Thursday, December 27, 2007
"The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are
infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely
be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed. "
-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 23, 17 December 1787)
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
was killed while leading a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan will
receive the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor.Lt.
Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue on Long Island, is the first Medal
of Honor recipient for combat in Afghanistan, the Navy said in a
statement Thursday.In late June 2005, Murphy led a four-man
reconnaissance mission east of Asadabad trying to find a key Taliban
leader in advance of a mission to capture or destroy the local militia
leadership. Taliban sympathizers alerted fighters to the SEALs'
positions, and the four men were quickly outnumbered and came under
fire, the Navy said.Even after being wounded, Murphy crawled into the
open to make a radio call for help and still continued to fight, the
Navy said. The call ultimately allowed the rescue of one wounded SEAL
and the recoveries of the bodies of Murphy and two others killed in the
firefight.President Bush will present the Medal of Honor to Murphy's
parents at the White House on Oct. 22."I think it is a public
recognition of what we knew about Michael, of his intensity, his focus,
his devout loyalty to home and family, his country and especially to
his SEAL teammates and the SEAL community," Murphy's father, Daniel
Murphy told Newsday for a story published on its Web site.The Medal of
Honor is the nation's highest military award for valor in action
against an enemy force. Murphy is the fourth Navy SEAL to receive the
medal and the first since Vietnam.The other two SEALs killed in the
Afghan firefight, Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz, 25, of
Littleton, Colo., and Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, 29,
of Cupertino, Calif., previously received the Navy Cross, the
second-highest honor.A U.S. helicopter that went to rescue the SEALs
was shot down by enemy fire; 16 SEALs and Army special operations
troops were killed in the crash.The entire battle resulted in the worst
single-day loss of life for Navy Special Warfare personnel since World
War II.Two Medals of Honor have been awarded posthumously in the Iraq
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
OCTOBER 02, 2007
By Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer and Washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Monday, July 30, 2007; 6:26 PM
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war.
Clyburn, in an interview with the washingtonpost.com video program PostTalk, said Democrats might be wise to wait for the Petraeus report, scheduled to be delivered in September, before charting next steps in their year-long struggle with President Bush over the direction of U.S. strategy.
Clyburn noted that Petraeus carries significant weight among the 47 members of the Blue Dog caucus in the House, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats. Without their support, he said, Democratic leaders would find it virtually impossible to pass legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal.
"I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us," Clyburn said. "We, by and large, would be wise to wait on the report."
Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us."
Clyburn's comments came as House and Senate Democrats try to figure out their next steps in the legislative battle. Clyburn said he could foresee a circumstance in which House Democrats approve a measure without a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces, which has been the consistent goal of the party throughout the months-long debate. But he said he could just as easily see Democrats continue to include a timetable.
Clyburn also address the reasons behind declining approval ratings for Congress, which spiked earlier in the year when Democrats took over the House and Senate. The most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed just 37 percent approving of the performance of Congress.
"Remember right after the election it went very high on approval,?" he said. "Then all of a sudden people saw that we were not yielding the kind of result that they wanted to yield."
He said most Americans still do not know some of the domestic legislation that has been approved. Fewer understand that, despite Democratic majorities in both houses, that it takes 60 votes to pass anything legislation in the Senate.
Clyburn noted that while overall approval ratings of Congress are low, people still rate Democrats higher than Republicans. "People feel good about the Democratic Party, they just don't feel real good about the Congress itself."
That mild comment instantly drew fire from Clinton's Democratic rivals. John Edwards's campaign manager, David Bonior, warned her against "undermining the effort in the Congress to end this war."
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, another presidential hopeful, piled on: "The surge is not working. I do not give President Bush the same credit on Iraq that Hillary does." When Barack Obama addressed the VFW one day later, he stuck to the defeatists' script. "Obama Sees a 'Complete Failure' in Iraq," The New York Times headlined its report on Aug. 22.
Within 48 hours, Clinton was scurrying to toe the all-is-lost line once again: "The surge was designed to give the Iraqi government time to take steps to ensure a political solution. It has failed. . . . We need to . . . start getting out now."
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Batman. Not even sports stars. I'm talking about real life struggling,
self-sacrificing heroes. What I'm really talking about is a book called
"Lone Survivor", and the hero at the center of it, Marcus Luttrell. Marcus
Luttrell is a Navy Seal (and just based on that he is worthy of our extreme
admiration) who was serving in Iraq when he and three of his team members
were deployed to Afghanistan. I'm not going to tell you much about the book,
because I want you to read it for yourself. Buy the book. Get it from the
library. Borrow it from a friend. Whatever. Just read the book. It doesn't
detail an epic battle that decided a war, or saved a bunch of people. In
fact, most of the bad guys are still on the loose. But what what really got
me about this book is what people are willing to do, not for headlines or
medals, but for pretty abstract ideas. Duty. Honor. Country. This isn't
about politics. It's about flat out courage. I don't have a lot of heroes in
my life. But Marcus Luttrell is one of them.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
issues facing America and the world, and why everyone currently in politics
is completely incapable (or at least unwilling) of doing anything that helps
us rather than them. But I'm not going to bother. We knoow they're crap. We
all do. There is no voter out there who can honestly, in their heart, say
that they believe that their candidate will say the hell with the polls, to
hell with my legacy, to hell with how history or the mainstream media judges
me, I'm going to fix the country. That is not going to happen. And it's not
because there are no good people in this country. Any person will, without
outside influence, generally do the decent thing. But politicians...
