Tuesday, October 31, 2006

John Kerry, Can I Cry Now?

Just when I think Joe Barton is just about the dumbest politician on the planet, John Kerry opens his mouth.

And just when I think John Kerry can't possibly sink any lower, he opens his mouth again.

John Kerry, who voted for and spoke so very eloquently in support of the Invasion of Iraq, before he voted against the funds to actually support the troops, is simply an insult to human intelligence.

Be sure to read, as Kerry so plaintively begs, his entire comments from yesterday, in context. And then be certain to carefully read, re-read and then parse every noun, verb and adjective in his astounding, heartstopping, rebuttal this afternoon.

The man is worse than an idiot. He is a sniviling, self serving, self absorbed fool.

Even if he is one thousand percent correct in his attack on President Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld this afternoon, there is no excuse for his failure to apologize for his clear, unambiguous misstatement yesterday. By his own admission, he "botched the joke."

Kerry says the "joke" was supposed to go something like this: "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."

But what he actually said was this: "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

WOW! There's a world of difference between those two statements.

It takes a real man to admit he made a mistake and to apologize to those he hurt. And the harm here is profound and deep.

But the term "real man" shouldn't actually ever appear in the same article, essay, blog entry or even newspaper with the name John Kerry.

Watch the story unwind. And marvel at how a small apology prefacing Kerry's bombastic attack on Bush this afternoon would have diffused this entire story.

Bush on Kerry remark: U.S. troops are 'plenty smart'

Did Kerry Hand Republicans a November gift?

I was particularly touch by this letter on
Michelle Malkin's Web Site:


    I joined the Marine Corps in 1983, right out of high school, not because I couldn't make it in college but because I wanted something more out of life than the small town I was in. When I retired, 21 years later, I had a BS in Finance and a Master's degree in Computer Science.

    My husband, currently serving in Fallujah, Iraq, joined the Marine Corps after getting a BS in History and afterwards achieved his Master's in Education Leadership. My oldest son, slated to go to Iraq in March 2007, joined the Marine Corps after 2 years of college. He just couldn't let others fight a war for something he truly believed in so he joined the Marine Corps last December.

    I guess we are a family of underachievers. AND PROUD OF IT!!!!!

    Kim Whitehouse
    USMC Retired
John McCain has replied to John Kerry's meltdown this afternoon:

    "You can't make this up. His statement, basically, was so demeaning to the men and women who are serving in the military that you will be even more grateful than you are at this moment that George Bush is president of the United States."

    "You can't make this up. His statement was that if you get an education and you do well, then you don't have to go to Iraq, and if you don't have an education, then you have to go to Iraq. Do you know how demeaning that is to the men and women who are serving so magnificently in the cause of freedom and are fighting and dying in Iraq today? As I said, you can't make it up."



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Monday, October 30, 2006

Representative Joe Barton and Republican Stupidity

"He's not going to be chairman after November 7, if there's a God."

That quote is from Don Imus and it's repeated, in one form or another, several times every day on Don Imus' extremely popular syndicated radio program that is simulcast on cable television news network, MSNBC. Imus is referring to Representative Joe Barton, Republican from Texas' 6th Congressional District and the very powerful Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Don's issue with Representative Barton is that he, as chairman, virtually stopped the popular, and very badly needed, Combating Autism Act of 2006, which had already passed the Senate unanimously.

The House bill was introduced by Representative Mary Bono, a fellow Republican from California. Bono's bill has 227 co-sponsors in the House (obviously enough to pass).

Imus is funny, lucid, logical, creative and engaging. Did I forget to mention he is biting, sarcastic, cruel and relentless? And he is the Republican's worst nightmare.

Why is he their worst nightmare? Because the Republicans are so damned stupid they don't realize the incredible damage Imus is doing in races all across the country. Imus is begging and pleading for a Democrat Party majority in the House, so Barton's power base can be deminished.

"He's not going to be chairman after November 7, if there's a God."

