Saturday, September 30, 2006
for malpractice insurance. Next door in
Wisconsin, the same doctor would pay $27,800.
Find out here
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Well, here's your chance!
I received this from Emmett Chapman's daughter yesterday and she has, most certainly, gotten inside the mind of her Dad as you'll see...
Tomorrow is my dad's 70th birthday.
The article below was written for him and will be published on his website, www.stick.com.
This is a preview of it.
The Stars, the Moon and Everything
When I was a little girl my father, Emmett, would take me out at night into the backyard at our house in North Hollywood and show me the moon and the stars. It is one of my earliest memories of him. I was just a baby, I don't know if I was even talking yet. I have this basic imprint memory of him holding me in his arms and we are looking up into the sky. He points to Mars and says in a quiet, nighttime voice, "Look Diana, that's Mars. It's the red one. Mars rules Scorpio. You are a Scorpio!" I look up in wonderment at the tiny little point of light that didn't look very red to me at all, and look back at him, full of wonder and awe. And so I learned the planets before I knew my numbers. It's in my bones.
This ability to think abstractly and to creatively use my mind and imagination came directly from him. He would play with me like this all the time. We would talk about the world and dinosaurs and Greek myths and boys and Jungian symbolism and polyrhythmic times and handwriting analysis and what colors matched what people we knew, all with the background calliope of music of Coltrane and Miles and Stravinsky and Cream and The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and Tim Buckley and Debussy, and whatever he was listening to at the moment, which was everything. He would always present me with the hidden or the mysterious, the scientific and the philosophical. Any subject was fair game and we would romp and roll through conversations like puppies with a bone. We would talk about cell structure and DNA and how sound travels through water from the perspective of a dolphin. We wondered and discussed the great questions of life like, was it important to dance, or vote, or go to school.
One of the first books that he made both my sister and I read was The Naked Ape - A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal by Desmond Morris. I think I was about eleven, which would have made Grace about six. We plowed through it somehow. The next one, a couple of years later was, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, by Julian Jaynes. Good grief! Still, what a gift. He was sure we would love it as much as he did. He always talked to us about ideas and God and colors and science, and I am truly a better and broader person for it. It was like being home-schooled by a mix of Socrates and Jimi Hendrix.
There's not a day that goes by that I don't appreciate how this young training set me up for the rest of my life. I learned to think abstractly. I understood archetypes and patterns before I knew the alphabet. He taught me about the universe and the stars and everything. And there's not a day that goes by that I don't actively use this ability in everything I do.
I have known many astrologers during my time. My father is one of the best of them. His ideas, like in everything he thinks about, are unique and his own. His view on the planets and their relationship is based on a blending of the most ancient understanding of astrology and their strict, geometric, astronomical relationships - and, of course, it all directly applies to music. The cover art of his first album, Parallel Galaxy, has his horoscope on it, and this you may not know, he figured out a way to play it on the Stick! (See this hyperlink for more on this: Parallel Galaxy and The Real Parallel Galaxy).
One of our ongoing debates in astrology/astronomy has been about the planet Pluto, which he has always maintained (and was way ahead of his time about) was just two ice balls orbiting each other. Well, in traditional Western astrology, Pluto is the other ruler of Scorpio, and considered pretty important. Over time, he wore me down to the point that I had pretty much dismissed Pluto as an important aspect of a horoscope - even though it's supposedly my own co-ruling planet! Ultimately, he was right. Just last month the New York Times reported that Pluto had been officially demoted in status from a planet to a dwarf planet, barely beating out asteroid status.
Emmett's mind is always turning things inside out, upside down and rightside up again. He wonders about things. He wonders about everything.
My big question as a child was, "Why?"
His big answer back to me was always, "Because."
His big Because comes from a place in him that wonders why too. And I admire that in him so much. My dad will as happily engage a nine-year-old as a fifty-year-old. He loves to stretch thought and bend ideas around. He just loves a thoughtful conversation. I call people like him astronauts. They fly way out there and then come back to earth and tell us what they saw.
Next time you are outside at night, look for the brightest white star in the sky, the one that is low and rising. That's Venus. Venus rules Libra. Venus is the planet of beauty and love and music. Emmett is a Libra. When you see Venus, I hope you think of him.
Happy Birthday, daddyo.
Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do - John Mayer
from the City of Angels
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
. . . .and when he didn't do it.
(1) In his Fox interview, Mr. Clinton said "no one knew that al Qaeda existed" in October 1993, during the tragic events in Somalia. NOT TRUE
(2) Clinton paid little attention and turned the first terrorist attack on American soil over to the FBI. TRUE
(3) By the end of Clinton's first year as President, al Qaeda had apparently attacked twice and the attacks would continue for every one of the Clinton years. TRUE
(4) Referring to the Clinton cabinet, State Department counterterrorism official Michael Sheehan asked Richard Clarke: "What's it going to take to get them to hit al Qaeda in Afghanistan? Does al Qaeda have to attack the Pentagon?" TRUE
There is much more to Mr. Clinton's record--how Predator drones, which spotted bin Laden three times in 1999 and 2000, were grounded by bureaucratic infighting; how a petty dispute with an Arizona senator stopped the CIA from hiring more Arabic translators... ETC. ETC. ETC.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
His NewsMax bio says:
Morris began his relationship with Clinton in 1977 when he handled the Arkansas Attorney General's successful campaign to become the youngest Governor in the nation. Morris did not work on Clinton's defeat for re-election in 1980 but did oversee his comeback victory in 1982 as well as his Arkansas re-election victories in 1984, 1986 and 1990. Dick Morris is almost universally credited with piloting Bill Clinton to a stunning comeback re-election victory in 1996 after the president lost Congress to the Republicans two years before.So we have to believe him when he says that "the real Bill Clinton emerged Sunday during Chris Wallace’s interview on Fox News Channel".
Here we saw "the man those who have worked for him have come to know – the angry, sarcastic, snarling, self-righteous, bombastic bully, roused to a fever pitch. The truer the accusation, the greater the feigned indignation."
But what this article gives us is a point-by-point rebuttal of what Clinton's points were in that interview with Wallace and it shows that Clinton was NOT, as Condi Rice has already pointed out, telling it like it was at all!
Here are some points in contention:
(1) Clinton told Wallace, “There is not a living soul in the world who thought that Osama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk Down.” Nobody said there was...and that wasn't the point! Read more
(2) Clinton said conservatives “were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day” after the attack which killed American soldiers. Again, NOT THE POINT! Read more
(3) The president told Wallace, “I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill bin Laden.” But the 9/11 Commission tells a different story! Read more
(4) Clinton claims “the CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible [for the Cole bombing] while I was there.” Morris states: "But he could replace or direct his employees as he felt. His helplessness was, as usual, self-imposed."
But there's more:
Read more in THE HILL: The Newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress (Tuesday September 26, 2006).
There is the obvious of course: Clinton/Gore had 8 YEARS; the Bush administration had 8 MONTHS.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Thanks to Joel Strom for this tidbit.
If the GOP loses the House, radical, corrupt Democrats will run the place. One of them is Alcee Hastings of Florida:
Another target in the RNC's "educational papers" is Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, an impeached former federal judge whom Pelosi has indicated she would put in charge of the supersecret House Intelligence Committee.
Hastings, who was indicted on charges of bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice, was impeached by the House (by a vote of 413-to-3) and removed from the bench in the Senate by a vote of 69-to-26. He later ran and won his seat in a solidly Democratic district.
"That an impeached judge could conceivably become head of the Intelligence Committee I think many Americans would find alarming," RNC spokesman Danny Diaz told me.
But this is a guy who voted against the Patriot Act giving government authorities the tools to protect the country from terrorists in October 2001, just a few weeks after the airline attacks by Islamic fanatics.
WAITING FOR SHIT LIKE THIS TO HAPPEN IS LIKE WATCHING A SLOW DEATH GO DOWN IN SLOW MOTION!!!
