming together to enacting legislation:

The Senate cleared the way for an increase in the minimum wage Tuesday, but only with business tax breaks that House Democrats want removed.

Final Senate passage of the legislation is expected later this week, setting the stage for a round of difficult negotiations between House and Senate Democrats over how to get the legislation to President Bush for his signature.

In a key test, the Senate voted 87-10 to end debate on the bill Tuesday, well clear of the 60 votes needed.

Earlier this month, the House passed the same increase in the wage floor from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years without any tax provisions. Senate Democrats tried to push through the House version last week, but failed to get the 60 votes to end debate.

The vote Tuesday emphasized how Senate passage of the bill depends on the tax package to attract Republican votes. The White House has also signaled that Bush wants tax breaks in the legislation.

"Raising the minimum wage will cost some jobs," Al Hubbard, the director of the president's National Economic Council told reporters aboard Air Force One Tuesday. "We think it's important to counter that with tax breaks that will replace those jobs."

Don't you think she had this in mind?

Is Congress the Co-Commander in Chief?

That's what they appear to be thinking:

A Senate Republican on Tuesday directly challenged President Bush's declaration that "I am the decision-maker" on issues of war.

"I would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the sole decider," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said during a hearing on Congress' war powers amid an increasingly harsh debate over Iraq war policy. "The decider is a shared and joint responsibility," Specter said.

The question of whether to use its power over the government's purse strings to force an end to the war in Iraq, and under what conditions, is among the issues faced by the newly empowered Democratic majority in Congress, and even some of the president's political allies as well.

No one challenges the notion that Congress can stop a war by canceling its funding. In fact, Vice President Dick Cheney challenged Congress to back up its objections to Bush's plan to put 21,500 more troops in Iraq by zeroing out the war budget.

Underlying Cheney's gambit is the consensus understanding that such a drastic move is doubtful because it would be fraught with political peril.

But there are other legislative options to force the war's end, say majority Democrats and some of Bush's traditional Republican allies.

The alternatives range from capping the number of troops permitted in Iraq to cutting off funding for troop deployments beyond a certain date or setting an end date for the war.

"The Constitution makes Congress a coequal branch of government. It's time we start acting like it," said Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., who is chairing a hearing Tuesday on Congress' war powers and forwarding legislation to eventually prohibit funding for the deployment of troops to Iraq.

His proposal, like many others designed to force an end to U.S. involvement in the bloody conflict, is far from having enough support even to come up for a vote on the Senate floor.


"In an ongoing operation, you've got to defer to the commander in chief," said Sen. John Warner, R-Va., ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. But the veteran senator and former Navy secretary said he understands the debate over Congress' ability to check the executive branch.

"Once Congress raises an army, it's his to command," said Robert Turner, a law professor at the University of Virginia who was to testify Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As the article admits, nothing is really going to change, they won't defund the war (at least yet) and they can't control troop levels or the length of the war. Looks like the status quo and the usual sound and fury; signifying nothing.

Bush Misspoke? Shocking!

Anyone ever hear of Bushisms? That's what makes this newest controversy so humorous:

President Bush said Monday he wasn't trying to disparage the party now running Congress by referring to it as the "Democrat majority" — as opposed to the "Democratic majority" — in his State of the Union speech.

"That was an oversight," Bush said in an interview with National Public Radio. "I mean, I'm not trying to needle."

Bush's dropping of the "ic" at the end of the word prompted grumbling by Democrats that he purposely got their name wrong.

This is not a new charge. President Reagan used to refer to the "Democrat Party." Democratic leaders have long considered it demeaning when their suffix is omitted, and some of them figured it was no accident in a speech as highly choreographed and rehearsed as Bush's State of the Union.

Bush said he wasn't even aware that he had done it.

"I meant to be saying, why don't we show the American people we can actually work together?" Bush said.

Then the president conceded: "I'm not that good at pronouncing words anyway.

The government in Burma trying to "wipe out" Christianity

Yet another government trying to end Christianity. The most surprising aspect of this story is that it's Buddhists who are doing the persecution. Would a Buddhist agree to forcing others to convert? Isn't this against their teaching? And yet, here are monks burning down buildings and forcing people to convert at the behest of the government:

The military regime in Burma is intent on wiping out Christianity in the country, according to claims in a secret document believed to have been leaked from a government ministry. Entitled "Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma", the incendiary memo contains point by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state.

The text, which opens with the line "There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised", calls for anyone caught evangelising to be imprisoned. It advises: "The Christian religion is very gentle – identify and utilise its weakness."

Its discovery follows widespread reports of religious persecution, with churches burnt to the ground, Christians forced to convert to the state religion, Buddhism, and their children barred from school.

Human rights groups claim that the treatment meted out to Christians, who make up six per cent of the population, is part of a wider campaign by the regime, also targeted at ethnic minority tribes, to create a uniform society in which the race and language is Burmese and the only accepted religion is Buddhism

In Koh Kyi village, in Arakan State, a monk backed by the military burnt down the local church. In another state, 300 monks were allegedly sent by the regime to forcibly convert the populace, all of whom belonged to the Chin ethnic group, which is mostly Christian.
Totalitarianism only leads to an external compliance, you can't force people to believe what they don't believe. I bet Christianity will be driven underground, not driven out. Join me in praying for these Christians as they struggle against this persecution.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The left and the Senate Republicans may not think much of the plan

But the death squad leaders are voting with their feet:

DEATH SQUAD leaders have fled Baghdad to evade capture or killing by American and Iraqi forces before the start of the troop “surge” and security crackdown in the capital.

A former senior Iraqi minister said most of the leaders loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical anti-American cleric, had gone into hiding in Iran.

Among those said to have fled is Abu Deraa, the Shi’ite militia leader whose appetite for sectarian savagery has been compared to that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, who was killed last year.

The former minister, who did not want to be named for security reasons, backed Sunni MPs’ claims that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, had encouraged their flight. He alleged that weapons belonging to Sadr’s Mahdi Army had been hidden inside the Iraqi interior ministry to prevent confiscation.

