Saturday, December 31

Conservatism v. Liberalism: A Riddle and Hope for the New Year

This is the riddle which constantly fascinates me:

How do two intelligent people study the same facts and arrive at opposite conclusions?
I submit that each person begins with a set of core values which comprise a particular world view. Therefore my conclusion may differ from yours because we each start with, and build upon, a different premise. Politically, Conservatives and Liberals have polar opposite world views and each must subjectively distort facts to fit into that world view. Both world views cannot be correct, although some combination may be possible. How are Conservative and Liberal world views different?

Conservatives are optimists who see the glass as half full. They are amazed at the prosperity and accomplishments of their civilization. They are like the new immigrant who can hardly believe his good fortune at living in a western country like America. They are like the star-crossed lover who sees only the good in his beloved amour, and overlooks her faults. They are like the loving mother who only sees the goodness in her child. Conservatives see each day as a wonderful blessing; for them life is a sacred gift from the Creator.

Liberals are pessimists who see the same glass as half empty. They see nothing but society’s faults and want to reform it into their own unrealistic utopia controlled by self-anointed Liberal elites. They have only contempt for their ancestors who sacrificed and innovated to bring about the freedom and wonder we see all around us. They are envious of others who have more than they have; they see each day as something to endure; many seek to escape life through television and drug addiction. They are unmoved at the spectacle of immigrants from Mexico, Cuba, and elsewhere, desperately risking their very lives to experience the same prosperity we take for granted in America. Liberals are like the spoiled child who sees only his parent’s faults.

Conservatives believe in the basic goodness of the average person; they trust most people to behave decently and honorably. But they feel betrayed if someone violates that trust; they view criminal behavior as the exception which must be dealt with harshly. Conservatives identify with achievers and winners. Conservatives view people as individuals, each with virtually unlimited potential.

Liberals believe that they alone are wise and good, but that most people are fundamentally bad. Therefore a strong government must allow elite rulers like themselves to pass laws to micro-manage the behavior of benighted common folks. Liberals identify with victims and losers; they believe social problems are created by "society"; rarely is a crime the fault of the actual perpetrator. This is why they find creative excuses for criminal behavior. Liberals do not trust average folks to do the right thing. They do not trust private citizens to responsibly own firearms; they don't trust parents to responsibly raise their own children. Liberals see people less as individuals with free will, and more as members indistinct from their “group”; the potential of each member is limited to the inherent characteristics of the group; the “good” groups deserve preferential government treatment over the “bad” groups. So “Affirmative Action” is the Liberal solution to the “racism and bigotry” inherent in the “bad” groups. For Liberals, hypocritically discriminating on the basis of such superficial characteristics as race and gender, is fine as long as it favors the “good” groups. Liberals see themselves as puppeteers who must orchestrate the behavior of villains and victims as in a children’s melodrama.

Many Conservatives see themselves as warriors in a battle between folks with traditional Judeo-Christian values, and those with a secular humanist agenda. For Conservatives perhaps the most important human trait is “individual responsibility”—meaning that each sane adult is personally responsible for choosing his own happiness. Pursuit of truth and freedom are also extremely important to Conservatives. They are vital because the capacity for free-will is the primary characteristic which separates humanity from the rest of Creation. Exercising free-will, only possible in an environment of personal and economic freedom, is essential to achieving human happiness. Similarly, only based upon truth, will a person make wise choices. Only based upon truth is it possible to establish justice. A social environment characterized by justice and freedom allows individuals to dare to take risks, unleash their creativity, build prosperity and achieve greatness as a people.

Liberals seek to unravel the fabric of traditional Judeo-Christian society. At best, they see western culture as equal to all other cultures; at worst, they hold it in utter contempt. Liberal anti-war demonstrations, like those at Berzerkely, are like an asylum which opens its gates releasing a parade of assorted eyebrow-piercing loonies, self-loathing America-haters, insane scrotum inflators, drug addled criminals, pathetic prostitutes, transvestites, socialists, communists, and wahhabi sympathizing “Zionist”-haters—in other words, the Democrat party base. For Liberals the most important human trait is “tolerance”—meaning "open-minded" acceptance of any bonehead idea as long as it is not a Conservative one. While Liberals give lip service to “tolerance”, they hypocritically strive to silence all “hate speech"--which means any ideas which challenge their own. Liberals are quick to embrace any specious statement or goofy conspiracy theory as long as it reinforces their world view. The concept of “truth” is troublesome and somewhat confusing to Liberals; consistent scrutiny of facts has a way of interfering with their world view.

Most Conservatives have a pretty realistic view of humanity. While they understand that a person will consistently do what is in his own self-interest, a person whose life is founded upon Christ’s Golden Rule will not steal from others. As optimists, Conservatives view poverty as a temporary condition which will improve as a person embraces individual responsibility and to the extent that a country implements Free Enterprise. Conservatives believe that charity towards poor folks should be the choice of generous individuals, not the mandated role of government. By embracing Free Enterprise, which encourages the free exchange of goods and services for others of like kind, countries such as the U.S. and Hong Kong have released an economic juggernaut which is producing great prosperity for all citizens who choose to participate.

Liberals are very concerned about the “gap between the haves and the have-nots”. They believe that some people are poor because they have been purposely “oppressed” by successful people. They believe that economic success has little to do with creativity and hard work, but just magically happens as a result of chance—“life’s lottery”. Liberals have a child-like ignorance of the economics of supply and demand; they see wealth as a static pie to be distributed equally among everyone by government bureaucrats. They want to remove any incentives for productive people to create wealth, so everyone can be equally destitute. While Liberals are very concerned that everyone has a job, they do everything in their power to punish and shackle employers and corporations, which they regard as inherently evil. Ignoring the dismal failures of socialist experiments from Cuba to the Soviet Union, they want to use government force to ensure that everyone has equal economic outcomes. Although they cannot point to a single example of a country in which socialism has actually worked, Liberals still want to force their socialist “utopia” upon their unwilling subjects.

Liberals consider folks with traditional values to be evil schemers or ignorant hicks. Most Liberals do not like to admit that they are indeed Liberals. They tend to say things like labels are meaningless while freely branding their opponents as wing-nuts, neo-cons, fascists, and racists. Liberals favor the label “Progressive”, as if a slow decline into anarchy, poverty and decadence were “progress”. I have asserted that, to be a Liberal, one must be dishonest, insane, intellectually lazy, or some combination. Perhaps it is the twisted Liberal philosophy itself, rather than the vast “right-wing conspiracy” which has made “Liberal” into such a dirty word.

The frustrating problem for Liberals is that most people are optimistic and therefore tend to be Conservative. Also, Liberals tend to become Conservative as they become older and wiser. I am optimistic that you Liberals will eventually become Conservative. I am also optimistic about 2006 and beyond. Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 24

Open thread for the Openness



I found this picture using yahoo image search for the word 'openness'

Things You Won't Hear The Left Complain About

(Hat Tip: Clayton Cramer via Puppy Blender)

It was 28 seconds past 7:45 p.m. on Aug.18 when the 911 dispatcher took the call from Sascha Wagner. “There’s someone breaking into the house,” she yelled at the 911 operator, giving the address of the home she shares with David Scheper on the 800 block of West Lombard Street. “Send police now!”

Moments before, Scheper had opened the door to two strangers who then tried to force their way in. Scheper, who is 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, slammed and locked the door on the would-be intruders, but he was in a panic as they smashed the glass in the 100-year-old door. He grabbed his 12-gauge shotgun and “was racking the slide over and over,” he recalls.

“I didn’t have any ammo for it, I’m racking the shotgun, telling them to get out. I’m not sure they’re in yet.” He ran to his basement in search of a usable weapon to defend himself and his girlfriend. “I was scared for her safety more than mine,” Scheper says.