At this point, a vote for a Democrat is a vote to pull the trigger of the gun that is pointing to your head and the heads of your children.
Unfortunately, it's also pointing at all the rest of us who'd really prefer to live.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Posted on 9/23/2006 at "Rightwing Nuthouse" in response to 30-page National Intelligence Estimate completed in April (also featured in the New York Times and Washington Post articles today):
I am not disputing the conclusions in this leaked report. I am resisting the implications that some would draw from it; that if only we had not confronted the jihadists or worked to solve the root causes of terrorism, none of this would be true today.
I totally reject that notion. In fact, I believe it delusional thinking to say that we’d be any safer if we hadn’t invaded Iraq or if we had just lobbed a few cruise missiles at Osama Bin Laden following 9/11, or even if we had put enormous pressure on Israel to come to an agreement with the Palestinians. All of this ignores the one overarching truth about the nature of our enemies (and their tens of millions of supporters around the world); what they seek, we cannot give them.
Please read more here
UPDATE FROM WHITE HOUSE
A newspaper report that a U.S. intelligence analysis found that the Iraq war gave rise to a new generation of Islamic radicals and made the overall terrorism problem worse was "not representative of the complete document," the White House said on Sunday.
Others have posted the video from YT intially, but the audio and video are WAY out of sync. I have a better cut, with more info, and higher quality video.
These are excellent!
INTERVIEW UPDATE: FROM INTERVIEWER CHRIS WALLACE
I was delighted to get the chance to interview former President Clinton. This was the first one-on-one sitdown he's ever given "Fox News Sunday" during our 10 years on the air.
The groundrules were simple--15 minutes--to be divided evenly between questions about the Clinton Global Initiative and anything else I wanted to ask.
I intended to keep to the groundrules. In fact--I prepared 10 questions--5 on the CGI and 5 on other issues.
I began the interview with 2 questions about Mr. Clinton's commitment to humanitarian causes. His answers were cogent and good-humored.
Then--I asked him about his Administration's record in fighting terror--fully intending to come back to CGI later (as indeed I did).
I asked what I thought was a non-confrontational question about whether he could have done more to "connect the dots and really go after al Qaeda."
I was utterly surprised by the tidal wave of details--emotion--and political attacks that followed.
The President was clearly stung by any suggestion that he had not done everything he could to get bin Laden. He attacked right-wingers--accused me of a "conservative hit job"--and even spun a theory I still don't understand that somehow Fox was trying to cover up the fact that NewsCorp. chief Rupert Murdoch was supporting his Global Initiative. I still have no idea what set him off.
Former President Clinton is a very big man. As he leaned forward--wagging his finger in my face--and then poking the notes I was holding--I felt as if a mountain was coming down in front of me.
The President said I had a smirk. Actually--it was sheer wonder at what I was witnessing.
I tried repeatedly to adhere to the ground rules--to move the President along--and back to the CGI. But he wanted to keep talking about his record fighting terror.
When it became clear he wanted to throw out the ground rules--then I just went with the flow of the interview.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
The idolization by some Americans of the mores of Europeans is nothing new. For decades they have berated the American people for "not following the European example." John Kerry is one of America's loudest proponents of conditioning America's security on French and German approval. In fact, when asked by reporters to describe his wife, the former Mrs. Heinz of Pennsylvania, he gushed forth the best compliment his worldview could offer: "She's so European!" Hopefully Mr. Kerry is simply referring to her ancestry and not her world outlook.
Puzzled by this mysterious infatuation of so many liberals with things European, I have finally run across a possible answer to this mystery:
THE LAST TABOO? Europeans pay big for barnyard sex
It's legal – and it doesn't scare the horses, say customers, animal houses of ill repute (Posted on WorldNetDaily September 22, 2006 8:55 p.m. Eastern)
Editor's note: Parental discretion is advised for this story. It includes material many will consider offensive.
Read more if you can stomach it...
The answer? Liberals really, really mean it when they advocate secular-progressive and LIBERAL ideas!
But we all knew this already, now, didn't we?
On the Thursday, September 21, 2006, episode of his radio show, host Hugh Hewitt interviewed Thomas B. Edsall, who up until recently was a senior political reporter for the Washington Post. He had been with the paper for 25 years. Through precise and direct questioning by Hewitt, Edsall admitted something that is rarely heard from a liberal these days. In a shocking admission, Edsall articulated that the biases of the mainstream media are "overwhelmingly to the left." He also proposed that Democratic reporters outnumber Republicans "in the range of 15-25 to 1"!
They are upset that the ABC Docudrama on 9/11 was allowed to be aired. They decry the "corporate media" and some even believe that 9/11 was an "inside job." These zealots are gathering at the FCC public hearing in Los Angeles on October 3rd to complain about all of these things to the federal government, in order to convince the government to play the role of "big brother" by controlling the media.
FreedomWorks is asking freedom-loving Californians to join us in our
campaign to stand up to these moonbats and protect free speech and the free market. If you are interested in helping us, please contact field coordinator Matt Schumsky at mattsd8(AT)cox.net or (619) 944-2833 in San Diego or congressional action team leader Rick Reiss at dogbyte6rer(AT)netscape.net or (951) 285-6398 in Riverside County.
We'd like to counteract the Left's propaganda by attending the FCC hearing and speaking out against censorship and other forms of government control over the media. For more details about the hearing, please see below.
"Fighting for lower taxes, less government and more freedom."
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Here's the letter:
When we look at a certain object, a painting for example, we won't be able to appreciate it if it's just an inch away from our face...but if we view it from a greater distance, we'll have a clearer vision of the whole work.
Similarly, we may reach a point in our life when we are ready for change and suddenly desire the type of information that will help us unlock our self improvement power. Until that time comes, problems can be staring us right in the face but we won't see them. The only time we think of unlocking our self improvement power is when everything gets bad--sometimes really bad.
Take the frog principle for example:
Try placing Frog A in a pot of boiling water. What happens? He twerps! He jumps off! Why? Because he is not able to tolerate sudden change in his environment - the water's temperature. Then try Frog B: place him in lukewarm water, and then turn the gas stove on. Wait till the water reaches a certain boiling point. Frog B then thinks "Ooh... it's a bit warm in here".
People are like Frog B in general. Today, Anna thinks Carl dislikes her. Tomorrow, Patrick walks up to her and tells her pretty much the same thing. Anna doesn't mind what her friends say and doesn't change. The next day, she learns that Kim and John also dislike her, but Anna doesn't realize her need for self improvement until the entire community dislikes her.
We learn our lessons when we experience pain. We finally see the warning signs and signals when things get rough and tough. When do we realize that we need to change diets? When none of our jeans and shirts would fit us! When do we stop eating candies and chocolates? When all of our teeth have fallen out! When do we realize that we need to stop smoking? When our lungs have gone bad! When do we pray and ask for help? When we realize that we're going to die tomorrow!
The only time most of us ever learn about unlocking our self improvement power is when the whole world is crashing and falling apart. We think and feel this way because it is not easy to change. But change becomes more painful when we ignore it.
Change will happen, like it or hate it. At one point or another, we are all going to experience different turning points in our life - and we are all going to eventually unlock our self improvement power not because the world says so, not because our friends are nagging us, but because we realized it’s for our own good.
Happy people don't just accept change, they embrace it. Now, you don't have to feel a tremendous heat before realizing the need for self improvement. Unlocking your self improvement power means unlocking yourself up in the cage of thought that "it’s just the way I am". It is such a poor excuse for people who fear and resist change. Most of us program our minds like computers.
Jen repeatedly tells everyone that she doesn't have the guts to be around groups of people. She heard her mom, her dad, her sister, her teacher tells the same things about her to other people. Over the years, that is what Jen believes. She believes it’s her story. And what happens? Every time a great crowd would troop over their house, in school, and in the community - she tends to step back, shy away and lock herself up in a room. Jen didn't only believed in her story, she lived it.
