Sunday, December 30, 2007

Empty Holsters, The New Student Protests



December 30, 2007

Inspired by the history of College Protests against the “establishment,” the “Viet Nam War” and the perceived Social Injustices of the 1960’s decade, today’s College Students have once again began protesting on Campuses around the nation.

While memories of the College Student Protests of the 1960’s may bring visions of long haired, pot smoking hippies angrily storming and occupying Administration buildings or mobs of students facing off against Riot Geared Police or National Guard Troops, today’s protesters are strapping on Empty Holsters in protest to laws that prevent them from carrying their own legal handguns in defense of themselves.

Concerned over the horrific massacre of 32 students and faculty, and the gunman himself, at Virginia Tech in April 2007, students are organizing to demand they be allowed to defend themselves on campus by being able to exercise their Right To Carry handguns of their own.

Published in the January 2008 issue of America’s 1st Freedom, the “Official Journal of the National Rifle Association,” Marshall Lewin asks,

“Why are we not allowed to defend ourselves against campus attacks?”
In the subsequent article, The New Campus Revolt: Empty Holsters, Lewin wants to know,
“If you’re mature enough and responsible enough to cast a vote, fight a war, own a gun, carry a gun and exercise every other right of citizenship that every other adult citizen enjoys, then why should you be disarmed and defenseless at institutions of higher learning?”


Starting out small, as most movements do, the protest grew to include over 110 college campuses in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

Chris Brown, founder of the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and a political science major at North Texas University says,
“My state allows me to carry a handgun in public, but there is some imaginary line drawn around college campuses for silly reasons. And those silly reasons are getting people killed, raped and robbed.”


As previously mentioned in my Post, Gun Control Kills People, Gun Free Zones restricts law-abiding persons from exercising their right to self defense by prohibiting them from carrying a legal handgun, while criminals ignore the law. The resultant loss of life and property is all too apparent to these students who desire to learn in College and better themselves, without the fear of losing their life.

Not too surprisingly, not everyone agrees with the symbolic protest. An editorial from Middle Tennessee State University, Keep guns off campus, makes the point,
“Making it legal for students to carry guns on campus will not automatically train these students to use them responsibly, in emergency situations and it will not teach them how to use their weapons without hurting innocent bystanders.”


Missed by MTSU Editors is what was said by W. Scott Lewis, SCCC spokesman and resident of Austin, Texas,
“This is not a debate about keeping guns out of the hands of immature, substance-abusing college students. This is a debate about allowing licensed individuals, age 21 and above, in most states, to carry their concealed firearms on college campuses, the same way they carry them virtually everywhere else.”


Doug Pennington, of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said,
“When it comes to colleges and universities, they should be havens, a bastion of safety. You’re supposed to go to class to learn stuff, not wondering if the person next to you is competent enough to actually possess a firearm.”


With all due respect to Mr. Pennington, if the adult student is licensed and in possession of a state issued Conceal Carry Permit, haven’t they already been deemed competent by State Authorities?

Col. Gordon Hoffman of the Texas Tech Police Department said,
“You see somebody firing a weapon, and how are we to know if that person is a potential victim defending their-self or if they’re the active shooter? That’s where I'm coming from. I know it’s an emotional issue, and I can see some pros and cons, but I can go against more than I can for.”


In reply to Col. Hoffman, I would direct his attention to the Pearl, Mississippi School Shooting in 1997, the Edinboro, Pennsylvania School Dance shooting in 1998 and The Appalachian Law School Shooting in 2002. Someone else having access to a firearm, stopping the shooting and holding the shooter until Police arrived stopped all 3 incidents of shootings. In simpler terms, the shooting was over by the time Police could arrive to take the gunman, subdued by others present, into custody.

The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence tells us The Gun Lobby Is Threatening School Safety, making the claim that,
“College gun owners are more likely than the average student to Engage in binge drinking, Need an alcoholic drink first thing in the morning, Use cocaine or crack, Be arrested for a DUI, Vandalize property, and Get in trouble with police.”


Again, ignored by the Brady Campaign, is that those desiring to legally defend themselves if need be, are adults who have been found competent by State Authorities to be licensed to carry a firearm, already. If what they claim were true, wouldn’t gun crimes by those holding Concealed Carry Permits off campus be proliferating?

As this movement grows and more students strap on empty holsters around campuses, don’t expect to see much media coverage, as was the opposite during the protests of the 1960’s. Unlike their predecessors, today’s protesters, desire to educate others to support their right to self-defense. They do not congregate on school grounds, waving placards, burning articles of clothing or documents or causing civil unrest, the normal actions that draw media attention.

They merely desire to be able to protect themselves during the length of time it takes for the Authorities to arrive, should a tragic shooting occur again.

To that end, Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Brady Campaign, reportedly said
“You don’t like the fact that you can’t have a gun on your college campus? Drop out of school.”


I wonder if that advice was also meant for the 27 Students ‘dropped out’ last April at Virginia Tech?

Lew

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hillary Tops 10 Most Wanted Corrupt Politician List


December 28, 2007

Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption released their List of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2007 this week.

Surprisingly, the Top Ten includes a total of 4 candidates currently running for the office of President of the United States. Seven that made the list are Democrats, two are Republican and one, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby is not even a politician, but is aligned with the Republicans.

Arranged alphabetically, the list is comprised of, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY), Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR), I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).

Clinton made the list due to her ties to fugitive felon, Norman Hsu as well as potential involvement in scandals that plagued her husband’s administration. Conyers earned his spot for the misuse of staff while on the government payroll. Craig, as all will recall, made it for his being caught up in a homosexual sting in an airport restroom.

Feinstein was included because of her seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on military construction while her husband’s company was being awarded Defense Contracts. Obama has shaky ties to questionable campaign contributions as well as suspicious business and political connections. Pelosi slid in over pet projects to her home district as well as $25 million gift to her husband snuck in a bill recently passed. Pelosi, it should be remembered, promised a “new era of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives.”

Reid found himself on the list for his series of land development scandals. Giuliani couldn’t escape the list after it was discovered he had “billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan,” who also was provided with a police vehicle and a city driver at taxpayer expense.

Huckabee’s career “…has been colored by 14 ethics complaints and a volley of questions about his integrity, ranging from his management of campaign cash to his use of a nonprofit organization to subsidize his income to his destruction of state computer files on his way out of the governor’s office,” according to an AP source. Libby, not even a politician, merited mention because of his convictions in the Plamegate investigations and the president’s subsequent commutation of his sentence.

Missing from the list was William Jefferson (D-LA), caught hiding $90,000 in marked bribe money in his freezer.

In the 2006 mid-term election, Democrat’s ran largely on a platform to expose the Republican’s Culture of Corruption, pointing fingers at every Republican possible while ignoring members of their own party caught in corruption or being investigated.

Earlier in 2007, Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan published their book revealing and documenting similar corruption by Democrats, Caucus of Corruption.

An interesting twist in the corruption story is that Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch, filed suit last year in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the current president, Tom Fitton to “Fight Corruption Within His "Own" Organization!”

Corrupt politicians are nothing new. As long as public officials have easy access to fame and wealth from lobbyists and voters keep returning the same ones to office, corruption will thrive in politics. Self-policing seems to be more effected by partisanship than to uncover and eliminate actual corruption. Too often, those most corrupt appear to be passing judgment on those opposing them and covering up their own corrupt record.

Seeing Judicial Watch being sued over corruption while they make the claim of exposing corruption leaves one questioning whether the list was compiled to expose political corruption or to point fingers at candidates vying for their party’s nomination.

The politicians on the list are indeed corrupt as stated. Of the 4 running for president, we stand a good chance of seeing one sitting in the Oval Office soon, unless we get passionate behind one of the long shots not noted for being so corrupt.

