Saturday, May 29, 2004
Unlike a "Web-site", a "blog" generally only has one page. Therefore, if you don't see what you are looking for right away, Scroll Down! If you still don't see it, check the archives, (although most search engines will get the time frame right, you still may have to scroll to find it). If you STILL don't see it, it may have been deleted by the blog owner. Hope this is helpful to new searchers!
On Another Note
As you may have noticed, my blogging has dropped off a cliff. The good news is that the job goes well and will afford me the luxury of dedicating some serious time to this endeavor at some point in the future. Hang in there, I have a lot of things planned! I just hope they're still relevant when I have the time to post them.
Revenge is soooooooooo sweet! Four years ago the New Jersey Devils overcame a three games to one deficit to rally and beat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Play-offs.
Saturday, amidst much speculation by the media that New Jersey could repeat and once again overcome being down three games to one, Danny Markov blasted a slapshot past Devil's Goalie, Martin Brodeur and propelled the Philadelphia Flyers to round two, exorcising the Ghosts of Season's Past and sending the New Jersey Devil's to the golf course in the First Round.
It has just been reported that New Jersey Devil's Coach, Pat Burns, who missed two practices last week for unknown reasons, has colon cancer. I am sure that I am joined by All Flyer's Fans and fans of Hockey everywhere in wishing Pat and his family the best. Let's all hope for a speedy recovery.
Get well, Pat. We look forward to continuing the rivalry next year with you at the helm of the Devils.
:: how jedi are you? ::
From the looks of things in Iraq today, I may have been right, but, why would they have abandoned the battlefield? Could it be, as some have suggested, that in truth they hated Saddam so much they simply refused to fight for him? Perhaps.
I have another theory. After the shellacking they took in the First Gulf War maybe they knew they couldn't beat us in the conventional military sense, so why die in a fruitless effort to beat back the invading forces? Why not just go home, let the Coalition in, and bide your time waiting for the appropriate moment to strike. Is it just a coincidence that the simultaneous uprisings against Coalition Forces came a year to the day those same forces toppled the statue of Saddam? I'm not saying they loved their former leader, (the fact that he was captured dirty, disheveled, disgraced and alone in a rat hole is testament to the fact that many didn't), but they do love their country and it is looking to many Iraqi's like they have merely had one evil leader exchanged for another, the Coalition Provisional Authority.
The recent, coordinated "uprisings" have all the earmarkings of well planned, military operations. It seems the Iraqi's have finally decided to show up for the War.
I have deviated from my usual format of posting original material to provide two articles following this post, which I believe lend credence to my position. While I hate George Bush for getting us into this useless, baseless war, I support our fighting men and women who are bearing the brunt of Bush's Folly. I only hope that the United States moves quickly to involve the United Nations in a meaningful way and takes whatever steps are necessary to gain some real support from our former allies to set up a true democracy in Iraq and to ease the military burden we now shoulder the weight of. This would go far to save many American lives and illustrate to the Arab World that we are sincere in our efforts and not merely colonialists. This would also free up valuable military resources that could be better used in Afghanistan finishing the real job at hand, the elimination of Bin Laden and Al Queda.
A year after the fall of Baghdad, coalition forces are facing a spring surprise: a growing insurgency by Sunni and Shiite militias in several Iraqi cities. The violence has claimed the lives of at least 80 U.S. and allied troops since April 1. Compounding matters, Iraqi groups have begun kidnapping foreigners, including an American contractor. This scenario of Iraqis using guerrilla tactics against coalition forces is precisely what the U.S. feared most a year ago.
To read the Full Story see Op/Ed - USATODAY.com
Refugees tell of rising anger in Fallujah
A fragile, four-day cease-fire still in place as of Tuesday.
By Christina Asquith | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
BAGHDAD – With a US Apache helicopter hovering above, Kadher Fudella took her children and began to run. She did not stop until she reached the highway, along with scores of other refugees, flagging down cars headed to Baghdad.
"My children tried to run away and the helicopters chased them," says Ms. Fudella, breaking into tears. "Families were running through the streets.... Windows were broken, and many, many people were dead."
Read the Full Story at The Christian Science Monitor
While I do not for a minute believe that United States Marines are intentionally targeting civilians, I realize that in this instance what you or I think is not important. It is what the Iraqi's think that matters here, and if they believe these reports then in their minds we are worse than Saddam Hussiem. (At least he was an Iraqi. We on the other hand are rapidly turning from "Liberators" to "Foriegn Occupiers and Oppressors".) Should this belief spread, and all indications are that this is happening, (in spite of George Bush's declarations to the contrary), we could face a nationwide insurrection we are ill-prepared to handle. Yet once again, Nero fiddles while Rome burns.
I do not have the words...
Fellow Marines who share my sorrow will know the second line of the couplet used in the title and understand. Other's who feel the loss should know that this is the price every Marine, every Soldier, Sailor or Air Force Pilot is willing to pay. Grieve not too long, but honor their sacrifice and cherish their memories.
The debt shall be repayed tenfold.
The Final Inspection
The Marine stood and faced his God
Which must always come to
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his
Step forward now, oh, Devil-Dog,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been
The Jarhead squared his shoulders... said, "No, Lord,
I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a
I've had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills just got too steep,
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
A silence fell all 'round the throne
Where Saints had
As the Marine waited quietly,
For the judgment of his
Step forward now, My Fine Marine,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk your post on Heaven's streets,
You've served your time in Hell.
-- Author Unknown
Friday, May 28, 2004
Mike the Marine will be on hiatus due to a reclassification of his primary MOS. (That means he is being trained for a different job. It also means that we won't be hearing much from him for a while.) Chelle has also decided to take a little time off from blogging and Mad Mikey is hinting around that, he too, may be away for a while.
On a positive note, Any Which Way has reached it's First Anniversay! Congrats to scroff and Ruthalla. While this may be AWW's First Anniversary, scroff's been dabbling in web-sites for some 7 years. Check it out.