Maliki said last week: “I know that senior criminals have left Baghdad, others have left the country. This is good — this shows that our message is being taken seriously.”
And in front of the surge, the Iraqi soldiers are taking out the enemy:
An apocalyptic sect, led by a man claiming to be an Islamic messiah, has been wiped out in Iraq just as it was planning to disrupt the holiest day in the Shia Muslim calendar, Iraqi officials claimed today.

Iraqi soldiers, backed by US tanks and helicopters, concluded one of the strangest battles in four years of fighting in the country at dawn this morning near the city of Najaf.

Local government officials claimed that as many as 300 militants from a Shia sect calling themselves Jund al-Samaa (Soldiers of Heaven) were killed in fierce fighting that lasted for nearly 24 hours and cost the lives of five Iraqi personnel and two US servicemen whose helicopter crashed. A further 100 rebels were reported captured.

Reports from Najaf today described the city as calm but awash with Iraqi soldiers and roadblocks, ordering men out of their cars and demanding identity papers. A sandstorm enveloped the streets in an orange mist.

Iraq’s national security minister said the leader of the sect was a 40-year-old Iraqi who claimed to be the Mahdi -- an Islamic prophet who is destined to rise again and judge good from evil. The man, believed to be from the nearby Shia city of Diwaniya was killed just as he was preparing to lead an attack on Shia clerics in Najaf, said Shirwan al-Waeli.
The Los Angeles Times has an even higher number of causalities:
U.S. and Iraqi forces thwart 500 fighters apparently targeting a Najaf shrine. A helicopter goes down, killing two American troops.

Iraqi and American forces killed several hundred gunmen apparently planning to attack a Shiite Muslim shrine Sunday, fighting a daylong battle in which a U.S. helicopter crashed, killing two U.S. troops, Iraqi security officials said.

Iraqi and American forces killed several hundred gunmen apparently planning to attack a Shiite Muslim shrine Sunday, fighting a daylong battle in which a U.S. helicopter crashed, killing two U.S. troops, Iraqi security officials said.

The fighting near the holy city of Najaf on the eve of the Shiite holiday of Ashura came as a mortar attack killed five teenage girls at a school in Baghdad and the daily nationwide civilian death toll again climbed past 100.

Iraqi security officials offered conflicting accounts of the identity and motives of the heavily armed fighters outside Najaf, variously describing them as foreign fighters, Sunni Muslim nationalists, loyalists of executed former dictator Saddam Hussein or followers of a messianic Shiite death cult. Some witnesses reported that the attackers wore colorful Afghan tribal robes.


Ali Nomas, an Iraqi security official in Najaf, said the fighters belonged to a group calling itself Heaven's Army, one of several messianic cults that have appeared among Shiites who believe in the imminent return of Imam Mahdi, the last in the line of Shiite saints who disappeared more than 1,000 years ago. Nomas said the information came from interviews with at least 10 detained fighters.
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Poor Clinton!

Now, you are probably going to think that I'm being sarcastic but I actually feel sorry for her because it must be very embarrassing to have been caught singing this badly.

It sounds like Clinton wants Bush to stay in office if she wins

What do you think?

“The president has said this is going to be left to his successor,” the Democratic presidential contender and New York senator said during a jammed rally in a fairground exhibit hall in Davenport, Iowa, as she concluded a two-day campaign swing in the state that kicks off the 2008 presidential campaign.

“I think it's the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it,” she said. “This was his decision to go to war, he went with an ill-conceived plan, an incompetently executed strategy and we should expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office.”
Read the rest here.

I'm not sure how she expects him to end the war if the enemy is still fighting. Do we say to Iran, al-Qaeda, the Shia and the Sunnis, "OK, we have to stop this war now because Clinton doesn't think it's fair that the next president fight 'Bush's war.'" I think it's clear that we are going to have to get someone in there who is willing to fight "Bush's war."

Republicans will not filibuster the Senate resolution

I thought McConnell said that he would. This man is probably getting thousands of calls to filibuster and yet he isn't going to do it which tells me he doesn't have the votes. What a sorry state the party is in. We've always known that the Republican senators have no backbone and now, when we need them the most they wimp out.

McConnell said Republican leaders would not seek to block a vote on Biden's nonbinding resolution with a filibuster. But he called a proposed resolution that focuses on benchmarks "the best way to go."
I guess it will be helpful to see who we will not be voting for in the future. If you can't stand with the president in time of war, then you don't deserve to be in office. Maybe it's time to clean out the House and the Senate during primary season.

And then there's this:
Sen. Joseph Biden, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said senators' widespread opposition to a troop buildup will become evident when they begin debating the measure this week.

"I will make you a bet, you will not find 20 percent of the Senate standing up and saying the president is headed in the right direction," said Biden, D-Del.
If that is the case, then why in the heck did these people vote to confirm the author of the plan? The Senate if filled with political cowards, they should have voted down General Petraeus and sent a message to the president that way instead of a meaningless resolution. But they don't have the political will or backbone to really do something.

Increase your WI-FI range with a cell phone

Mark Erickson of Infinite Solutions demonstrates how to boost your WI-FI range using your cell phone and an Ethernet cable. It's a little geeky but it seems like it would be helpful when I'm on the road and looking for a connection. Though, I don't think I'll be traveling with a salad bowl and aluminum foil.

Update: For those of you who wondered, it is a hoax.

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What's up with Conyers?

Doesn't he know that Pelosi took defunding the war off the table?


And besides it's a moot point since Bush has said that the funds have already been allocated. Why keep bringing it up if it isn't going to happen? Because it's what the itching ears of the base want to hear.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kerry Called America an "International Pariah"

And he did it in front of an Iranian leader (which just sets the irony meter spinning) at Davos. So, all the bases are covered: criticizing the U. S. on foreign soil, in front of a leader of a nation that is under sanction by the UN, and who had been accused of adding the Iraqi insurgents in killing innocent men, women and children and our own military.

How does this man walk with his foot perpetually in his mouth? From Viet Nam to today, he has nothing good to say about America. I say the voters of Massachusetts should put him out of his misery and not elect him to another term so that he is free to move to France.