Lew

Connecting The Dots, Fear Mongering or Overreaction?


December 28, 2007

In April of 2007, California Democrat, Jane Harman, introduced HR 1955, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, to “study violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism using a method that has worked in the past: the establishment of a National Commission.”

The House version of the bill passed with a 404 to 6 vote in the House on October 23, 2007, moving it on to the Senate with little public fanfare, but igniting a firestorm across the internet and in editorials.

Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer and Chairman of the American Freedom Agenda, penned one such commentary in the December 27, 2007 Washington Times, “Police in thought pursuit.”

S 1959, the Senate version, Mr. Fein claims is, “probably the greatest assault on free speech and association in the United States since the 1938 creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).” Perhaps trying to draw a comparison to disgraced and embattled Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was not part of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Mr. Fein continues, “Few if any care about or understand either freedom of expression or the Thought Police dangers of S. 1959,” adding, “…the Act aims to identify and stigmatize persons and groups who hold thoughts the government decrees correlate with homegrown terrorism, for example, opposition to the Patriot Act or the suspension of the Great Writ of habeas corpus.”

Writing for Slate, Dahlia Lithwick said last month, “…you'll be delighted to learn that the legislation has, at least, the virtue of fighting imaginary problems with pretend solutions,” regarding this bill.

Earlier in November, Ralph E. Shaffer and R. William Robinson penned in the Baltimore Sun, “The proposed commission is a menace through its power to hold hearings, take testimony and administer oaths, an authority granted to even individual members of the commission, little Joe McCarthy’s, who will tour the country to hold their own private hearings.”

Returning to Bruce Fein, we read, “The Act inflates the danger of homegrown terrorism manifold to justify creating a marquee National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Ideologically Based Violence (Commission) in the legislative branch. Since September 11, 2001, no American has died from homegrown terrorism, while about 120,000 have been murdered.”

While Mr. Fein is correct the since September 11, 2001, no American has died from a terrorist attack, it should be noted that In May 2007, six men were arrested for allegedly plotting to attack Fort Dix, in June 2007, four men were charged with plotting to attack JFK Airport by blowing up jet fuel tanks, in September 2005, 4 were arrested for suspected terrorist plots to attack US military installations, Israeli government facilities and Jewish synagogues in the Los Angeles area, recruited and planned while incarcerated in a Sacramento, California prison. At least two have since pled guilty.

In August 2006, 24 were arrested in the UK, suspected of plotting to blow up as many as ten aircraft in flight over the United States.

Often, these plots were uncovered accidentally or by chance, as crimes often are, discovered while investigating an unrelated crime.

Speaking before the House in support of the bill this past October, Congresswoman Harman said, “Madam Speaker, free speech, espousing even very radical beliefs, is protected by our Constitution. But violent behavior is not. Our plan must be to intervene before a person crosses that line separating radical views from violent behavior, to understand the forces at work on the individual and the community, to create an environment that discourages disillusionment and alienation, that instills in young people a sense of belonging and faith in the future.” She continued, “Radicalization is not that well understood, and through this bill we will take an in-depth look at how it occurs. The commission provided for in H.R. 1955 would give our government an in-depth, multidisciplinary look at radicalization. And why is that important? Because no one has the single answer on this.” (Congressional Record H11859, October 23, 2007)

In defense of the legislation, the Majority Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security released a fact sheet reiterating, “The purpose of H.R. 1955 is to study violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism,” adding, “This approach worked prior to September 11, 2001 with the National Commission on Terrorism, which set the stage for America’s counter terrorism strategy prior the September 11 attacks. It worked again with the National Commission on the Terrorists Attacks upon the United States, which in the wake of the attacks made recommendations that strengthened and solidified our current approach to fighting terrorism both domestically and abroad. This new Commission will follow their example and serve our country by providing answers to the indigenous threat of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.”


Jeff Stein, writing in the Congressional Quarterly called it “Another Homeland Boondoggle,” asking, “Who needs to spend $22 million on a commission to study homegrown terrorism?” Answering himself, he says, “Only Congress, of course. It thinks the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, think tanks, universities, journalists and independent scholars aren’t doing enough.”

Speaking in opposition after passage of the House bill, Libertarian/Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul, note for his desire to withdraw from the War on Terror, said on December 5, 2007, “This legislation focuses the weight of the U.S. government inward toward its own citizens under the guise of protecting us against ‘violent radicalization.’”

Paul continues, “Previous acts of ideologically-motivated violence, though rare, have been resolved successfully using law enforcement techniques, existing laws against violence and our court system. Even if there were a surge of ‘violent radicalization,’ a claim for which there is no evidence, there is no reason to believe that our criminal justice system is so flawed and weak as to be incapable of trying and punishing those who perpetrate violent acts.”

Perhaps Representative Paul is unaware of Portland, Oregon’s Mayor and City Council withdrawing from the FBI counter-terrorism task force because the FBI would not grant the Mayor, Tom Potter, a Security Clearance and access to classified information.

Enjoying such broad bipartisan support, facing what looks like an easy passage in the Senate and most likely to be signed into law by the president, several questions need answered about this bill

Would the proposed money be better spent supporting existing counter-terrorism efforts?

Could this return to the intrusive measures perceived used by Senator McCarthy, even if many of his suspicions were largely proved true?

Do we even need a Congressional “study?”

Could it be an opening to infringement of our Constitutional Freedoms as some suspect?

Is it only a move by ‘do nothing’ politicians to appear to be on top of an over-rated threat?

Are opposer’s fears over rated and hyped?

Countering terrorism is serious business and our freedoms and liberties are just as serious. We, as free citizens, must look long and hard at this bill and act appropriately in contacting our Elected Officials about it.

Then, hope we made the right choice.

Lew

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Embattled & Beleaguered, Bush Is Still The Most Admired Man


December 26, 2007

In spite of 7 years of negative press, continual assaults from opponents and leading America in another unpopular war, President George W. Bush, 43rd President of the nation, tops Gallup’s recent poll again for the Most Admired Man.

The Gallup Poll, based on random telephone interviews with 1,011 adults, was conducted from December 14 to 16 of this year. For the seventh year in a row, President Bush ranked number one as the Most Admired Man with 10% choosing him. Coming in second as Most Admired Man was former President Bill Clinton with 8% choosing him.

Traditionally, sitting Presidents have topped Gallup’s Most Admired Polls each year. During his Presidency, Clinton ranked at the top every year with between 20% selecting him as he took office to just 6% choosing him as he left, tying him for the top spot that year was Pope John Paul II. President Bush enjoys a similar spread during his administration, ranging from a high of 39% in Dec 2001 to the current low of 10%.

Sitting President’s have topped this poll every year since 1981, outgoing former President Carter being edged out also by Pope John Paul II in 1980.

Of Bush winning with just 10% of those voting, Gallup says,

“That score is Bush's lowest in the seven years he has been named most admired man, and the fact that it is enough to win suggests that no dominant male personality has captured the public's admiration this year.”
A curious claim from Gallup as in their December 2000 polling, they said,
“Bill Clinton has been at the top of this list of most admired men every year since he took office in 1993, with totals that ranged from 20% in 1993 to 18% in both 1996 and 1998. Last year, Clinton was on top with 10% of the vote,”
neglecting to mention that in that current poll, President Clinton tied with Pope John Paul II for Most Admired with just 6% of the vote.

Detractors of President Bush have a difficult time admitting it, but indicators show that America continues to prosper under President Bush’s leadership. The Troop reinforcement is working in the Iraqi theater of the War on Terror, unemployment remains very low, the predicted recession has not occurred, inflation remains modest, consumer spending is the best in two years, while naysayers and those predicting doom and gloom continue to be proven wrong.