As for deuddersun, the job goes well. The hours are long but the work is easy and fun. I've always believed that the folks you work with affect the task at hand. You can have the most challenging or miserable task to perform, yet, if your colleagues are into it with you and have the right attitude, the job becomes easier. On the other hand, the most simple chore becomes onerous if the folks working with you end up working against you. Happily, my job falls into the first category. I can't say much about the job, (we all sign a confidentiality agreement to protect the content of the film prior to theatrical release), other than it's tentatively entitled "The Interpreter" and stars Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman. I'm a big Kidman fan and can't wait to meet her!
Well, that's about it for now. I know it's light but I have to travel 4 hours north to visit the folks at the Homestead and I need to get moving. Besides, I just don't feel politically motivated this morning. I just want to chill and enjoy the ride into upstate New York. It's really beautiful there this time of year. I'll try to take some pics and post them when I get back.
'Til then, all my love to all my readers! Enjoy the weekend!
The Forums at Any Which Way are really starting to cook. Scroff & Ruthie also have some excellent articles posted dealing with Washington Whistle-blowing and the "missing" WMD's. Also a hearty welcome to new members, Nat & Stupid Liberal! (Yup, you read it right! BTW, you don't have to be a Lib to register there, everyone is welcome to register and post their opinions or articles. Anyone can post whatever they want in the Forums. Post whatever you want, but, if you flame you will be incinerated in turn, just a friendly warning!)
Okay, Mad Mikey at Mad Mikey's Blogspot is carrying the torch for the "Right" with posts dealing with Jennifer Garner's ad for the CIA and a piece on us lefty "moonbats" at a Pro/anti-Bush rally. He's also got a post on the Palestinians' use of children as "weapons". Interesting reading, check it out.
Mike the Marine at From The Halls To The Shores, has really been busy!
Work has crashed into my otherwise peaceful, serene existance! Now, many of you who work all the time may be saying, "So fucking what, crybaby, we do it all the time, so suck it up and keep on blogging!" While that may be true, please allow me to elucidate, ahem...
One of the reasons I seem to have so much time to post and torture those of you who have your own sites is because I ususally only work about 6 or 7 months of any given year. Okay, I hear ya, "Poor baby, ain't life tuff!" Nope, not really. To begin with, I love what I do and wouldn't want to do anything-else. It's the hours I work when I do work that eventually catch up to me and kick my poor old ass.
A typical day begins when the alarm goes off at 0300 hours, (for you civies, that's 3 a.m.) Let the dog out, put the coffee on, jump in the shower. Get dressed, drink coffee, let the dog in, hit the road at 0400 hours (4 a.m.). Drive 2 hours to the studio in New York City. Start work at 0630, (6:30 a.m.). Work till 1830 (6:30 p.m., sometimes longer, depending on the urgency), drive 3 hours (heavier traffic, takes longer. Ever seen midtown Manhatten at rush hour?) Arrive back home between 2000-2100 hours, (8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.) Eat, go to bed.
If I'm lucky, I do this 6 days a week.
Before you say, "Holy shit, poor deuddersun!", let me say this. I make a shitload of money for this minor inconvenience and it is this fact that allows me the other 5 or 6 months to play. I guess if I was a greedy bastard or had better stamina I could do this all year. (The fact is, I just burn out after about 6 months.)
So, it's Saturday, I didn't have to work and here I am, semi-trashed (tired, not drunk), and trying to catch up with what's been going on all week. I'll stop whining now and get on with the business of the blog!
The seducer of the night. You are the Faerie of
Darkness. You do things your own way. People
are toys to you, and you like to mold them to
do what you want. You have a lot of friends, or
a lot of people who consider you a friend(or a
lover). People are drawn to that wild smile of
yours, and your promise to allow them to enjoy
life. Ignoring the consequences... You live for
risks. Even if the risk is breaking someones
What's your inner Faerie?
brought to you by Quizilla
I have got to stop taking these Quizzes! Now, in addition to being The Master of The Universe and a self-centered womanizer, I find out that I'm some kind of Dark Fairy! (Does this mean I'm Gay? I always thought I was a Lesbian trapped in a man's body!)
Anyway, take the test yourself and see who your "Inner Fairie" is!
(Thanks to Chelle at Dare My Wild Heart from whom I stole this quiz!)
SYDNEY, Australia - Osama bin Laden's terror network claims to have bought ready-made nuclear weapons on the black market in central Asia, the biographer of al-Qaida's No. 2 leader was quoted as telling an Australian television station.
In an interview scheduled to be televised on Monday, Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir said Ayman al-Zawahri claimed that "smart briefcase bombs" were available on the black market.
It was not clear when the interview between Mir and al-Zawahri took place.
U.S. intelligence agencies have long believed that al-Qaida attempted to acquire a nuclear device on the black market, but say there is no evidence it was successful.
In the interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp. television, parts of which were released Sunday, Mir recalled telling al-Zawahri it was difficult to believe that al-Qaida had nuclear weapons when the terror network didn't have the equipment to maintain or use them.
"Dr Ayman al-Zawahri laughed and he said `Mr. Mir, if you have $30 million, go to the black market in central Asia, contact any disgruntled Soviet scientist, and a lot of ... smart briefcase bombs are available,'" Mir said in the interview.
"They have contacted us, we sent our people to Moscow, to Tashkent, to other central Asian states and they negotiated, and we purchased some suitcase bombs," Mir quoted al-Zawahri as saying.
Al-Qaida has never hidden its interest in acquiring nuclear weapons.
The U.S. federal indictment of bin Laden charges that as far back as 1992 he "and others known and unknown, made efforts to obtain the components of nuclear weapons."
Bin Laden, in a November 2001 interview with a Pakistani journalist, boasted having hidden such components "as a deterrent." And in 1998, a Russian nuclear weapons design expert was investigated for allegedly working with bin Laden's Taliban allies.