In the basement, Scheper grabbed a CZ-52 semiautomatic. “I have this piece-of-junk Czechoslovakian pistol,” he says. “I put a magazine in it, racked the slide back. I was trying to check to see if there was a round in the chamber and I couldn’t rack the slide . . . so I was fighting it. The gun was jammed, and I was trying to get it operable. It accidentally went off into the floor of my basement.”

And with that, police say, Scheper committed the crime for which he was charged in Baltimore City Circuit Court: Discharge of a Firearm in Baltimore City. He faced up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Prosecutors dropped Scheper’s case Dec. 2.

The intruders? They got in. They took $1,440 in cash Scheper says he withdrew from his bank account in order to buy a used pickup truck. They hit a 70-year-old art-deco-style metal desk with an ax. They took 18 of Scheper’s guns—mostly inoperable antiques, he says—and some gun-shaped props he had built for movies. “They threatened to blow up my safe,” Scheper says, so he opened it for them. They face no criminal charges.

The intruders were William T. Bristol and Antwyne R. Jones, Baltimore Police Department detectives with the Organized Crime Division.

They were Organized Crime, alright. Read the whole article. You will learn that these fine examples of law enforcement didn't even have a warrent when they tried to kick in the door. And even better, even though they dropped the charges, they haven't returned the firearms they confiscated, and they won't expunge his arrest record unless he will sign a waiver promising not to sue them.

You see, Mr. Scheper, who wasn't even accused of any crime when John Law came to visit (they were looking for a former roommate) was a gunowner. Gunowners are, of course evil.

Police added Scheper’s guns to a cache of weapons they had seized earlier in the day from a garage in Highlandtown and a house in Hampden and displayed them for the media. “Two men arrested, 69 firearms seized” was the headline in The Sun on Aug. 20. Among the guns, the newspaper reported, were a “mini-Uzi, a MAC/10 with silencer, and a pistol designed for shooting big game.”

Remember this the next time you hear Ted Kennedy calling the Bush Administration "fascist" because Mohammed bin Blowinshitup was made uncomfortable at Gitmo or Howard Dean whining that we tapped Abu Abu bin Sarin's call to his al Qaeda Den Mother in Karachi without a warrent.

You see, to the Democrats gunowners don't have rights.

Terrorists do.

Maybe if the terrorist they wiretapped had a gun in his possession it would be OK? Nah. Can't offend Mohammedans, and the AK-47 is Holy to them. Scheper is a white American. He doesn't have any rights.

I hope he sues the hell out of them. He says they did $3,700 in damage and they confiscated $1,440 in cash. I'd settle for about four million if I were him.

Nostalgia

As a kid I remember studiously going over and over the Sears-Roebuck Wishbook. I knew that Santa wouldn't bring me some of the things I wanted. Even then, somehow, I was aware that Santa treated the rich kids different. I don't think I ever asked for more than three things for Christmas, ever.

You know what? It didn't matter. Somehow, I didn't know we didn't have much money. I can't say we were poor, other than in the actual availability of spending cash.. I mean, I collected pop bottles just like all my friends so I could buy comic books. Somehow we were ok, just like everyone else on our block. I didn't know that not everyone else had to eat bread and milk for breakfast from time to time. But we were ok. I wanted ice skates and I went ice skating at the park (ok, Santa got me a pair of white with red trim girl figure skates, but they were skates). I asked for a flexi-flyer sled and I went sledding with my Dad and brother and we went home and drank homemade hot chocolate and ate fresh out of the oven homemade bread that Mom had for us when we got home. We always begged to open one present and year after year it was socks. But it was ok. See, we were a family.

Fast forward (boy, was it fast... what the heck happened?) to 2005. This is my 49th Christmas. There is only the three of us this year, Giggles, the Not-My-Kid, and yrstrly. The Daughter-of-Mcgyver now has her own family and must start her own family traditions. The oldest Son-of- Mcgyver has been banned from the house for terminal stupidity. The Not Daughter has decided to stay in WA and work to help put herself through school. Thing One and Thing Two will be dropped off by their Mother about noon. Giggles, the Not-My-Kid and I went to a Christmas Concert http://www.trans-siberian.com/intro.html last night and we'll tuck him in bed and Santa will come visit. Awfully Quite this year. Giggles and I will have a glass of nogg and we'll be off to bed.

And in the morning, we'll have a full day; opening presents throughout the day since Thing One and Thing Two and their Sister and her new husband and his kid will be here. And cooking, 'cause we're feeding the whole bunch. And phone calls. To the Not-daughter and to Mom and Dad and to Giggles' Mom and Dad and to lot's of friends. And maybe Son-of-Mcgyver will come by. And you know what? It'll be ok. See, we're family

So, from our family to you and yours - Merry Christmas

Mcgyver, out

Friday, December 23

Harry Reid Admits He's An Uneducated Bastard

Well, kinda :-)

Mr. REID. Mr. President, maybe I
didn’t have the education of a lot of my
friends. I was educated in a little
school in Searchlight, NV. We didn’t
have English class.
Maybe my choice of
words wasn’t perfect. Maybe I should
have said we killed the conference report.
But the fact is, that is what we
had done. People can try to change the
words and the meaning of it all they
want, but that is what happened. I may
not have the ability to express myself
like the folks who were educated in all
these private schools and fancy
schools, but I understand the Senate
rules. Everyone knows that cloture was
defeated, killed, whatever you want to
call it. That means that cloture was
defeated and that bill is still before the
Senate.Mr. REID. Mr. President, maybe I
didn’t have the education of a lot of my
friends. I was educated in a little
school in Searchlight, NV. We didn’t
have English class. Maybe my choice of
words wasn’t perfect. Maybe I should
have said we killed the conference report.
But the fact is, that is what we
had done. People can try to change the
words and the meaning of it all they
want, but that is what happened. I may
not have the ability to express myself
like the folks who were educated in all
these private schools and fancy
schools, but I understand the Senate
rules. Everyone knows that cloture was
defeated, killed, whatever you want to
call it. That means that cloture was
defeated and that bill is still before the
Senate.

(Hat Tip: Taranto)

And I bet he walked five miles barefoot through the snow uphill in both directions to get to his little schoolhouse where they didn't teach English.

Heh. Good thing they don't have a literacy test to run for Senate. As Bugs would say, "What a maroon!"

Thursday, December 22

Says It All, Doesn't It!

For My Democrat Friends:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious, faith or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole
discretion of the wisher."




For My Republican Friends:
Here's wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Week 5 of Charlie chillin' in his body bag on the street in Port Sulphur

Port Sulphur, La., is in the middle of Plaquemines Parish. 42 miles South are the remains of Venice. About 40 miles North is the city of Belle Chase. From about Jesuit Bend on down, the Plaquemines were pretty much destroyed. Mind-numbing devastation that still photos can not begin to relate. If you lit off a small-sized air-burst nuke, say 50 kilotons or so, you might see comparable damage.
A part of all that damage unique to this corner of the world is the washing away of cemeteries. Bodies, caskets, crypts; all floating about and washing up in the damnedest places. Some never to be seen again. "Charlie" and the splintered remains of his wooden coffin landed on the grounds of what used to be Plaquemines Medical Center. An Air National Guard Graves Reg. team recovered the remains, bagged him, and left him on the street next to a damaged family graveyard. A Parish Council member was present at that time. That was, by all recollection, about 4 1/2 weeks ago (one novelty of Katrina relief work is the Groundhog Day effect- every day is Monday. If you are billeted in the French Quarter, I'm told, every night is Friday.).
Charlie chillin' in his body bag:
Charlie, chillin'

This past Monday night, the USO sent us an Army band from the LAARNG. They played, excellently, about 45 minutes worth of Christmas music. Then the USO passed out grab-bag gifts for all the troops present. An Air Guard NCO grabbed a small artificial Christmas tree and wreath. After a short delay, he and a couple of soldiers and me trooped over to Charlie and the NCO placed those items by him. One soldier said a simple and heart-felt prayer for Charlie. I showed them the 9 visible graves of veterans buried in the cemetery (background, below). We rendered a solemn salute to all our brethren there, and dispersed for the evening.
Charlie, with Christmas decorations:
Christmas Charlie

Photos copyright 2005. Cross-posted various places.