Jen has to realize that she is not what she is in her story. Instead of having her story post around her face for everyone to remember, she has to have the spirit and show people "I am an important person and I should be treated accordingly!"
Self improvement may not be everybody's favorite word, but if we look at things in a different point of view, we might have greater chances of enjoying the whole process instead of counting the days until we are fully improved. Three sessions in a week at the gym would result to a healthier life, reading books instead of looking at porn will shape up a more profound knowledge, going out with friends and peers will help you take a step back from work and unwind. And just when you are enjoying the whole process of unlocking your self improvement power, you'll realize that you're beginning to re-shape your life for the better and become happy again.
Yours for an Optimized Mind,
Peak State Products
2232 S. Main st #421
Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I don't agree (but then, I'm not from San Francisco--in fact, I've always disliked San Franciso even when I felt guilty about that fact--plus, I'm not important: although I did work at Universal Studios for 16 years, so I'm not a complete rube).
First of all, I don't get the "West Wing" connection at all (except that, of course, Aaron Sorkin wrote both shows).
Secondly, I just didn't like it!
I learned that it's my gut reaction that counts. I know some people that say "Desperate Housewives" glorifies the wrong values, etc. etc. but all I know is that I really like it.
Yes, that could change. I stopped liking (and watching) "Boston Legal" because it just became a huge liberal lecture forum...c'mon, how can intelligent people (supposedly) mix up their genres?
Anyway, as far as "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" is concerned I just don't buy Amanda Peet as it's newly hired entertainment president. NOT because she's young (as Tim Goodman's preemptive comment accuses) and NOT because she's beautiful (Linda Obst made us all painfully aware of these realities) but simply because I DIDN'T BELIEVE HER! (I'm guessing it's the personality type she chose, as an actress, to present.)
I like Matthew Perry, but I wonder why Sorkin chose to belabor (beat us over the head actually) his private, painful, personal struggle with Vicodin (remember how much weight he lost on "Friends"?) in the opening episode...
Although I still remember recoiling in horror while reading Betty Friedan's recounting of the mad housewife's naked run down the street when her "Feminie Mystique" first came out, I just never got into watching men acting stupid around women.
But one thing I do know: no one talks as fast as Aaron Sorkin's characters do (and actually this IS the one common thread between the two shows) unless they are, as Sorkin has intimated in the past, on cocaine (I mean the new liquid entertainment being advertised on the telly of course).
And, if I'm wrong, and everyone loves this show, well...nothing at all will happen to me since Sorkin is only, probably, a Liberal and NOT a Muslim!
If, however, you see my head rollin' down the street, then you'll know I was wrong.
Aside from the fact that free speech is obviously not included in the Muslim doctrine, one has to wonder just what qualifies this man to call for the Pope's death.
If a man's life is to be taken into consideration at all, let us see what Anjem Choudary brings to the table:
- As a medical student at Southampton University, "Andy" as he called himself then, freely indulged in booze, sex and smoking pot, was "famed for his ability to drink a pint of cider in a few seconds" and "at parties...was rarely without a joint".
- Having sex with his white girlfriends apparently took so much time that he wasn't able to attend any of the local mosques.
- One friend remembers that he and "Andy" took too much LSD and hallucinated for twenty hours. (After failing his first-year exams, he switched from medicine to studying law at Guildford.)
- At 29 he married and had three children but then stopped practicing law and left his family in order to have the time to do such complicated things as organizing the protest of some Danish cartoons, calling for the murder of the Pope last week, and other worthy Islamic causes.
- His heroes are the 9/11 hijackers and all the rest of the "magnificent martyrs" such as British suicide bomber Asif Hanif who blew up some people in Tel Aviv in 2003.
- Even though his wife gets £1,700 a month in housing benefit and income support, and even though Choudary himself also gets £202 a month in income support from the British government, "he vowed he would not tell the police if he knew a terror attack was being planned and urged Muslims to defend themselves against perceived attacks by 'whatever means they have at their disposal'". (Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!).
I don't know a lot about the Pope, personally, but if I had to bet real money on who was more deserving to live, I don't think it would be a very difficult feat to figure it out, do you?
Monday, September 18, 2006
The Reigion of Peace (believe it or else)
FANTASTIC RESOURCE with Jihad du Jour (News of the Day), a counter listing deadly terror attacks since 9/11, a weekly jihad report listing jihad attacks, dead bodies, and critically injured, and this time it's true: much, much more.
A must see website especially now given the death threats on the Pope and announcement of a new "holy" war:
The Reigion of Peace (believe it or else)
Sunday, September 17, 2006
But the intentions of the BBC are clearly suspect:
By turning the story back-to-front, so that what's promised in the lead -- a crude attack on Islam -- is quietly withdrawn much later in the text, the BBC journalists were having a little mischief. The kind of mischief that is likely to end with Catholic priests and faithful butchered around the Muslim world. Either the writers were so jaw-droppingly ignorant, they did not realize this is what they were abetting (always a possibility with the postmodern journalist), or the malice was intended. There is no third possibility.
And now an Italian nun in Somalia is dead--how many more will there be?
He goes on, at the end, to point out another high-profile news organization who managed to accomplish the same thing from a different angle:
I would also add that an incredibly ignorant editorial appeared in the New York Times ("The Pope's Words"), demanding a "deep and persuasive" papal apology, for words he never uttered. Like so much that comes out of the New York Times today, it manifests the logic of the loony bin.
Let's not forget the May, 2005 fiasco when false reporting by yet another major news outlet caused violence around the Muslim world (what else is new).
By now, don't you wonder if half the world is either so stunningly stupid or has a group death wish since they will ignore the most hideous torture and human rights violations while agonizing over the apparently endless "rights" of these vicious hypocrites who insult the very concept of God?
Friday, September 15, 2006
2. President Bush created the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, the largest single conservation area in the history of our country, and the largest protected marine area in the world.
3. President Bush has presided over the remarkable survival of the American economy, with continued growth to this day, despite Bush inheriting a mild recession (yes, the numbers were sloping down as the President took office- the data is on the record), and the huge economic hits of 9/11 and Katrina. The economy continues to grow, along with a low 4.7% unemployment, low inflation, and low interest rates.
4. President Bush has freed roughly 40 million people, between Afghanistan and Iraq, from dictatorship and Taliban. Yes, there are still problems in both countries. We've always had to fight and shed blood for freedom, such as the American Revolution, the WW's, Civil War, etc. Freedom is never perfect, as we continue to prove here in America.
5. On the same note, President Bush has started to withdraw the remaining troops from Bosnia, President Clinton's war. Bush has also announced withdrawal of troops from Germany, and the Korean DMZ.
6. President Bush lowered dividend taxes and income taxes, stimulating sustained higher revenue income, also to this day. Yes, the *spending* has been terrible, on both sides, Republican and Democrat. However, income and spending have always been separate issues. Just think what shape we'd be in if spending was terrible and we had LOW national (tax revenues) income?
7. President Bush established the Prescription Drug Plan for seniors, helping make them more affordable. Yes it is imperfect, but it is a large and meaningful (in real dollars) program that is now in place and working. Additionally, Americans can now set aside up to $4,500 every year, tax free, in Health Savings Accounts to save for medical expenses. Importantly, any unspent money stays in the account and grows tax free, similar to an IRA, like a personal medical 'nest egg'.
8. President Bush started the USA Freedom Corps, the most comprehensive clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities ever offered in history. For the first time, Americans can enter geographic information about where they want to get involved, such as state or zip code, plus areas of interest such as education to the environment, and can access volunteer opportunities offered by more than 50,000 organizations across the country and around the world.
9. President Bush issued an Executive Order implementing the Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling, mandating the moving of disabled people from institutions to community based facilities whenever possible. The President increased funding for low-interest loan programs to help people with disabilities purchase devices to assist them. He also revised HUD's section 8 rent subsidies to disabled people, permitting them to use up to a year's vouchers to finance down payments on homes. The President also committed US funds to purchase medicine for millions of men, women and children with AIDS in Africa.