Republocrats I call them, are not without outside influence. They start out
small somewhere, with probably good intentions, thinking they can improve
their little corner of the world. And that's where they should have stayed.
But then they get the ambition to to move up, and we've lost them. Even,
even, if they move up through local to state government, they can do some
good if their scruples have survived. IF. Big word. But if they have, then
they can still do good. Because they live where they govern. After that,
they get the King syndrome. And they're gone. Give them a red lightsaber,
and change their name to Darth (insert hated politician's name of your
choice here). They've gone to the dark side. So what do we do? First
acknowledge that no independent will ever get elected to the White House.
The Republocrats own it, and they'll never give it up. So what you really
have to do is scrap the general election process. It's broken, and it'll
never get fixed, because the sharks who own it don't want it fixed. Scrap
it. Get rid of it. Then you fire the whole damn Federal Government.
Everyone. The money that we save will pay for the salaries of necessary Fed
employees. Military, ambassadors, Intelligence community. The rest of it...
take the savings and give it to the states. And then, because we should have
a head of state, hold a lottery for president. Require a decent credit
rating, and no criminal record (right there you've improved over what we
have now), and then get stuck with the job for six years. Then you're out
for good. Someone else gets the job. Congress is next. Gone. Governors can
communicate with each other, and decide what they need to do to get the job
done. There's no influence of corruption, because they've reached the
pinnacle of their political career. We've been conned into thinking that we
need lawyers to run the country. That couldn't be farther from the truth.
There is no profession (with the exception of politics) that is at once so
self-serving and a drain on the lifeblood of the country. They are
responsible for tha basketcase that is the American healthcare system. Why?
Malpractice insurance. That says it all. Shakespeare knew what to do with
lawyers. The same should go for career politicians. And television news
anchors. And the fact is, common sense isn't taught in law school. It isn't
taught anywhere. You either have it or you don't. And the average person,
who survives on common sense, has more than the average blood sucking
So am I trashing the constitution? No. We weren't trashing it when we
outlawed slavery, or gave women the vote. We were amending it to suit the
realities of the day. And this day, our Federal government is broken. We
need to fix it. Oh boy, do we need to fix it!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
separation from the Republican Party. Whatever. I've quit. I've come to the
conclusion that neither party actually cares enough about the country and
the people to warrant my loyalty. Because really, is there any candidate out
there who can say that he or she cares more about actually fixing the
problems facing the country than they do about paying political debts or
just further enslaving the American people (and in fact the world, by
extension) just to build their own political power? No. Not that I've seen,
anyway. In fact, I would challenge you lurkers to make a case for any of the
current crop of republocrats. Of course, to start working on a solution, we
really have to start by identifying the problems. And since I don't want to
spend the next five years just doing that, I'll start with just one. The
Middle East. Well, first off, the solution to that is not to quit Iraq. The
growing success of the troop surge proves that we can help by staying there
and actually winning. History (and common sense) shows that politicians lose
wars. Military men and women win them. Liberals like to compare Iraq to
Vietnam, trying to convince the average person that it is unjust and
unwinnable, when in fact the real irony is that Iraq is similar to Vietnam
in a number of ways. It is a problem inherited from a former power making a
mistake, and then walking away. (Vietnam was a gift from France. The Middle
East, including Iraq, was carved up by a British General). The Vietnam war
was run by a Democratic Congress, where Iraq is being strongly influenced by
a Democratic Congress, but also bungled by short-sighted Republicans...
especially Don Rumsfeld. Military successes in Vietnam were largely ignored
by a hostile press, while failures and massacres were highlighted, just as
they are in Iraq. And just as real success was starting to happen in
Vietnam, the Viet Cong forced a propoganda victory with the Tet Offensive
(that in fact was devastating for them) that provided fuel for liberal
naysayers and defeatists to convince the American public that we'd lost, and
therefore sap the last of the political courage of the White House and force
a withdrawal. Now we have Democrats admitting that success in Iraq would be
bad news for their party. Liberals didn't want us to win in Vietnam, so they
forced a defeat. Now they admit that they don't want us to win in Iraq, and
they're trying to force a defeat there as well.
At the same time, Conservatives from Bush down were eager to go in and have
a quick and easy victory in Iraq... for some good reasons. I understand that
Bush imagined Iran being squeezed in between two strong new democracies in
Iraq and Afghanistan. He also knew that Saddam Hussein was a murderous thug
with ambitions involving Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical warfare. That is
a fact that simply cannot be disputed. If you see a man gun down his family,
do you leave him alone just because he's out of bullets? No. He was a killer
who needed to die. But in doing so, they totally blew what was a fairly
stable situation. Iran hated Iraq. Iraq hated Iran. For the most part, that
kept both sides pretty occupied. There is that bit of wisdom that says when
you see your enemy making a mistake, get out of his way. As it is, the
Taliban are trying to make a comeback in Afghanistan, and Iran is working
under the counter in Iraq and Lebanon. And they are pushing ahead with their
nuclear program. So what do we do? We quietly, without telling the damn
press, or the damn congress, tell the Iraqi government that they don't get
anymore holidays. They need to find any damn way they can to agree upon and
impose a set of laws to stabilize their country. And then set a date.