Here is the video of Kerry committing what would be another moment of political suicide if he hadn't bowed out of the presidential race:


Thieves steal cancer patient's XBox

The police and the family believe that it was someone who knew that the teenager was in the hospital recovering from surgery:

Thieves in Vermont targeted the home of a young cancer patient while he was undergoing treatment in Boston.


Jeff Cota is currently recovering from surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. The 17-year-old high school basketball star has osteosarcoma -- bone cancer in his leg.


Jeff's sister, Katie Cota, discovered the crime when she came home from work on Sunday. His new XBox 360 and more than $1,000 worth of games and DVDs were missing from his room.


"They definitely knew that they were gone and that I was working. So, it's someone that we know."

Police said that they believe the suspects who broke into the Georgia, Vt., home had been in the home before and knew that Jeff had cancer and was in Boston getting treatment.
Some kids today have absolutely no sense of decency.

But humanity is not without hope:
Meanwhile, friends are pitching in, helping Jeff's family pay bills.

"Every single team on our schedule has donated," coach Chris Brown said.

When a local radio station shared Jeff's story Thursday, it was swamped with callers making donations to help Jeff and replace his stolen property.

One listener purchased a new Xbox 360 for Jeff and dropped it off at the radio station.

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The Democrats' Dilemma and What do the Republicans Want

In this BBC News article by James Coomarasamy captures the dilemma of the Democrats who are now in power and have to walk the tightrope between governing the way their base wants them to (impeach Bush and bring the troops home) and the way Independent and Moderates want them to (support the troops, keep them safe but don't loose too many soldiers). And it also captures the essence of who they are and how they govern (they will sling mud but they don't want to actually take responsibility for what they think should be done):

President Bush's decision to send an extra 21,500 troops to Iraq has presented the Democrats with an early reminder of the limits and the potential perils of holding a congressional majority.

For, while they are - with the notable exception of Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman - publicly united in their opposition to the president's troop increase, they are still feeling their way towards a unified response.

As the party with the largest number of seats in Congress, they know that there is much more riding on their decisions now than in the past.

And this provides them with a dilemma - how to influence a policy which they believe has failed without assuming ownership of it?


The Democratic Party may be in power, but its leadership remains vigilant about not appearing weak on national security, as does the cluster of Democratic senators planning to run for the White House in 2008.
And then there's this:
Political considerations aside, the idea of the funding cuts may be a moot point.

According to President Bush - who has been sounding defiant in his recent interviews - the money to deploy the extra forces has already been approved by Congress.

The White House says that the legislators' much-vaunted power of the purse has - in this case, at least - been overstated.
So, now what are they going to use to placate their base and to threaten the president?

Coomarasamy also states that there are Republicans who are opposed to Bush's Iraqi plan:
Apart from Chuck Hagel - a long-time critic of the president's Iraq policy - previously loyal senators such as Norm Coleman of Minnesota have expressed their unequivocal opposition to the Bush plan.
I've been reading this for awhile now and then I heard Coleman on the Hugh Hewitt show and it didn't sound like he was totally opposed to the plan:
Well, we had a resolution today, the Hagel-Biden resolution. It was before the Foreign Relations Committee. It passed with the vote of all the Democrats on the committee and only one Republican, Chuck Hagel. The rest of us voted against Hagel-Biden. I tried to amend it, I tried to add an amendment. And by the way, Hugh, you know that I have expressed concern about the part of the President’s plan, just a part of the President’s plan that talks about a surge in Baghdad. I think the Iraqis, they’ve got to produce, they’ve got to put up, they’ve got to show a resolve to take on al-Sadr, just as much as they take on the insurgents. I’ve had a concern about that. On the other hand, I’ve also talked to the Marines in Anbar who are doing what Marines do very well. They’re killing the enemy. They’re killing the foreign fighters. They’re seizing ground. But to hold it, they need Iraqis, and they need Sunnis in the army there, and Sunnis in the police force. But the commanders in Anbar say that we need more forces and we need more troops. And so I had a resolution that said the Iraqis need to deal with the sectarian violence, but the bottom line of it was that the commanders on the ground in places like Anbar, that are fighting the war against insurgents and foreign fighters, if they need increases, if they need more troops, then we should support them. That was substantially voted down. Bottom line is I voted against the resolution that I think is…I’m going to be very blunt…is a pull-out resolution. This isn’t an abandon Iraq resolution. The words don’t exactly say that, but I listened to John Murtha testify, and I listened to the reaction of my colleagues across the aisle, that’s their position. They talk about redeployment, and redeployment really means get out, regardless of the consequences. I have concerns about a portion of the President’s plan, I have articulated those concerns, but I’m not ready to give up on victory or success in Iraq, Hugh.


HH: Now Senator Coleman, hearing what General Petraeus said, have you rethought support for Senator Warner’s supposed resolution?

NC: Two observations: One, David Petraeus is one of the finest military leaders certainly in my brief time I’ve met, but put me aside. When General Barry McCaffrey came before the Senate, he said that Petraeus is the best, brightest military leader that he’s met in his entire life. So Petraeus is awesome. Hugh, I’m not going to vote for any resolution that communicates to our enemy the prospect of shaken resolve. I don’t think the Warner resolution does that. The Warner resolution does what the Hagel-Biden resolution doesn’t. It talks about the consequences of a failed state. The Warner resolution does what the Hagel-Biden resolution doesn’t. It says nothing in this resolution…should infer pulling out, lessening resolve, et cetera, et cetera. It highlights a disagreement over an aspect of the strategy, it urges the President to consider to look at all options, but I don’t think it does what is the bottom line to me, and that is communicate the prospect of shaken resolve. We have to succeed in Iraq. We have some questions about how we do it. But I think we’ve got to communicate, by the way, not just to the Iraqis, but to the Iranians and the Syrians, the reality that we’re going to be there, that we are going to prevail, and I just don’t think the Warner resolution does what you and many of your listeners, and I appreciate the deep concern, what you are concerned about. I don’t think if you read the resolution, it doesn’t do that, and I’m not going to support a resolution that I believe communicates shaken resolve.
It sounds more like he would like Iraqi accountability than a complete rejection of the plan.