10. President Bush rebuilt our Military from a decade long decrease in funding to dangerously low levels, starting when he entered office. The building continues currently, including ABM (anti-ballistic missile) defenses, in case North Korea, Iran, or some rogue state decides to shoot missiles at America.
11. President Bush has prevented numerous domestic and international terrorist attacks (many stories on record in U.S. main stream media) by using programs such as monitoring phone calls originating or ending in terrorist supporting countries or Al Queda connections (yes, this is the 'domestic spying' people are talking about) and monitoring international financial transactions between terrorist parties through the world financial network, with permission from all countries involved (The New York Times divulged this program, so now terrorists know about it and are changing their methods accordingly. Logically, it is undeniable that more innocent deaths will now happen than if this divulgence had not occurred).
Rick Schilf from SFVRC
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Men are more intelligent than women, claims new study.
This is very good news because, in nature, it is incumbent upon the smartest people to do the most work!
And, if you are a communist, it is doubly true: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." (Karl Marx)
I'm outta luck though--my IQ is one point higher than my husband's :(
The carefully documented collection is now available as a PDF and includes a compilation of articles and editorials from the mainstream Arabic and Persian language press, as well as transcripts from television programs.
A documentary film about the Arab and Iranian reaction to 9-11 incorporates footage from various TV and satellite stations in the Middle East. It was made with Interface Media Group and narrated by acclaimed actor Ron Silver.
Download "The Arab and Iranian Reaction to 9/11 Five Years Later"
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
What do you suppose the committee had to say about these documents?
Read -- SEE -- more!
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Today we mark the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001, when 2,996 innocents, mostly American citizens, lost their lives in the murderous attacks of Islamic Fascists against our country.
In keeping with the presidential proclamation designating September 11, 2006, as Patriot Day, all flags should be flown at half staff in memory of those who lost their lives five years ago. We invite you to join us as we offer our prayers for the families of those lost and for our Armed Forces now serving on the front lines of the war that began that day.
As you remember September 11th, we invite you to visit The Patriot’s new resource to commemorate the attacks on our countrymen, “Day of Terror: A September 11 Retrospective”.
Now, as we move forward and continue to engage our jihadist foe in battle fronts around the globe, let us never forget why we fight.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“We’re engaged in a global struggle against the followers of a murderous ideology that despises freedom and crushes all dissent, and has territorial ambitions and pursues totalitarian aims... And against such an enemy there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in and we will never accept anything less than complete victory... We will defeat the terrorists and their hateful ideology by spreading the hope of freedom across the world... The security of our nation depends on the advance of liberty in other nations.” —President George W. Bush
The Democrats threatened to yank ABC's broadcasting license if they showed "The Path to 9/11" (airing 9/10 and 9/11)--this in a free country? From the Party of tolerance and diversity? For a Docu-drama? That tells you just how badly they didn't want you to see these things!
Bush and the Republicans never threatened to stop "Farenheit 911" and that WAS labeled a documentary (even though it actually has 59 specific falsehoods).
Go to savethesoldiers.com and scroll down...
Sunday, September 10, 2006
It all started one day when I was sitting at my desk and remembered a phone call I had forgotten to make. I found the number and dialed it.
A man answered, saying, "Hello." I politely said, "This is Chris. May I please speak with Robin Carter?" Suddenly, the phone was slammed down on me.
I couldn't believe that anyone could be so rude.
I tracked down Robin's correct number and called her. I had transposed the last two digits of her phone number.
After hanging up with her, I decided to call the 'wrong' number again. When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled, "You're an @$$hole!" and hung up.
I wrote his number down with the word '@$$hole' next to it, and put it in my desk drawer.
Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I'd call him up and yell, "You're an @$$hole!" It always cheered me up.
When Caller ID came to our area, I thought my therapeutic '@$$hole' calling would have to stop.
So, I called his number and said, Hi, this is John Smith from the Telephone Company. I'm just calling to see if you're interested in the Caller ID program?"
He yelled, "NO!" and slammed the phone down.
I quickly called him back and said, "That's because you're an @$$hole!"
One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking spot. Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had patiently waited for.
I hit the horn and yelled that I had been waiting for the spot. The idiot ignored me. I noticed a "For Sale" sign in his car window, so I wrote down his number.
A couple of days later, right after calling the first @$$hole, ( I had his number on speed dial ), I thought I had better call the BMW @$$hole, too.
I said, "Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?"
"Yes, it is."
"Can you tell me where I can see it?"
"Yes, I live at 1802 West 34th Street. It's a yellow house, and the car's parked right out in front."
"What's your name?" I asked.
"My name is Don Hansen," he said.
"When's a good time to catch you, Don?"
"I'm home every evening after five."
"Listen, Don, can I tell you something?"
"Don, you're an @$$hole." Then I hung up, and added his number to my speed dial, too.
Now, when I had a problem, I had two @$$holes to call. But after several months of calling them, it wasn't as enjoyable as it used to be So, I came up with an idea.
I called @$$hole #1.
"You're an @$$hole!" (But I didn't hang up.)
"Are you still there?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said.
"Stop calling me," he screamed.
"Make me," I said.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"My name is Don Hansen."
"Yeah? Where do you live?"
"@$$hole, I live at 1802 West 34th Street, a yellow house, with my black Beamer parked in front."
He said, "I'm coming over right now, Don. And you had better start saying your prayers."
I said, "Yeah, like I'm really scared, @$$hole."
Then I called @$$hole #2.
"Hello?" he said.
"Hello, @$$hole," I said.
He yelled, "If I ever find out who you are!"
"You'll what?" I said.
"I'll kick your @$$," he exclaimed.
I answered, "Well, @$$hole, here's your chance. I'm coming over right now."
Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I lived at 1802 West 34th Street, and that I was on my way over there to kill my gay lover.
Then I called Channel 4 News about the gang war going down on West 34th Street.
I quickly got into my car and headed over to 34th street.
There I saw two @$$holes beating the crap out of each other in front of six squad cars, a police helicopter, and a news crew.
NOW, I feel better. Anger management really works.
Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006 6:13 p.m. EDTReprinted from NewsMax.com
On Tape, Clinton Admits Passing Up bin Laden Capture; Lewinsky Played Role
Bill Clinton denies it now, but he once admitted he passed up an opportunity to extradite Osama bin Laden.
And NewsMax has the former President making the claim on audiotape. You can listen to the tape yourself -- Click Here
Clinton's comments and his actions relating to American efforts to capture bin Laden have taken on renewed interest because of claims made in a new ABC movie, the "Path to 9/11," that suggests Clinton dropped the ball during his presidency. Clinton has also angrily denied claims the Monica Lewinsky scandal drew his attention away from dealing with national security matters like capturing bin Laden.
During a February 2002 speech, Clinton explained that he turned down an offer from Sudan for bin Laden's extradition to the U.S., saying, "At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him."
But that wasn't exactly true. By 1996, the 9/11 mastermind had already been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing by prosecutors in New York.
9/11 Commissioner former Sen. Bob Kerrey said that Clinton told the Commission during his private interview that reports of his comments to the LIA were based on "a misquote."
During his interview with the 9/11 Commission, Clinton was accompanied by longtime aide and former White House counsel Bruce Lindsey, along with former national security advisor Sandy Berger, who insisted in sworn testimony before Congress in Sept. 2002 that there was never any offer from Sudanese officials to turn over bin Laden to the U.S.
But other evidence suggests the Clinton administration did not take advantage of offers to get bin Laden -- and that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was exploding during this time period.
At least two offers from the government of Sudan to arrest Osama bin Laden and turn him over to the U.S. were rebuffed by the Clinton administration in February and March of 1996, a period of time when the former president's attention was distracted by his intensifying relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
One of the offers took place during a secret meeting in Washington, the same day Clinton was meeting with Lewinsky in the White House just miles away.