It was revealed last month that Pakistan's top nuclear scientist had sold sensitive equipment and nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, fueling fears the information could have also fallen into the hands of terrorists.
Earlier, Mir told Australian media that al-Zawahri also claimed to have visited Australia to recruit militants and collect funds.
"In those days, in early 1996, he was on a mission to organize his network all over the world," Mir was quoted as saying. "He told me he stopped for a while in Darwin (in northern Australia), he was ... looking for help and collecting funds."
Australia's Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the government could not rule out the possibility that al-Zawahri visited Australia in the 1990s under a different name.
"Under his own name or any known alias he hasn't traveled to Australia," Ruddock told reporters Saturday. "That doesn't mean to say that he may not have come under some other false documentation, or some other alias that's not known to us."
Mir describe al-Zawahri as "the real brain behind Osama bin Laden."
"He is the real strategist, Osama bin Laden is only a front man," Mir was quoted as saying during the interview. "I think he is more dangerous than bin Laden."
Al-Zawahri — an Egyptian surgeon — is believed to be hiding in the rugged region around the Pakistan-Afghan border where U.S. and Pakistani troops are conducting a major operation against Taliban and al-Qaida forces.
He is said to have played a leading role in orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Okay, here's my take on that.
Mssrs. Bin Laden & al-Zawahri:
While it is probable that you have somehow acquired tactical nuclear weapons, I must strongly caution you against using them at any time and in any way against the United States or her citizens.
While it appears that the tide of Puiblic Opinion here in the United States is turning against George Bush, do not be misled. No American President would tolerate an attack of that kind and retribution against the Islamic World would be swift, devestating and merciless. Even the Isalmic population here in the United States would be targeted for revenge by enraged, non-Muslim citizens.
Should such an attack occur, I can assure you that the United States would be mad enough to invade the entire Middle-East in an attempt to destroy you, and it is my humble opinion that we would succeed.
Therefore, it is in your best interests and the interests of the Islamic World to insure that no further attacks against the United States are made. While I personally think the invasion of Iraq was wrong, I supported the invasion of Afghanistan and I will support any future invasions that may arise as a result of another catastrophic attack on the United States, to the point of exterminating Islam, if necessary, to guarentee our safety.
In short, Mssrs. Bin Laden & al-Zawahri, if it comes down to "you" or "us", it will be "you" every time! To quote an old Italian cliche, "Fuck with the Bull, get the Horn".
Update: I realize that this topic could require a lot more room to comment on, therefore, if you feel the need to really state your case, either pro or con, please go to http://www.anywhichway.net/forum/viewtopic.php?forum=9&showtopic=455, as I have copied the entire post there along with comments. The reason for this is simple. Any Which Way offers far more flexibility for posters, no character limit, ample emoticons, etc. Don't worry, I'll still see what ya had to say and so will everyone-else. Welcome to the New Age of Inter-blog/site Connectivity, invented by who-else? deuddersun, Magister Mundi Sum! Go fer it!
You, however, are invited to comment away!
Terrorists – and freedom fighters?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Posted: March 17, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Between 1971 and 1973, he was commander of the Derry Brigade of the Provisional IRA, which fought gun battles with British soldiers in a war that would cost 320 lives.
Arrested in Donegal near a car loaded with 5,000 rounds of ammunition and 250 pounds of explosives, he was sentenced to six months by a court whose jurisdiction he denied, "I am a member of the Derry Brigade of the [IRA] and am very, very proud of it."
A Londonderry official called him "a cold-blooded ruthless terrorist [who] will weigh up the consequences of his actions only in terms of benefit to the IRA, regardless of the cost in human lives." Another said he was a "fanatic ... responsible for mass murder."
He himself has spoken of the "legal and moral right of the IRA to kill a British soldier at any time," and was once quoted: "Freedom can be gained only at the point of an IRA rifle, and I apologize to no one for saying that we support the freedom fighters of the IRA."
He is Martin McGuinness. And the same March 13 New York Times that carries the picture of millions of Spaniards protesting the murderous terror attack on the Madrid trains has a photo of McGuinness chatting amiably with John Kerry before McGuinness spoke at Harvard.
Is it then true that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter"? After all, many Irish consider McGuinness and his Sinn Fein comrade Gerry Adams – whom Bill Clinton invited to the White House for St. Patrick's Day – as freedom fighters in the tradition of the "martyrs" of the "Easter Rising" of 1916, celebrated by the poet W. B. Yeats.
As the president swears eternal war on terrorism, it is time to ask: Who is a terrorist? Exactly what is terrorism? Have we not ourselves sometimes breached our commitment "never to negotiate with terrorists"? Have we Americans also engaged in terrorism?
Terrorism has been defined as the murder or massacre of innocent men, women and children for political ends. In that sense, 9-11 qualifies, as do the Hamas bombings of buses in Jerusalem.
But looking back over the 20th century, no fewer than three Israeli prime ministers have been accused of terrorism: Menachem Begin, whose Irgun blew up the King David Hotel and carried out the massacre of Palestinian villagers in Deir Yassin in April of 1948. Yitzhak Shamir, head of the Stern Gang that murdered Edward Lord Moyne in Cairo in 1944 – enraging Churchill, who gave Moyne's eulogy – and assassinated U.N. mediator Count Bernadotte in Jerusalem in 1948.
Ariel Sharon, as head of Force 101, is accused of massacring scores of Palestinian villagers at Qibya in 1953 in a reprisal raid for the murder of an Israel woman and her children.
Nobel Prize winner Yasser Arafat has been charged in the cold-blooded assassination of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel in the Sudan in 1973. His PLO is an umbrella group embracing organizations for whom the weapon of choice in the war against Israel is terror.