Kennedy Losing it in the Senate

I posted on this already but I thought it was interesting to listen to Kennedy blather on about the minimum wage when he knows exactly why the Republicans are trying to help the small business owner to bear the burden of government sponsored extortion.

I know that left think that Republicans are cold hearted for standing in the way of people being paid a fair wage, the problem is that the Republicans understand how business works and it's simplistic to think that businesses will pay a worker more than they are worth. Compassion comes with a price and it is usually the loss of jobs. The Republicans are actually trying to help the small businesses to retain workers.

BTW, Kennedy talks about how long it was taking to get to a vote, well the poor could have had their minimum wage increase in August if it weren't for the Democrats.

Civil War in Palestine

This has got to have the people of Israel in celebration because if Palestinians are fighting each other, they don't have time to fight Israel:

Gunmen from the rival Hamas and Fatah movements battled in Gaza City for a third straight day Saturday, firing mortars and grenades in clashes that killed two men in the increasingly bloody power struggle over the Palestinian government.

The deaths brought to 20 the number of Palestinians killed since late Thursday, with at least 66 people wounded and efforts to forge a coalition government at a standstill.

The latest fighting, which started late Thursday after a Hamas activist was killed in a bombing, has been among the deadliest in nearly two months of clashes.


He accused Fatah loyalists of storming a mosque near the security headquarters and executing a senior Hamas activist inside while he was reading the Quran, the Muslim holy book. On Saturday, blood stains were still visible on the mosque's carpet and the bathroom tiles.

Fatah denied it had stormed the mosque, but said Hamas gunmen had used the mosque as a base for attacking the security headquarters.


The deaths brought to 20 the number of Palestinians killed since late Thursday, with at least 66 people wounded and efforts to forge a coalition government at a standstill.

The latest fighting, which started late Thursday after a Hamas activist was killed in a bombing, has been among the deadliest in nearly two months of clashes.


Update: Anti-war protesters in DC

Little Green Footballs has the video of the protesters ranting about the war.

Related post:

Protesters Demand Iraq Withdrawal

Blogging Chicks Carnival: What I learned from blogging

Is up!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What I've learned since I started blogging

After I'd been blogging for a couple of months I posted an article about the things I'd learned about blogging up to that point. I'm reposting an edited version which I've edited to reflect the things I've learned my first year of blogging.

1. I now know why people can't stand blogger

* Pictures say that they're loaded and aren't
* Pictures suddenly disappearing from posts
* Posts disappearing and then reappearing
* No trackbacks
* No categories (until beta but since I can't seem to be able to switch, it doesn't do me any good0.
* Templates stink
* The editor doesn't have an undo button and it really, really needs one (really)
* And switching my blogs over to Beta has been a major problem. They keep inviting me to do it and then when I do they are unable to do it.

2. This is hard work.

* Not just the writing part but finding clip art and interesting links
* Tweaking the template.
* Figuring out how to locate and use all the utilities available (javascripts to display headlines, trackbacks, word clouds, etc.) and then installing them in your template.
* Responding to comments
* It's not easy to maintain two blogs and a blogroll.

3. People tell you they read your blog but they don't.

4. Never ask your readers to nominate you for an award unless you are sure that you won't get your hindquarters kicked.

5. This is not really a good environment for an insecure, control freak.

6. I have a new respect for those blog and have a life as well :-).

7. I really am a workaholic.

8. Firefox is the best browser to view blogs. And it has all kinds of fun plugins.

9. There are some really incredibly nice people on the Internet who have been very generous with their support and encouragement (not to mention linking to us :-).

10. I've learned that I have to be incredibly careful about what I write because you don't know who is reading our blog. I've seen the type of things people are searching for and it can be scary. The Internet is a scary place filled with perverts.

11. I have to be incredibly careful about what I write because my words could adversely affect how people view Christ and His people. You may only get one shot at someone, they might not read your apology, revised opinion or your further explanation. Being careful with the original post is the most important step in the process.

12. Never change your template after 12:30 am. You may delete something you might need :-)

13. Always, and this is very important, always preview your template before you save it. Also, back up your template before you make any changes, even minor ones.

14. It might be a good idea (for grammar's sake) not to post after 12:30 am.

15. Do not let negative comments impact your blogging. Don't think about negative commenters when you post, it's your blog and you are entitled to your opinion.

16. You don't need to respond to negative comments. You can ignore them if you want.

17. Don't worry about people slandering you on the Internet, don't worry about defending yourself. Don't bother getting into a flame war over it, it's not worth it.

18. Don't ever write about someone unless you are prepared for them to read it.

19. Be prepared for your position to be misunderstand or misquoted, people aren't always fair on the Internet. I've been called a Nazi because I tell people they can't be on the Blogging Chicks blogroll unless they carry the blogroll (I've also been called a dictator).

20. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt, don't always assume they are deliberately being deceptive.

21. Technorati can be a great source of traffic if you tag your posts correctly.

22. Digg,, Tail Rank, Wikio, and Megite are all great resources to see what everyone is blogging about.

23. Always check the sidebar of a blog for new ideas and utilities to use on your blog.


Protesters Demand Iraq Withdrawal

The anti-war protesters are demanding that the Congress pass a binding resolution that will bring home the troops or else:

Actor Sean Penn said lawmakers will pay a price in the 2008 elections if they do not take firmer action than to pass a nonbinding resolution against the war, the course Congress is now taking.

"If they don't stand up and make a resolution as binding as the death toll, we're not going to be behind those politicians," he said. Actors Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins also spoke.

Empty threats! Where else are you going to go? The Congress will not make a binding resolution because it won't do any good, they have no control over the troops levels or this war except for oversight (which means they can harass the Generals and the Secretary of Defense) and budget.

Hanoi Jane hasn't learned anything new in 30 years:

"Silence is no longer an option," Fonda said to cheers from the stage on the National Mall. The actress once derided as "Hanoi Jane" by conservatives for her stance on Vietnam said she had held back from activism so as not to be a distraction for the Iraq anti-war movement, but needed to speak out now.