On Feb. 6, 1996, then-U.S. Ambassador to the Sudan Tim Carney met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Osman Mohammed Taha at Taha's home in the capital city of Khartoum. The meeting took place just a half mile from bin Laden's residence at the time, according to Richard Miniter's book "Losing bin Laden."
During the meeting, Carney reminded the Sudanese official that Washington was increasingly nervous about the presence of bin Laden in Sudan, reports Miniter.
Foreign Minister Taha countered by saying that Sudan was very concerned about its poor relationship with the U.S.
Then came the bombshell offer:
"If you want bin Laden, we will give you bin Laden," Foreign Minister Taha told Ambassador Carney.
Still, with the extraordinarily fortuitous offer on the table, back in Washington President Clinton had other things on his mind.
A timeline of events chronicled in the Starr Report shows that during the period of late January through March 1996, Mr. Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky was then at its most intense.
On Feb. 4, 1996, for instance - two days before Ambassador Carney's key meeting with the Sudanese Foreign Minister, the president was focused not on Osama bin Laden, but instead on the 23-year-old White House intern.
Their rendezvous that day included a sexual encounter followed by a leisurely chat between Clinton and Lewinsky, as the two "sat and talked [afterward] for about 45 minutes," according to the Starr Report.
Later in the afternoon that same day, as Sudanese officials weighed their decision to offer bin Laden to the U.S., Clinton found time to call Lewinsky "[to say] he had enjoyed their time together." If there were any calls from Clinton to the State Department or Khartoum that day, the records have yet to surface in published reports.
The Feb. 4 encounter with Lewinsky followed a period of intense contact detailed in the Starr report in interviews with the former White House intern, including a sexual encounter on Jan. 6, 1996, several sessions of phone sex during the week of Jan. 14 - 21, and another sexual encounter on Jan. 21.
Sudan's offer to the U.S. for bin Laden's extradition remained on the table for at least a month, and was reiterated by Sudanese officials who traveled to Washington as late as March 10, 1996.
On March 3, Sudan's Minister of State for Defense Elfatih Erwa met secretly with Ambassador Carney, another State Department official and the CIA's Africa bureau Director of Operations at an Arlington, Va., hotel, according to Miniter's book.
Erwa was handed a list of issues the U.S. wanted taken care of if relations were to improve. The list included a demand for information on bin Laden's terrorist network inside Sudan.
Erwa replied that he would have to consult with Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir about the list. When he returned for a March 10, 1996 meeting with the CIA's Africa bureau chief, "Erwa would be empowered to make an extraordinary offer," writes Miniter.
On instructions from its president, the government of Sudan agreed to arrest bin Laden and hand him over to U.S law enforcement at a time and place of the Clinton administration's choosing. "Where should we send him?" Erwa asked the CIA representative.
In his 2002 speech President Clinton has acknowledged being fully briefed on the Sudanese efforts to turn over the 9/11 mastermind, admitting that he made the final decision to turn the offer down.
As chronicled in the Starr report, however, Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky proved to be a growing distraction around this time.
Two weeks before the secret meeting between Erwa, Carney and the CIA bureau chief, the president summoned Lewinsky to the White House to inform her that he "no longer felt right" about their relationship and it would have to be suspended until after the election.
Lewinsky explained, however, that Clinton's decision to put their relationship on hold did little to change its basic character, telling Starr's investigators, "There'd continue to be this flirtation when we'd see each other."
The Starr report noted, "In late February or March , the president telephoned her at home and said he was disappointed that, because she had already left the White House for the evening, they could not get together."
The call, Lewinsky said, "sort of implied to me that he was interested in starting up again."
On March 10, 1996, as Sudanese Defense Minister Erwa was making his extraordinary offer for bin Laden's arrest to the CIA's Africa bureau chief, Clinton met with Lewinsky in the White House.
The Starr report:
"On March 10, 1996, Ms. Lewinsky took a visiting friend, Natalie Ungvari, to the White House. They bumped into the president, who said when Ms. Lewinsky introduced them, 'You must be her friend from California.' Ms. Ungvari was 'shocked' that the president knew where she was from."
Though there was no physical contact that day, three weeks later, on March 31, 1996, Clinton resumed his sexual relationship with Lewinsky.
It was around this time, the president later admitted, that he was involved in delicate negotiations to try to persuade Riyadh to take bin Laden, after refusing to accept his extradition to the U.S.
"I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, 'cause they could have," Clinton admitted in the 2002 speech. "But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn't and that's how he wound up in Afghanistan."
On April 7, 1996, Monica Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon. Around the same time, the administration's hunt for bin Laden finally seemed to begin in earnest. Just weeks after Clinton spurned Sudan's bin Laden offer, for instance, the CIA created a separate operational unit dedicated to tracking down bin Laden in Sudan.
But it happened too late to capture the 9/11 mastermind. On May 18, 1996, bin Laden boarded a chartered plane in Khartoum with his wives, children, some 150 al-Qaida jihadists and a cache of arms - and flew off to Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
TRANSCRIPT: Ex-President Clinton's Remarks on Osama bin Laden Delivered to the Long Island Association's Annual Luncheon Crest Hollow Country Club, Woodbury, NY Feb. 15, 2002
To hear NewsMax.com's exclusive audio recording of ex-President Clinton explaining why he turned the Sudanese offer down, Click Here.
Question from LIA President Matthew Crosson:
CROSSON: In hindsight, would you have handled the issue of terrorism, and al-Qaeda specifically, in a different way during your administration?
CLINTON: Well, it's interesting now, you know, that I would be asked that question because, at the time, a lot of people thought I was too obsessed with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
And when I bombed his training camp and tried to kill him and his high command in 1998 after the African embassy bombings, some people criticized me for doing it. We just barely missed him by a couple of hours.
I think whoever told us he was going to be there told somebody who told him that our missiles might be there. I think we were ratted out.
We also bombed a chemical facility in Sudan where we were criticized, even in this country, for overreaching. But in the trial in New York City of the al-Qaeda people who bombed the African embassy, they testified in the trial that the Sudanese facility was, in fact, a part of their attempt to stockpile chemical weapons.
So we tried to be quite aggressive with them. We got - uh - well, Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan.
And we'd been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start dealing with them again.
They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.
So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, 'cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn't and that's how he wound up in Afghanistan.
We then put a lot of sanctions on the Afghan government and - but they inter-married, Mullah Omar and bin Laden. So that essentially the Taliban didn't care what we did to them.
Now, if you look back - in the hindsight of history, everybody's got 20/20 vision - the real issue is should we have attacked the al-Qaeda network in 1999 or in 2000 in Afghanistan.
Here's the problem. Before September 11 we would have had no support for it - no allied support and no basing rights. So we actually trained to do this. I actually trained people to do this. We trained people.
But in order to do it, we would have had to take them in on attack helicopters 900 miles from the nearest boat - maybe illegally violating the airspace of people if they wouldn't give us approval. And we would have had to do a refueling stop.
And we would have had to make the decision in advance that's the reverse of what President Bush made - and I agreed with what he did. They basically decided - this may be frustrating to you now that we don't have bin Laden. But the president had to decide after Sept. 11, which am I going to do first? Just go after bin Laden or get rid of the Taliban?
He decided to get rid of the Taliban. I personally agree with that decision, even though it may or may not have delayed the capture of bin Laden. Why?
Because, first of all the Taliban was the most reactionary government on earth and there was an inherent value in getting rid of them.
Secondly, they supported terrorism and we'd send a good signal to governments that if you support terrorism and they attack us in America, we will hold you responsible.
Thirdly, it enabled our soldiers and Marines and others to operate more safely in-country as they look for bin Laden and the other senior leadership, because if we'd have had to have gone in there to just sort of clean out one area, try to establish a base camp and operate.