Here are a number of links to give you more information on this on-going battle:

Radio host Don Imus pressures Rep. Joe Barton over autism, by Maria Recio, McClatchy Newspapers

The Imus Show Blog by Big Roy


Combatin Autism Bill and Joe Barton of Texas, by The Political Cortex Blog

David T. Harris: Follow Me to D.C. (Democrat Candidate for the 6th District)

And this YouTUBE Video is one of the most popular on the web:

Don Imus calls Barton a crook, a criminal, a bully and an idiot. And Imus is certainly right on the last count. Joe Barton is an idiot. How else can you explain Barton allowing this bullying to go on, unanswered.

And how can you possibly explain Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican Party allowing the carnage to continue. Is the entire Republican Party deaf?

You would think Mehlman would take Barton aside and say:

    "Joe, you're killing us. Did you realize that one out of every 166 children born today are affected by Autism. And Joe, each one of those Autisic children has two parents and four grandparents. And they all vote."

    "Joe, you know how tight this election is. We all know your seat is safe. But if your fight with Imus and the Autism community costs us enough votes, were gonna lose the house and you're gonna lose your chairmanship!"

    "How about it, Joe? Apologize to the Autism community and promise to get the bill bassed immediately, during the lame duck session of Congress. It's a Republican bill for goodness sake. Let's not hand this one to the Democrats on a silver platter."

You would think that imaginary conversation might happen. But obviously it's not.

Thanks to Joe Barton, the whole Republican Party certainly is suffering from Autism.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, let me mention this bill deserves to pass. And it needs to pass quickly and not be held hostage to Barton's bizarre political agenda.



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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Situational Ethics

I am no fan of situational ethics. I believe that if something is wrong.... well, it's wrong.

Elections and political campaigns bring out the very worst in people. And situational ethics becomes the guiding force of the day. After all, the only important thing is to win! Right?


That's why, as a long time civil rights champion, I am appalled at the false OUTRAGE being artificially generate against the Republican National Committee's anti-Harold Ford, Jr. ad. Everyone from Jesse Jackson to Chris Matthews tells us that ad is RACIST!!

BULLSHIT! Watch for yourself.

Now I'm a big Harold Ford, Jr. supporter. I'm very hopeful he will win the campaign for Senator from Tennessee. He has the values, ideals, temperament, intelligence and willingness to compromise that makes a great Senator (and, perhaps, even a great President one day).

But when the LIBERAL ESTABLISHMENT goes over the top and calls this ad RACIST just because a cute blond says to Harold Ford, Jr. "Call Me," the real outrage should be against liberals who would set the entire Civil Right's movement back fifty years just to gain political points.

First, let's face facts, Harold Ford, Jr. is a handsome man. Second, the cute blond is pursuing Ford and not vice versa. We don't have some stereotype of a black predator.

And let's face more facts: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and hundreds of black athletes, celebrities and businessmen have white wives or blond girlfriends. And, today, it is increasingly common for white men to date and marry black women. That is EXACTLY as it should be. Anyone can and should be able to date, or marry, anyone.

Television and movies now portray inter-racial relationships without even a nod or a wink. Earlier this week I praised Battlestar Galactica as a great drama. When the leading male character (who happens to be white) married a black women in the series, there wasn't even a note about it anywhere by anyone, liberals, conservatives, television critics or blogosphere fans.

Even here in the deepest South of Mississippi, inter-racial relationships are common.

But, hell, we need to make political points. Let's just set the entire racial equality program back fifty years. Let's make sure every prominent black leader, and every Democrat, and all the so-called Liberal pundants call this ad racist. Like, somehow, white a woman can't be attracted to a black man without offending her brothers, father, neighbors and minister.

What's even worse, is that when the situation is reversed (remember, situational ethics), our revered Liberal leaders simply change sides. Call Black Republican Michael Steele (another candidate I'd love to see win) a "slave" to the Republican party and there isn't a peep from the so-call Liberal establishment. Pelt Steele with Oreos and all is quiet on the liberal front. Call him an Uncle Tom and the left wing is silent as a mouse.