She drew parallels to the Vietnam War, citing "blindness to realities on the ground, hubris ... thoughtlessness in our approach to rebuilding a country we've destroyed."
You want to talk about hurbris how about facing the fact that your efforts resoluted in the deaths of millions? How about the country abandoning the people we had sworn to protect? And will you face what will happen if we leave this war in the state it is in now? Do you think you'll face the fact that you will be responsible for the violence if we leave.

Everyone knows what would happen and yet the left won't face it. If they end this war, the mess will be on their head (and don't bother leaving comments that say that it's all Bush's fault since we went to war because he lied, I won't even respond).

Updated: And then there's this:
Organizers said the biggest challenge facing the anti-war movement today is how to hold together a loose coalition of groups with divergent agendas
using celebrities who peaked in popularity 10 to 30 years ago.

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No one wants to watch a 13-inch TV, not even a thief

A reporter in Canada tried to tempt a thief into stealing a 13-inch TV so that he could track where it went over a 36-hour period using a GPS phone hidden in it. He placed the TV set in the back of an unlocked car, took it to various seedy areas and left it unattended. The only problem was he couldn't get anyone to steal it no matter where he parked the car. He even left it sitting in a bad neighborhood for 20 days but no one took it.

I guess he shouldn't have been so cheap and used a plasma TV instead. Why steal something that big and with such a low resell value? (New sets sell for less than $100.)


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China Harvesting Organs of Executed Falun Gong Members

This is just sick! I can't think of anything more vile than China profiting from those they persecute and of the many who would actual pay to receive the organs of those who had been killed:

An unknown number of wealthy Albertans have travelled to China to buy vital organs harvested from executed devotees of the outlawed Falun Gong movement, says former Edmonton MP David Kilgour.

And he wants the crimes against humanity to stop.

“There’s no doubt people are going from Edmonton and Calgary to China to get new kidneys or new livers,” Kilgour told the Sun yesterday.

He said many of the organs sell for up to $70,000.

“Only foreigners in places like Alberta can afford to pay for them.”

Kilgour, former secretary of state for the Asia-Pacific region, says he has travelled to more than 30 countries while investigating allegations that an underground network of Chinese surgeons, nurses and hospital administration staff are harvesting organs for sale.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gates: Iraq resolution 'emboldens' enemy

Adding to what General Petraeus said about the resolutions at his conformation hearing, Gates also says that these resolutions embolden our enemy.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday that a congressional resolution opposing
President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq undercuts U.S. commanders and "emboldens the enemy."

He also said the Pentagon was now studying whether it could accelerate the deployment of the five additional Army brigades that it has announced will be sent to Baghdad between now and May to bolster security in the capital.

At his first Pentagon news conference since taking office Dec. 18, Gates was asked his reaction to the debate in Congress over the effect of such a nonbinding resolution. "It's pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn't have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries," he said
It's amazing to me that these Senators, who voted to confirm Petraeus would turn around and undermine his efforts in Iraq. You would have to be totally clueless not to see this and yet our Senators appear to be completely without a clue as to what their efforts are going to do our troops.

I was listening to Hugh Hewitt over the last few days and was astonished that the Senators who come on his show don't understand how upset the base is at the Republicans who support these resolutions that undermine the president's authority and standing and who sell out the military. Don't tell me you support the troops if you aren't willing to allow them to do their job. If you support the troops, why are you trying to undermine their job. The troops want to do their job, they don't want to be failures. They don't want the deaths of their colleagues to have been in vain.

And Lugar is right when he says this:
"This vote will force nothing on the president, but it will confirm to our friends and allies that we are divided and in disarray," Sen. Richard Lugar, the Senate Foreign Relation Committee's top Republican, said Wednesday.

"It's the wrong tool for this stage in the Iraq debate. It is unclear to me how passing a nonbinding resolution — that president has said he will ignore — will contribute to any improvement or modification of our Iraq policy," said Lugar, of Indiana.
Why embolden the enemy over a resolution that has no teeth? It does nothing but p.o. your base and doesn't force the president to do anything. Unless they cut funding, there's nothing they can do to influence this war. They had their chance, they could have voted against Petraeus but they didn't. But their vote proves that they don't have to courage of the convictions and that this is all for show. They chose the symbolic path because they are not leaders, they just detect which way the wind is blowing and hoist their sails in that direction.

And then there's this, the words of the brilliant Biden:
"My experience with this administration after six years is — and maybe yours is different — is the only way to get its attention is to make it crystal clear, crystal clear and publicly clear, that you take issue with what they're proposing," Biden said.
So, you've been very public in your opposition for the last month, what has it gotten you? This:
President Bush, on a collision course with Congress over Iraq, said Friday "I'm the decision-maker" about sending more troops to the war. He challenged skeptical lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his buildup.

"I've picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed," Bush said in an Oval Office meeting with senior military advisers.

The president had strong words for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are lining up to support resolutions opposing his decision to send 21,500 troops to Iraq. He challenged them to put up their own ideas.

"I know there is skepticism and pessimism and that some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work," the president said. "They have an obligation and a serious responsibility therefore to put up their own plan as to what would work."
He's in charge and Congress is left with symbolic gestures:
Pelosi makes symbolic trip to Iraq

Tom Cruise the "Christ" of Scientology?

This is totally bizarre.

Tom Cruise is being hailed as the "Christ" of Scientology. Yes, you read that right.

The Mission: Impossible star has been told he has been “chosen” to spread the word of his faith throughout the world.

And leader David Miscavige believes that in future, Cruise, 44, will be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise awareness of the religion.

A source close to the actor, who has risen to one of the church’s top levels, said: “Tom has been told he is Scientology’s Christ-like figure.

“Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But future generations will realise he was right.”
This is where the world gets it wrong, Jesus Christ wasn't criticized, he was crucified. Jesus wasn't crucified to "raise awareness" of Christianity, He was crucified because He is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)...and He was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead." (Romans 1:4).

It is just absurd to compare Jesus Christ, the Son of God with Tom Cruise, the alien actor.