So for all those reasons the military recommended against it. There was a high probability that it wouldn't succeed.
Now I had one other option. I could have bombed or sent more missiles in. As far as we knew he never went back to his training camp. So the only place bin Laden ever went that we knew was occasionally he went to Khandahar where he always spent the night in a compound that had 200 women and children.
So I could have, on any given night, ordered an attack that I knew would kill 200 women and children that had less than a 50 percent chance of getting him.
Now, after he murdered 3,100 of our people and others who came to our country seeking their livelihood you may say, "Well, Mr. President, you should have killed those 200 women and children."
But at the time we didn't think he had the capacity to do that. And no one thought that I should do that. Although I take full responsibility for it. You need to know that those are the two options I had. And there was less than a 50/50 chance that the intelligence was right that on this particular night he was in Afghanistan.
Now, we did do a lot of things. We tried to get the Pakistanis to go get him. They could have done it and they wouldn't. They changed governments at the time from Mr. Sharif to President Musharraf. And we tried to get others to do it. We had a standing contract between the CIA and some groups in Afghanistan authorizing them and paying them if they should be successful in arresting and/or killing him.
So I tried hard to - I always thought this guy was a big problem. And apparently the options I had were the options that the President and Vice President Cheney and Secretary Powell and all the people that were involved in the Gulf War thought that they had, too, during the first eight months that they were there - until Sept. 11 changed everything.
But I did the best I could with it and I do not believe, based on what options were available to me, that I could have done much more than I did. Obviously, I wish I'd been successful. I tried a lot of different ways to get bin Laden 'cause I always thought he was a very dangerous man. He's smart, he's bold and committed.
But I think it's very important that the Bush administration do what they're doing to keep the soldiers over there to keep chasing him. But I know - like I said - I know it might be frustrating to you. But it's still better for bin Laden to worry every day more about whether he's going to see the sun come up in the morning than whether he's going to drop a bomb, another bomb somewhere in the U.S. or in Europe or on some other innocent civilians. (END OF TRANSCRIPT)
Technorati Tags: News
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Posted: September 8, 2006 3:33 p.m. Eastern by Art Moore © 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
"A former military aide to President Clinton who claims he witnessed several missed opportunities to capture or kill Osama bin Laden says the producer of the ABC mini-series "The Path to 9/11" came to him in frustration after network executives under a heavy barrage of criticism from former administration officials began pressing for changes to the script.
In an interview with WND, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson said producer and writer Cyrus Nowrasteh called him the morning of Sept. 1, explaining he had used Patterson's book "Dereliction of Duty" as a source for the drama.
Later that day, Nowrasteh brought a preview copy of "The Path to 9/11" to Patterson for him to view at home. Patterson, who says he has talked with the director seven or eight times since then, also received a phone call from an ABC senior vice president, Quinn Taylor.
Patterson told WND he recognizes the television production conflates several events, but, in terms of conveying how the Clinton administration handled its opportunities to get bin Laden, it's "100 percent factually correct," he said.
"I was there with Clinton and (National Security Adviser Sandy) Berger and watched the missed opportunities occur," Patterson declared.
The five-hour drama is scheduled to air in two parts, Sunday night and Monday night, Sept. 11."
Technorati Tags: News, Movies, Television
Thursday, September 07, 2006
By George Friedman
U.S. President George W. Bush now has made it clear what his policy on Iraq will be for the immediate future, certainly until Election Day: He does not intend to change U.S. policy in any fundamental way. U.S. troops will continue to be deployed in Iraq, they will continue to carry out counterinsurgency operations, and they will continue to train Iraqi troops to eventually take over the operations. It is difficult to imagine that Bush believes there will be any military solution to the situation in Iraq; therefore, we must try to understand his reasoning in maintaining this position. Certainly, it is not simply a political decision. Opinion in the United States has turned against the war, and drawing down U.S. forces and abandoning combat operations would appear to be the politically expedient move. Thus, if it is not politics driving him -- and assuming that the more lurid theories on the Internet concerning Bush's motivations are as silly as they appear -- then we have to figure out what he is doing.
Let's consider the military situation first. Bush has said that there is no civil war in Iraq. This is in large measure a semantic debate. In our view, it would be inaccurate to call what is going on a "civil war" simply because that term implies a degree of coherence that simply does not exist. Calling it a free-for-all would be more accurate. It is not simply a conflict of Shi'i versus Sunni. The Sunnis and Shia are fighting each other, and all of them are fighting American forces. It is not altogether clear what the Americans are supposed to be doing.
Counterinsurgency is unlike other warfare. In other warfare, the goal is to defeat an enemy army, and civilian casualties as a result of military operations are expected and acceptable. With counterinsurgency operations in populated areas, however, the goal is to distinguish the insurgents from civilians and destroy them, with minimal civilian casualties. Counterinsurgency in populated areas is more akin to police operations than to military operations; U.S. troops are simultaneously engaging an enemy force while trying to protect the population from both that force and U.S. operations. Add to this the fact that the population is frequently friendly to the insurgents and hostile to the Americans, and the difficulty of the undertaking becomes clear.
Consider the following numbers. The New York Police Department (excluding transit and park police) counts one policeman for every 216 residents. In Iraq, there is one U.S. soldier (not counting other coalition troops) per about 185 people. Thus, numerically speaking, U.S. forces are in a mildly better position than New York City cops -- but then, except for occasional Saturday nights, New York cops are not facing anything like the U.S. military is facing in Iraq. Given that the United States is facing not one enemy but a series of enemy organizations -- many fighting each other as well as the Americans -- and that the American goal is to defeat these while defending the populace, it is obvious even from these very simplistic numbers that the U.S. force simply isn't there to impose a settlement.
Expectations and a Deal Unwound
A military solution to the U.S. dilemma has not been in the cards for several years. The purpose of military operations was to set the stage for political negotiations. But the Americans had entered Iraq with certain expectations. For one thing, they had believed they would simply be embraced by Iraq's Shiite population. They also had expected the Sunnis to submit to what appeared to be overwhelming political force. What happened was very different. First, the Shia welcomed the fall of Saddam Hussein, but they hardly embraced the Americans -- they sought instead to translate the U.S. victory over Hussein into a Shiite government. Second, the Sunnis, in view of the U.S.-Shiite coalition and the dismemberment of the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Army, saw that they were about to be squeezed out of the political system and potentially crushed by the Shia. They saw an insurgency -- which had been planned by Hussein -- as their only hope of forcing a redefinition of Iraqi politics. The Americans realized that their expectations had not been realistic.
Thus, the Americans went through a series of political cycles. First, they sided with the Shia as they sought to find their balance militarily facing the Sunnis. When they felt they had traction against the Sunnis, following the capture of Hussein -- and fearing Shiite hegemony -- they shifted toward a position between Sunnis and Shia. As military operations were waged in the background, complex repositioning occurred on all sides, with the Americans trying to hold the swing position between Sunnis and Shia.
The process of creating a government for Iraq was encapsulated in this multi-sided maneuvering. By spring 2006, the Sunnis appeared to have committed themselves to the political process. And in June, with the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the announcement that the United States would reduce its force in Iraq by two brigades, the stage seemed to be set for a political resolution that would create a Shiite-dominated coalition that included Sunnis and Kurds. It appeared to be a done deal -- and then the deal completely collapsed.
The first sign of the collapse was a sudden outbreak of fighting among Shia in the Basra region. We assumed that this was political positioning among Shiite factions as they prepared for a political settlement. Then Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), traveled to Tehran, and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army commenced an offensive. Shiite death squads struck out at Sunni populations, and Sunni insurgents struck back. From nearly having a political accommodation, the situation in Iraq fell completely apart.