As the economy continues improving and even the War On Terror results in increased security at home and abroad, Republicans stand a chance of retaking control of the government in the upcoming elections, provided they can show they have learned their lesson on excessive and out of control spending.

With one year left in his second and final term as President, George W. Bush, in spite of everything thrown at him by the opposition, has remained strong and ignored attacks designed to cripple his ability to lead. Even with low overall approval numbers, he still leads the list of Most Admired, with the possibility of finishing his administration with even higher approval.

How history will judge the Bush years remains to be seen. Once all the smoke and dust settles from what is shaping up to be one of the dirtiest and nastiest campaigns in our history, suffering the worst attack upon our soil in our history, enduring unprecedented assaults on his character and abilities and leading a war to put an end to the three decades of terrorist attacks against American interests, George W. Bush will leave office with his head held high and many in America will look back fondly at him.

Lew

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Passing of An Era, Only 3 WW1 Vets Remain


December 23, 2007

Once again, one of our last remaining World War Veterans has passed away, on Thursday, December 20, 2007 at the age of 109 years. Only two known American World War One Veterans survive him.

J. Russell Coffey, a retired teacher as well, enlisted late in the war, it ending while he was still in Basic Training. Coffey never saw combat.

It was just in March of 2007 that the Last WWI Combat Veteran was laid to rest in Portland, Oregon’s Lincoln Memorial Park. Retired Army Cpl. Howard V. Ramsey was laid to rest one month before reaching his 109th birthday.

After Cpl. Ramsey’s death, there were nine. Now there are three, one from the Canadian Army.

Also earlier this year, Emiliano Mercado del Toro another of America’s few remaining WW1 Veterans died at the age of 115. Charlotte Winters, the last known female WW1 Veteran died this March at 109. All have been said to have remained bright and alert until the last few months of their lives.

Moses Hardy, the last Black US Veteran died in December 2006. Lloyd Brown, the last known surviving WW1 Navy Veteran died in March 2007 as well.

With these Veterans goes any first hand knowledge of that first Global War, only their memories written down remain. Memories encased in The National World War One Museum located in Kansas City, Missouri. Opening in December 2006, the Museum has a massive portrait wall and an interactive video gallery enables visitors to learn about the sacrifices of these “Doughboys.”

About 4.7 Million men and women served in the US Military during World War One. Approximately 53,000 gave the ultimate sacrifice in the war with another 204,000 wounded. Of those numbers, only three known surviving Veterans remain, one, John Babcock, 107 of Spokane, Washington, having served in the Canadian Army. The other two are Frank Buckles, 106, of Charles Town, W.Va.; and Harry Richard Landis, 108, of Sun City Center, Fla.

Shortly, there will be none, the youngest being 106.

Just short of a century ago, these men donned the uniform of our country, picked up a gun and traveled by ship to a foreign land to help keep a foreign people free. Two decades later many of these men and their sons repeated that and fought in an even bloodier war, to keep free people free. They too are passing away at an alarming rate.

Today, our young men and women are once again donning the uniform, picking up a gun and traveling across the oceans to fight those who would take freedom away from not only us, but citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. Of their numbers, most will return home unscathed, many will return broken in body or spirit and too many will not return at all.

I grieve for all who do not return and for their families. At the same time, I have immense pride in young people who willingly place themselves between our enemies and us. We will not allow them to be mistreated, as were those of us who served in Viet Nam.

As these last few World War One Veterans pass on, reflect on their sacrifices, their own mistreatment by the US Government and their long lives. Give them the honors they so rightly deserve.

They and their sacrifices must never be forgotten.


Lew

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ebenezer Scrooge Lobbies Washington


December 22, 2007

Once again, it is that time of year. Children nestled around the tree, gifts and packages wrapped and laid around the tree, friends and family drawing near, children’s plays in churches recalling the Nativity and birth of Jesus, receiving gifts from the three Wiseman.

And since this is a political campaign season as well, we have the politicians giving us their messages through the Holiday. Unlike other Christmas Seasons we have a larger number of Presidential candidates this time and are treated to many more Christmas Time Ads than usual.

John McCain, Republican, tells My Christmas Story about his time incarcerated in a Communist North Vietnamese POW Camp and the kindness he received from an NVA Guard who turned out to be a Christian as well.

Mitt Romney, Republican, reminds us in his Christmas Message that it is cold in Boston and thanks all those who support him and the Troops and their families as well.

Mike Huckabee, Republican, gave us a pleasant Christmas Message, putting politics aside, until some noticed the book case behind him resembled a cross and complained about it.

Rudy Giuliani, Republican, asks for peace between the candidates in his Christmas Message as a Jolly Santa laughs at that notion.

Fred Thompson, Republican, treats us to a very nice tribute to the Troops and their families in his Christmas Holiday Message.

Ron Paul, Republican/Libertarian, puts politics aside as he and his family wish all Merry Christmas and a Great 2008.

Hillary Clinton, Democrat, sits on a sofa wrapping up Socialist Government Programs for all in her Holiday Message, wishing us a Happy Holidays.

Barack Obama, Democrat, puts politics aside as he reminds us that things that unite us a people are stronger than things that divide us, as his daughters cheerfully add Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays in his Christmas Ad

John Edwards, Democrat, sits in front of a decorated tree in his multi-million dollar mansion reminding us of his “Two America’s” theme, telling all that only “we” listen to those in need in his Season Message. He also sent out a Holiday Card of is family taken inside his elegant mansion, reminding us that his oldest daughter has shapely legs.

Joe Biden, Democrat, shows us a little snow falling and goes on to reminding us it is time he was elected in his January Night message.

From email, Chairman Tom Cole, NRCC, sent a message wishing all “Season’s Greetings” with “Warmest Thoughts and Best Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season.”

Also in email, Brandon English, DCCC, asks all to, “skip the fruitcake and give the gift of a Democratic House. It's not that any of us don't like fruitcake -- we just like Democrats better.”

Politically, it has been very bitter since the 2000 elections and progressively gotten worse through the 2004 and 2006 elections, resulting in a power shift in Washington D.C. for at least a little while. Candidates from both parties’ are bitterly attacking each other and blaming the opposing party. Hopes of putting partisanship aside for the few days of Christmas, the “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men” message we used to hear, seems to have escaped some. Happily though, not all.

Some of the candidates seem to have the old Christmas Spirit as they placed politics aside and wished all a Merry Christmas. But as we saw, not all.

Even the Radio Messages broadcast on this Saturday before Christmas couldn’t escape the bitter divide in our politicians.

President Bush reminds us in his Weekly Radio Message today, “This Christmas, many will sit down for dinner thinking of their loved ones half a world away. These families deserve the thanks and the prayers of our whole nation.” He added, “All these families have already given so much to America, and yet they have found a way to give even more. We thank each of them, and we thank every one of our citizens who supports our troops with letters and donations or prayers.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued the Democrats Response with, “…when Democrats have fought for change, President Bush and Republicans in Congress have stood in the way. We tried to give health care to 10 million poor children, but Republicans sided with tobacco companies. We tried to promote cleaner energy sources, by turning to the sun, the wind, and geothermal, but Republicans sided with the big oil companies. We chose to invest in priorities here at home, but Republicans chose to send billions more of your taxpayer dollars to Iraq.”

He adds, “I am glad to be back home in Searchlight, Nevada this weekend to spend the holiday season with my family and friends. On behalf of the United States Senate, which I have the honor of leading, I wish you and your family a season of health, happiness and joy.”

I recall as a younger man when the bickering of our politicians was put aside during the Christmas Season. They at least acted like they got along for a few days.