Or photoshop a picture of Joe Lieberman in blackface in The Huffington Post (as Jane Hamsher did) and all those pseudo liberals think it's just fine and dandy. There wasn't a single complaint from Jesse Jackson or Chris Matthews.

In fact Jesse Jackson actually said this type of "stuff" isn't important. At least it's not important when a Democrat is doing the attacking.

    "That's really low-level stuff. This campaign is really about the war. This is really about trade policy. This is really about health care. That's not this campaign. [Lamont] did not commission that. At this point in the election, you're going to have all kinds of distracting stuff."

If the Democrat National Committee had run a nearly IDENTICAL"call me" television spot against Michael Steele, the black and liberal leadership would be defending it saying there was noting racist about a blond being attracted to a good looking black man. They would "turn the argument around" and condemn conservatives for living in the past and actually harboring old racial prejudices from a time when inter-racial relationships weren't the norm they are today.

Situational ethics disgust me. And so do both political parties.



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Monday, October 23, 2006

Political Breakfast Burritos

Have you had a Steak, Egg and Cheese Burrito from SONIC Drive-in? They are available for a limited time only. Sonic throws a lot of great ingredients in there: thin sliced steak (and lots of it), peppers, onions, scrambled eggs, tater-tots (I'm not joking), cheese, salsa and even jalapenos if you ask. And here's a real secret, they will also add chili if you ask!!

Today I've got a similar number of ingredients, none quite big enough for a full meal, but I hope they taste great all mixed together.....

Abortions versus Gun Deaths

Two disclaimers: First I know I'm comparing apples and squash. Second I want to emphasize I am pro-choice. But this topic came up in a real life "political discussion" over breakfast this morning.

Both Abortion and Gun Control raise huge passions on both sides of each debate. What's similar about these topics is that compromise is simply not possible today.

One "debater" at this morning's breakfast was decrying the sorry state of the Democrat Party because they will not fight for gun control. Oh, they all talk about it, but the NRA (National Rifle Association) strikes fear into their hearts and no meaningful legislation is ever offered.

Plus, the debater pointed out, in spite of increasingly tragic gun deaths, school shootings and accidents, Republicans simply won't allow even the mildest sort of limitation on firearms.

A second "debater" (or two) pointed out the exact same thing was true of abortion. In spite of massive numbers of abortions, the Democrats fight notification, waiting periods, parental notification, partial birth abortion or any measure that might slow the abortion rate, or murders of babies as this debater called them.

It should be pointed out that I'm down here in Mississippi and 90% of our "debaters" are certainly anti-abortion and pro-gun. None-the-less, a lively discussion ensued.

Here are the statistics. 2003 is the latest year that has either abortion statistics or gun death statistics:

Legal Abortions in 2003: 1,287,000

Gun Deaths (all causes) in 2003: 30,136

You can click on the titles for the links to the statistics. It should be noted that both total abortions and the percentage of abortions have declined for the last eleven years.
I think that we need both intelligent and reasonable gun registration and control. I also believe we need intelligent and reasonable and fair restrictions on abortions. In today's political environment, neither is likely.

Predictions for the 2006 Elections

It is a long tradition for me to predict the outcome of each election two or three weeks before the actual vote. In keeping with that tradition, I am doing it here today.

I must be noted that in each of the last 7 or so elections I have always been WRONG!! A conservative Christian friend who drops by this blog occasionally, John, always contradicts, I mean "corrects," me. And, I will freely admit in each of the past elections he has always been right.

Although John stops by rarely these days I'm hoping he will drop in and take me to task.

Democrats gain 6 Seats
Democrats Control 51 to 49

Democrats gain 27 Seats
Democrats Control 229 to 206

The lone moral victory for the Republicans will be the victory of Democrat Joe Lieberman. And while many Democrats are too foolish to know it, this will be a huge victory for them, too. But I'm still working on a separate, full, essay on that subject.