The key was Iran. The Iranians had always wanted an Iraqi satellite state, as protection against another Iraq-Iran war. That was a basic national security concept for them. In order to have this, the Iranians needed an overwhelmingly Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad, and to have overwhelming control of the Shia. It seemed to us that there could be a Shiite-dominated government but not an overwhelmingly Shiite government. In other words, Iraq could be neutral toward, but not a satellite of, Iran. In our view, Iraq's leading Shia -- fearing a civil war and also being wary of domination by Iran -- would accept this settlement.
We may have been correct on the sentiment of leading Shia, but we were wrong about Iran's intentions. Tehran did not see a neutral Iraq as being either in Iran's interests or necessary. Clearly, the Iranians did not trust a neutral Iraq still under American occupation to remain neutral. Second -- and this is the most important -- they saw the Americans as militarily weak and incapable of either containing a civil war in Iraq or of taking significant military action against Iran. In other words, the Iranians didn't like the deal they had been offered, they felt that they could do better, and they felt that the time had come to strike.
A Two-Pronged Offensive
When we look back through Iranian eyes, we can now see what they saw: a golden opportunity to deal the United States a blow, redefine the geopolitics of the Persian Gulf and reposition the Shia in the Muslim world. Iran had, for example, been revivifying Hezbollah in Lebanon for several months. We had seen this as a routine response to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. It is now apparent, however, that it was part of a two-pronged offensive.
First, in Iraq, the Iranians encouraged a variety of factions to both resist the newly formed government and to strike out against the Sunnis. This created an uncontainable cycle of violence that rendered the Iraqi government impotent and the Americans irrelevant. The tempo of operations was now in the hands of those Shiite groups among which the Iranians had extensive influence -- and this included some of the leading Shiite parties, such as SCIRI.
Second, in Lebanon, Iran encouraged Hezbollah to launch an offensive. There is debate over whether the Israelis or Hezbollah ignited the conflict in Lebanon. Part of this is ideological gibberish, but part of it concerns intention. It is clear that Hezbollah was fully deployed for combat. Its positions were manned in the south, and its rockets were ready. The capture of two Israeli soldiers was intended to trigger Israeli airstrikes, which were as predictable as sunrise, and Hezbollah was ready to fire on Haifa. Once Haifa was hit, Israel floundered in trying to deploy troops (the Golani and Givati brigades were in the south, near Gaza). This would not have been the case if the Israelis had planned for war with Hezbollah. Now, this discussion has nothing to do with who to blame for what. It has everything to do with the fact that Hezbollah was ready to fight, triggered the fight, and came out ahead because it wasn't defeated.
The end result is that, suddenly, the Iranians held the whip hand in Iraq, had dealt Israel a psychological blow, had repositioned themselves in the Muslim world and had generally redefined the dynamics of the region. Moreover, they had moved to the threshold of redefining the geopolitics to the Persian Gulf.
This was by far their most important achievement.
A New Look at the Region
At this point, except for the United States, Iran has by far the most powerful military force in the Persian Gulf. This has nothing to do with its nuclear capability, which is still years away from realization. Its ground forces are simply more numerous and more capable than all the forces of the Arabian Peninsula combined. There is another aspect to this: The countries of the Arabian Peninsula are governed by Sunnis, but many are home to substantial Shiite populations as well. Between the Iranian military and the possibility of unrest among Shia in the region, the situation in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Peninsula is uneasy, to say the least. The rise of Hezbollah well might psychologically empower the generally quiescent Shia to become more assertive. This is one of the reasons that the Saudis were so angry at Hezbollah, and why they now are so anxious over events in Iraq.
If Iraq were to break into three regions, the southern region would be Shiite -- and the Iranians clearly believe that they could dominate southern Iraq. This not only would give them control of the Basra oil fields, but also would theoretically open the road to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. From a strictly military point of view, and not including the Shiite insurgencies at all, Iran could move far down the western littoral of the Persian Gulf if American forces were absent. Put another way, there would be a possibility that the Iranians could seize control of the bulk of the region's oil reserves. They could do the same thing if Iraq were to be united as an Iranian satellite, but that would be far more difficult to achieve and would require active U.S. cooperation in withdrawing.
We can now see why Bush cannot begin withdrawing forces. If he did that, the entire region would destabilize. The countries of the Arabian Peninsula, seeing the withdrawal, would realize that the Iranians were now the dominant power. Shia in the Gulf region might act, or they might simply wait until the Americans had withdrawn and the Iranians arrived. Israel, shaken to the core by its fight with Hezbollah, would have neither the force nor the inclination to act. Therefore, the United States has little choice, from Bush's perspective, but to remain in Iraq.
The Iranians undoubtedly anticipated this response. They have planned carefully. They are therefore shifting their rhetoric somewhat to be more accommodating. They understand that to get the United States out of Iraq -- and out of Kuwait --they will have to engage in a complex set of negotiations. They will promise anything -- but in the end, they will be the largest military force in the region, and nothing else matters. Ultimately, they are counting on the Americans to be sufficiently exhausted by their experience of Iraq to rationalize their withdrawal -- leaving, as in Vietnam, a graceful interval for what follows.
Iran will do everything it can, of course, to assure that the Americans are as exhausted as possible. The Iranians have no incentive to allow the chaos to wind down, until at least a political settlement with the United States is achieved. The United States cannot permit Iranian hegemony over the Persian Gulf, nor can it sustain its forces in Iraq indefinitely under these circumstances.
The United States has four choices, apart from the status quo:
1. Reach a political accommodation that cedes the status of regional hegemon to Iran, and withdraw from Iraq.
2. Withdraw forces from Iraq and maintain a presence in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- something the Saudis would hate but would have little choice about -- while remembering that an American military presence is highly offensive to many Muslims and was a significant factor in the rise of al Qaeda.
3. Halt counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and redeploy its forces in the south (west of Kuwait), to block any Iranian moves in the region.
4. Assume that Iran relies solely on its psychological pre-eminence to force a regional realignment and, thus, use Sunni proxies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in attempts to outmaneuver Tehran.
None of these are attractive choices. Each cedes much of Iraq to Shiite and Iranian power and represents some degree of a psychological defeat for the United States, or else rests on a risky assumption. While No. 3 might be the most attractive, it would leave U.S. forces in highly exposed, dangerous and difficult-to-sustain postures.
Iran has set a clever trap, and the United States has walked into it. Rather than a functioning government in Iraq, it has chaos and a triumphant Shiite community. The Americans cannot contain the chaos, and they cannot simply withdraw. Therefore, we can understand why Bush insists on holding his position indefinitely. He has been maneuvered in such a manner that he -- or a successor -- has no real alternatives.
There is one counter to this: a massive American buildup, including a major buildup of ground forces that requires a large expansion of the Army, geared for the invasion of Iran and destruction of its military force. The idea that this could readily be done through air power has evaporated, we would think, with the Israeli air force's failure in Lebanon. An invasion of Iran would be enormously expensive, take a very long time and create a problem of occupation that would dwarf the problem faced in Iraq. But it is the other option. It would stabilize the geopolitics of the Arabian Peninsula and drain American military power for a generation.
Sometimes there are no good choices. For the United States, the options are to negotiate a settlement that is acceptable to Iran and live with the consequences, raise a massive army and invade Iran, or live in the current twilight world between Iranian hegemony and war with Iran. Bush appears to be choosing an indecisive twilight. Given the options, it is understandable why.
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Iran: Redefining the Middle East?
We would like to bring to your attention a recent Stratfor update on the political struggles in Iraq, the complex power matrix in the Middle East and the role Iran has been playing in redefining the entire region.
With an increase in the militia incidents in Iraq and the ongoing Israel-Hezbollah conflict, you will find the Break Point: What Went Wrong analysis a timely, sobering review of:
- The escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq and its root causes
- The internal Shiite struggle and its resolution
- Iran's interests and motivations concerning Iraq and within the larger Arab world
- Why Iran is key to understanding both the crisis in Iraq and the Israel-Hezbollah conflict
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Technorati Tags: Politics, Opinion
Monday, September 04, 2006
Crime and Punishment
Society has long been at the mercy of violent and sometimes equally destructive non-violent predators.