Nelson Mandela, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, did not get life imprisonment on Robben Island for sitting in at lunch counters, but if memory serves, for plotting terror to overthrow the regime.
Jomo Kenyatta, the "Grand Old Man" of Africa in the 1960s, was the leader of the Mau Mau in the 1950s. Ahmed Ben Bella led Algeria's war of independence, in which terror was the insurgents' weapon and torture the counter-weapon of the French.
During Tet in 1968, the Viet Cong went through the city of Hue with hit lists, executing 3,000 civilians. Within months, America was negotiating "peace with honor" with the V.C. U.S. ties are now improving with Hanoi, where the body of Ho Chi Minh lies in state, as does that of Mao in Beijing and Lenin in Moscow. All three employed terror.
What is Nagasaki – the atomic bombing of a defenseless city of a defeated nation – other than an act of slaughter, killing 40,000 men, women and children in minutes to force Japan's warlords to submit to America's will?
But that was war, we say, and Japan was the aggressor. Does that also justify Dresden? Is air terror permissible in a just war if a nation can demonstrate it was the victim of aggression?
Saddam's Iraq did not threaten us, did not attack us, did not want war with us, did not have weapons of mass destruction. Yet, we attacked, invaded and occupied Iraq. And when Iraqis attack our troops, we call it terror and we call them terrorists.
Is terrorism, then, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder?
John Brown murdered men in Kansas in reprisal for the killing of Northerners and killed civilians in his raid on Harper's Ferry to ignite a slave revolt. Brown was hanged as a terrorist. Yet the 1920s epic poem on the Civil War written by Stephen Vincent Benet would be titled, "John Brown's Body." And the first lines of the fighting song of the Union army were: "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave, but his soul goes marching on. Glory, glory halleluiah.
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Or so it would seem.
Among other posts, he's got an interesting letter from a Spanish friend detailing the events leading up to the recent elections in Spain, (interesting insight from one who lives there), as well as a post outlining the Austrailian Government's attempt to confiscate it's citizens' swords! (You can't make this shit up, check it out!)
I realized that what I was watching was not a political statement. It was a reminder of what had happened and could well happen again. You can interpret it as you wish. For me, while I opposed the Invasion of Iraq, I was fully supportive of the Invasion of Afghanistan. I fully support any and all efforts to kill Bin Laden and his henchmen. I have questions about "our" priorities, targets, motives, etc. I have no questions concerning Bin Laden and Al Queda. They must be eliminated. They will be eliminated.
That said, I wish Godspeed to our Pakistani Allies, who at this moment may be closing the net on the Number 2 man in Bin Laden's Organization of Evil, Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahri. Whether or not al-Zawahri is there, one thing is certain, there will be some 400 fewer pieces of human garbage around to trouble the peace of the world when the day is done.
Be prepared for graphic images. Be prepared to shed tears. Be prepared to feel the flames of anger stir in your hearts. Be prepared to see this through to it's bloody conclusion, regardless of who occupies the White House.
I give you Blood of Heroes. Never Forget.
Thanks to S. A. Healy, who didn't forget, and reminded me.
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Scroff, at Any Which Way has a number of new posts to comment on. One deals with Kerry's comment that a number of "World Leaders" have unofficially endorsed his candidacy and another looks at the Medicare Debacle. In between is an article dealing with 9/11 and who knew what. He's still looking for folks to tell him why they will vote for GWB in the Forums. (Linked to here in an earlier post.)
The Mad One, at Mad Mikey's Blogspot ,(known to some as the Robot Space Monkey Overlord of California is still in the throes of the dreaded Final Exams and is seeking advice on the best way to cram for a Final. Help the guy out, willya?
Mike The Marine, at From The Halls To The Shores is waxing poetic and lamenting his verbosity! LOL! Mike is a good guy who suports his arguments logically without getting nasty, so please offer him the same courtesy.
Cait , at Caiterwauling, has a lot going on this week. She has introduced a new contributor to her site by the delightful name of Wierd Pixie, check her out. Cait also has a wonderfulyy amusing post dealing with cats, and the folks they represent (I'm Biker Dude LOL! ). Happy St. Pat's to you too, Cait.
Chelle, at Dare My Wild Heart, also has a lot going on. First up, an "Irish Lullaby" to ease us all into St. Patrick's Day, then one of the best rants I have ever heard against Mike, "The Weener" Savage. Also Chelle's review of "The Passion of The Christ".
Nat, at Turning Wheels has been occupied with her new family member, Marleau. She still has the link up to Terror in Israel, The Human Cost of Terror an excellent phot-essay illustrating the effects of "homicide-bombings" in Israel. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out. Again, I warn you it's graphic, but if you don't understand what those folks live through everyday, this will open your eyes.
That's about it for today. Gotta go shovel snow. Besides my Father want's his computer back for his day-trading and I'm outta here!
Happy St. Patrick's Day to All!!!!
If you disagree, tell me why, specifically, point by point, supported with facts. If you are incapable of doing that, go away quietly and nicely.
On NBC's Meet the Press with Tim Russert, President Bush said: "Any time you commit your troops into harm's way, they must have the best equipment, the best training, and the best possible pay. That's where we owe it to their loved ones." In war it's impossible to foresee and meet all needs. But when compared to the Bush Administration's blank check policy with Pentagon contractors, how can the failings listed below be explained?