I even recall learning that during World War One, bitter enemies laid down their weapons, left their trenches and met in ‘No Mans Land’ in what became known as the Christmas Truce of 1914.

Christmas decorations downtown seem to be gone today. Christmas Carols softly drifting out of those shops can barely be heard, if heard at all. Politicians won’t even put their differences aside and stop digging at each other for a couple days.

Ebenezer Scrooge has to have taken an Office in D.C. and become the most powerful lobbyist there today.

Lew

Real Clear Politics Responds

Just received in email,

----- Original Message -----
From: Russell, David
To: lewwaters@msn.com
Sent: Saturday, December 22, 2007 12:09 PM
Subject: RCP Reader Articles

Dear Mr. Waters,

We came across your blog post about the Reader Articles. Others have written to us about this problem and we are addressing it. We have sent the following letter to those people. I would have posted it as a comment, but I didn't have a Blogger ID. Please consider this a response to your post.

Thank you,

-David Russell

------------------------

Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. We care deeply about the site's integrity and take our responsibility to provide an unbiased source of political information seriously. So I wanted to provide some context to why we've been blocking user accounts the last few weeks.

We have been receiving complaints that some readers are using multiple logins and are gaming the system to inflate the votes to their links on ReaderArticles. So we've been closely monitoring the article submissions and votes, and temporarily blocking accounts that we think are being used to cast multiple votes from the same user.

A lot of the blocked accounts were obvious double accounts (for instance: joesmith1@yahoo.com and joesmith1@gmail.com) and we feel that blocking these accounts made ReaderArticles a better feature.

However, if your complaints are accurate, we may have been too aggressive in blocking accounts. We want to reassure all of you that this is not a conspiracy toward any candidate, party, or ideology.

In future, we will send out an email and allow a user to respond before blocking his/her account.

If you feel like your account has been unfairly blocked, please email me at (drussell at realclearpolitics.com) and I will look into it.

We appreciate the contribution you all make to RCP as active participants and apologize for any inconvenience caused by this action.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Thanks,

-David Russell

Friday, December 21, 2007

Is Real Clear Politics Restricting Conservative Reader Input?



December 21, 2007

For some time, the web site Real Clear Politics has been known as “one of America’s premier independent political web sites.” This has been especially noticed in the section they label Readers Articles, a sub-section featuring “the most popular articles as submitted and voted by RCP users.”

Readers, mostly amateur bloggers and writers usually submit stories they write for their blogs and other readers cast votes as to whether they like them or not. That I could ever tell no one wins any prizes or accolades, just the knowledge that other readers appreciate their words.

For some unknown reason, around December 12, a group of conservative bloggers I associate with online started receiving the following message when they tried to cast their votes, for each other and for writers outside our group, as we saw fit.

“Your voting privileges have been revoked. Please contact the site administrator at admin@realclearpolitics.com if you have any questions.”

With no explanation or warning, one by one, we all received this message over the course of a couple days. Numerous contacts to “admin” as indicated, drew absolutely no response to any of us, maybe a dozen or less bloggers. On December 16, 2007 I emailed the following,

“Hello, since Real Clear Politics has seen fit to revoke my voting privileges and several other friends of mine, I feel it only fair we be given a reasoning behind the revocation. None of us have received any warnings of violating any terms of use, which I cannot find on your site or suspensions, just outright revocation.

We are at least owed a reason why.”


Today, December 21, neither I nor any other person alluded to above have received any reply.

Seeking a “terms of service” to ascertain if we were violating some policy was for naught as a TOS seems vacant from their site.

Searching around the site, I did notice that the website seems to be owned by Time/CNN, news sources not noted for conservative ideals.

Is this an effort at stifling dissemination of conservative words?

Did we violate some invisible TOS by voting for each other’s articles, after reading them elsewhere?

Is Real Clear Politics really “one of America’s premier independent political web sites,” as they claim?

Without being informed as to the why of revocation of voting and submission privileges, we are only left to guess.

Lew

UPDATE 1: Real Clear Politics Responds

UPDATE 2: Real Clear Politics has reinstated me and I imagine others either have been or shortly will be.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sitting Down With A Teenaged Terrorist


December 20, 2007

In an unusual interview, the German publication Der Spiegel had the opportunity to sit down with a captured Teenage Iraqi Terrorist in an Iraqi jail and speak to him about his hate of American Troops and his desire to immigrate to America.

A rare opportunity to delve into the mind of a Terrorist, the interview published on December 20, 2007 by Spiegel Online, A Teenage Terrorist Tells His Story, presents a youth with what otherwise could be considered somewhat normal teenage conflicting thoughts and ideals. A teen in the west might have conflicting emotions that lead to many arguments with parents. This teen’s conflicting emotions in Iraq could lead to death, his as well as his countrymen and US Forces.

The teen, Diya Muhammad Hussein, 16, sits in a jail cell in Rawah, a small town in the Iraqi province of Al-Anbar. To escape violence in Rawah, Diya’s father had moved his family further out into the country nearby about a year ago, to the small village of Hassah.

From the interview with Der Spiegel’s reporter, Ulrike Putz, we learn that once there, the youth fell under the spell of an older man, Maad, a terrorist who told Diya repeatedly “the Americans were godless occupiers” and “fighting them was the duty of every Iraqi.” Maad even told him, “He could one day attack the Marines as a suicide bomber,” a notion Diya hadn’t yet taken seriously and that he found “strange, even funny.”

Trained by Maad and others in constructing and detonating IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), Diya failed twice in detonating one, allowing American Marine Convoys to pass safely by. Undoubtedly, his failure in successfully detonating his charges spared his own life as well.

Dubbed a coward in an Internet chat by Maad for his failure, Diya turned to his friend Ahmed at an Internet café. Not knowing that his internet chat with Maad had been monitored by Iraqi Police, he was arrested upon exiting the café and taken to a Police Jail in Rawah, where he subsequently provided them with information leading to the seizure of a large cache of weapons and names of others in the terrorist cell.

After expressing the hatred he was taught of the American Forces in Iraq and most likely unknown to Diya, it was at the request of the US Marines that Der Spiegel’s reporter was granted permission to sit down and talk with him. For all his hate of American Military Forces, it is their presence in the same building he is being held in that gives him a guarantee of a minimum of good treatment, the Iraqi Army and Police often accusing the Americans of being too soft when it comes to dealing with terrorists.

One Iraqi Colonel from another province says of the Americans, “They do not let me slap them,” adding that he “would like to have a free rein to beat prisoners and kill them without trials if they are guilty.” And yet, this Colonel’s life would be spared by Diya if he had driven by in a convoy while Diya wants to kill Americans, the ones who ensure he be treated humanely.

Apparently unaware of fellow Iraqis who cry America, Don’t Leave Us, Diya expresses the hate of Americans Maad taught him as he says, “We still hate the Americans. In truth no one likes them. Iraq isn't free, that's why we have to keep on fighting.”

Ironic is that his brother, facing the constant threat of suicide bombings and the ire of Diya’s fellow terrorists, became an Iraqi Police Officer shortly after Diya was arrested. His brother, who must guard him at times, reportedly spat on Diya through the cell doors, expressing the anger Diya’s father has at him for his activities. Fearing “severe punishment” by his father, Diya will be fortunate if he receives his father’s punishment, Diya’s ultimate fate now being in the hands of Iraqi judges, part of the handover of power to Iraqi authorities.

Revealing more of this confused and conflicted teenage mind Diya says that when released from Iraqi jail, he would like to “work for the Iraqi police.”

Even more revealing was when Ulrike Putz asked him what would he do if he got a visa tomorrow to travel to the US, he replied that, “He would definitely take it.” The contradiction of his hate and desire of America pointed out to him, he only offered a “bashful smile” in return.