Battlestar Galactica

To say that Ron Moore's and David Eick's
Battlestar Galactica is the finest drama on television would be a tremendous understatement. This may well be the finest piece of literature in the history of the medium. If there is an appropriate category, this seasons two part opener should be nominated for and receive a Pulitzer Prize.

I'm far from the first to note the political and world event overtones and analogies in the plot lines of this series. Others have covered this ground so well I'll not try to improve on what has been written by more talented writers elsewhere. But for the novice I'll direct you to Phillip's MySpace Blog enrty:
The Politics of Cylons.

If you already watch this series (Friday nights on the SciFi cable network), you no doubt know what I mean. If you don't watch, you need to seek it out (episodes are also available on iTunes).

One small comment. Last Friday's episode culminated in a massive battle. The producers spent a small fortune in special effects to create an epic war worthy of anything George Lucas created for Star Wars. But, unlike Star Wars, there was no grandiose patriotic John Williams music and heroic scenes of valor where the heroes remained unscared.

This war was pure hell. And Richard Gibbs' and Bear McCreary's somber and haunting music made the battle and the horrific loses even more painful.

There was no victory. You were forced instead to measure the degrees of loss. I'm afraid the analogies to the war in Iraq go even deeper than the writers and producers ever intended.



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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bill Putnam

I'd like to recommend you take time and read professional photographer (ZUMA Press and Time Magazine) Bill Putnam's recent interview about his work and travels in Iraq: The In T View: Bill Putnam, Combat Photographer On Iraq, War, Photography, And Blogging

No politics, no bomb throwing, no agenda. Just a real view of an American trying to cover the war in Iraq.

Bill also has a blog where he has made regular entries during his time in Iraq:
An Independent Look at Iraq



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Friday, October 20, 2006

There Can Be No Compromise. Period.

A Tip of the Wizard's pointy cap to Vigilante, curator of the blog The Vigil, who brought this latest free speech issue to my attention.....

I'm getting damned tired of colleges, universities, public forums and even lecture halls, which ought to be bastions of free speech and the open and free exchange of ideas, becoming slaves to special interest groups.

What the hell is going on? When did the search for truth become the sacrificial lamb to intolerant supposedly liberal groups, or, in this particular case, conservative religious zealots?

This case involves Dr. Tony Judt, an admittedly controversial Professor of European studies and expert on Israel and middle eastern politics. Judt, who lost members of his family in the Holocaust, is a frequent critic of Israel and of Israeli special interest groups.

Judt was scheduled to talk Oct. 4 to a nonprofit organization that rents space from the Polish U.S. Consulate. The sponsoring group has rented space and held presentations there for many years. Judt's subject was to be the Israel lobby in the United States, and he planned to argue that this lobby has often stifled honest debate.

However, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee had lobbied hard, behind the scenes with the the Polish Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk.

Just hours before Judt was to arrive, the Consul cancelled the talk!! He said that Judt was too controversial.

But there is a concerted effort to deny Dr. Judt a forum. He was forced to cancel another speech later this month at Manhattan College in the Bronx after a different Jewish group had complained.

This is every bit as unacceptable as the radical left leaning Columbia University students silencing
Jim Gilchrist, the founder of The Minutemen.

I, for one, intend to read and learn more from Dr. Tony Judt. He certainly spoke with great wisdom when he wrote.......

Tony Judt wrote:

"America's liberal intellectuals are fast becoming a service class, their opinions determined by their allegiance and calibrated to justify a political end.

In itself this is hardly a new departure: we are all familiar with intellectuals who speak only on behalf of their country, class, religion, race, gender or sexual orientation, and who shape their opinions according to what they take to be the interest of their affinity of birth or predilection.

But the distinctive feature of the liberal intellectual in past times was precisely the striving for universality; not the unworldly or disingenuous denial of sectional interest but the sustained effort to transcend that interest . . . ."


By the way, Vigilante, has created an entire new blog about the Judt case:
Tony Judt's Thread. More information and a lively discussion can be found there.