Nearly 25 Percent of U.S. Troops Weren't Issued Appropriate Body Armor Due to Pentagon Oversight, Delays. It was reported in October 2003 that nearly one-quarter of the 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq still hadn't been issued a new type of ceramic body armor strong enough to stop bullets fired from assault rifles. Delays in funding, production and shipping meant it would be December before all troops in Iraq would have the vests. The military's Interceptor vests, introduced in 1999, include removable ceramic plates in the front and back that can stop bullets such as the 7.62mm rounds fired by Kalashnikov rifles common in Iraq and Afghanistan . [ Associated Press , 10/13/03 ]
Soldiers Paying $650 Out of Their Own Pockets to Buy Body Armor. An October 2003 House Appropriations Committee report on how poorly-equipped America's soldiers were noted that "the committee has learned that some active-duty soldiers and reservists are spending as much as $650 out of pocket to buy Interceptor Body Armor vests and Small Arms Protective Insert plates to replace the Vietnam-era flak vests issued when they arrive in Iraq." [ Defense Week , 10/14/03 ]
Many Soldiers Arriving in Kuwait Hadn't Been Issued Essential Combat Gear, Paid for Equipment Themselves. As was reported in Defense Week and many other publications, many soldiers arriving in Kuwait before the start of Iraqi Freedom had not been issued essential combat gear, from desert boots and hand-held Global Positioning System locators to extra pistol magazine and Camelback-style canteens. The troops often paid for such equipment out of pocket. [ Defense Week , 10/14/03 ]
Administration Failed to Provide Funds for Portable Radio-Frequency Jammers That Could Foil Attacks. An October 2003 House Appropriations Committee report noted the lack of portable radio-frequency jammers that can foil some kinds of command-detonated explosives. Army leaders have acknowledged that "improvised explosive devices," usually artillery shells, mortars or grenades rigged to detonate on roadways, were a major threat to U.S. forces. "The capability of currently fielded portable radio jammers does not provide effective defense against remotely detonated explosives being used increasingly against American soldiers," the report said. [www.house.gov; Defense Week , 10/14/03 ]
Soldiers Forced to Fly Helicopters Without Basic Missile Defense Systems. "So the whistle blowers were right," said a November 2003 Peoria Journal Star editorial titled "First-Class Soldiers Deserve First-Class Protection." "A Peoria-based Illinois National Guard unit got second-class equipment to protect itself in Iraq…Accounts differ as to why six of the 14 helicopters belonging to the 106 th Aviation Battalion flew all summer without the basic missile defense systems considered standard in regular Army choppers, or the more advanced systems that represent the new standard…If the Army intends the Guard members and reservists being called to duty to be treated like first-class soldiers, then it owes them first-class protection." [ Peoria Journal Star , 11/12/03 ]
CUTTING FUNDS FOR VETERANS
Bush Gives Veterans Administration $1.2 Billion Lees Than it Requested. In a rare move by a Cabinet member, Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi told a House Committee in February 2004 that he had sought $1.2 billion more than President Bush was willing to put in his budget. "I asked OMB for $1.2 billion more than I received," Principi said, referring to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Bush's $2.4 trillion budget sent to Congress on Monday proposes $65.3 billion for the agency, including a 1.8 percent increase in discretionary spending to $29.7 billion, which pays for veterans medical care. [ Associated Press , 2/4/04 ]
Veterans Groups Said Bush Budget Does Little for Veterans Medical Care. Veterans groups have been unhappy with the President's proposed budget for the Veterans agency, saying it provides little increase for medical care in an election year and at a time when the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have created a new generation of veterans in need of services. [ Associated Press , 2/4/04 ]
Bush Actively Opposed $1.3 Billion for Veterans Emergency Health Care Funding in FY04. In fall 2003, the Bush administration fought, unsuccessfully, in the end, a bid to add $1.3 billion in emergency health care funding for veterans in fiscal 2004. According to Steve Robertson, legislative director for the American Legion, many veterans were displeased that the administration's budget request would have raised the annual enrollment fee in veterans' medical facilities and increased their co-payments for pharmaceuticals and doctor visits. [ Charleston Daily Mail , 12/27/03 ]
Bush VA Spending Failed to Grow with Health Care Costs. Despite Bush's claims, "the annual percentage increase it requested for veterans' health care is 5.4 percent, hardly a windfall considering that the consumer price index for medical care was 13 percent during the fiscal year 2002. VA officials have testified that it would take a 13 to 14 percent hike in the VA's health care budget just to maintain the status quo." [ The Hill , Rep. Evans op/ed, 9/17/03 ]
Bush Proposed Doubling Costs of Prescription Drugs for Veterans. In 2003, Bush proposed increasing prescription drug costs for veterans. The Bush plan would have included a new $250 enrollment fee and a co-pay increase from $7 to $15 for veterans earning over $24,000. On July 21, 2003 , the House Appropriations Committee agreed to a Democratic amendment to reject the Bush fee increases and recoup the $264 million in costs by reducing administrative funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. [ Reuters , 7/14/03 ; Washington Post , 7/22/03 ]
Bush Decided to Cut Benefits for Middle-Income Veterans. On January 16, 2003 , the Bush Administration announced it would cut access to health care benefits for 160,000 middle-income veterans due to budget constraints. "On one hand, we're sending our sons and daughters out to war and possibly to die, yet on the other hand we're punishing a certain class of veterans who've made money in the lives. The government made a promise to us. What they're doing now is wrong." [ Associated Press , 1/16/03 ; The Daily Oklahoman , 1/18/03 ]
SERVICE MEMBERS AND FAMILIES FACE DEVASTATING CUTS UNDER BUSH
Pentagon Planned to Cut Pay of Troops Serving in Iraq and Afghanistan . In April 2003, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to increase pay for soldiers in imminent danger areas by 50 percent. The increase was the first to imminent-danger pay since the first Gulf War, and the first to families since 1997. The increases were temporary and set to expire at the end of the current fiscal year on September 30. Bush's Defense Department effectively decided "to cut the pay of its 148,000 U.S. troops in Iraq , who are already contending with guerilla-style attacks, homesickness and 120-degree plus heat" by opposing renewal of the pay raises. After criticism, the Pentagon announced that current salaries for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would not be cut, but such efforts may come at the expense of troops serving elsewhere. [ Knight-Ridder , 4/5/03 ; Los Angeles Times , 4/3/03 ; CQ , 4/16/03 ; San Francisco Chronicle , 8/14/03 ; Army Times , 8/13/03 ; 8/20/03 ]