U. S. military can now kill or capture Iranians

I'm glad we are starting to seriously engage Iran:

The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.

For more than a year, U.S. forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries. U.S. forces collected DNA samples from some of the Iranians without their knowledge, subjected others to retina scans, and fingerprinted and photographed all of them before letting them go.

Last summer, however, senior administration officials decided that a more confrontational approach was necessary, as Iran's regional influence grew and U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran appeared to be failing. The country's nuclear work was advancing, U.S. allies were resisting robust sanctions against the Tehran government, and Iran was aggravating sectarian violence in Iraq.

"There were no costs for the Iranians," said one senior administration official. "They are hurting our mission in Iraq, and we were bending over backwards not to fight back."
In a shamed based culture, "bending over backwards" is seen as a sign of weakness and it's now wonder Iran has continued to sow discord in the region. They have not paid a price yet, wait until they do. Maybe they'll pull out or maybe they'll escalate. Either way, if we are killing them, then one less soldier to fight if we ever have to take on Iran.

I know that some doubt that Iran is involved but:
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the CIA, told the Senate recently that the amount of Iranian-supplied materiel used against U.S. troops in Iraq "has been quite striking."
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Leggings? Are they serious about this or is this a joke?

Do not listen to the author of this report, he is either joking ("Let's see how many idiots I can get to buy these pants"), insane or doesn't know what the heck he's talking about. Leggings at the office? Red ones, at that! How insane is that? But what's even worse is that they come in purple.



Giving hope to our enemy

That is what Petraeus said during the conformation hearing:

The next U.S. commander for Iraq told Congress yesterday that pending Senate resolutions against a surge of more than 21,000 troops give the enemy hope by depicting America as divided on winning the war.
Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, President Bush's choice to take over command in Iraq and change the tide of a deteriorating battle, revealed his assessment in questioning from the Senate's two leading war hawks: Sens. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent.
Mr. McCain, who supports a larger troop increase, asked what the results would be if senators "tell those troops that we support you, but we are convinced that you cannot accomplish your mission. ... What effect does that have on the morale?"
"Well, it would not be a beneficial effect, sir," Gen. Petraeus replied during a confirmation hearing to four-star rank before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Obviously, a commander would like to go forward with as much flexibility as he can achieve."
Mr. Lieberman tried to pull Gen. Petraeus further into the upcoming Senate debate. He asked what effect an anti-surge Senate resolution would have on the enemy. After praising the U.S. system of open political debate, the general added, "having said that, a commander in such an endeavor would obviously like the enemy to feel that there's no hope."
"A Senate-passed resolution of disapproval for this new strategy in Iraq would give the enemy some encouragement," Mr. Lieberman said, to which Gen. Petraeus answered, "That's correct, sir."
If Hagel and Bidden and the rest want to give voice to their displeasure at what Bush is doing, that's fine but the consequences are what they are and that is giving hope to our enemy.

Petraeus also said that he needs the troops:
The new strategy for Iraq shifts the U.S. focus in Iraq to securing the population and creating secure conditions to enable the Iraqi government, Petraeus said. Solving security problems will not be the ultimate solution for Iraq, he acknowledged, but the Iraqi government cannot deal with the political issues it must resolve while violence in Baghdad creates life-or-death situations for citizens every day.

"The objective will be to achieve sufficient security to provide the space and time for the Iraqi government to come to grips with the tough decisions its members must make to enable Iraq to move forward," Petraeus said. "In short, it is not just that there will be additional forces in Baghdad; it is what they will do and how they will do it that is important."

When questioned directly, Petraeus said he would not be able to do his job as commander of MNFI without the additional 21,000 troops President Bush has pledged to Iraq. Deploying these additional forces will make it difficult to increase time between deployments for troops who have already been burdened by the war on terror, he said, but plans are under way to sustain increased force levels.
Who are Hagel, Warner and Biden to tell a General what he does or doesn't need? Unless they want to put it all on the table and vote to defund, then they really have nothing to say about troop levels.

The Political Blogging Scholarship

If you know of a political blogger who is attending college, let them know they are eligible for a $2,000 scholarship:

Do you maintain a political weblog and attend college? Would you like $2,000 to help pay for books, tuition, or other living costs? If so, read on.

We're giving away $2,000 this year to a college student who blogs about politics. Our scholarship is awarded annually.

Update: They are now giving away $10,000. Go here for details.

Americans spend more time with computer than spouse

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one:

The survey found 65 percent of respondents spent more time with a computer than with their spouse or significant other.
But our love is not returned:
The average consumer has experienced computer troubles eight times - about every four months - over the last three years.

A majority of Americans (52%) describe their most recent experience with a computer problem as one of anger, sadness or alienation.
Mine was all three.


Hypocrisy Alert: PETA

Who knew that PETA was killing animals? Do you think they did it humanely? What's amazing about this article is their defense, it's "better than sitting in a stinking pound?" It reminded me of the left's abortion arguments. Why do they think that death is in any way preferable over life?

It is an unlikely locale for an unlikely criminal case. Today, two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a radical animal-rights group that opposes meat-eating, are on trial for the strangest of charges: killing animals.

PETA is based in Norfolk, Va., but its work has international scope. The group, which raises more than $25 million a year from 1.6 million supporters, opposes any human use of animals, whether for food, fashion or research. In the more than two decades since its founding, it has become a major threat to medical researchers, meatpackers, fur sellers and others.

Now, two of its employees stand accused of tossing garbage bags full of euthanized cats and dogs into a Dumpster behind a Piggly Wiggly in Hertford County, 130 miles northeast of Raleigh.

Adria J. Hinkle and Andrew B. Cook, both of whom work in PETA's Norfolk office, are charged with 21 counts each of animal cruelty, a felony that can carry prison time, along with littering and obtaining property by false pretenses.


Now, jurors will decide whether Hinkle and Cook were, as PETA argues, providing humane deaths to animals that would otherwise have been painfully killed in gas chambers -- or whether, as several local officials say, they were taking animals on the promise of finding them homes and secretly killing them.