In America, when our youths display this teenage confusion and conflicts of thought, we get them counseling or involve them in activities to head off the trouble we see them heading for. In Iraq, such troubled youths too often fall prey to older terrorists, learning to hate and kill American Forces and most often, themselves.

Lew

Which Candidate Would Be The Worst For America, if Elected?

December 20, 2007

Right In A Left World visitors and readers have expressed their opinion.

In an unscientific poll I placed up, 181 responded. Of the 181 responders, 101, 55% chose Hillary Clinton as who would be the worst for America if elected.

John Edwards was second with 42 votes, 23%. Ron Paul was next with 26 votes, 14%. Losing the poll, actually a good thing in this one, was Barack Obama with 12 votes, 6%.

My thanks to all who voted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Traitor Turns 70


December 18, 2007


Few names bring out more negative feelings and comments from many Viet Nam Veterans than does that of Jane Fonda, more commonly known as “Hanoi Jane,” to those of us who served in Viet Nam. In spite of her efforts today to smooth over her treasonous actions of traveling to Communist North Viet Nam, where she broadcasted pro-communist messages, had her photo taken while she gleefully sat at an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down American aircraft, met with selective American POWs and heartily embraced the communist message that eventually enslaved the people of South Viet Nam, not to mention her pre-North Viet Nam conduct outside of US Military bases, disdain of her is as strong as ever to many who lost friends or loved ones in the war.

Fonda, born in 1937, turns 70 on December 21 and is already enjoying accolades from close friends and associates. Obviously acknowledging and making light of her controversial history, Fonda compiled a list of songs for her friend, Bonnie Rait, to sing at a party held December 13. She said, “Let’s give them ‘Something to Talk About,’” adding, “Thankfully, though, with people like Rosie O'Donnell, Eve Ensler and Ted Turner in the room, I won't be the only one that the song applies to!”

For those not familiar with Fonda’s activities in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and that might have received the email that has been circulating for years now about her, not everything in the email is true. Just who salted the email with the falsehoods is unknown. Having done so they ran the risk of watering down her true treasonous actions. Her actions were injurious as they were, no need to add to them.

In a 2004 interview with Paula Zahn, she was asked about her role. Zahn asked, “Jane, you have apologized to the families of Vietnam War vets, saying that maybe you have said some things that you wish you hadn't said along the way. Do you think you'll ever be able to satisfy people to this day who question what you did in Vietnam?”

Fonda replied, “No. There's a lot of people who – who – it's a cottage industry to hate me. And if they – if they stop, that might mean that they'd have to look at some things that would question their own identity. And that's – it's very hard for people to do.”

What neither acknowledges is that it is mostly Veterans and their families who comprise this “cottage industry” she talks about. While Fonda may have “spent a number of years trying to put her controversial Vietnam past behind her,” many Viet Nam Veterans, who served their country faithfully and honorably have spent the past 35 years trying to understand why we weren’t allowed to finish the fight and keep the South Vietnamese people free. We wonder why we were spat at, called baby killer, murderers, losers, drug addicts and much more. We don’t receive the chance to “put it behind us” when it is still being thrown in our faces as we see history trying to repeat itself with our Troops today.

While Fonda continued on with her roles in movies, writing books and producing exercise tapes, earning millions of dollars, false beliefs and tales about Viet Nam Veterans proliferated, resulting in many Veterans burying memories and acknowledgements that they even served, so as to avoid the catcalls and sometimes, just to be able to support their families in a hostile community. Others bought into Fonda’s pro-communist rhetoric and supported her, but they were a distinct minority.

Of the two apologies mentioned above, at best, they could be labeled as Pseudo-Apology’s, in reality, closer to “non-apology’s,” as her regrets are over her photo being taken, not her treasonous conduct nor demoralizing so many honorable veterans. She has also never offered even regrets to the millions of South Vietnamese people that survived the initial communist take over to be enslaved by the Communist North Vietnamese.

Former Cobra gunship helicopter pilot and author, Terry L. Garlock, a highly decorated Viet Nam Veteran, recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross, took exception to the fawning media coverage given Fonda in an article he submitted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Media glow on Fonda ignores her treason

That she was never prosecuted for her anti-American activities has left many dumbfounded.

Not everyone shares in the contempt so many Veterans have for her. At her birthday party, celebrity pals flew in to honor her. Actress Sally Field said, "Jane is my deepest and truest friend…. I'm here tonight with my open heart and my sagging face to thank you for everything you've given me."

Ex-husband Ted Turner added, “what attracted me to her is her incredible courage. Jane has more courage than just about anybody I've ever met. During the Vietnam War, I kept my mouth shut. I learned early on you don't get into trouble when you keep your mouth shut. Jane never learned that. ...”

Rosie O'Donnell recalled a conversation with Fonda after an appearance on O’Donnell’s talk show, “She said, 'I'm not good at friendships, but I'd like to be yours. Can I come to your house?' To which I replied, [expletive] yes!”

Of the milestone birthday she is approaching, she says, “I'm turning 70 and people think 'Yuck!’ Wrong! I'm having the best time of my life right now.” She adds, “I'm over the hill. And nobody prepared me for what was on the other side of the hill. It's a beautiful, calm landscape even if it's a little blurred. But that's just my vision sometimes! I have a blessed life.”

I am left wondering if she ever gives a thought to just what type of life she helped create for many of the 2.6 million men who served honorably and faithfully in Viet Nam and if some of the 58,249 names on “the Wall” in Washington D.C. might also have had a “blessed life,” if not for her treasonous actions helping to prolong that war and emboldening an enemy that was continually defeated on the battlefield?

Lew

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Seriously PO’d Grannies


December 15, 2007

Much to the elation of citizens of left-leaning Portland, Oregon, a jury of six acquitted five silver-haired activists; four women and a man aged 56 to 76 of misdemeanor criminal mischief charges, Thursday, December 13.

The group, calling themselves “Seriously Pissed Off Grannies,” was charged in connection with vandalism of a US Army Recruitment Office in Portland. Typically seen sitting in rocking chairs and holding their protest signs, the group decided to do something more radical earlier this year when they left red handprints on the front window of the Recruitment Office, along with the number 3,627, the body count of American Troops killed in Iraq at that time.

Local media excoriated Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Seth Steward for prosecuting the “grannies,” part of a larger group of about a dozen, known as the “Surge protection brigade.” Steward asked the jury to bring back a guilty verdict to "protect our troops,” saying, “think of some evils that could happen and why it is important for the line to be drawn here. On Sept. 11, some people drove planes into a building to prove a point. The defendants say their conduct is necessary to avoid imminent danger because people are dying in Iraq. That is the same thing suicide bombers say.”

30 minutes later, the group was acquitted.

Apparently relying on their gray haired look and reliving what they consider the glory days of the 1960’s anti-Viet Nam protests, this small group feels acts of vandalism on their part is okay, forgetting that they are interfering with someone else’s free choice, a much lauded privilege and right touted at abortion clinics across the land.

That they were acquitted so rapidly in Portland, Oregon should come as no surprise to any one. Portland, if you will recall from March of this year, is where protesters were chanting “Build a bonfire, Build a bonfire, Put the soldiers on the top. Put the fascists in the middle, and, we'll burn the f**king lot,” and “Bye bye GI, In Iraq you’re gonna die,” while burning a US Soldier in effigy. Also on the same day, another protester defecated on a burning American Flag in the street, in full view of others including children.

Martha Odom, one of the “grannies” said, “As a mother and grandmother, I have this sort of unbreakable pact to ensure my children are safe and healthy. This war is endangering them in so many ways.”