Euthanasia in the Big Easy, pt. 4

CNN's lead story this morning concerns one of the few Hurricane Katrina myths that refuses to die (as it were), that story that hospital patients in flooded New Orleans were triaged and euthanized, which I previously wrote about here, here, and here.

As previously reported, the Tenet Healthcare-managed Memorial Medical Center is the focus of concern, because of a cluster of 45 bodies removed from that facility back on September 11, 2005.

The CNN story this morning features an exclusive interview with a named contract physician at the hospital, and mentions by name another physician as being seen with "a handful of syringes". CNN's source, Dr. Bryant King, also claims to have talked to another physician at the time who recounted a conversation with a hospital administrator who suggested that some patients be "put out of their misery."

The physician mentioned by name as being seen holding the "handful of syringes" is Dr. Anne Pou, a faculty member at Louisiana State University's School of Medicine (fourth from top). CNN reports that Dr. Pou has retained an attorney, and personally declines comment on the allegations, though her attorney issued this statement:

"The physicians and staff responsible for the care of patients, many of whom were gravely ill, faced loss of generator power, the absence of routine medical equipment to sustain life, lack of water and sanitation facilities, extreme heat in excess of one hundred degrees, all occurring in an environment of deteriorating security, apparent social unrest and the absence of governmental authority. Dr. Pou and other medical personnel at Memorial Hospital worked tirelessly for five days to save and evacuate patients, none of whom were abandoned. We feel confident that the facts will reveal heroic efforts by the physicians and the staff in a desperate situation."

Wednesday, December 21

A Special Request

I know this is a bit late, but I only got the info today at work. I know many of you have written Holiday cards to friends and family. If you can, please send an extra one to our American military heroes who are recuperating from wounds this Christmas season. Please enclose a short note thanking them for their service and personal sacrifice.

I know that your small act of kindness will be greatly appreciated. Here's the address...

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

It may be that the USPS will be able to get the cards to them by Saturday, if the cards are sent ASAP. Let everyone you know, know about this, too.

Many ThanX!

Mcgyver, out

Tuesday, December 20

USSC or Bust

The US Appeals Court, District 6 affirmed the following today:

A U.S. appeals court today upheld the decision of a lower court in allowing the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse display, hammering the American Civil Liberties Union and declaring, "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."

Attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice successfully argued the case on behalf of Mercer County, Ky., and a display of historical documents placed in the county courthouse. The panel voted 3-0 to reject the ACLU's contention the display violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.



I'll just bet the ACLU left skid marks on its way to filing an appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Perhaps we'll get a decision now on the long abused "separation of church and state" argument, as well as the misrepresentation of what the Constitution says about religion.

Hey, ACLU et al, it is "freedom of religion" not "freedom from religion" and like it or not, your secularism is your religion, and I for one am tired of you cramming it down my throat.

And while the USSC is at it, it would be nice if they define what a religion is so we can stop treating Islam as a religion, but that is a whole other matter entirely.

USS William Jefferson Clinton CVS1

The US Navy welcomed the latest member of its fleet today. Pictured above: the USS William Jefferson Clinton CVS1 set sail today from its home port of Vancouver, BC.

The ship is the first of its kind in the Navy and is a standing legacy to President Clinton and his foresight in military budget cuts. The ship is constructed nearly entirely from recycled aluminum and is completely solar powered with a top speed of 5 knots. It boasts an arsenal comprised of one F14 Tomcat or F18 Hornet aircraft, which although they cannot be launched or recaptured on the 100 foot flight deck, form a very menacing presence.

As a standing order there are no firearms allowed on board. The 20 person crew is completely diversified and includes members of all races, creeds, sex, and sexual orientation.

The ship's purpose is not defined so much as a unit of national defense - in fact in times of conflict its orders are to remain in hiding in Canada, but will be used extensively for social experimentation and whatever worthless jobs the ex-commander in chief and his wife can think of.

Sunday, December 18

No Fun

The Girlfriend 20.0 won't allow me any fun. I can't take scalps. I can't take pelts.

Hell's bells, I can't even cut off ears.

Wah.

It even upsets her when I talk about the creative uses for chainsaws. What's an artist to do?

:-)

Thank a Soldier

I ran across this over at Black Five. During this busy Holliday Season [As if the rest of the year wasn't busy - ed.] take the time to send a little message of encouragement to the men and women who make it possible for us to have the luxury of playing on the internet.

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC chaplain and Guadalcanal veteran of WW-II

Compare and Contrast


The Jew's domination in the state seems so assured that now not only can he call himself a Jew again, but he ruthlessly admits his ultimate national and political designs. A section of his race openly owns itself to be a foreign people, yet even here they lie. For while the Zionists try to make the rest of the world believe that the national consciousness of the Jew finds its satisfaction in the creation of a Palestinian state, the Jews again slyly dupe the dumb Goyim. It doesn't even enter their heads to build up a Jewish state in Palestine for the purpose of living there; all they want is a central organization for their international world swindle, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.

Link

"'Unfortunately, in the past 300 years, the Islamic world has been in retreat vis-à-vis the World of Arrogance… During the period of the last 100 years, the [walls of the] world of Islam were destroyed and the World of Arrogance turned the regime occupying Jerusalem into a bridge for its dominance over the Islamic world...
"'This occupying country [i.e. Israel] is in fact a front of the World of Arrogance in the heart of the Islamic world. They have in fact built a bastion [Israel] from which they can expand their rule to the entire Islamic world... This means that the current war in Palestine is the front line of the Islamic world against the World of Arrogance, and will determine the fate of Palestine for centuries to come.
"'Today the Palestinian nation stands against the hegemonic system as the representative of the Islamic Ummah [nation]. Thanks to God, since the Palestinian people adopted the Islamic war and the Islamic goals, and since their struggle has become Islamic in its attitude and orientation, we have been witnessing the progress and success of the Palestinian people.'

Link

The first quote is Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf. The second quote is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking to the representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, members of the Society for the Defense of the Palestinian Nation, and members of the Islamic Students Union, and an audience of hundreds of students earlier this year.

There is a reason we call them Islamofascists. Their goals are, by their very own rhetoric, virtually identical to those of Nazi Germany. They are the ones who want Global Hegemony.

And they are the ones who want Genocide. And in this War, both the Jew and the Gentile are seen as the enemy they want to annihilate. The L³eft would have us believe that if we would accept the destruction of Israel, if we would feed the Islamofascist tiger, it won't eat us last.

They believe this because they want to believe it, not because the Islamofascists have given them any reason to believe it is, in fact, true. And even if it were true, it is morally unacceptable. We could have let Hitler run France, and the United States would have been none the worse off.

At least for a while. Hitler didn't kill 3000 Americans in New York City. The Islamofascists did. Ahmadinejad has threatened nuclear war against Israel, and Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons. It is foolish in the extreme to believe that he doesn't intend to act on his words.

And it is foolish in the extreme to believe that only Israel will be the target of their genocidal aims. After all, the Iranians have only been screaming "Death to America!" for thirty years.

The time to strike is when the oppertunity presents itself. I'd say that time is rapidly approachhing.

And the strike should be appropriatly devistating to meet the scale of the threat.

Saturday, December 17

Happy Anniversary

A few years ago my sister and I started thinking about the party we were going to throw for our parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Daddy wasn't in the best of health, and Mom would shake her finger at him and say "You'd better not die before those girls throw us that party!"