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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Darfur Update

Darfur Refugees Plead for Protection
By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU, Associated Press Writer 10/15/2006

KASSAB, Sudan - Refugees in the camps scattered across Darfur live in fear, saying the African Union peacekeeping mission does little to protect them even as rising violence is driving away crucial humanitarian aid.

"You have been here for three years now, and what have you done for us?" a tribal leader bitterly asked a delegation of AU soldiers and police that came to the Kassab refugee camp last week.

"If there is nothing you can do, then you might as well go home, so that the United Nations come," Adem said.

He referred to refugees' widespread hope that August's U.N. Security Council resolution to send 20,000 U.N. peacekeepers to Darfur will be implemented. The AU force's mandate expires at the end of the year.

However, Sudan's president fiercely opposes the proposal, saying it would breach the country's sovereignty. For now, the U.N. seems bent on buying time by sending more than 100 military and civilian advisers to reinforce the AU mission and pushing for its mandate to be prolonged in order to avoid a dangerous security vacuum.

"Every day we risk being beaten, or even worse," said Kharidja Ibrahim, some of whose family had gone wood-gathering that morning. "We're waiting. In a few hours, we'll hear what has happened to them."

Tribal leaders say security has grown so bad that armed men now plunder the camp at will.

"Four days ago, they came in broad daylight and stole 84 goats," said Sheik Abdallah Shariff. He said nights are even worse.

"We can't sleep, we go to bed with our shoes on," in case they have to flee, he said.

Egyptian Maj. Ahmed El Serafy, who commands AU police in the sector of Darfur that includes Kassab, says improving security in Kassab is urgent for what few forces he has "82 police for an area of 13,000 square miles."

"I knew it was going to be bad, but I never thought it would be this bad," he said.

Several readers have written that the U.N. and the Western Nations have built up false hope. Many believe that the long awaited troops will never materialize. Some cynically believe that the U.S. and France and Great Britian have absolutely no intention of supplying troops or support. The promises of support and relief are just ways to ease the pangs of guilt felt by citizens world wide.

I disagree. I believe the efforts of the Western European nations and the United States are genuine, if timid. Today, with the U.S. stretched to the limit in Iraq, no one is willing to take on China and Russia and risk a prolonged war in Africa.

Still, the Western nations continue to send special envoys to Khartoum, each pleading for the opportunity to provide relief to the troubled region. Sudan fears the imposition of these troops would allow the U.N to turn around and arrest government leaders for war crimes.

British minister says Darfur needs more troops
By Opheera McDoom, Reuters

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - More troops are needed to stem the violence in Sudan's Darfur region, where struggling African Union forces are failing to protect millions of endangered civilians, a British minister said on Monday.

Minister for International Development Hilary Benn, on a one-day visit to Sudan, did not manage to convince President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to accept a U.N. Security Council resolution to deploy 22,500 U.N. forces in Darfur and so avoid a confrontation with the international community.

Benn said the AU could not adequately patrol Darfur, a remote western region the size of France, because it could not find enough soldiers and did not have the money to fund them.

"The African Union for about a year and a half has been trying to find one extra battalion," he said.

The AU is still not at the full strength dictated by its mandate of more than 7,000 troops and police.

Britain, the United States, Canada and the European Union are the main donors funding the AU mission. Benn added it was impossible to continue that level of funding indefinitely.

It's tragic that the combined of Great Britian, France, Canada and the United States are being twarted by Sudan, Russia, China and some of the Middle Eastern countries.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to attempt to place pressure on Sudan. But, is it enough? Or is it just a "feel good" measure with no teeth?

This is what Congress and the President have done. How far would you be willing to go?

President Bush Signs Darfur Peace and Accountability Act
By Carrie Loewenthal, Washington File Special Correspondent

Washington -- President Bush signed into law October 13 the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006 (DPAA) and issued an executive order "blocking property of and prohibiting transactions with the Government of Sudan."

The DPAA imposes sanctions against "persons responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity; supports measures for the protection of civilians and humanitarian operations; and supports peace efforts in the Darfur region of Sudan," a White House statement says.