Shouldn’t that “pact” include supporting those who desire to enlist and help prevent another 19 radical Jihadists from highjacking more aircraft and flying them into our occupied buildings? After three decades of ever increasing terrorist attacks against American interests, twice on our own soil, the illusion of safety by ignoring the increasing threat is revealed as a “false illusion.”

The “grannies” said they didn't want to damage property or insult soldiers, but Army recruiter Sgt. Joemer Canlas, who mans the recruitment center in Portland, and a combat engineer who served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, said the incident affected him “on the inside,” adding, “[I’d] rather be back there than here, being disrespected.”

Ms. Odom also claimed that the “grannies” considered using their own blood to leave red handprints on the windows, but decided to use water-soluble tempura paint instead.

Freedom of speech and to protest is a cornerstone of our society. Yet, courts have ruled in the past that restricting protests at abortion clinics “protects patients' rights to avoid unwanted speech.” Should not those that desire to volunteer to serve their country also share in that “right to avoid unwanted speech?”

An earlier interview exposed the aging “grannies” as having a long history in activism that include decades of demonstrations. One protester, DeEtte Beghtol cites as one reason for their continued activism as, “All the people that we are raping and pillaging around the world.”

Martha Odom ended the interview with, “When you get the grannies pissed, you better watch out.”

Perhaps Mrs. Odom hasn’t yet recognized that their tactics have “PO’d” another group of grandparents who she and her ilk denigrated and defamed 35 years ago and who aren’t going to allow it to happen this time.

Lew

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Grinch Hits Canada


December 14, 2007

Citing security concerns and a lack of space on transport aircraft, Canadian Military Brass has decided to reject some 1700 ‘Care Packages’ destined for Canadian Troops stationed in war torn Afghanistan over Christmas this year.

Judi McLeod, of the Canada Free Press reports, “Christmas miracle needed to get care package to Canadian troops in Afghanistan.”

Canadian citizens have opened their hearts to brighten the Christmas of the Troops by donating and compiling these packages.

Ailing veteran and former vice-president of the Roxboro Legion who spearheaded the project, Richard Shannon said, “I’m not well, and I’m very upset about this. They said all the way along, this project is guaranteed. It was okay, everything was good, and all of a sudden they pulled the plug.”

According to Judi Mcleod, “the communities of Cobourg and Port Hope, with a combined population of just over 25,000, managed to put together enough packages to give every Canadian soldier in Afghanistan a package to make them feel closer to home at Christmas.”

An effort as this and for this reason deserves to be carried forth. It isn’t support of the war to show such compassion to those involved in it. Canadian citizens should be outraged at such callous treatment of their Military stationed far from home over Christmas.

Surely, the Grinch can be vanquished and a little touch of home can be delivered to Canadian Troops this Christmas. If enemy forces can lay down their arms over Christmas, as was done for the Christmas Truce of 1914, citizens can demand these packages get delivered to the Troops.

Lew

UPDATE: The 1700 packages will be going to the Canadian Troops afterall, by sea, it appears. Good wishes will sail the high seas

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Global Warming Deniers Growing


December 12, 2007

In September 2006, the Guardian ran an article that was an excerpt from the book “HEAT, How To Stop The Planet From Burning.” The article, titled The denial industry begins with “For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is inconclusive. They set back action on climate change by a decade.”

Curiously, Tobacco becomes involved as one of the main culprits in the excerpt.

At the online publication, Gristmill, a very scary comment was posted shortly after the Guardian article. A David Roberts said, “When we've finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we're in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg.”

Recent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore Jr classifies scientists and others who don't share his view of the Earth's climate as "global warming deniers,” reminiscent of the phrase, “Holocaust Deniers” invoked on skeptics of the Holocaust.

This prompted the University of Colorado's Roger Pielke to chime in, “Let's be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust. This allusion has no place in the discourse on climate change. I say this as someone fully convinced of a significant human role in the behavior of the climate system,”

A May 2005 article from the Seattle PI, “Global warming? A small few non-believers say no,” contains the sentence, “For more than a decade now, the climate change deniers have been in retreat, humbled by the thumping weight of scientific evidence.”

More recently, unnamed “experts” are quoted at the Bali Conference as saying, “[the Kyoto Protocol]… is the world's ‘last chance’ to avoid disaster.”

Scare mongering aside, it seems that anyone questioning the current claims of pending global destruction due to climate change is immediately labeled a “heretic,” or as ones like Al Gore likes to use, “Global Warming Deniers.”

There is no discussion, no alternative science, no investigations or no weather experts that advocates of man made climate change creating imminent peril for the planet will listen to. For some time now, we have been repeatedly told, “The debate's over!”

But, is it really?

In an October 2007 Wall Street Journal article, professor Daniel Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara says, “Global warming doesn't matter except to the extent that it will affect life--ours and that of all living things on Earth. And contrary to the latest news, the evidence that global warming will have serious effects on life is thin. Most evidence suggests the contrary.”

In August of this year, we were informed that “Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory,” by the US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works.

Also in August, Newsweek contributing editor Robert Samuelson embarrassingly admitted to “a ‘highly contrived’ cover story about the global warming threat and the ‘denial machine’ that seeks to debunk it.”

Facing the scorn of California Democrat Henry Waxman as he completes his 16 month "Political Interference With Climate Change Science Under the Bush Administration," investigation, Max Mayfield, former director of the National Hurricane Center, in reply to charges that he told to minimize any connection between increased hurricane activity and global climate change said in an ABC Interview, “I want the record to show that no one forced me to say anything on the subject of climate change and tropical cyclones that I didn't believe at the time," adding, “Most meteorologists with knowledge of tropical cyclones think that there will be some impact from global warming on hurricanes. The debate is over how much of an impact.”

In May 2007, the highly respected German Publication, Spiegel Online International ran an article titled, “GLOBAL WARMING, Not the End of the World as We Know It.” The article opens with, “Despite widespread fears of a greenhouse hell, the latest computer simulations are delivering far less dramatic predictions about tomorrow's climate.”

In spite of what Al Gore and his cronies claims that “the debate is over,” it would appear to me that the debate is hardly beginning.

Lastly, if it is true that skeptics of man made Global Warming are “heretics,” “deniers” or other such nefarious designations, how will they classify the following, said back in January 2007 on Earth Day, but released just this week? “While some concerns may be valid it [is] vital that the international community base its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.” Also said was, “the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind.” Pope Benedict XVI.

UPDATE: If any still think the thought of man-made climate change is a slam dunk and we are headed for peril, Which part of this Scientific paper did Government Advisors Not read or Understand?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Gun Control Kills People


December 10, 2007

Our media seems to enjoy publishing endless stories of abuses of gun ownership by private citizens, furthering the agendas of Gun Control advocates. Every time we read of another tragic shooting resulting in loss of life, we are deluged with politicians grandstanding in speeches and offering more legislation to curtail our first amendment rights.

Well meaning, but misguided citizens demand gun free zones, areas that essentially restrict legal law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits from carrying their guns. From schools to shopping malls, time and time again we have seen the tragedy of gun free zones unfold as gun men enter the zones and begin firing, too often killing and harming many.

From the massacres at Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado, to the murder suicides at Virginia Tech, we are inundated with stories of these tragedies, often used to show us why guns need to be outlawed.

This past weekend, Sunday December 9, we saw yet another tragic shooting take place, again in Colorado, but at a mega-church of 7,000. Unlike previous shootings, though, we are not being inundated with calls for new laws or tightening existing gun laws. Perhaps because once again, a citizen with a concealed carry permit and properly trained in the use of a firearm, brought the carnage to an end by using her firearm to protect the 7,000 in attendance at the church when the shooting started, “taking the shooter down.”