Unfortunately, neither of them made it. Mom died, suddenly, unexpectedly, and heartbreakingly, last year. Daddy's turn was last month, equally heartbreakingly, if not as unexpectedly. My sister and I have reeled through the last year and a half like a couple of drunken sailors, taking care of business, and in my sister's case, taking care of Daddy (God bless her!). Now we are looking at Mom's empty chair, at Daddy's, and missing them terribly.

Intellectually, of course, we know that such is the stuff of life, that people don't live forever, and most of us lose our parents at some times in our lives. But it is never easy, this Tetris game of life--as each generation completes its job on this Earth, it disappears, and it's the task of the next generation to take the reigns of holding the family together in times good and bad. My sister and I, along with our brothers, are the ones at the bottom of the game now, with our children sitting on top of us. The next generation is already arriving; my brother's two grandbabies. Life goes on.

Life goes on, yes, but it is short. Time passes much too quickly. Don't waste it! That's my simple take-home message to my friends today. Don't waste what time you have left because to be totally frank, you really don't know just how much time that is! So live. Love! Be with your wife, your husband, your children, your parents, those you love. Give up those old grudges. Go to the gym. Quit smoking, for pete's sake. Climb Half Dome. Take a cruise. Do it, because you'll be gone before you know it.

And to Sweet ol' Bob and his Judithannie, Happy 50th Anniversary. We are glad you're together today, even if we can't celebrate with you. We love you, we miss you--REST IN PEACE.

Thursday, December 15

Jennie Roggio is My Hero

I think you all know that I am a longtime big fan of Bill Roggio's. I went around blogspace with a begging bowl to help put him over the top (AND got called an obnoxious chicklet for my pains). ;)
His posts coming out of Anbar are just awesome, and he is really boosting the morale of the Marines he is embedded with, because he is getting out the truth. I loved the story of the Marines and the Iraqi soldiers giving water to the long lines of voters. I think Bill is a true hero, to sacrifice so much and go to do something hard that he really believes in.

But there is someone else who is an even bigger hero to me. That is Mrs. Roggio, Jennie. She is home with three small children who are having to do without their Dad. I know she worries--it is still very dangerous there. And even if nothing bad happens, and he comes home safe and sound, there is a month of him gone, and Jennie and the children will never get that back. So it is a huge thing for her to support Bill's trip. Jennie Roggio is very brave and strong, but I know she would appreciate any prayers you have to give for Bill's safety.

I think they also serve who only stand and wait.
Thank you for your service, Mrs. Roggio.

The Media Are The Enemy


An Ongoing Series

Today was a historic day in Iraq, and, typically the MSM tried to downplay or ignore it. CNN, as you can see from the image above, chose to completely sideline it in favor of wailing about Torture. The little link circled in red is the only reference I could find at CNN at the time. Currently it is an even smaller link, while they trumpet old news that Zarqawi got away over a year ago.

I wonder if he voted today?

The Washington Post chose to lead with a political hit-piece thinly veiled as news "analysis".


(Click to Enlarge)


Asked about the distinction between complete victory and standing down as Iraqis stand up, the official acknowledged, "It's been a confusing concept." Reality may seem more muddled than rhetoric. Even as Iraqi security forces take the lead in battling insurgents, he said, the United States will still need to provide tactical air support and other help.

Bush is not the only one trying not to be pinned down. Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has urged his party against laying down particular proposals on Iraq. Instead, he sent a letter to Bush yesterday signed by 41 Senate Democrats calling on the president to make 2006 "a period of significant transition" leading to troop withdrawals without giving specifics.

The liberal antiwar group MoveOn.org harbors no such reticence. The group said its members handed "Out in '06" petitions bearing 400,000 signatures to the district offices of 244 members of Congress yesterday calling for an exit plan to leave Iraq entirely by the end of next year.

As part of its new communications strategy, the White House has tried to impose new terminology to cast those resisting U.S. forces in a more sinister light. After Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he no longer liked the word "insurgents," the word was struck from Bush speeches. And the president has begun using "Saddamists" to refer to supporters of ousted president Saddam Hussein, a word he that used only once in public until two weeks ago but now appears in every speech.

I guess the Post doesn't consider people who kidnap other people and cut off their heads to be particularly sinister. Boys will be boys, after all.

The New York Times was in predictable form. No Silver Lining is complete without a Dark Cloud:



(Click to Enlarge)



BAGHDAD, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 15 - Iraqi voters began streaming to the polls Thursday morning in nationwide elections as Iraqi leaders predicted that the vote would split almost evenly between secular and Islamist parties and usher in lengthy political maneuvering.

Men waited in line to cast their vote in the northern city of Mosul.
The elections, which are expected to draw as many as 10 million Iraqis to the polls, will be the last formal milestone in the American-backed political process that was devised to foster a democratic government.

The elections are being seen by Iraqi and American leaders as the definitive test of the Bush administration's assumption that a free vote is the best means for reconciling Iraq's vastly polarized ethnic and sectarian groups and defeating the Sunni Arab insurgency that is threatening to break the country apart.

The voting itself is expected to reveal a fissure of another sort, between a Shiite coalition of religious parties on one side and a mostly secular array of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties on the other.

Between them are profound differences over the direction of the country and the nature of the Iraqi state, not just over how heavily it should influenced by Islam but also over the powers of the central government and the autonomy granted to local regions. Implicit in those questions, for many Iraqis, is whether the country can survive at all.

The results of the elections are likely to determine whether and to what extent the Bush administration can begin significant withdrawals of American troops next year. American officials, including the ambassador here, Zalmay Khalilzad, are expected to take an assertive role helping the Iraqis put together what is likely to be a coalition government.

The dreaded coalition government. My G-d, we expect the Iraqis to act like civilized people, and compromise. Which, it sounds like even from this article they are intending to do:

In Yarmouk, a predominately Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, Zuhiar al-Zahawi, a retired airline mechanic, was one of many Sunnis who sat out the elections in January but voted Thursday. He said he was hopeful that Iraq's three main communities could reach an understanding. "We will talk to each other, and we will connect with each other, and we will weave the country together like a piece of cloth."

Most of the rest of the article is an in-depth look at the difficulties that lie ahead, and everything that could possibly go wrong. Sure, there are always difficulties no matter what the endeavor, and the Iraqis are trying to build a relatively free country out of the rubble of one of the most appalling dictatorships in the Twentieth Century. A century that was distinguished by the depravity of its dictatorships, I might add.

That said, for a NYT piece, this is really pretty good. While it over-emphasizes the negative, it ends on a positive note:

In Baghdad's sprawling Shiite slum, Sadr City, a Shiite sheik spoke on Wednesday to a small crowd about the appeals by Sunni leaders for a halt in the violence.

"Some of the Sunni candidates have been asking the insurgents to stop attacks for three days around election day," the sheik, Abbas al-Musawi, said into a microphone. "O.K., if you can ask them that, why do you only ask for three days?"

Why, indeed?

If the so-called anti-war folks were really anti-war (as opposed to being for the other side) they'd be asking the same question. It's kind of funny. "Give Peace A Chance" seems to only apply to America surrendering.

