31 December 2007

Humor, Politics, War, and Religion

Yeah, that pretty much is the spectrum of the topics I cover. My Other Blog has the relationship advice (I'll fix your relationship by pissing you both off with perfect, blunt honesty, so that you're united in hatred for me. It's a better basis for a relationship than a lot have these days)
and my personal life. See?

So, let's cover humor.

Doctrine for Dummies. As written by a "friend" of Jon Donovan. If that's a little wordy, try Uncle Jimbo's video presentation.

If it wasn't funny, you haven't been in the military long enough. While not funny, this post on U-2 Carrier Operations isn't terribly political nor religious. So I'll put the link here.

OK, there's humor. On to serious stuff.

Politics, Domestic. The more I read Fred, the more I like Fred. Fred doesn't like the MSM. I hate the MSM. Fred busts the MSM lying about him and misquoting him. I link to folks who bust the media lying.

Politics, Foreign. The French have told Syria to take a flying leap. As Tigerhawk observes, a major mantra of the Left on foreign policy has been that the United States should follow the lead of Europe. Another major mantra of the Left is that we should always solves problems with other nations by attempting to talk them to death, unless you can portray the regime as 'fascist'
in which case it's all about the embargoes. Anyway, you can't do both anymore, because the French have decided they are done screwing with the Syrians. I wait with bated breath to see what the Transnational crowd says now.

Politics, Foreign Part II. The latest set of statistical revisions shows China is sucking harder than anyone thought. More exactly, their economy is something like 60% of the size that people thought it was. Now, a lot of doom-n-gloom forecasts predicated the Chinese economy taking over the world (well, they were mostly more nuanced than that, but this is the not-for-economists-version) and crushing the United States under the weight of the ginormous modernized military that this amazing wonder-economy was supposed to be buying. For those of you who remember the 1980s, this is the same form of economic doom prophecies that predicted the Japanese would take over the world in the 1990s, before we found out that a lot of Japanese fortunes were paper-only and created by dishonest accounting practices and inflated property values. Funny how that keeps happening. Capitalism is ugly, but it beats the modified forms these Asian countries keep trying.

Politics, Foreign, and Religion. Because Islam is a political ideology which masquerades as a religion. Algerians MPs are trying to shut down proselytizing in Algeria. Gates of Vienna has an interesting post on it. Even more interesting is the commenter who points out that reciprocity--treating Islam in the West as Christianity is treated in most of the Islamic world--would basically work out to treating Islam as a subversive political party. I've been saying that for years, you know.

Politics, Foreign, and War. It is telling that the British media will do what the US media won't.

War. A Soldier's Christmas. Christmas means the most to those of us who don't have what a civilian takes for granted. To wit, the luxury to take the day off work, take some vacation, and spend the holiday with the family. In recognition of that, I assembled a couple posts who say it better than I can. I can't really do justice.

Foreign and Domestic, Iraq last year and home this year.
Katana, whose husband is deployed, has two.
General Petraeus.
Frontline Fobbit, deployed.
Badger 6, deployed for his second year straight.

On an upnote, I do know what I want for my birthday. I already have a nice tomahawk from a breaching kit that wasn't on the Property Book. . .

18 December 2007

"But I'm not seeing any progress"

The most common thing that gets tossed in my face when I try to discuss Iraq with people is "I'm not seeing any progress."

This is fundamentally amusing coming from folks who have never been over to Iraq, but that's almost trivial.

What they mean is that the media isn't talking the good news. And if there isn't any bad news, they just invent their own fictional stories. In fact, over the past six weeks,

Time/CNN was busted spouting story about 20 decapitations in Diyala Province. Didn't happen. BBC, which also picked up the story, published a retraction.

Reporters Without Borders reported that the family of a journalist had been massacred by a death squad. Funny, they look awfully lively for a dead family.

Some alleged dead construction workers in Afghanistan turn out to be al-Qaeda after all.

12 people were killed and their homes burnt to the group, but a couple days later AP slips in an almost-retraction. Read down that article and you notice that they couldn't find evidence of this alleged massacre/burning. So Gateway Pundit checks with MNF-I and gets a flat denial.

Anyway, Gateway Pundit is tracking this stuff better than I have the time and inclination to do. Short version? Don't believe much of what you see in the media if it is doom and gloom. Most of it is unverifiable, and the rest is simply invented in the fevered imagination of a stringer (who probably is a terrorist) or some journalist who is giving a source too much credibility and not doublechecking.

I hate to say it, but telling the truth is not part of Arab culture. Telling you what the Arab thinks you want to hear, is. If you tell an Arab you want stories of massacre, he will spin you a story that happened to "my cousin" in another town or some other unverifiable nonsense. Western reporters ask leading questions. An Arab, faced with that, is going to know precisely what the journalist wants and give it to him.

You want information on Iraq, get it from the only people in theater who actually get fired if they get caught telling lies.

15 December 2007

Couple Thoughts

The Brits aren't buying the NIE. News, this is not. I don't think anyone is buying the NIE. I'm convinced it was released for some other political reason.

You want to watch an Australian feminist squirm? Ask her why she doesn't ever speak against the way women are treated in Islamic countries. Actually this is good for any Western feminist who seems more interested in pushing gender-based class warfare ideology than actually doing anything positive. Which isn't all of them, but is enough of them.

More gun-related sound thinking. I've heard it, I've said it. Simple fact is that some people (for which read, "most liberals") are so incapable of recognizing real evil (you know, evil that doesn't fit into a neat little "-ism" category) in humans that they are forced to attribute it to inanimate objects. Because, you know, judging people is intolerant and doesn't recognize their glorious diversity and inherent right make their own decisions and blahblahblah. So you can't say that some nutjob who failed at life decided to blaze away at a crowd of folks going about their ordinary lawful business because he was evil. No, he's misunderstood. It's that evil, nasty SKS that made him do it! Yeah! Same for that other Life Failure in Colorado.

Unless we are some sort of gun-owning lunatic, in which case we get to be demonized in any manner that particular liberal cares to use.

As an extreme example of this thinking (h/t Lawdog) is Britain's latest stupidity, banning swords. That's sad and sorry. Of course, what can one expect from a nation that just signed away its real sovereignty to the European Union. By this I mean that they no longer control their own borders and cannot make decisions on immigration. I like the UK, but they cannot exist much longer in a half-state. They will either have to choose serfdom as part of the mass socialistic European state, or liberty. Right now it ain't looking good for the liberty crowd.

07 December 2007


Still footage is authentic, but I believe most of the video footage is from Tora, Tora, Tora.

For the historian, the USN page on Pearl Harbor.

Twenty-one ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged: the battleships USS Arizona (BB-39), USS California (BB-44), USS Maryland (BB-46), USS Nevada (BB-36), USS Oklahoma (BB-37), USS Pennsylvania (BB-38), USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS West Virginia (BB-48); cruisers USS Helena (CL-50), USS Honolulu (CL-48) and USS Raleigh (CL-7); the destroyers USS Cassin (DD-372), USS Downes (DD-375), USS Helm (DD-388) and USS Shaw (DD-373); seaplane tender USS Curtiss (AV-4); target ship (ex-battleship) USS Utah (AG-16); repair ship USS Vestal (AR-4); minelayer USS Oglala (CM-4); tug USS Sotoyomo (YT-9); and Floating Drydock Number 2. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged, the majority hit before the had a chance to take off. American dead numbered 2,403. That figure included 68 civilians, most of them killed by improperly fused anti-aircraft shells landing in Honolulu. There were 1,178 military and civilian wounded.

06 December 2007

Three Unrelated Notes

1) The SKS is a semi-automatic carbine, not an assault rifle. It has a ten round magazine integral to the weapon, and is fed from a stripper clip. It does not have the capacity for selective fire (ie, burst or automatic fire modes).

According to one website,

"Because of their historic and novel nature, SKS rifles are classified by the BATF as "Curio & Relic" items under US law, allowing them to be sold with features that might otherwise be restricted."

For those interested, this website has some nice pictures and the manual for the weapon.

2) Julie Cochrane has one of the best refutations of libertarianism I've ever read up on her LJ. It's even funnier coming from a Baen author, given Baen's tendency to publish Libertarian Wetdream Utopian Fiction. I've often said that the only way for Libertarian utopias to function would be if, freed from a 'government compulsion' to be altruistic, everyone suddenly becomes altruistic of their own free will. You see this a lot in SF of this nature, including least favorite milSF book, which I gave to the used book store after running across the Biowarfare Hookers.

I've seen the sort of thing she references regarding de facto 'governments' (which more resemble what we would call organized crime), in parts of the world where the central government has become defunct, both in the Balkans and the Middle East. This required me (and a couple thousand of my closest friends) to make a professional visit.

3) Regading the 6th of December, the Feast of St. Nicholas, I offer a couple links.

On the Face of Santa, the History of Santa, and the hymns and readings of the day.

05 December 2007

Iran and Nuclear Weapons

There's a new NIE out.

Read it before you read my comments on it.

Seriously, stop reading this post now and click on the link and read it from beginning to end. Anyone who does not, please do not waste my time replying. I am rather tired of embedding links and having passionate arguments in the comment section wherein someone (typically the liberal) reveals an incapacity or disinclination to read the cited article.

It's only nine pages of which four are introductory material.

OK, the Main-Stream Media is spinning the holy hell out of this, as claiming Iran has shut down its nuclear program entirely, questioning Bush's Iran policy as a result, and echoing Harry Reid's dubious drivel about how this report was “directly challenging some of this administration’s alarming rhetoric about the threat posed by Iran.”

To summarize the report, based on the latest information, it is possible to say with a "high degree of confidence" that Iran suspended activity on its program in the fall of 2003. Let's ponder this assessment for a moment. For those of you whose memories for details are a little fuzzy, in the months prior to that point in time, George Bush had publicly called for regime change in Iraq and Iran both, linked them in an 'Axis of Evil', invaded Iraq, destroyed its army, arrested its leadership, and found its ex-President hiding in a hole in the ground near Tikrit. Everyone else remember this time?

I don't suppose it occurs to ANYONE in the media or in the Democratic Party that perhaps, just perhaps, this scared the Iranian regime so badly that they decided not to push George. Keep in mind that they fought the Iraqi Army for 10 years and all they got was a stalemate of epic proportions. It is fair to say that the Iranian Army of 1990 and the Iraqi Army of 1990 were as precisely evenly matched as two armies can be in terms of capability. We blew it away then, and finished it off in 2003. If there is doubt in anyone's mind that we couldn't do that to the Iranian Army, they are smoking some seriously good stuff. Whether we could hold a country with 80 million inhabitants afterwards, that's another proposition.

Now, go back to your copy of the NIE. Scroll down to the middle of page 6.

"We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."

Now, scroll back up to page 5. Read the definition of moderate confidence.

Think on it. Sip your coffee, and try to put yourself in the position of the President of the United States, with 300 million citizens depending on you to keep Iranian nutjobs from nuking them. Then go back to page 6, and read the paragraph below the one I quoted.

"Our assessment that the program was probably halted primarily in response to international pressure suggests that Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on this issue than we judged previously."

Meanwhile, you've got reports sitting on your desk about increased production of improved missiles capable of delivering said hypothetical future nuclear weapons that the NIE says the Iranians could have between 2009 and 2015 if they restart their program.

We all know what course of action President Bush chose--to keep the pressure up on Iran to force them to shut down their program permanently and put in place safeguards to prevent it from being restarted.

Put this report, assessing that Iran is vulnerable to international pressure, next to a story coming out of China about their willingness to put some pressure of their own on Iran, and you get an interesting picture.

I'm with Israel. Just because it is someone's best guess (with "moderate confidence") that Iran's nuclear program is temporarily frozen, does not mean that we get to ignore them. Nor does it mean that we should abandon the stick and offer them merely carrots. Diplomacy is good, but effective diplomacy requires at least a credible threat of negative consequences for failing to negotiate in good faith or failing to reach an acceptable compromise.

I am a negative consequence.

h/t rjlippincott

04 December 2007

After Reflection

Had some time to think on the CNN/Youtube "debate" and one of the primary conclusions I've reached is about CNN rather than any of the candidates. The LA Times said it better than I could. But then again I've referred to CNN as the "Communist News Network" for years. I find it utterly odious that out of 5,000 submissions the "best" 33 questions included a religious fanatic asking about the inerrancy of the King James Version of the Bible. What does that matter? Who cares? They are running for President of the United States, not President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Hell, even most of the SBC permits alternate translations of the Bible (although how one believes in the literal inerrancy of the KJV, the NKJV, the NIV, and the NAS all at the same time baffles me, but this is political post, not theological).

The two main issues that voters are concerned about are Iraq and the Economy, right? At least according to the polls, although that may or may not be accurate. Standard disclaimers apply.

On Iraq, other than Ron Paul (who is a loon, as I will not fail to repeat every time I am forced to mention his odious name) all the candidates are pretty much on the same sheet of music. There were only a few questions on the topic, none of which were nuanced enough to bring out what differences may exist. That is my primary issue, but all that means is that Joe Lieberman is the only Democrat I could ever vote for. Jack Murtha came over to the side of reason for about an hour last week, but Nancy beat him back into Party Line. Haha.

On the economy, few questions were asked. There was a farm subsidy question, a couple related to lowering taxes, and that was is. Nothing much and nothing that differentiated at all between the candidates. They all channeled Ronald Reagan re: taxes, which is a Good Thing in my book. They all talked about getting rid of pork projects to save money, and that;s a standard politician promise which is impossible to stick to because pork is too engrained in the system. Oh, and they all favor farm subsidies.

Not a single question was asked regarding energy policy. Not one. Nada. Zero. Zilch. I have no idea what the energy policies of any candidates are, and have not troubled myself to do that level of research on 8 people. Talk to me after the Holidays. Of course, my energy policy is to build nuclear reactors and lots of them, and drilling for oil regardless of how many caribou are having sex in the vicinity. I figure the marketplace will push alternative technologies as the price of oil rises. But then again, I'm an eternal optimist.

Global Warming is a fraud, and I'm glad they didn't ask about it. Nothing to be said about it anyway. Stay the hell out of Kyoto. The best way to reduce humanity's "carbon footprint" would be to nuke the People's Republic of China, which would also solve our trade imbalance, growing Chinese antagonism on the world stage, overpopulation, the Republic of China question, and would keep unsafe dog-food and lead-painted toys off our shelves as well. It would also amuse me to no end.


Health Care is also something that I don't care about, and it's fine with me that they didn't ask about it. The whole point of the Republican Party is to NOT hand over such a large percentage of our economy to socialism and state control. Anyone who thinks differently will likely be cordially invited to go work for Hillary rather than trying to get MY vote. This will be an issue in the election, not the primary season.

The questions that were asked did show some differences between the candidates, and while immigration and gun control are not my top tier issues (Iraq is, and the larger war on terror) they are basic beliefs and a Pres who ignores border control and who appoints judges who will infringe on the 2nd Amendment can do a lot of damage.

As for the sense of it all, this election, should the Democratic Party nominate HRC, will be ours to lose. She has too much history, too much of a past, and too many negatives to actually be elected. She couldn't get a vote in the South if her hair was on fire (well, she might get a couple from guys who thought it was funny), and I believe she will self-destruct brilliantly between the convention and the election.

01 December 2007


Finally got around to watching the debate.

This is a series of first impressions based largely on what I saw and a minimum of research. I am not at this time ready to endorse a candidate, although I will identify some whom I will not support in any way.

Huckabee - SBC Minister, Social conservative. Illegal-alien friendly, too much so for my taste. I will not support a presidential candidate who deliberately failed to enforce US laws as governor and who promises not to enforce them as president. No new tax pledge, which I support. He does have a good stage presence. He also he the best answer to a 'gotcha' question re: death penalty: "Jesus was too smart to run for public office." He also had an excellent answer on the Bible question. Supports flat tax, wishes to trash the IRS.

McCain - Immigration amnesty--which takes him out of the running for my support as well. He talks a good game on financial conservatism talk is good. Supports line item veto, shutting down pork, and pushing money back down to the states to address infrastructure agreement. Does his record in Congress verify this stance? Don't care enough to research it because I have too many problems with him on immigration, the McCain-Feingold Act, and other issues.
He does want to win war in Iraq and specifically states that we should not set a withdrawal date. He's anti-waterboarding, duh. I'm surprisingly OK with that, and I didn't think Mitt Romney should have sat there and argued with him on it.
It was thoroughly entertaining to watch him pimpslap Ron Paul on the subject of Vietnam. He also correctly states that Islamic terror will follow us home if they win in Iraq.

Guiliani - He ran a "Sanctuary City" and otherwise did not support efforts to kick illegals out of this country. He correctly states that he was limited in his ability to deal with immigration issues because the Federals were falling down on the job. If this were my only problem with him, I'd be willing to possibly give him the benefit of the doubt. He has suddenly converted to being a True Believer on the subject of the 2nd Amendment, but I know too much about his history to believe it is sincere. No new tax pledge, but he is pro-farm subsidy.
When asked a question regarding gun control, he talked about crime control. Unrelated issue, IMHO. That worries me, because folks who confuse the two tend to end up with the simplistic solution that banning guns will reduce crime. He feels Abortion should be a state issue.
He wants to take offense against Islamic terror, but friendly to rest of Islam. Whatever.
He supports school choice.
He also gave a good answer to the question regarding infrastructure rebuilding and has a record to back it up. Believes the line item veto is 'unconstitutional'.

Thompson - Like his stance on Illegal Immigration, which is nice and tough. He will not pledge not to raise taxes, which makes me raise an eyebrow. His position on gun rights is good.
He favors overturning Roe v. Wade and returning the issue to the states. Believes Iraq is part of a bigger war on Islamic Terror. Committed to winning in Iraq. Admits Social Security is broke and wants to fix it.

Mitt Romney - He supports the Fair Tax which I approve of. No new tax pledge, but pro-farm subsidy and pro-ethanol subsidy. Ethanol is a scam that bothers me. Lots of yick-yack about family values but what is he going to do with it? Many of the candidates have solid programs they wish to support or implement or whatever, he's just giving me rhetoric. He doesn't like abortions, but doesn't think consensus in US is there to end them. He gave us more generalizations/ rhetoric on etitlements, but no hard answers. Good Stars and Bars answer--it just ain't that important.

Tancredo - Doesn't like legal immigration. No new tax pledge. Says "Radical Islam" which few candidates did. Identifies Radical Islam as threat to US. Seems to be pretty much a one-trick pony, because it was all immigration all the time. He's also hostile to legal immigration, which turns me off immensely. It's hypocritical. "Tancredo" is not a Native American family name. I have huge issues with a man whose grandparents were immigrants attacking all immigration as bad for the United States. I guess those of us whose ancestors were here in the 19th century ought to kick his ass back to Italy.

Duncan Hunter - I like his immigration policy. He's an Airborne Ranger and son is marine.
A+ NRA Rating and believes in 2nd Amendment--and his answers were sincere and passionate on the subject. He supports victory in Iraq, and say he will "Never apologize for the United States of America" in response to a question about shoring up US image abroad. Supports don't ask don't tell.

Ron Paul - He's a full-fledged lunatic. Goes on about the "Council of Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission." Immediate withdrawal from Iraq and all overseas military commitments. He is confused on facts in regard to Iraq. He cannot correctly identify factions or sects in Iraq, which is highly disturbing for a man running for President of a nation at war. Outright statements of falsehood on Vietnam. Isolationist in extreme. Wants the government "out of our wallets" and to rebuild infrastructure which is an impossibility.

CNN - likes 'gotcha' questions, and ringers (declared democrats, political activists, etc) Many of the questions were hypothetical in the extreme, or simply so silly that the only purpose could have been to portray Republican or Republican candidates negatively. But a lot of them were good questions. It's a mix.

A Liberal Meme floating around claimed that Col. (ret) Keith Kerr was 'booed' by the 'evil'
Republican Audience. Not true. Applauded twice.

Basically, Fred Thompson or Duncan Hunter are the two that look least objectionable at this stage in the game. We'll see.

Victory, definitions of

Hollywood vs. Pro-military journalism, a comparison. Without comment, he says it all just fine.

Now, one silly comment that liberals make regarding Iraq is that what we are doing in Iraq isn't going to result in "victory", and that the definition of victory keeps changing. The problem with that is that the liberals in question rarely will give their definition of victory and what should be done to achieve it. When they do get pinned down, they offer stupidity like this,

"MATTHEWS: Because if we can‘t ever come home, we can‘t ever say we won."

That's Chris Matthews of Hardball.

This is the typical level of understanding in the MSM of foreign policy.

I prefer a definition of victory roughly equivalent to 'forcing the enemy to do our will.' Or something along those lines.

I'm watching the CNN/Youtube Republican debate in pieces. I'll offer commentary when I'm done with the whole thing.