Previous incidences of law-abiding citizens stopping shooters in their tracks have also received little media notice over the years. Virtually ignored by the media and gun control advocates is the column found in “America’s 1st Freedom,” the NRA’s magazine, Armed Citizens, continually stating true stories of private citizens that protected themselves or others by their own guns.

Incidents like the Appalachian Law School Shootings and the Pearl High School shooting, although reported, obscure the fact that it was students or administrators with their own private guns that put a stop to the shooters before they murdered more, each time with no harm to the shooters themselves.

Those points are glossed over while gun control advocates obfuscate and demand tighter gun controls.

News reports of the shooting at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, identify Jeanne Assam as a “Security Guard,” insinuating a hired guard. That is not entirely true. Ms. Assam, an attractive blonde churchgoer, appears an unlikely “Security Guard,” in the traditional sense. She is a former Police Officer from Minnesota, but is a private citizen who volunteered to provide security at the mega-church in the afternoon, attending morning services herself. She and others volunteer to provide some security at the church and yesterday, her services were sorely needed and she came through, like others before her.

As a regular churchgoer, she blends in with others without letting on she is legally armed and with the full permission of the church Pastor. Yesterday, the wisdom of this arrangement came to fruition. If ever the Women’s Rights groups need a heroine to hold up to the public, Ms. Assam fits that bill. Time will tell if she is so embraced.

Like them or not, guns are a fact of life. They are available, usually much easier if illegally obtained than those purchased legally. Criminals are becoming increasingly bold, knowing that many citizens are now unarmed and that current gun control laws have historically not been enforced.

Gun control advocates repeatedly say that if we have time to get to a gun, we have time to call the Police. While there is an element of truth in that statement, I am left wondering what do they propose we do in the 10 to 30 minutes it may take for an officer to arrive?

Gun ownership is a serious responsibility, as Jeanne Assam showed yesterday. Those that own a gun have a responsibility to become trained in the proper use and maintenance of them.

Crimes involving the use of a gun are even more serious and must be dealt with swiftly and harshly by Police and the Courts. If one is killed in the process of committing a crime with a gun, their intended victim should not be turned into the criminal by gun haters.

Lastly, gun free zones need to be abolished. Time and time again we have seen that they result in law-abiding citizens leaving theirs behind while criminals easily bring theirs in with the resulting carnage.

Responsible and properly trained teachers, administrators, volunteers or citizens should be allowed to carry concealed weapons, if so licensed at the areas now seen as easy targets. As long as criminals have guns to use against us, we must be allowed to properly defend ourselves within the law.

Lew

UPDATE: This post received the Top Op Ed Award this week at Digital Journal. My thanks to all who read and showed an interest in it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NIE Report on Iran’s Nukes Leaves Bush Embarrassed


December 5, 2007

With the release of the latest NIE report stating that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Democrats have received new ammunition to use against the president in future dealings with the country of Iran. For several years now we have heard how Iran, in its rapid push to build centrifuges across the nation, is preparing to join the Nuclear Club, prompting fears that Iran might share their nuclear secrets with groups as Al Qaeda.

Harry Reid, (D Nv) said, “I would be very surprised if, when this report came out yesterday and was made public, that the president didn't already know all about it.”

Hillary Clinton, (D NY) said, “I vehemently disagree with the president that nothing's change and, therefore, nothing in American policy has to change. I have, for two years, advocated diplomatic engagement with Iran, and I think that's what the president should do.”

Barack Obama (D Ill) chimed in, “They should have stopped the saber rattling, shouldn't have never started it, and they need now to aggressively move on the diplomatic front.”

Jay Rockefeller (D WV)says, “I have to believe that he knew what was going on. Why was he talking about a nuclear Holocaust? Why was he talking about all of those things?”

Silvestre Reyes (D Tx) opines, “I strongly urge President Bush to pursue a clear-eyed, serious diplomatic effort, with both carrots and sticks, to prevent Iran from restarting its nuclear weapons program.”

Joe Biden (D Del)adds, “The president raised the specter of World War III with Iran because, as he said, its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, months after he had been told by our intelligence community it's likely that Iran had halted its weapons program.”

Mirroring her successful campaign slogan from the 2006 elections, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D Ca) says, “the new Iran NIE suggests there is time for a new policy toward Iran that deters it from restarting its nuclear program while also improving relations overall.”

Rahm Emanuel (D IL) claims, “This report is a game changer. Okay?”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran says, “This is a declaration of victory for the Iranian nation against the world powers over the nuclear issue.” He added, “This was a final shot to those who, in the past several years, spread a sense of threat and concern in the world through lies of nuclear weapons ... Thanks to your resistance, a fatal shot was fired at the dreams of ill-wishers and the truthfulness of the Iranian nation was once again proved by the ill-wishers themselves.”

Some Officials from the European Union indicate that the report has removed the sense of urgency from the effort to compel Iran to cooperate fully with the international community in curtailing their nuclear enrichment. While they still look upon Iran with a wary eye, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency is urging “all parties to enter without delay into negotiations to ... bring about a comprehensive solution that would normalize the relationship between Iran and the international community.”

Still reeling from accusations of failing to connect the dots to prevent the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks, President Bush, ever on the defensive, held a Press Conference Tuesday, December 4. Addressing the newly released NIE Report, Bush said, “I think it is very important for the international community to recognize the fact that if Iran were to develop the knowledge that they could transfer to a clandestine program it would create a danger for the world. And so I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program. And the reason why it's a warning signal is that they could restart it.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cautioned, "I continue to see Iran as a dangerous power in international politics. At this moment, it doesn't appear to have an active weaponization program. That frankly is good news. But if it causes people to say, 'Oh, well, then we don't need to worry about what the Iranians are doing,' I think we will have made a big mistake."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak disputes the U.S. NIE report, saying, “Israeli intelligence believes Iran is still trying to develop nuclear weapons. It is our responsibility to ensure that the right steps are taken against the Iranian regime.”

The NIE report itself claims that they “Created new procedures to integrate formal reviews of source reporting and technical judgments” and “Applied more rigorous standards” to arrive at the assessment they did.

The NIE A) Judges with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.

B) Judges with high confidence that the halt … was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.

C) Assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.

D) Assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.

E) Assess with low confidence that Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material. They cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad, or will acquire in the future, a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon.

F) Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so.

G) Does not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options.

H) Assess with moderate confidence that convincing the Iranian leadership to forgo the eventual development of nuclear weapons will be difficult given the linkage many within the leadership probably see between nuclear weapons development and Iran’s key national security and foreign policy objectives.

I) Assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.

Although Democrats and detractors of President Bush may feel he has been pushing for war with Iran, or that the sanctions need to be strengthened is inciting Iranian leadership, the report seems to have some level of confidence that President Bush is correct when he says, “It is clear from the latest NIE that the Iranian government has more to explain about its nuclear intentions and past actions.”

Deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said, “Anyone who thinks that the threat from Iran has receded or diminished is naive and is not paying attention to the facts,” and in response to Iran’s claims of vindication by the NIE Report, Fratto added, “I think that's absolutely absurd, and Iran should take no comfort or vindication from the NIE.”

How embarrassing it must be for the President of the United States of America to once again, have to go before the American people and show them how the dots line up towards another grave threat, explaining in plain English what a report actually says, while the opposition paints him as a fearmonger and after being castigated for not lining up the dots after he first took office by those same Democrats.

Lew

Sunday, December 02, 2007

As Went Cuba, So Goes Venezuela?


December 2, 2007

Reuters News Service is reporting that Venezuela’s Socialist Leader, Hugo Chavez, is winning in today’s vote for his “referendums” that appear to be a power grab and set him up as Dictator for life.