SECRETLY!!!. Tell them that they won't have our help to fix their damn
country forever. Tell them that if they publicize the date, we'll walk, and
just police from the air. If you want our soldiers to bleed to buy you time,
you stop going on vacation, and impose (at gunpoint if need be) order on
your country. Get it done. Use the help we're giving, or we'll leave. And
then we give the military the objective and let them figure out how to do
Then what? Finally, acknowledge that as scummy as the Saudi government is,
they can be convinced to work in our favor. We don't have a more important
ally over there. Not a friend, mind you, but an ally. They're dictators and
thugs, and most of the 9/11 hijackers came from there. But they also have an
influence on the price and steady flow of oil, and right now we need that.
Anyone (like Barack Obama) who thinks he can govern without dealing with
dictators who happen to have an interest in remaining allied with us is
There is one more thing we can do to take away a lot of the power these
psychos have over the rest of the world. Devote the whole damn country to
getting us off of oil. Completely. Anything, including Ethanol, that still
uses oil is not good enough. The only weapon that can really make any
lasting difference in the Middle East is economics. Make the oil
meaningless, and they lose most of the hold they have on the world. Then if
they want to hack each other to pieces, well, let them.
Big words, and I'm just a guy with a Blog. I don't have a political career
to think about, or votes to buy, or lobbyists to satisfy. Sadly, none of the
Republocrats can say that. Democrats want to run every aspect of your life
(because they need you to believe that you can't live without them), and
Republicans are far too hostage to the most radical right wing of the
conservative movement to do the country any good (you need moderate common
sense to do that). Both sides have shown that they will say anything to get
a vote. So none of them will get mine.
So... what are the girls up to? Britney Spears. Lindsay Lohan. Nicole
Ritchie. I don't know, and I don't care. Barry Bonds isn't important. Rosie
O'Donnell doesn't seem to have a career anymore. Oh, and Rush Hour 3 took
the top spot in the box office.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
honestly, do you think that in any other country in the world, less than six
years after a horrendous attack on their soil they would even question
whether or not they were at war? I don't. Democratic presidential hopeful
John Edwards thinks that the war that was declared in 1993 (remember, they
tried to bring down the World Trade Center once before) is nothing more than
a political bumper sticker slogan. I guess he didn't know (or know about, or
care about) any of the 3,000 people who were killed on 9/11. Fine... but
don't try to run my country. Maybe he's counting on the fact that while
radical Islam is alive and well in the heart of America (Hezbollah openly
rallies in Dearborn, Michigan, and who objects?), most people here don't
seem to care, because it's got nothing to do with Britney, Lindsay, Nicole,
or Harry Potter. Sounds like a case of mass Attention Deficit Disorder. Only
thing is, if Joe and Jane Public had nothing but typical clinical ADD, we
could give them a shot of Ritalin, and they'd be fine. But what they've got
is far worse. They've got an attention span that doesn't last more than an
hour. They've forgotten 1993. They've forgotten 9/11. They've forgotten Iran
attacking our embassy. (Ahmadenijad has been recognized as one of the
'students' who took those hostages). They've forgotten Iran's pledge to wipe
us out. They've forgotten that Al Qaeda has killed countless Americans, as
well as free citizens all over the world. They even tell us that they're
planning another. Maybe if Bin Laden or Al Zawahiri posted on youtube,
people would care. Maybe if they produced greenhouse gases, we could get
Sheryl Crow and George Clooney to join the war. But no. It's just a bumper
sticker. And an old one at that. So tell me something. When the next bumper
sticker shows up in the form of a dirty bomb, say in Los Angeles, will it be
an issue again? I suppose that depends on what Britney Spears is up to that
Don't think, by the way, that I blame Britney for distracting us from the
war. I think she's no more or less important than anyone else, and I think
that if it weren't for her and her peers, the paparazzi would actually have
to work for a living. Most of the trash magazines (Us, Life and Style, and
so on) wouldn't exist, and we'd have a few more trees to produce oxygen. And
the vampires at TMZ might just shut down. So yeah, these girls are obviously
attracting the attention of the blood-suckers I've named, but they still
have the choice to print their rubbish or not. You know, if a rapist says
"she was asking for it", we rightly condemn them. If a scandal rag says the
same thing, we agree, and buy up their filth like its going out of style.
What has one thing got to do with the other? 3,000 people get slaughtered by
an enemy who promises to do more and we call it a bumper sticker. A girl
gets drunk, and we splash it all over the front page and ask ourselves "How
could this happen?". As a people, we've got a pitiful attention span. We are
riddled with ADD on a mass scale, and odds are it'll take another massacre
on our soil before we remember we're at war.