The president's executive order, which takes effect upon the enactment of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, specifically forbids transactions relating to Sudan's petroleum and petrochemical industries, sectors in which the president noted that the Government of Sudan has a pervasive role that poses a "threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

In a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate, Bush notes that "the Government of Sudan continues to implement policies and actions that violate human rights, in particular with respect to the conflict in Darfur, where the Government of Sudan exercises administrative and legal authority and pervasive practical influence."

The DPAA and the executive order do not limit or restrict humanitarian aid to Darfur. The United States has provided more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan, including $400 million during the past 12 months, for emergency food aid to the region.

Much of the news today was dominated by a scathing report by the Minority Rights Group International, a leading worldwide human rights group. The report concentrated on the early days of the building Darfur crisis and the failure of world organizations to spot and react to the warning signs.

Here is a summary of the report from an editorial in today's Arab News:

Editorial: Failure in Darfur

A report just published bears out concerns that the United Nations failed to recognize the danger signals for the murderous conflict in Darfur. In 2001 UN personnel in western Sudan reported a rising tide of inter-communal violence with civilian populations being punished for the activities of rebel groups.

Their warnings, however, either did not reach or were ignored by the UN Commission on Human Rights which 18 months later closed down its watching brief on the Sudan. This effectively signaled there was no human rights problems at almost the very moment it was becoming apparent that there was.

After investigating the events leading up to the start of the tragedy, the widely respected organization, Minority Rights Group International, concludes that the UN failed to learn the terrible lessons of the Rwandan genocide a decade earlier. This report has been widely described in the media as damning. There certainly was a mistake, a breakdown in communications or a refusal to trust information coming from UN people actually in Darfur.

    Until the United Nations and/or the world community can persuade Sudanese President Omar Bashir to accept UN troops this situation is likely to further deteriorate. The only other option would be to persuade Russia and China to allow UN troops into Darfur with or without Khartoum's approval.



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      Saturday, October 14, 2006

      It's 1, 2, 3 What Are We Fighting For?

      And it's 1,2,3, what are we fighting for?
      Don't ask me I don't give a damn,
      The next stop is Viet Nam,
      And it's 5,6,7, open up the pearly gates,
      Well it ain't no time to wonder why,
      Whoopee! We're all gonna die....

      The Viet Nam Song, Country Joe and the FIsh at Woodstock, 1969
      as played moments ago on WIZARD RADIO, Earth's Most Interesting Radio Station

      If you thought this was just another Wizard Rant against the UULUIUOI (Un-provoked, Unecessary, Largely Unilateral Invasion and Unplanned Occupation of Iraq), it's not. Not that I couldn't launch into such a rant, but I really think the vast majority of American's have Iraq all figured out. And the November elections will drive the point home to any lingering administration officials.

      Nope. My rant this morning is directed squarely at those idiots at Columbia University who actually believe they did some sort of "good thing" by stifling free speech when they forcefully disrupted the College Republican Lecture featuring Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist.

      I probably wouldn't have launched into this rant if the leaders of the so-called protest didn't constantly refer to the college Republicans and Gilcrest supporter as "Nazis" and "stormtroopers" and "fascists."

      These protest drunk morons wouldn't recognize a Nazi Fascist if they looked at one in the mirror.

      I point ot exhibit "A" which I will quote from freely below. It is a series of press releases and letters posted by the various protest groups located here:
      Columbia University Anti-Minutemen Protest.

        "On Wednesday night, October 4, progressive students at Columbia University protested the racist Minuteman Project inside and outside the auditorium where they were speaking. Although the students were subject to vicious and violent attacks by Minutemen stormtroopers, they held their ground and Jim Gilchrist, the Minutemen founder, terminated his speech."
      Most of Hitler's pre-war brownshirt youth were all probably pretty good kids. Full of youthful emotion and exuberance. Full of ideals. And full of energy. That energy simply needed a direction.

      By creating and demonizing an enemy, Hitler was able to successfully direct his young followers to do some pretty illogical things.