God's Magic Part II

Due to the overwhelming request I had to publish the story I was sent 30 minutes after I was told I was cancer free, here is that story (Caution: it is long and I think has been around in various versions, but having a box of tissues nearby is still a great idea):

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn'tbeen anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was justanother day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find areason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow thathad been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was allabout when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by hiscustomers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up."Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I seeyou're busy, I'll just go." "Not without something hot in yourbelly." George said.He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to thestranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty, "Stew ... made itmyself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuseme, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked."Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanishaccent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken."George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from thecold, the car was dead. "You ain't going in this thing," George saidas he turned away."But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behindGeorge as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keysto his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around thebuilding, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around towhere the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "Sheain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good."George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped offinto the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad Igave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck hasbrand new ........" George thought he was talking to the stranger,but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a usedcoffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he got something in his belly,"George thought.George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. Itcranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage wherethe truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for somethingto do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the the blockhadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well,shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on."Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He tookthe snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new andhe wasn't going to drive the car anyway.As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside andbeside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding fromthe left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Please help me."George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he hadreceived in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention."Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company hadbeen there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used thoseand duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fixanythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease."Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills heused for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cupand gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going toget you an ambulance."The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on thatthere talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that abullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said theofficer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is stillin the area."George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man inthe Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandageto check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passedright through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. Ithink with time your gonna be right as rain."George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" heasked. "None for me," said the officer. "Oh, yer gonna drink this.Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughedand winced at the same time.The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with agun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. Hishand was shaking and George could tell that he had never doneanything like this before."That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer."Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put thecannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too.Now give me the cash!"The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George saidto the cop, "we got one too many in here now."He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve.If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got.Now put that pee shooter away."George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man,reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young manreleased his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry."I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy somethingfor my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due,my car got repossessed last week ..."George handed the gun to the cop. Son, we all get in a bit of squeezenow and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it throughthe best we can."He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair acrossfrom the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed theyoung man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things thatmakes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sitthere and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry Ishot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer.""Shut up and drink your coffee." the cop said.George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and anambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, gunsdrawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer."Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?""GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who didthis?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark.Just dropped his gun and ran."George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other."That guy work here?," the wounded cop continued. "Yep," George said,"just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The youngman leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, andthanks for everything.""Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought tosolve some of your problems."George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled outa ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don'tthink Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he eversaw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something toyou.""And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got mymemories. That's all I need."George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truckappeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for himto sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that theold man had handed him earlier."And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keepthat too," George said, "Now git home to your family."The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll behere in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good.""Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the dayafter."George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'dyou come from? I thought you left?""I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "Yousay you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?""Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all thebother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pinetree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the sameby myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby."The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebratethe holiday, George.You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry.The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a greatdoctor.The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from beingkilled by terrorists.The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and nottake any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keepit as good as any man."George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do youknow all this?" asked the old man."Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. Andwhen your days are done you will be with Martha again."The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, Ihave to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebrationplanned."George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that thestranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light beganto fill the room."You see, George ... it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord."..

Wednesday, December 14

GOD'S MAGIC

Hi Youse'all! It's been a while since I posted, but as some of you know, I have been fighting a VERY aggressive form of Prostate Cancer since the begining of July. Last evening my doctor called and told me that I had either killed the cancer outright or it was in Deep Remission. I asked him to repeat that news and he did. Instead of jumping for joy or doing cartwheels (never could do them, anyway) I just sat there numb and dumb. My doctor acutally had to call my name a few times before I recovered enough to talk. I told him thank you and that I felt, well, pleased for sure but someting else and didn't know what and couldn't explain it either. He said that MY choice of therapies had left me feeling ill, out of sorts, exhausted, nauseus, angry and over emotional for the last 6 months, that he had warned me it would make me feel that way, that we could go different, less "violent" way of treatment but I had insisted on this ugly painful course of treatment. Reminded him I said I wasn't going to lose this fight; that cancer had picked the wrong guy to fuck with. He laughed and said he remembered me saying that and he had told a group of other doctors what I'd said, and the consensus was that IF I really could endure this treatment, then cancer probably HAD picked a fight with the wrong guy.
Not 30 minutes after that call, I received an e-mail from an LGFer, someone who I've considered a friend but with whom I haven't really been in direct touch with recently, sent me, via e-mail, a truly uplifting and spiritual story (way too long to repeat here: suffice to say that in that story the Lord reveals himself at the very end and it's just - Words fail my ability to describe it). But I can say that although I read the story last night, I printed it out today and REALLY read it - and needed several tissues to finish it. When I told my Mom about being Cancer Free, it's as if I could FEEL an awful weight being lifted from her shoulders and she laughed, I mean really LAUGHED for the first time in I literally don't know how long. I then told her about the story and she insisted I read it to her, which I did (again, several tissues required) and my Mom said "God has touched you". I've always been sort of a casually religious guy, even after the cancer was discovered. Oh I pray from time to time, but I don't go to church, I'm not swearing off swearing or anything, but today I FEEL more religious, maybe more dedicated. And I honestly believe that my LGF friend, who sent me that uplifting story less than 30 minutes after the doctor gave me the news, BEFORE ANYONE ELSE KNEW that I was cancer free, was, in fact, God's Messinger. Sort of telling me that I may be a tough son of a gun, but HE'S the reason I beat cancer; the way I've chosen to live my life is why HE intervened. He said it happens many more times than most folk think and can happen repeatedly, depending on how you actually live your life, conduct yourself with others, God's there for you.

100 years ago in America

I got this in an email today.

Here are some of the U.S. statistics for the year 1905:

The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven
dollars.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads
in the U.S.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more
heavily populated than California.


With a mere 1.4 million people, California was only the 21st
most populous state in the Union.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents per hour.

The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year,
a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and
$4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per
year.

More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at
home.

Ninety percent of all U.S. doctors had no college education.
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of
which were condemned in the press and by the government as
"substandard."

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women washed their hair only once a month, and they
used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from
entering into their country for any reason.


Five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New
Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union
yet.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been
invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two out of every ten U.S. adults couldn't read or write.

Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high
school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the
counter at the local corner drugstores.

Back then a pharmacist said, "Heroin clears the complexion,
gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and
bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one
full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.

Tuesday, December 13

Let's Go Do This Thing


This is the time of the assassins in the Arab world. On Monday they killed a brave Lebanese journalist who dared to tell the truth about Syria. This week in Iraq they will try to kill people who want to vote. They kill wives to intimidate their husbands. They kill children to frighten their parents into silence. Their power is the ability to create raw fear.

The shame for America isn't that we have tried to topple the rule of the assassins but that we have so far been unsuccessful. We thought we were cracking the old web of terror when America invaded Iraq in 2003, but it's still there, in the shadows of the shadows. George W. Bush gets a lot of things wrong, but he knows that he's fighting the assassins. On days like these, I'm glad that he is such a stubborn man.

Indeed. What is said here has been said at LGF and other blogs for years. W's done what we can with conventional weapons. And, while it has been more successful than the MSM dare admit, we haven't accomplished the mission.

We also have left all the really heavy weapons in the closet. Time to take them out and use them.

People like the Tuenis who refuse to be intimidated should inspire the rest of us. So should the millions of Iraqis who will vote tomorrow. They are trying to break the culture of intimidation and death. Americans should feel proud to be on their side.

And on Thursday, we should back them with everything we have.

If Syria or Iran attempt to interfere, we should destroy Damascus or Tehran respectively. They've decided they want to play in the Armageddon League.

Time we played hardball with them.

Monday, December 12

Yes, Virgina, There Are Moderate Muslims

This is good news:

Jakarta, December 9: Volunteers from Indonesia's largest Islamic organisation will guard churches across the world's most populous Muslim nation on Christmas amid fears of terrorist attacks on those places, the group said on Friday.

Jakarta police have said they would boost security in the capital ahead of Christmas to avoid a repeat of 2000 Christmas Eve bombings on churches in several Indonesian cities, including in the country's capital.

A youth wing affiliated with Indonesia's largest Muslim group Nahdlatul Ulama, some 40 million strong, said that members would guard churches for the coming Christmas festivities and it had persuaded youths from other religions to join the project.

"We have an annual programme to set up posts to secure Christmas. For this year, I have contacted groups from other religions like the Hindus and Buddhists and they have responded positively," said Tatang Hidayat, National Coordinator of NU's Banser group, known for its military-like uniform.

Hidayat said the volunteers would closely collaborate with existing police operations and the churches' own security.

If it is as reported, this is a very good thing.

In more encouraging news:

FALLUJA/RAMADI Iraq (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein loyalists who violently opposed January elections have made an about-face as Thursday's polls near, urging fellow Sunni Arabs to vote and warning al Qaeda militants not to attack. In a move unthinkable in the bloody run-up to the last election, guerrillas in the western insurgent heartland of Anbar province say they are even prepared to protect voting stations from fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Graffiti calling for holy war is now hard to find.