Army Times Called the Pay Cuts "Maddening." The Army Times , an independent paper distributed to Army personnel, criticized Bush, saying, "The bottom line: If the Bush administration felt in April that conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan warranted increases in danger pay and family separation allowances, it cannot plausibly argue that the higher rates are not still warranted today." The Times said the Bush administration "undermined" support for the troops, and called the pay cuts "maddening." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called the Pentagon's plan "heartless" and "simply unacceptable." [ Army Times , 8/18/03 ; San Francisco Chronicle , 8/14/03 ; Atlanta Journal-Constitution , 8/15/03 ]
MISTREATMENT OF TROOPS IN IRAQ
Bush's FY2004 Budget Cuts Fund to Military Family Housing/Medical Facilities. Bush's FY'04 budget proposes a $1.5 billion reduction in funds to military family housing/medical facilities, amounting to a 14 percent cut. [Bush FY2004 Budget]
Army Investigating Complaints of Poor Treatment for Iraq Veterans. UPI learned that "hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks while they wait, sometimes for months, to see doctors. The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers' living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying to push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11, Veterans Day….One month after President Bush greeted soldiers at Fort Stewart…as heroes on their return from Iraq, approximately 600 sick or injured members of the Army Reserves and National Guard are warehoused in rows of spare, steamy and dark cement barracks in a sandy field, waiting for doctors to treat their wounds or illnesses." [ United Press International , 10/17/03 , 10/20/03 ]
Bush Administration Has Continued Delaying, Extending Troop Deployment Timetable. Troops were first told they'd be going home in May, then in early July, then late July, and then Rumsfeld said August. Then officials changed the story yet again, saying they could make no hard promises. Then the Pentagon announced for the first time since Vietnam , they might have to start serving back to back overseas tours of up to a year. And now the Pentagon acknowledges that the Untied States will have to provide the overwhelming majority of the occupying troops indefinitely. [ABC News, 7/16/03 ; USA Today , 8/24/03 ; New York Times , 10/27/03 ]
First, let me state that I respect their opinions because they served and more than anyone-else they are entitled to express their feelings on military matters. But! This is a double edged sword, it cuts both ways! As such, Sen. Kerry also earned the right to express his opinions. While it's true he was a co-founder of Viet Nam Veterans Against the War, I have no problem with that, he earned that right. I agreed with him then and I agree with him now. Viet Nam was a total waste of American lives and American money. What the Hell did we accomplish? You can't say we "lost" because we weren't there to "win". Since Viet Nam is officially listed as a "Police Action", not a "War", it wasn't our mission to "Win", but rather, "assist" the legitimate Government of South Viet Nam "resist" Communist efforts from within and the North to overthrow said "legitimate" Government.. You tell me, how'd we do?
Both my brother, Scroff, at Any Which Way, and I served in the United States Marine Corps and have had to endure being called "Un-patriotic" and "traitor" by some on the Right. These are the same people who have branded retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni "Un-patriotic" and a "Traitor". If I had to guess I would say that they are also the same people trying hard to cast aspersions on Senator John Kerry's record.
In an effort to get to the bottom of this controversy, I came across a post at Snopes dealing with the rumors flying around that Sen. Kerry's record is "fishy". Here are a few excerpts: (You can read the entire post at Snopes)
"This was written by a retired admiral and Annapolis graduate. The item offers no direct testimony about Kerry, but it does provide informed background useful in assessing what Kerry seems to have claimed for himself. It confirms information I have received from other sources.
Our media should be demanding that Senator Kerry open his service records in the same way they demanded that of President Bush regarding his NG service.
I was in the Delta shortly after he [Kerry] left. I know that area well. I know the operations he was involved in well. I know the tactics and the doctrine used. I know the equipment. Although I was attached to CTF-116 (PBRs) I spent a fair amount of time with CTF-115 (swift boats), Kerry's command.
Here are my problems and suspicions:
(1) Kerry was in-country less than four months and collected, a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three purple hearts...
(2) Three Purple Hearts, but no limp...
(3) The details of the event for which he was given the Silver Star make no sense at all...
Something is fishy."
Something certainly is fishy. Read on.
". . . two weeks after [Kerry] arrived in Vietnam, the swift boat mission changed — and Kerry went from having one of the safest assignments in the escalating conflict to one of the most dangerous. Under the newly launched Operation SEALORD, swift boats were charged with patrolling the narrow waterways of the Mekong Delta to draw fire and smoke out the enemy. Cruising inlets and coves and canals, swift boats were especially vulnerable targets....
... It was not at all unusual that a Swift boat crew member might be wounded more than once in a relatively short period of time, or that injuries meriting the award of a Purple Heart might not be serious enough to require time off from duty. According to a Boston Globe overview of John Kerry's Vietnam experience:
Under [Navy Admiral Elmo] Zumwalt's command, swift boats would aggressively engage the enemy. Zumwalt, who died in 2000, calculated in his autobiography that these men under his command had a 75 percent chance of being killed or wounded during a typical year....
"There were an awful lot of Purple Hearts — from shrapnel, some of those might have been M-40 grenades," said George Elliott, Kerry's commanding officer. "The Purple Hearts were coming down in boxes. Kerry, he had three Purple Hearts. None of them took him off duty. Not to belittle it, that was more the rule than the exception."
John Kerry was wounded in his first significant combat action, when he volunteered for a special mission on 2 December 1968...(Kerry)"We opened fire," he went on. "The light from the flares started to fade, the air was full of explosions. My M-16 jammed, and as I bent down in the boat to grab another gun, a stinging piece of heat socked into my arm and just seemed to burn like hell. By this time one of the sailors had started the engine and we ran by the beach, strafing it. Then it was quiet."