A PETA spokeswoman, Kathy Guillermo, said PETA never wanted to get into the business of euthanizing animals. But she said the group couldn't ignore the horrible conditions in animal shelters around Norfolk and in northeastern North Carolina. The group now euthanizes thousands of animals a year.

"Euthanasia is a better alternative to sitting in a stinking pound," Guillermo said.

PETA opponents are drawing attention to this little-known facet of the group's work.

On Monday morning, the Washington D.C.-based Center for Consumer Freedom, an anti-PETA group funded by restaurants and meat producers, drove a mobile billboard truck reading "PETA: As Warm and Cuddly as You Thought?" past the courthouse.
I wonder if the animal lovers will boycott PETA now? I doubt it, hypocrisy doesn't appear to bother the left too much, look at how they treat the environment and they whine at us about our treatment.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Senate Armed Services Committee sends Petraeus nomination to the full Senate

The Senate Armed Services Committee has a split personality, on the one hand they approve a resolution to voice their opposition to Bush's plan in Iraq but then they approve the nomination of the author and the implementor of that plan.

A Senate committee on Wednesday approved the nomination of Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus to command American forces in Iraq, replacing Gen. George Casey.

The Senate Armed Services Committee sent the nomination to the full Senate, which is expected to approve the nomination on Thursday, including promoting Petraeus to four-star rank for the top military post in Iraq.


The committee approved the nomination without opposition at an impromptu meeting in the Capitol, said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the panel.
If you really don't support the plan, then reject the guy who is going to implement it. But they don't have the guts to do that. Wimps!

BTW, I love Cheney's response to the "nonbinding resolution" (or in other words, the cut and run symbolism over substance resolution):
"The president has made his decision," Vice President
Dick Cheney fired back, a response that made it clear the administration would go ahead anyway. "We need to get the job done."


"We are moving forward," Cheney said in an interview with CNN in which he was asked about the troop buildup. "The Congress has control over the purse strings. They have the right, obviously, if they want, to cut off funding. But in terms of this effort, the president has made his decision."

Here's a video of Petraeus' opening statement laying out what he thinks the situation will be like in Iraq:

Here's a video of Lieberman making a statement about the resolutions during Petraeus' hearing:

Take the Pledge

To withhold contributions to the NRSC if the Senate passes a resolution that criticizes the war:

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.
Go here for more information and a link to the pledge. Nothing is more important than this war and if the Republicans don't get it that we still support this war, then we should tell them loud and clear that we do. And we should promise to hit them where it counts, in their pocketbook and the knowledge that they can't count on their base for their next election.

I took the pledge and urge you to do the same. I also called McConnell's office to complain and find out if they plan to filibuster. They wouldn't say until the bills have been finalized. Call McConnell and register your support for the war.

Rosie called for Bush to be impeached

On "The View." It is amazing how ignorant Rosie is about the role of the Commander in Chief. She seems to think that the people have a role in determining when we send troops into battle. I wish people would get it through their thick skulls that they have no say in this at all. The president can completely ignore their wishes and send troops into battle when war has been declared by Congress. That's their right under our constitution.

And good for Barbara Walters for being dismissive of Rosie's drivel and setting the record straight after Rosie went on a rant about Clinton's impeachment.


It's telling that the Democrats wouldn't applaud for victory

No wonder many on the right call them Defeatocrats, they don't even appear to want us to win. The least you could do was applaud when Bush mentioned victory:

Bush urged lawmakers to "turn events toward victory." Cheney stood and applauded. Pelosi held to her chair, but, as the applaud spread, finally stood without clapping.

Bush called for the United States "to succeed in Iraq." Cheney again stood and clapped. Pelosi wiped her lips and remained seated, as did most Democrats, except for relative hawks such as Clinton and the newly minted independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) When Bush spoke of Marines going to Anbar province to "find the terrorists," a few Republican leaders -- Sens. Ted Stevens (Alaska), John Cornyn (Tex.) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.), and Reps. John Boehner (Ohio) and Roy Blunt (Mo.) -- tried to start a standing ovation, but got little support from either side.

And when Bush spoke about deploying "more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq," there was silence all around.

The Democrats aren't being very smart here because they need to realize that support of this war could change if we start to see a reduction of violence by 2008 and if I were a Republican, I would feature that portion of Bush's address in a commercial and say, "The Democrats couldn't even applaud a call for victory in Iraq, will they support any future war in this war on terror? How can we take that chance?"

Republicans Filibustered the Minimum Wage Bill

Because it didn't have any tax breaks to offset the effect the increase would have on small businesses. What I like about this is that it sends the message to Pelosi that she just can't push through legislation without the involvement of the Republicans. She doesn't have as much power as she thinks she does.

The vote sent a message to House Democrats and liberals in the Senate that only a hybrid tax and minimum wage package could succeed in the Senate. But any tax breaks in the bill would put the Senate on a collision course with the House, which is required by the Constitution to initiate tax measures.


The House passed the increase two weeks ago. Since then Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Charles Rangel, the chairman of the tax writing Ways and Means Committee, have prodded the Senate to keep tax proposals out of the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., scheduled Wednesday's vote to demonstrate the Democrats' lack of Republican support for a straight minimum wage bill without tax cuts. Every Democrat present voted to end debate and five moderate Republicans joined them.

"There seems to be agreement to raise the minimum wage," said Republican Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming. "The difficulty has been how do we take care of some of the impact to small businesses that will result from this."

Reid is backing an $8.3 billion tax package that would extend for five years a tax credit for employers who hire low-income or disadvantaged workers. It also extends until 2010 tax rules that permit businesses to combine as much as $112,000 in expenses into one annual tax deduction.

Read the rest here.

And Kennedy shows that all these years in Congress hasn't been good for his business sense. The government is forcing employers to pay more money for workers, the least the government can do is offset the cost a little for those who can afford it least. Wealthy people like Kennedy shouldn't be in the Senate, they don't understand the problems of the little guy:
"Why can't we do just one thing for minimum wage workers, no strings attached, no giveaways for the powerful?" asked Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., a leading sponsor of the bill.
He is so clueless! The powerful? The pizzeria owner is powerful? How about the bodega owner? Thankfully, the Republicans are there to protect the little guy.