Instead, election campaign posters dominate buildings in the rebel strongholds of Ramadi and nearby Falluja, where Sunnis staged a boycott or were too scared to vote last time around.

"We want to see a nationalist government that will have a balance of interests. So our Sunni brothers will be safe when they vote," said Falluja resident Ali Mahmoud, a former army officer and rocket specialist under Saddam's Baath party.

"Sunnis should vote to make political gains. We have sent leaflets telling al Qaeda that they will face us if they attack voters."

And Howard the Dick, Mothra, and John Kerry say we are losing? Saddam Loyalists are more on the side of America in Iraq that the leadership of the Democratic Party. It is disgusting. When will the rank-and-file wake up?

Or does Howard Dean really represent the views of the rank-and-file Democrats? That is truly frightening to consider.

OSINT

Thank you to The Politics of CP for allowing me to repost this article here.

OSINT

As I began posting information related to Jamaat ul-Fuqra, I posted a disclaimer noting that my information was being gathered from open sources. I said that not only did bloggers have power to inform as citizen journalists, but to become a better informed citizenry themselves. In addition to that, I said that bloggers who post information, including investigative research, in an open source venue could serve as “virtual tipsters” or informants because the government -- while its investigative abilities are vast -- is not omnipresent and all-knowing.

I wanted to write this post to further discuss the value, uses, opinions, history, future and sources related to open source intelligence.

A number of disciplines comprise the information used by the intelligence community. They include ELINT (Electronic Intelligence), SIGINT (Signals Intelligence), COMINT (Communications Intelligence), MASINT (Measurements & Signatures Intelligence), IMINT (Imagery Intelligence), HUMINT (Human Intelligence), and OSINT (Open Source Intelligence). Agencies employ analysts in each of these fields as well as all-source analysts who help put the puzzle pieces together.

OSINT actually accounts for a large majority of the information that is collected (some say 80-90%), but it receives a miniscule amount of the funding (as little as 1% according to one source).

The 9/11 Commission recommended in its report that the CIA should create a new division or “Open Source Agency” that would report to the Director for National Intelligence.

On November 8, 2005, they announced just that, and the birth of The DNI Open Source Center took place. Pajamas Media covered the story here. The Department of Defense is also stepping up its domestic surveillance activities, which does make sense when you consider that there are foreign supported organizations (like JF) operating here.

It is imperative that the value of open source information be properly recognized.

China has recognized this and even published a book on how to exploit available scientific and technical information. A review of the document by the (U.S.) National Counterintelligence Executive had this to say, “One of the most startling revelations in Sources and Techniques is the extent to which the Chinese military and defense industries rely on open-source information, particularly US and British, for weapons modernization.”

We also know from daily news reports that that terrorist groups use the internet to communicate in chat rooms and message boards, and to post information about their activities, etc. This is open source information that can be exploited.

The GWOT is changing the way intelligence agencies do business. Many of the traditional sources and covert collection methods still work, but they must be accompanied and complimented by new sources and methods.

Consider newspapers. The average citizen can sit in their living room and read online newspapers from Singapore to Zimbabwe. That would have been impossible 20 years ago.

Also, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is becoming more common. People are using openly available mapping and imagery to display information. Some software that has been around for years requires a little more technical skill to fully utilize. Google Earth is among one of the most recent and more simple to use programs. With its features download placemark and datalink files created by other users, you can find everything from historical stormtracks of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico to live traffic cams in Germany.

Now, with the emergence of bloggers, a new component is added to the mix. A distributed network of observers, citizens, researchers, professionals, academics, dissidents, soldiers, engineers, photographers, and so on can openly report information from anywhere in the world. This can only be advantageous to the intelligence community.

Fellow blogger New Victorian put it this way:

...the next great intelligence network is the blogosphere. Millions of people, distributed all over the world, sharing information rapidly at little or no cost, putting the bits they know and hear together to form new patterns, to notice things that seem out of place.


Just yesterday, the RAND Corporation published a report on “State and Local Intelligence in the War on Terrorism." The abstract: “Examines how state and local law enforcement agencies conducted and supported counterterrorism intelligence activities after 9/11. The report analyzes data from a 2002 survey of law enforcement preparedness in the context of intelligence, shows how eight local law enforcement agencies handle intelligence operations, and suggests ways that the job of gathering and analyzing intelligence might best be shared among federal, state, and local agencies.”

I searched the report to see how open source information played into all this. Page 65 says this:

Internet searches are an important source of information for local police, and they are conducted frequently (62 percent of the local law enforcement agencies surveyed reported using the internet as an information source). The utility of the FBI weekly intelligence bulletin is less certain. [9] It is used frequently but is considered less useful by some. One respondent indicated that the information is less helpful when it is not specific to a region, [10] and another that it is useful but mostly repetitive.


“Open” sources of information are used extensively by local police organizations. As one respondent explained,

About 70–80 percent of our intelligence comes from open sources—those open to the public—such as the newspaper, media, internet, public, and community. The media spends billions of dollars on information gathering. The remaining 20–30 percent comes from undercover surveillance, informants, and federal databases (which are developed from operations). Reasonable suspicion must still exist to review open sources—we can’t just review them willy-nilly. CNN is a good source because the information is often correct, unlike other stories. All information must be verified. The internet is a source that was not previously used until about five years ago. [11]

You can download the full report here.

In an article, written earlier this year by Stephen C. Mercado of the CIA, entitled, "Reexamining the Distinction Between Open Information and Secrets", Mercado states (emphasis added):

"We need to rethink the distinction between open sources and secrets. Too many policymakers and intelligence officers mistake secrecy for intelligence and assume that information covertly acquired is superior to that obtained openly. Yet, the distinction between overt and covert sources is less clear than such thinking suggests. Open sources often equal or surpass classified information in monitoring and analyzing such pressing problems as terrorism, proliferation, and counterintelligence. Slighting open source intelligence (OSINT) for secrets, obtained at far greater expense when available at all, is no way to run an intelligence community. Also, we must put to rest the notion that the private sector is the preferred OSINT agent. In the end, I would contend, the Intelligence Community (IC) needs to assign greater resources to open sources."


As for his comment regarding the "notion that the private sector is the preferred OSINT agent," I make no claims of advantage over intelligence professionals. My goal, especially with regard to the information I've published on Jamaat ul-Fuqra, is to simply report what I've found out and disseminate that with the knowledge that fellow citizens AND government professionals may read it. And, having monitored recent traffic to this blog, I can attest, government professionals are reading it.

In conclusion, I have listed some additional reading material that may be of use to readers (and fellow bloggers) interested in open source intelligence.

Additional reading:

Review Essay. Richard S. Friedman. "Open Source Intelligence," PARAMETERS, US Army War College Quarterly, Summer 1998, pp. 159-165.

Article. Stephen C. Mercado. "Open–Source Intelligence From the Airwaves: FBIS Against the Axis, 1941-1945," Studies in Intelligence, Fall-Winter 2001. Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA.

Article. Stephen C. Mercado. "A Venerable Source in a New Era: Sailing the Sea of OSINT in the Information Age." Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 48, No. 3, 2004. Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA.

Article. Herman L. Croom. "The Exploitation of Foreign Open Sources." Studies in Intelligence, Summer 1969.

NATO Open Source Intelligence Handbook (PDF via OSS.net)
NATO Open Source Intelligence Reader (PDF via OSS.net)
NATO Intelligence Exploitation of the Internet (PDF via OSS.net)

OSS.net

Global Voices

Pajamas Media

posted by PoliticalCP Friday, December 09, 2005

VIRUS ALERT!!! Osama Ben Ladin Found Hanged/Killed

Folks, as much as we'd all like to see pics of this, beware.

"Osama bin Laden Captured" isn't a virus in itself; it's the text of a message that includes a link to a file called EXPLOIT.EXE. When a message recipient clicks on this link to view what he thinks are pictures of Osama bin Laden's capture, he can end up downloading an executable Trojan known as Backdoor-AZU, BKDR_LARSLP.A, Download.Trojan, TrojanProxy.Win32.Small.b,or Win32.Slarp. Clicking the embedded link in the "Osama bin Laden Captured" message auto-executes a file called "EXPLOIT.EXE," which exploits a known security hole to download the Trojan.

According to McAfee Security:

The Trojan opens a random port on the victim's machine. It sends the Port information to a webpage at IP address 66.139.77.145. The Trojan listens on the open port for instructions and redirects traffic to other IP addresses. Spammers and hackers can take advantage of compromised systems by using the infected computer as a middleman, allowing them to pass information through it and remain anonymous.



If you receive this e-mail, don't open the attachement, just delete the e-mail.

Also, Instant Messaging clients are not safe from spreading virii.

New Virus Spreads by Chatting with You

Instant-messaging users beware. A new strain of pernicious messaging bots attacking the AOL (NYSE: AOL - news) instant-messenger network gives users the sense that they are chatting with a buddy when in fact they are being infected with a virus.

IMlogic, a company specializing in instant-messaging security, has issued a warning about the new IM.Myspace04.AIM worm.

The worm sends out messages that read "look at my new picture" or "why are you trying to send me a file?" Following these messages, you are sent a hyperlink to the uploadsend.com domain, a free file-hosting site, to dupe you into downloading and installing the file.

Sunday, December 11

We Are Winning This War

Don't expect to see this on ABC, NBC, SeeBS, etc:

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Osama bin Laden's deputy, in a new tape that surfaced Sunday, urged all Muslims to take up arms and said their refusal to join the fight against "the Cross and Zionism" was a "malignant illness" that would only lead to the defeat of militant Islam.

Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahri said the global Islamic community had "no hope for victory" until all Muslims signed on to the al-Qaida-led jihad.

"As long as this malignant illness continues to survive within us, there is no hope for victory and there can only be more defeats, tragedies, disasters and betrayals," al-Zawahri said.

There are a number of things to note in this passage. Number one is that, contrary to Howard Dean's fondest wishes, America has not been defeated in Iraq, al Qaeda has. Or is in the process of being defeated.

Howard Dean has more confidence in the Jihad than the senior leaders of al Qaeda. Think about it. al-Zawahri says we are winning. That, unless all Muslims step up to the fight, "...there is no hope for victory and there can only be more defeats, tragedies, disasters and betrayals..."

Even as Howard Dean tries to hearten the enemy, and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the enemy admits they are on the ropes. The fight is not decided, though.

"The key to victory is in our hands, and in turn, the primary cause of defeat is in ourselves," said al-Zawahri about the Jihad. Indeed, that is the case for the United States.

We can either listen to the Democrats and lie down and die, or we can finish this thing and win. Contrast Howard Dean and al-Zawahri. We are winning, so Dean wants to decalre defeat, and encourage us to give up. al-Zawahri sees that we are winning, and tries to encourage the Muslims to fight harder so that they can defeat us.

It almost sounds like Dean and al Zawahri are on the same side, doesn't it?

And note that the fight is against "the Cross and Zionism", i.e. Christians and Jews. It has nothing to do with oil or imperialism. It is about who we are.

Al-Zawahri is wrong about what will happen if the rest of the Muslims join him. That will simply get more Muslims killed. We are winning. And we will win unless we listen to our domestic enemies in the Democratic Party and surrender.

Dungeons and Dragons

Somebody sent me this quiz.
I am pretty much a D&D head--sometimes my older brothers would let me play. When i wasn't having to be GI Jane or Teela. I can say this now, man, i hated Teela! And that goodie goodie Sorceress too! I always wanted to be Evilyn. ;)
So, i don't know if this is strictly correct.
I am--

You Are A:
Neutral Good Elf Fighter Bard
Follower Of Lathander


Alignment:Neutral Good characters believe in the power of good above all else. They will work to make the world a better place, and will do whatever is necessary to bring that about, whether it goes for or against whatever is considered 'normal'.

Race:Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:Fighters are the warriors. They use weapons to accomplish their goals. This isn't to say that they aren't intelligent, but that they do, in fact, believe that violence is frequently the answer.

Secondary Class:Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Deity: Lathander is the Neutral Good god of spring, dawn, birth, and renewal. His followers believe in new beginnings, and work for the betterment of all. They have no preferred weapon, but they typically wear plate mail and a shield, with red and yellow tinting. Lathander's symbol is rosy pink disk, typically cut from rose quartz.

Saturday, December 10

Munich Through a Glass, and Darkly

I have no apologies to make for writing about a film that I have not seen. It is not possible for me to have seen it, as it is not yet in the theaters. Nevertheless it is already creeping into the cultural bloodstream to do its work, for good or ill. The reviewers are already telling us how we are supposed to feel about it. The members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are no doubt getting their pointy heads greased in preparation for the great Awards ritual - the only institution in America that Hollywood hasn't draped with its spit. And the people who are in charge of Steven Spielberg's reputation (I estimate that they number no less than 250, not counting the file clerks) are spinning, spinning, spinning behind the scenes, like so many busy little spiders.

So the tentacles are already creeping around our throats even as I write this, and I see no reason why I should stand still for it just because I haven't yet paid for the privilege of going into a theater and seeing everything that I love, respect, and revere dragged through pig shit by a bunch of cretins. Now maybe that won't happen, but before it does, I am here to state exactly how much crap I am willing to take from the great Steven Spielberg on this particular occasion, and how important the subject of Munich 1972 is to me. That being the subject which he and his associates have chosen to represent on the big boob-screen.

I will admit to having been a Steven Spielberg fan since my rug-monkey days, when I saw his very first film: the made-for-television classic Duel. I saw this film again not long ago and I was surprised to find that it was really as good as I remembered it from my childhood. Like Moby Dick, it has a kind of straight-to-the-gut symbolism that can symbolize anything you like. I was also greatly impressed by Saving Private Ryan, in spite of the feeble story line. It's the only movie I've ever gone to see in a theater twice.

In fact, I engaged in extensive on-line discussion of Ryan on AOL, and I know for a fact that Steven Spielberg read one of my posts, because it appeared in Dreamworks' book Now You Know. [Steven, if you should ever happen to read this post - perhaps having had it forwarded to you by one of your attorneys - let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on whatever cunning maneuvers it took to get a perfect shot of Karen Allen's pubic plumage into Raiders of the Lost Ark. Think of the happiness you brought to children all over the world. If you were standing right in front of me now, I would hug you just for that.]

I was not so impressed by AI, which is like an indoctrination film for Bladerunners. It definitely made me want to shoot robots. But enough about my appreciation of Spielberg, which is, in a word, mixed. Mixed with childhood memories and Karen Allen's pubic hair, among other things.

It's very typical that I should have vivid memories of a Spielberg film I saw as a child, while I cannot remember exactly when the real-life tragedy of Munich crept into my awareness. But I recall talking about it with several of my friends at school, as if it were something that had happened in our own town. It was long after the event, because the surviving perpetrators had already been set free. That was, to us, somehow worse than the murderous deed itself. In fact, it was because of the release that the deaths of those Israeli athletes were magnified so that they affected us as if we had known them.

This was something that we discussed among ourselves, as small boys discuss things. I don't recall any adult, any teacher or parent, commenting on the tragedy. That's why the enormity of it loomed so large to us. Children have an acute sense of injustice that adults learn to give up. Adults put things into "perspective"; they economize on their feelings and spare less of them for the people on the other side of the world. Those murdered Israelis were certainly nothing to do with us, as adults would understand it. I didn't know any Jews except for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - and, of course, the King of Kings. Israel I knew only from Sunday School. Israel was where all the heavy stuff went down, back in the olden days. I didn't even know that country was still around.

We didn't need to know any of those things, and it was just as well we didn't know. With no "perspective" to dull it down, we faced the awful spectacle of a murder in which the murderers were celebrated as heroes while the world stood idly by. That made the crime not only immediate, but personal. It was a personal attack on our fundamental understanding of right and wrong, a crime against our entire universe. And we instinctively, inescapably understood something that adult minds might have dismissed: We understood that those terrorists would gladly kill our own mothers and fathers, and we knew how we would feel if someone was celebrated as a hero for doing exactly that. While the grown-up world stood by and let it happen.

Any effort by Israel to redress this situation would have meet with our complete approval. In fact, we would have regarded it as a personal vindication, just as the crime of Munich was personal. It would have set our own world right, and to a child the idea that the world is not right is truly terrifying. The idea that adults (who supposedly run things) don't give a damn is even worse. Vengeance may be inferior to justice, but it is infinitely superior to no justice at all.

So this is how I understood Munich as a child. What superior understanding does adult experience bring? In particular, the allegedly adult understanding of scriptwriter Tony Kushner, who recently said of New Orleans: "It’s the America the Republican Party has been working hard to establish over the last 30 years: no infrastructure, no social safety net, everybody carrying a gun." Perhaps having felt that he was displaying an insufficient degree of moral idiocy to qualify as an Academy Award-winning scriptwriter, he added: "The South for 30 years has been voting to protect the rights of the unborn rather than voting to build levees."

Kushner's views on Israel are equally fashionable among the Spinal Tap intellectuals who inhabit the Land of Tinsel and Illicit Substances. And those who go to see his plays, which are proof that English-language theater is deader than Eugene O'Neill's balls. On the subject of Israel, there is not enough room to do Kushner the injustice he deserves.

This is the individual that Steven Spielberg has stuffed with cash and turned loose on a profoundly formative event of my life. This arrogant bag of gas with the intelligence of a Donald Duck Pez Dispenser will now stomp through a moral minefield of my youth in his Size Twelves, giggling all the way. This glutton at the slop-trough of Leftist Dribblethink is going to tell the whole world what to think about Munich. The Munich that happened to me, all those years ago, and changed me in ways that I can only half-remember now. If it loomed so large to the boy that I was then, I can only imagine how deep are the scars of those who knew and loved the slain athletes. And the scars of their nation, which suffered not only their loss but the most bitter mockery imaginable, in the face of the entire world.

You'd think this wounded memory would be treated with some respect. Not with a Hollywood lecture on how to acquiesce in the face of evil, by telling ourselves we had it coming. Surely the great Steven Spielberg is not going to do that to us, after all we've done for him.

Friday, December 9

The Roe Effect


Roe v. Wade is a study in unanticipated consequences. By establishing a constitutional right to abortion, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court no doubt thought they were settling the issue for good, accelerating a process of liberalization that was already under way in 1973. But instead of consensus, the result was polarization. The issue of abortion soon after, and for the first time, took a prominent place in national political campaigns. By 1980, both major political parties had adopted extreme positions--Republicans favoring a "pro-life" constitutional amendment to ban abortion, and Democrats opposing virtually all regulation on "pro-choice" grounds. Every presidential and vice-presidential nominee since then has toed the party line on abortion.

Polarization over abortion coincided with a period of Republican ascendancy. Since the parties split on abortion, the GOP has won five of seven presidential elections, and no Democrat has had a majority of the popular vote. Republicans took over the Senate in 1980, and both houses of Congress in 1994. Obviously, many other factors have contributed to Republican success, but it is hard to look at these results and conclude that abortion has been a winning issue for the Democrats. Thus, the politics of abortion has favored the party that opposes the court-imposed "consensus."

This is not to say that America has embraced the near-absolutist pro-life position that the Republican Party formally endorses. Most Americans are moderate or ambivalent on abortion, rejecting the extreme positions on either side. One reason Republicans have an advantage is that as long as Roe remains in effect--taking off the table any restriction that imposes an "undue burden" on a woman seeking to abort her pregnancy--Republicans are an extreme antiabortion party only in theory. When it comes to actual legislation, the GOP favors only modest--and popular--regulations. The Democrats, on the other hand, must defend such unpopular practices as partial-birth abortion, taxpayer-subsidized abortion, and abortions for 13-year-olds without their parents' knowledge.

Compounding the GOP advantage is what I call the Roe effect. It is a statement of fact, not a moral judgment, to observe that every pregnancy aborted today results in one fewer eligible voter 18 years from now. More than 40 million legal abortions have occurred in the United States since 1973, and these are not randomly distributed across the population. Black women, for example, have a higher abortion ratio (percentage of pregnancies aborted) than Hispanic women, whose abortion ratio in turn is higher than that of non-Hispanic whites. Since blacks vote Democratic in far greater proportions than Hispanics, and whites are more Republican than Hispanics or blacks, ethnic disparities in abortion ratios would be sufficient to give the GOP a significant boost--surely enough to account for George W. Bush's razor-thin Florida victory in 2000.
The Roe effect, however, refers specifically to the nexus between the practice of abortion and the politics of abortion. It seems self-evident that pro-choice women are more likely to have abortions than pro-life ones, and common sense suggests that children tend to gravitate toward their parents' values. This would seem to ensure that Americans born after Roe v. Wade have a greater propensity to vote for the pro-life party--that is, Republican--than they otherwise would have.

As they say, read the whole thing. The Roe Effect is the most persuasive arguement I've seen for not only keeping abortion legal, but even allowing State funding.

They're killing off their next generation voluntarily. We don't need to "round 'em up and shoot 'em", just let them live according to their principles, and let nature take its course. Were I the kid of some of these radical pro-abortion types, I'd have to wonder how many brothers and sisters I never met.

That might well weigh on the individual's mind as well when they came of voting age. Yet another manifestation of the Roe Effect.

Anybody Seen This?




Breaking News from Wiki.


Anyone think this is gonna "fly"?

Mcgyver, out

Thursday, December 8

We Must Lose At All Costs



Saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years. . . .

"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening."


I've made a number of posts over the last few weeks pointing out that compared to every other war America has fought, with the exceptions of the First Gulf War and Afghanistan, Iraq has been a massive success. In raw numbers (let alone percentages of those committed), Iraq compares favorably to all other wars America has fought.

So Howard Dean decides to unilatterally declare defeat.

Because we've really lost? Can he really believe that we have lost? No. You see, victory for America doesn't help the Democrats politically. Admitting that our troops are winning an amazing victory doesn't help the Democratic Party politically.

So they want us to lose. And they are doing what they can to help make it happen. It isn't just Howard Dean, either. Check this out:

Kerry: Let me--I--first of all, there is so much more that unites Democrats than divides us. And Democrats have much more in common with each other than they do with George Bush's policy right now. Now Joe Lieberman, I believe, also voted for the resolution which said the president needs to make more clear what he's doing and set out benchmarks, and that the policy hasn't been working. We all believe him when you say, 'Stay the course.' That's the president's policy, which hasn't been changing, which is a policy of failure. I don't agree with that. But I think what we need to do is recognize what we all agree on, which is you've got to begin to set benchmarks for accomplishment. You've got to begin to transfer authority to the Iraqis.

And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not--

link

According to Kerry, our troops are the terrorists. No word if he agrees with Michale Moore that the real terrorists are really the "Minute Men".

The point is that when you start giving the enemy encouragement, you tread perilously close to treason, and the Democratic leadership, with a few exceptions are walking very close to that edge. they may or may not be traitors, but it is rank hippocrasy for people who want their country to lose the war to try and pass themselves off as patriots.

Howard Dean is no patriot. And he is the man the Democrats have chosen to represent their party.

Draw from that what conclusions you will.
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