The "stinging piece of heat" Kerry felt in his arm had been caused by a piece of shrapnel, a wound for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. The injury was not serious — Brinkley notes that Kerry went on a regular Swift boat patrol the next day with a bandage on his arm, and the Boston Globe quoted William Schachte, who oversaw the mission and went on to become a rear admiral, as recalling that "It was not a very serious wound at all."
Kerry earned his second Purple Heart while returning from a PCF mission up the Bo De River on 20 February 1969...Brinkley noted that, as in the previous case, "Kerry's wound was not serious enough to require time off from duty."
Kerry earned his Silver Star on 28 February 1969, when he beached his craft and jumped off it with an M-16 rifle in hand to chase and shoot a guerrilla who was running into position to launch a B-40 rocket at Kerry's boat. Contrary to the account quoted above, Kerry did not shoot a "Charlie" who had "fired at the boat and missed," whose "rocket launcher was empty," and who was "already dead or dying" after being "knocked down with a .50 caliber round." Kerry's boat had been hit by a rocket fired by someone else — the guerrilla in question was still armed with a live B-40 and had only been clipped in the leg; when the guerrilla got up to run, Kerry assumed he was getting into position to launch a rocket and shot him...
Another member of the crew confirmed Kerry's account for the Boston Globe and expressed no doubt that Kerry's action had saved both the boat and its crew...The crewman with the best view of the action was Frederic Short, the man in the tub operating the twin guns. Short had not talked to Kerry for 34 years, until after he was recently contacted by a Globe reporter. Kerry said he had "totally forgotten" Short was on board that day...Short said there is "no doubt" that Kerry saved the boat and crew... Charles Gibson, who served on Kerry's boat that day because he was on a one-week indoctrination course, said Kerry's action was dangerous but necessary. "Every day you wake up and say, 'How the hell did we get out of that alive?'" Gibson said. "Kerry was a good leader. He knew what he was doing."
Kerry was injured yet again on 13 March 1969, in an action for which he was awarded both a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart. According to Kerry's Bronze Star citation (signed by Admiral Zumwalt himself):
Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry was serving as an Officer-in-Charge of Inshore Patrol Craft 94, one of five boats conducting a Sealords operation in the Bay Hap River. While exiting the river, a mine detonated under another Inshore Patrol Craft and almost simultaneously, another mine detonated wounding Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry in the right arm. In addition, all units began receiving small arms and automatic weapons fire from the river banks. When Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry discovered he had a man overboard, he returned upriver to assist. The man in the water was receiving sniper fire from both banks. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry directed his gunners to provide suppressing fire, while from an exposed position on the bow, his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his personal safety, he pulled the man aboard. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry then directed his boat to return to and assist the other damaged boat to safety. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry's calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
According to the Boston Globe, this was the only one of Kerry's three Purple Heart injuries that caused him to miss any days of service...
Now you may disagree with Kerry's actions after his service in the Navy, and that's your right, but his Record speaks for itself. His superior officers speak for him. His crew speaks for him. Has anybody yet come forward to verify that they served with GW Bush during his "missing months" in the Texas Air National Guard? (And before you accuse me of "Guard Bashing" anyone over 50 knows that service in the Guard during the Viet Nam Conflict in no way compares to serving in the Guard today.)
To read the entire Snopes post, go here.
Hopefully, this will help put to rest any questions regarding Sen. John Kerry's service to his country.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
To our Brothers & Sisters in the Navy, and all of the Armed Services of the United States,
The USS Midway (CVA-41) is now berthed at the Navy Pier at the foot of Broadway in downtown San Diego and is in the process of being converted into "The San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum" (SDACM). The opening date is targeted for the first week of June, 2004 to coincide with the anniversary of the Battle of Midway.
Midway fighters accounted for both the FIRST and the LAST air combat victories of the Vietnam War!
Therefore, the drive is underway to raise the required $40,000 necessary to authentically paint and prepare for display aboard Midway, an F-4 Phantom II in the colors and markings of The Freelancers of Fighter Squadron Twenty-One (VF-21) and The Chargers of Fighter Squadron One Six One (VF-161). The names of the "first & last" aviators listed above, will be placed on the canopy rails in the traditional manner. The names of all Midway Mig killers will be placed on the intake ramp of the aircraft.
Because this aircraft represents the Beginning through the End of air-to-air combat in Vietnam, it symbolically commemorates the combat operations conducted by all Navy Phantom squadrons, and salutes the courage and dedication of all Navy Phantom flyers and Phantom fixers of the Vietnam War.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
You may have noticed a button on the sidebar entitled "View My Photo Album". This is a free service provided by Bravenet. I subscribed because I wanted to post a few pics so readers could put a face to the words, so to speak. As it's a free account, I'm limited to 50 pictures, each of which cannot exceed 155kb. Most of my pics are waaaay bigger, like 400 or so. Therefore, before I can post any, I have to reconfig them to web-ready status. If you just can't wait, I already have several albums posted at Any Which Way in the Gallery.
Hope everyone is enjoying this fine weekend. Cya all later!
Anyway, two things caught my eye. The first is another Quiz from quizilla. Since I'm killing time waiting for boxing on HBO, I decided to take another Quiz. What the hell, couldn't turn out worse than deudder quiz I took.
Here's the results.
Magister Mundi sum!
"I am the Master of the Universe!"
You are full of yourself, but you're so cool you
probably deserve to be. Rock on.
Which Weird Latin Phrase Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Now do you finally unnerstan'? I am the Master of The Universe! Who needs elections! Somebody notify George Bush to vacate my new home, I'll be taking over in the morning!
Anyway, try it yourself. See what happens, maybe there's two of us!