And btw, Kennedy offsetting the cost to the small business owner might help ensure he won't lay off some of his employees since he may no longer be able to afford them.

Kerry will not run for White House

I bet the money people were not ready to fund another attempt given his propensity toward foot in mouth disease:

Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who lost the 2004 election to President George W. Bush, will not make another run for the White House in 2008, party sources said on Wednesday.


He was forced to apologize and cancel all his campaign appearances in the week before the 2006 congressional election after he made what he called a "botched joke" about troops in Iraq that prompted a storm of Republican criticism.

Several Democrats distanced themselves from Kerry ahead of November's election.
Read the rest here.

The field is crowded and he had his chance and couldn't close the deal. I'm just surprised that he had the wisdom to see the handwriting on the wall.

Update: Here's a video of Kerry making the announcement.


Ahmadinejad: "the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives"

And demonstrating just how prescient Carter is:

Israel and the United States will soon be destroyed, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday during a meeting with Syria's foreign minister, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website said in a report.

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… assured that the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives," the Iranian president was quoted as saying.

"Sparking discord among Muslims, especially between the Shiites and Sunnis, is a plot hatched by the Zionists and the US for dominating regional nations and looting their resources," Ahmadinejad added, according to the report.

The Iranian president also directly tied events in Lebanon to a wider plan aimed at Israel's destruction. He called on "regional countries" to "support the Islamic resistance of the Lebanese people and strive to enhance solidarity and unity among the different Palestinian groups in a bid to pave the ground for the undermining of the Zionist regime whose demise is, of course, imminent."
A man who is actively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons is bent on our destruction but according to Carter we have nothing to fear.

Carter: "our country has no reason to be afraid"

Terrorists targeting our country and plotting another 9-11, that is not a reason to fear. And I know that if the terrorists were Christian, I would like them better, how about you? Is it any wonder that this man is considered one of the worst presidents in our nation's history.

With the zeal of a Baptist Sunday School teacher, Jimmy Carter ended a conference on his presidency Sunday morning by telling Americans they should not fear and they should not hate.

On a weekend in which Carter celebrated the 30th anniversary of his inauguration and the 25th year since its abrupt conclusion, it was left to the former president to update his peace efforts in the Middle East to today's world by talking about terrorism and about harsh feelings against people of other faiths.

"We are developing an ingrained hatred for people who aren't Christians," said Carter, a Sunday School teacher since he was 18 years old.

Unwarranted fear of terrorism is behind these feelings, he said.

"The distortion that we are about to be destroyed makes us suspicious of those who don't worship the way we do," he said. "And our country has no reason to be afraid."


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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The State of the Union

I won't be watching the State of the Union tonight because Bush is too distracting, he always looks like he is in front of a firing squad and I'm usually waiting for him to trip up and misspeak, so I don't pay attention to what he's actually saying. His speeches are better read. Besides, I have no desire to see Pelosi sitting behind him. I've read the speech and as far as I'm concerned the most important part of it is the part about the war in Iraq. I was disappointed he didn't rebuke Congress for their lack of support for the troops:

A future of hope and opportunity requires a fair, impartial system of justice. The lives of citizens across our Nation are affected by the outcome of cases pending in our federal courts. And we have a shared obligation to ensure that the federal courts have enough judges to hear those cases and deliver timely rulings. As President, I have a duty to nominate qualified men and women to vacancies on the federal bench. And the United States Senate has a duty as well – to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

For all of us in this room, there is no higher responsibility than to protect the people of this country from danger. Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and felt the sorrow that terrorists can cause. We have had time to take stock of our situation. We have added many critical protections to guard the homeland. We know with certainty that the horrors of that September morning were just a glimpse of what the terrorists intend for us – unless we stop them.

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled – that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy.

From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense. The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since Nine-Eleven has never been the same.

Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented – but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terrorist cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them.

Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in Nine-Eleven is still at work in the world. And so long as that is the case, America is still a Nation at war.

In the minds of the terrorists, this war began well before September 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past five years have given us a much clearer view of the nature of this enemy. Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists, possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology. Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats ... instruct with bullets and bombs ... and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.

Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology. Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: “We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse.” And Osama bin Laden declared: “Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us.”

These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah – a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. But whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent, they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans ... kill democracy in the Middle East ... and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.

In the sixth year since our Nation was attacked, I wish I could report to you that the dangers have ended. They have not. And so it remains the policy of this government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people.

This war is more than a clash of arms – it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our Nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and come to kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom – societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience, and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies – and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates, reformers, and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security . . . we must.

In the last two years, we have seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East – and we have been sobered by the enemy’s fierce reaction. In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution ... drove out the Syrian occupiers ... and chose new leaders in free elections. In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections – choosing a transitional government ... adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world … and then electing a government under that constitution. Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity we should never forget.

A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. And Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon’s legitimately elected government. In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam – the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia – and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in. Every one of us wishes that this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. So let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.

We are carrying out a new strategy in Iraq – a plan that demands more from Iraq’s elected government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we are deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down terrorists, insurgents, and roaming death squads. And in Anbar province – where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them – we are sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. We did not drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.

The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now is the time for their government to act. Iraq’s leaders know that our commitment is not open ended. They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad – and they must do so. They have pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party. They need to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and Coalition forces, so these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad. Iraq’s leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks to achieve reconciliation – to share oil revenues among all of Iraq’s citizens ... to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq ... to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's civic life ... to hold local elections ... and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. But for all of this to happen, Baghdad must be secured. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.

My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success. Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq – because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country – and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.

For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq, would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens... new recruits ... new resources ... and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September 11th and invite tragedy. And ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East ... to succeed in Iraq ... and to spare the American people from this danger.

This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spoken with many of you in person. I respect you and the arguments you have made. We went into this largely united – in our assumptions, and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq – and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field – and those on their way.

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. That is why it is important to work together so our Nation can see this great effort through. Both parties and both branches should work in close consultation. And this is why I propose to establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share ideas for how to position America to meet every challenge that confronts us. And we will show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory.