Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ahmadinejad writes a letter to the American people

As reported here, the lunatic running the asylum called Iran has decided to reach out to the American people in an open letter. Although not as long or flowery as the 18 page ramble he sent to President Bush earlier this year, it is basically empty of anything substantive, merely calling on the US to disengage from Iraq, and stop "meddling" in the Middle East.

If you want to read the letter for yourself, you can find it
here. But, if you would prefer not to read it, I'll give you a brief synopsis of what he wrote. In a nutshell, it pretty much boils down to Democrat talking points:

- Pull out of Iraq (the consequences to the Iraqi people of such an action are of no import, of course);
- Spend the money currently being spent in Iraq on the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and on the homeless (as if we aren't addressing those issues already);
- Stop meddling in the Middle East (we'll stop "meddling" in the Middle East when you stop trying to kill us through your surrogates Hamas and Hezbollah, and when you allow your people to have real representative government instead of the sham you and your predecessors have forced upon the Iranian people for nearly 40 years);
- Recognize a Palestinian State (never mind that we have been trying to get the Palestinians to embrace a state of their own, once they lay down their arms and recognize that Israel is not going away, no matter how much they want it to).

It's as if he has a direct line to Pelosi, Reid and Murtha (the latter of which would not surprise me one bit), and they dictated to him what to put in the letter.

A personal note

Regular visitors to this blog will have noticed that I've been absent the past two weeks, and that is due to some things that were going on in real life (and no, I'm not going into details). Suffice it to say that I'll be posting here again on at least a semi-regular basis, as time allows. Thanks for your patience, folks.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and if you live anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, that you are staying warm while we put up with this lovely little cold snap - which is very unusual for here! - and the snow and ice.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

After the mid-terms - now what?

Democrats won a majority in both Houses this past Tuesday, and will take over majority leadership roles in January. To my Republican readers, I want to assure you that this is not the end of the world, although it was not the outcome we had hoped for. This is still a multi-party nation, and that was evidenced at the polls.

But now what? What will the Democrat Party do that will be better for our nation than what the Republican party was doing? Is there anything they can do that will actually be better? That remains to be seen, really, as I have yet to hear any Democrat put voice to anything remotely resembling a coherent plan, so I really have my doubts there. But, like I said, we’ll see in the coming months.

One thing I would like to see the Democrats not do is gloat. As Daniel Ortega, the recently re-elected President of Nicaragua said,
"Don't let one criticism slip from your lips against those who didn't vote for us," he warned his supporters. "We have to be humble." That is wise advice indeed, and the Democrats would be wise to heed that. Why? It wasn’t the leadership of the Democrat Party that elected them, it was the voters of America that did, and that’s something they need to be mindful of.

On that note, another thing I would like to see the Democrats do, in cooperation with the Republicans, is get back to doing the people’s business. To do that, the partisan bickering on both sides needs to stop. It is counter-productive at best, and shows a measure of condescension towards the American people at worst. We put you there – Republicans and Democrats – to do a job, and that is to represent US, not to advance your own little petty agenda’s. You’ve been voted in to do a job. Fail to do that job, and you can find yourself voted right back out. If you can’t concentrate on doing the people’s business in an honest, ethical way, you have no business being in office. Something else you need to be mindful of.

So far, the Democrats have been “playing nice”, but how long will that last? The ball is now in your court Democrats – now what?

General approves court martial for Watada

As briefly reported here, First Lt. Ehren Watada, who challenged the Bush administration's reasons for going to war in Iraq and then refused to deploy to that country, will face a military trial, the Army said Thursday.

The Fort Lewis commander, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, recommended a general court-martial of Watada. No date has been set for the trial.

Watada was charged with missing troop movement, conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt toward officials for comments he made about President Bush.

If convicted on all charges, Watada could serve six years of confinement and be dismissed from the service.

The 28-year-old officer from Honolulu has said he believes the war is illegal and was first charged after he refused to deploy to Iraq on June 22 with his Fort Lewis Stryker unit.

As I've posted on this individual before, what he believes, and what are facts are two different things, in that the war in Iraq is, in fact, legal, according to all of the UN Resolutions passed at the end of the Gulf War and later, regarding the activities of the regime of Saddam, who chose to violate each and every one of them in the mistaken belief that they wouldn't be enforced.

In making the statements that he did, Lt. Watada was also mistaken in the belief that the military regulations prohibiting such statements would not be enforced, and now he will face a general court martial to face the charges levied against him.

You took an oath, Watada, when you raised your right hand, an oath that you broke, disregarding the potential consequences of doing so, bringing the whirlwind upon yourself.

Race is on for the biggest prize -- the White House in 2008

The dust hasn't even settled yet on the mid-term elections, and people are already looking at 2008. This is an interesting article giving an early preview of who might be running for President in 2008.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

United States Marine Corps - 231 Years and counting

November 10th is the 231st birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

As a veteran of the US Navy, I have sometimes given in to my impulses to occasionally needle my "cousins" in the Marines, but I have always done so in a fun way, never in a demeaning or denigrating way.

I want to state - again - for the record, that I have the utmost respect and admiration for the US Marine Corps, and for the men and women who have served, and are now serving, our country as members of one of our nations most elite fighting forces, who are
"First to fight for right and freedom ...".

Happy Birthday, Marines!

Semper Fi!

[Edit - As originally posted, I had the date incorrect. My apologies to my "cousins" in the USMC.]

In Flanders Fields

On this Veteran's Day, Nov. 11th, 2006, I just want to bring you the poem "In Flanders Fields", written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD, Canadian Army, as presented on the web site of the Arlington National Cemetery, as a way to remember all those who have given their life in the service of their country.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam sentenced to death by hanging

As reported here, Iraq's High Tribunal on Sunday found Saddam Hussein guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to hang for the 1982 killing of 148 Shiites in the city of Dujail. The visibly shaken former leader shouted "God is great!"

Saddam's half brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of the former Revolutionary Court, were sentenced to join Saddam on the gallows for the Dujail killings after an unsuccessful assassination attempt during a Saddam visit to the city 35 miles north of Baghdad.

So, what happens now? The death sentences automatically go to a nine-judge appeals panel which has unlimited time to review the case. If the verdicts and sentences are upheld, the executions must be carried out within 30 days.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi told reporters that the Anfal trial now in progress for Saddam and others alleged role in gassing and killing Kurds would continue while the appeals process is underway. But if the appellate judges uphold the death sentence, the Anfal proceedings and other cases would be halted and Saddam hanged.

Al-Moussawi said Saddam would be hanged if the sentence were upheld, despite his demand that he be shot by a firing squad.

A court official told The Associated Press that the appeals process was likely to take three to four weeks once the formal paperwork was submitted.

I would e very surprised if this verdict was overturned in the appeals process, and I expect that Saddam will hang. Whether you believe in the death penalty or not, I think you'll agree that Saddam is a monster in human form, and deserves whatever justice the Iraqi courts mete out.

Get out and vote!

This coming Tuesday, Nov. 7th, is an important day. This is the day that you get to participate in the democratic process by voting, so get out there and do it. If you vote absentee, and haven't sent in your vote, do it.

Vote your conscience, even if that means "crossing party lines". I don't care if you call yourself a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or "Other/Unaffiliated/Undecided", if a candidate on your ballot is speaking to those issues that are important to you, vote for him or her, even if they are in a different political party than you are.

Republicans! Do you want the House and Senate to remain in Republican hands? Then get out and cast your ballot. If you stay home, and the Republicans lose the majority in either House (or both), do not cry and bellyache about it! You won't have anything to say if you stay home.

Democrats! Tired of the policies of the current majority party? Want to see some changes? Then get out and vote! If you stay home, and the Republicans retain the majority in either House (or both), do not cry and bellyache about it! You won't have anything to say if you stay home.

Libertarians! Want your party to become a viable third choice to the Republican or Democrat parties? Then get out and vote! Show the American people that you're serious about having your voice heard, so your party isn't looked upon with condescending tolerance by the "big boys", as it is now.

The rest of you that fall in the category of "Other/Unaffiliated/Undecided"! Make up your mind, and get out and vote! Voting Green? Fine, as long as you get out and actually vote! Unaffiliated? Get affiliated with someone, and vote! Undecided? Quit straddling the fence, make a decision you can live with, and vote!

Anyone who sits at home this coming Tuesday (or fails to send in their absentee ballot on time), and defaults on their civic duty of participating in the American democratic process, automatically gives up their right to cry and bellyache about the results!

No one at the National level appeal to you? Then don't vote for any of them. But! There are still local issues that will have a direct impact on you, that you should vote for (or against, as the case may be). Don't let National candidates that you don't care for be the excuse for you not making the effort to get out and cast your ballot.

Oh, and one last thing. Don't let bad weather be your excuse to not get out and vote, whether it is at the polling place, or via the US Post Office. Bad weather is what they make coats and unbrella's for!

Get out and vote, people! You can be sure I am!