The second thing that caught my eye is of a far more serious nature. As I think about it, it deserves a post of it's own, so bear with me until I write one. In the meantime, for those who can't wait, stop by Mike The Marine's and look for the post entitled, "One For The Navy"
Anyway, Rob in one post, is lamenting the fact that he took a Book Quiz and found out that he was the book, "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" when he would rather be "Dune". I try to console him by explaining, erroneously, that "Restaurant" is a great book and I would take it anyday. ("The Restaurant At The End of The Universe" is the final book in the "Hitchhiker" series, one of my all time favs.) "Restaurant" is a great book, but it wasn't the one selected for Rob. Anyway, now I'm hooked. I'm bored, it's hours before the Fights on HBO, so I decide to take the Quiz myself and see what happens.
This is what happened!
You're Love in the Time of Cholera!
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Like Odysseus in a work of Homer, you demonstrate undying loyalty by
sleeping with as many people as you possibly can. But in your heart you never give
consent! This creates a strange quandary of what love really means to you. On the
one hand, you've loved the same person your whole life, but on the other, your actions
barely speak to this fact. Whatever you do, stick to bottled water. The other stuff
could get you killed.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Well, when da44Magster read this youdda thought that shit was true! Now, I admit, there was a time in my life when that was me. Hell, I worked in Porn for a while back in the fast and furious '80's! My numbers for female "conquests" rank right up there with the legendary Wilt Chamberlain. BUT! No more! I've finally found a woman who is not only beautiful and puts up with me, but loves power tools and firearms, fights like a man and can drink me under the table! You think I'm gonna blow that?! Nooo way! Anyway, I invite YOU to step up to the plate and take the "Quiz"! I'd be interested in hearing how you made out. (You can check Rob out for yourself at Left & Right.)
The jobs crisis and the GOP
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Posted: March 10, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
President Bush and his advisers are puzzled and worried.
Economic liftoff took place right on schedule in July when the tax cuts took effect. In the last six months of 2003, the economy blazed along on a growth path of 6 percent. But where are the jobs?
Last week's jobs report, with hundreds of thousands giving up the search for work, and manufacturing jobs disappearing for the 43rd straight month, jolted the White House. What is going on?
They're calling it a jobless recovery. Wrong. Millions of jobs are being created. They're just not being created here in the United States.
The reasons can be traced to these four acronyms: NAFTA, GATT, WTO, PNTR. These are the trade treaties and global institutions that have permitted the historic substitution of foreign labor for American labor, to the enrichment of the transnational companies that look upon the Congress as a wholly owned subsidiary.
Numbers do not lie. In 2003, America exported $1 trillion in goods and services. Almost 10 percent of GDP. Excellent. By the Clinton-Bush I rule – $1 billion in exports creates 20,000 jobs – that $1 trillion worth of exports created 20 million jobs. Exports are good for America.
The problem? We imported $1.5 trillion in goods and services. That created or supported 30 million jobs abroad. But even this understates the case. For foreign workers can be hired at a fraction of the cost of a U.S. worker. Our $1.5 trillion in imports is probably supporting 150,000,000 jobs abroad.
The U.S. trade deficit is the greatest foreign aid and wealth transfer program in history, and our workers are paying for it by the loss to their families of the American Dream.
Consider China. With some $150 billion in imports from China last year, we supported 3 million jobs there. But as China's wages are a tenth of U.S. wages, or less, we are probably talking about 30 million or 40 million jobs in China that are tied to exports to the United States.
For the Bush Republicans, the chickens are coming home to roost.
As Robert Novak reports, North Carolina welcomed Sen. John Edwards home after his unsuccessful campaign as a hero. Why? At the end, Edwards was a fiery adversary of the Bush-Clinton trade deals, a denunciator of NAFTA, a champion of workers. Indeed, just as almost all the Democrats ended up the campaign sounding like Howard Dean on Iraq, on trade they had all begun to sound like Dennis Kucinich.
North Carolina may now be in play in November, says Novak. If so, and Bush loses the Tarheel State, he loses the presidency.
At a weekend conference on immigration and jobs hosted by The American Cause, which this writer chairs, one speaker blurted out that while he voted for Bush in 2000, he would never do so again. The room erupted in applause, though virtually all there were conservatives, and all had once been Goldwater-Nixon-Reagan Republicans.
The crisis of the Bush dynasty is that, like the Bourbons of France, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They do not understand that we have entered a new world where the old ways no longer work. They yet recite the old litanies that lost their relevance in the Reagan decade.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and India abandoned state socialism, and China threw open its doors, a billion workers were thrown onto a global job market to compete against Americans who earn 10 and 20 times their wages.
The trade deals the U.S. government then negotiated, at the behest of U.S. corporations, were not really trade deals at all, but enabling acts. U.S. corporations were told: You can now shut your U.S. factories, shed your U.S. workers, build your new plants in Mexico, China and India, and bring your finished goods back to the United States, free of charge. Go for it!
As Paul Craig Roberts writes, what is happening is not "free trade" in the Adam Smith sense where Portugal makes wine and Britain makes textiles and ships. What is happening is the mass transfer of the "factors of production" from First World countries to Third World countries.
What is happening in the world is what happened in America after World War II, when factories moved to the Sun Belt in search of non-union labor that would work as hard for half of what the high-paid workers in the industrial heartland demanded and got.
Asia is the new Sun Belt, and America is fated to be the "Rust Belt" of the world, as China becomes the factory floor of the global economy and India, through outsourcing, its back office.
Republican free-trade dogma inhibits action to protect U.S. jobs. The GOP is hogtied and hamstrung by its ideology in dealing with the crisis. Its only response is to mutter with Dr. Pangloss that it is all for the best.
The GOP is fortunate its opponent in 2004 is John F. Kerry, who is as clueless as they are on the new world economy that has been designed, and is operating, to loot America of her patrimony.
Patrick J. Buchanan was twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the Reform Party’s candidate in 2000. He is also a founder and editor of the new magazine, The American Conservative. Now a political analyst for MSNBC and a syndicated columnist, he served three presidents in the White House, was a founding panelist of three national television shows, and is the author of seven books.