Leopoldo Lopez, a popular Mayor and from Chavez’s opposition said, "According to our information, it is a statistical tie," citing his skepticism of the vote. Sources claim the voter turnout to be very low, which must come as a surprise to Luis Vicente Leon, head of Venezuela’s Datanalisis, who did the polling and who said that the number of Venezuelans who say they will not vote had shrunk from a majority of voters to around 40 percent last week.

Chavez, a fierce critic of the United States and close ally of Communist Cuba, had vowed earlier to defy polls that showed him lagging behind the opposition, to win a referendum that will allow him to rule for as long as he wishes.

Earlier polling showed Forty-nine percent of likely voters opposed Chavez's referendums of constitutional changes that will expand his powers as President.

Chavez has stated he desires to turn Venezuela into a Socialist State patterned after Dictator Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Self described "full-time revolutionary," Marlene Vanegas, 70, said, "The reform is very important for the country, we want to support our president, he was sent to us by God."

José Miguel Vivanco, America’s director at Human Rights Watch, stated in October that a proposed amendment would, “allow President Chavez to invoke a state of emergency to justify suspending certain rights that are untouchable under international law.” That would include the right to the presumption of innocence and to a fair trial; the right to an attorney; the right against self-incrimination; the right of a defendant to know the charges and evidence against him; and the right against double jeopardy.

Venezuelans say they have no trouble finding work under Chavez’s rule and his push for Socialism. What they seem to have trouble finding are the basic staples for life, food especially. Gustavo Arteaga, a Venezuelan construction worker says, "It takes a miracle to find milk," as he stood in line outside a store for two hours.

Storeowners claim Chavez’s price controls are so low they force them to sell at a loss, discouraging investment in the basic necessities. Government sources claim the problem is caused by growing demand by poor citizens who benefit from social programs, exaggerated media hype and food hoarding by unscrupulous businesses.

Ismael Perez, of the opposition group Conindustria, said, “businesses fear holding sufficient inventories due to an anti-hoarding law,” highlighted by government seizure of 25 tons of Nestles powdered milk. Lino Alves manager of Cueva de Iria, a bakery says, "Everything relating to flour and sugar is a problem. We call our providers and they say they don't have any. We only have enough milk to put in coffee."

Due to the inevitable Black Market that springs up under such tight restrictions on prices, one Venezuelan reported paying $12 for a can of powdered milk, regulated at $6. Jose Ferrer called the price an “insult,” but added, "I have to buy it for my kids, there is no other way."

Chavez has instituted a chain of government-subsidized supermarkets, but they too have been hit by food shortages.

Earlier in the year Chavez decided not to renew broadcasting licenses for station he accuses of supporting a coup against him. Human Rights Watch called the move “a misuse of the state’s regulatory authority to punish a media outlet for its criticism of the government.”

An Editorial at the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal reminds us “Chavez fired the National Electoral Council (CNE) and named his own version, which presided over a crooked and non-transparent August 2004 recall referendum.” Former President Carter and the Bush Administration State Department both gave their blessings to this obvious election fraud.

Earlier Chavez purged the military after it refused to fire on protestors and briefly removed him from power in 2002. Ignoring the pleas of labor unions, human rights activists and religious leaders, Senator Chris Dodd (D. Conn) and Joseph P. Kennedy II voiced support for Chavez in exchange for discounts on oil to “benefit America’s poor.”

In spite of a "huge and peaceful 'no' rally" this past Thursday in Caracas; Chavez’s government sources today report that he is easily winning his reforms. Perhaps we are seeing an instance of the disputed quote often attributed to fellow Communist, Joseph Stalin, “It does not matter if you vote or how you may vote, what matters is who counts the votes.”

Lew



UPDATE: Fox News reporting the Venezuelan governmant claiming the vote is surrently too close to call. Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez claiming that results seen by election monitors "indicate the 'no' vote is going to win." CNN and Reuters reporting similar results.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Winter Soldier Redux, Iraq and Afghanistan


December 1, 2007

Copying the anti-war tactics of failed 2004 Democrat Presidential candidate, John F. Kerry (D. Ma), who slandered the valor of every person who served in South Viet Nam by his 1971 “testimony” before the Fulbright Commission, Iraq Veterans Against The War are now actively seeking testimony and evidence from Veterans who say they served in either theater to “provide first hand accounts of their experiences and reveal the reality of occupation.”

Taking the name of the self styled “investigation” performed by Kerry and his cohorts in Viet Nam Veterans Against the War, Winter Soldier, IVAW hopes to accomplish much the same that the anti-war resisters did in the last half of the Viet Nam conflict.

Speaking to Aaron Glantz, of the anti-war OneWorldUS, Liam Madden, a member of IVAW said,

"The war in Iraq is not covered to its potential because of how dangerous it is for reporters to cover it. That's left a lot of misconceptions in the minds of the American public about what the true nature of military occupation looks like."


Just what misconceptions Madden doesn’t explain, as CBS news is reporting today that “55% Say War Was A Mistake; 59% Want U.S. Troops Home ASAP.”

Copying Kerry’s claim of day to day atrocities committed by the Troops, Madden also says,
“Well-publicized incidents of American brutality like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha are not the isolated incidents perpetrated by "a few bad apples," as many politicians and military leaders have claimed. They are part of a pattern of an increasingly bloody occupation.”


Gerald Nicosia, also a member of IVAW, chimed in, with regards to those who gave testimony in the 1971 Winter Soldier “investigation,”
“They brought together their bonafides and wore their medals and showed it was more than one or two or three malcontents. It was medal-winning, honored soldiers -- veterans in a group verifying what each other said to try to convince people that these charges cannot be denied. That people are doing these things as a matter of policy.”


Subsequent investigations mandated by Congress after Kerry’s “testimony” revealed several of the “veterans” used by Kerry were in fact phonies, either never having served in the Military or grossly exaggerating claims made before the VVAW “investigation.” Much of this was revealed in the 1998 book, “Stolen Valor” by B.G. Burkett, himself a Viet Nam Veteran who admits he was no hero.

Troops who committed atrocities and crimes at Abu Ghraib prison were tried, convicted and sentenced. One by one, Marines accused of crimes in Haditha are being exonerated.

Violence in Iraq has been greatly reduced thanks to President Bush and General Petraeus’s Troop Reinforcement, more commonly known as “the Surge.” Iraqi’s that were opposed to American Troops have switched sides in record numbers to fight Al Qaeda insurgents. The American and Iraqi governments have scheduled talks aimed at ending the battle of Iraq and bringing most of our Troops home by the end of Bush's presidency.

Committing War Crimes is a violation, not only of our laws, but also of international laws and the Geneva Conventions. Americans committing war crimes are investigated and prosecuted, if it is merited.

Nicosia sums up the IVAW motive with,
“Americans are bred deep into their psyches to think of America as a good country and, I think, much harder than just the hurdle of getting troops out of Iraq, is to get Americans to realize the terrible things we do in the name of the United States.”


War crimes are not committed “in the name of the United States.” None of those confessing to war crimes in 1971 were ever prosecuted. If any committed war crimes in Iraq or Afghanistan, they should confess now, not in March 2008, and face the prosecution they deserve.

No one is conscripted in today’s all volunteer Military. Over all, we have some of the bravest and brightest America has to offer willfully placing themselves between our enemies and our citizens. They deserve much better than to be slandered as those who served in Viet Nam were in 1971.

Lew

UPDATE: A more in depth look at the faux 1971 Winter Soldier Investigations conducted by Kerry and is cronies is well documented in a newly released book, To Set The Record Straight, How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler. Much declassified documentation and files can be found at wintersoldier.com