I believe crime could virtually be brought to a standstill almost overnight or be so minimized that it would no longer exist as we know it today by implementing a simple solution. Our prisons could be almost emptied out. The recidivism rate would virtually disappear. There would be a powerful and compelling deterrent to other would-be criminals. While the death penalty obviously stops one criminal from ever committing another crime, people have questioned whether it is actually a deterrent to others. My solution eliminates such a debate. Punishment and justice would both be simultaneously served.
Most all crimes require two things in order to come into existence and be carried out: desire and eyesight. It has long been proven that there is little to no deterrent for desire but take away eyesight, which enables a crime to be carried out, and the ability to perpetrate the crime is reduced to almost nil. It is hard to lust after what you can’t see.
Criminals take something away from society each time they prey upon the innocent. Society has the right to take something away from the criminals. We have been so busy, in most cases, temporarily taking away “freedom” from the criminals that we have blinded ourselves to any other solution. Take away eyesight and the solution becomes not only permanent but also a very powerful deterrent.
Instead of building more prisons, giving life sentences and executing people, build homes for the blind and staff them with sighted workers. One thing is for sure, violent predators aren’t going to be traveling around “looking” for prey any more. Gang bangers aren’t going to be shooting anyone and it is rather difficult to attack someone you can’t see. Sexual predators aren’t going to be stalking anyone they can’t see. Children will have a chance to outrun and avoid these perverts and those the sexual predator can’t lust after, is not likely to become a victim. Computer hacks are not going to find stealing identities and easy job. Neighbors would no longer have a “not in my backyard” concern in living near such houses for the blind. Even some families of the criminals might be willing to house these individuals once they no longer pose the same level of threat as they did when they were sighted.
The blinded ex-criminals could also be trained and required to “work” to pay for their own care, thereby relieving society of the costly burden of caring for them.
For those who think blinding criminals is inhumane, I would suggest they consider the inhumanity perpetrated upon their victims and understand that many innocent people must deal with such handicaps as blindness all of their lives. In the criminal’s case, they deserve to be handicapped. Society deserves the chance to "level the playing field." Finally, if someone is “wrongly” convicted for a crime, they are at least still alive even though they are blind. As to being humane, what might be considered as inhumane is locking a person in a cell or keeping them in isolation? What is humane about being attacked by other inmates? What is humane about being constantly searched and having altercations with guards? What is humane about walking around with chains? What is humane about being raped in prison?
Just think about all the services society must pay for in order to deal with criminals both before, during and afterwards that could be avoided. I think this is a viable solution to the problem of crime and those choosing to commit them. Certainly, blinding a criminal is a perfect justice for the victims. It removes the victim’s fear of retribution, when the criminal is finally freed. Isn’t it time when what we are doing has not worked to finally find solutions that do?
For Jews and Christians who think blinding a person is outrageous, consider that at one time God required "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Wasn't it also Jesus who said "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out." Obviously, blinding someone or yourself was not considered outrageous by God. I can only surmise that many evil men (those who hurt or destroy the innocent for their own gain or pleasure) might not mind serving prison sentences or even facing the death penalty for their crimes, but I can't help wondering just how many of the same people are willing to face life blind, if that was the price to pay?
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Let's see now:
No tailgate parties.
No Home Depot.
No hot dogs.
More than one wife. (HELLO, ARE YOU CRAZY?)
Rags for clothes and towels for hats.
Constant wailing from the guy next-door--he's sick and there are no doctors.
Constant wailing from the guy in the tower.
No chocolate chip cookies.
No Girl Scout cookies.
You can't shave.
Your wives can't shave.
Can't shower to wash off the smell of donkey cooked over burning camel dung.
The women have to wear baggy dresses and veils at all times.
Your bride is picked by someone else.
She smells just like your donkey, but your donkey has a better disposition.
Then they tell you that when you die it all gets better!
I mean, really!
IS THERE ANY MYSTERY HERE???
[Iraqi National Security Advisor Mouwafak] Al-Rubaie said al-Saeedi was arrested “along with another group of his aides and followers,” and that after his arrest, he gave information that led to the capture or death of 11 other top al-Qaida in Iraq figures and nine lower-level members.
The security adviser said those arrested included non-Iraqi Arabs, but he would not give any further information for security reasons.
Read the good news here.
From: "Sherman" who is really JanetteiaMcneillcg@charter.net
(whoever that is!):
#1 Never ever leave your pet behind when evacuating
for ANY reason be it a hurricane, a fire, or a man
made disaster, even of you think you will be back
soon, Hurricane Katrina has taught many, that is
a fatal mistake (although most people have already
forgotten that and still did the same thing during
Hurricane Rita) and at LEAST 600,000 pets suffered,
drowned and died of starvation and dehydration when
there simply weren't enough rescue groups available.
As hard as it might be to put a small or large animal
in the car with you, PLEASE just figure out a way and
put them on your lap if you have to, they depend on
you to protect them and not chain them up to suffer
and die. It should never and will never have to be a
choice between your pet(s) and your kids, you figure
out a way to get EVERYONE to safety, including your
pet who is your responsibility and also a member of
your family, otherwise you should not own a pet in
the first place if you don't see it that way.
#2 Please adopt a pet from your local shelter instead
of buying one from a pet store. There are many great
pets waiting for a home but 80% end up being put to sleep
because so many people end up buying pets that come
from puppy mills where the animals are tortured, forced
to bread 24/7.
Google.com: "Puppy Mills" and you will understand.
Help stop puppy mills by putting them out of business
and help stop thousands of animals from being put to
sleep every day and adopt a beautiful friend from your
local shelter today. Most shelters have pure breeds as
well, but I prefer mutts myself. Just 1 adoption by you
will make 100% difference in the life of that pet.
Please also consider adopting a mature pet over a
puppy or kitten, mature pets are usually more at risk of
being put to sleep and in most cases a mature pet will
already be house broken which is better for you.
And remember once you have taken the responsibility
of taking a pet, be kind to it forever, give it a better
life then it previously had, in most cases it has been
abused by a previous owner. If you can't take the responsibility,
don't get one as it will hurt the pet in the long run when
you decide you don't want to keep it.
#3 NEVER leave your pet in a place you would not leave a
baby in, such as a car when the temperature outside is hot
or cold since a car will heat up or cool down really fast
to an extreme temperature usually worse then it is outside
and leaving a window cracked open wont help, its is a myth-
even if you think you may only be gone for a few minutes,
those few minutes make a huge difference on the inside.
As well do not leave your pet chained outside for more
then an hour in same types of temperatures. They have fur,
so imagine yourself in that kind of temperature and how
you would feel being chained outside for hours in it, and
then imagine wearing a fur coat during this time- as well
you should remember that asphalt gets hot, so put a bare
palm to the asphalt when it gets hot before walking your pet,
if it burns your palm, it will burn their paw pads when they
are walking on it so try to acclimate them to pet booties if
at all possible when conditions are really bad.
#4 If in circumstances of last resort you decide to post a
listing on craigslist to give your pet away, consider the
fact that 70% of those you get responses from will NOT BE
with good intentions, even if they sound and look like
the nicest and most trustworthy folks on the planet,
they are professionals and know what unsuspecting owners
want to see. Once they have your pet because you trusted
them when they brought "their" 10 year old kid with them,
your pet will very likely end up being used as live bait
for dog fight training, or sold to labs for scientific
experiments, and you will never know, you will just hope
for the best and want to believe you did the right thing.
So think very carefully before even deciding to make that
listing, you might just decide you should make every attempt
possible to keep your pet with you after all even if it does
soil that nice new carpet a few times a day, you are better
of investing a few bucks and taking your pet to a pet behavior
specialist which will almost always solve the problem behavior
of your pet.
Thank you for reading and please DO take all this to heart,
and forward this to anyone you know that also
owns a pet or is thinking of getting one.