      Not only were Jewish shops and merchants terrorized and vandalized, but newspapers were destroyed and speeches and speakers were attacked if they dared to protest against the demonization of the Jews.

      The methodology was deceptively simple. Demonize an enemy then prevent any opposing opinions. Keep the troops riled up and don't give them the opportunity to think.

      Universities were the first and hardest hit in Hitler's pre-war Germany. Hitler knew all dissenting opinions had to be stopped.

      Intellectuals fled the country. Debate was not tolerated.

      Now the protestors at Columbia aren't Nazis and their leaders aren't Hitler, but their tactics and total lack of logic and reason follow the same playbook. Look at this press release. It defies all logic:

        "Student protesters are being threatened with reprisals following their protest against Jim Gilchrist, founder of the racist anti-immigrant vigilante organization, the Minuteman Project. The protesters went on stage with banners that said, "No One is Illegal" and "Say No to Racism." The protesters were physically assaulted by Minutemen and their supporters. When they spoke out against fascism and racism, they spoke for all of us. Yet, there has been a coordinated campaign seeking reprisals against the students, initiated by FoxNews, the Minutemen, New York City's Republican Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the New York Times, and other media."

        "It is important to understand that the Minuteman Project is at its core, the same as the Nazis and the KKK. This fact has been confused by the legitimacy granted to the Minutemen by Lou Dobbs on CNN, FoxNews, and other so-called mainstream media, including NPR."

      I'd like to point out to the potential innocent student protestors that when your leaders have to claim that the New York Times and National Public Radio are lackeys of right wing fascists, you are way too far out on a limb.

      The simple fact is that the only people behaving like Nazis were the protestors themselves who prevented an open and free exchange of ideas. Only the protestors prevented free speech. Only the protestors assaulted anyone. They were not the victims of stormtroopers. They were the stormtroopers.

      Compare the irrational ramblings of the protest leaders with the well reasoned letter by Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger (also found on the page linked above):

        Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

        Columbia University has always been, and will always be, a place where students and faculty engage directly with important public issues. We are justifiably proud of the traditions here of intellectual inquiry and vigorous debate. The disruption on Wednesday night that resulted in the termination of an event organized by the Columbia College Republicans in Lerner Hall represents, in my judgment, one of the most serious breaches of academic faith that can occur in a university such as ours.

        Of course, the University is thoroughly investigating the incident, and it is critically important not to prejudge the outcome of that inquiry with respect to individuals. But, as we made clear in our University statements on both Wednesday night and Thursday, we must speak out to deplore a disruption that threatens the central principle to which we are institutionally dedicated, namely to respect the rights of others to express their views.

        This is not complicated: Students and faculty have rights to invite speakers to the campus. Others have rights to hear them. Those who wish to protest have rights to do so. No one, however, shall have the right or the power to use the cover of protest to silence speakers. This is a sacrosanct and inviolable principle.

        It is unacceptable to seek to deprive another person of his or her right of expression through actions such as taking a stage and interrupting a speech. We rightly have a visceral rejection of this behavior, because we all sense how easy it is to slide from our collective commitment to the hard work of intellectual confrontation to the easy path of physical brutishness. When the latter happens, we know instinctively we are all threatened.

        We have extensive University policies governing the actions of members of this community with respect to free speech and the conduct of campus events. Administrators began identifying those involved in the incident as it transpired and continue to investigate specific violations of University policies to ensure full accountability by those found to be responsible.

        University personnel are also evaluating event management practices that are specifically intended to help event organizers, participants, and protestors maintain a safe environment in which to engage in meaningful and sometimes contentious debate across the spectrum of academic and political issues. These are some of the many steps we intend to take in the weeks ahead to address this matter in our community.

        Let me reaffirm: In a society committed to free speech, there will inevitably be times when speakers use words that anger, provoke, and even cause pain. Then, more than ever, we are called on to maintain our courage to confront bad words with better words. That is the hallmark of a university and of our democratic society. It is also one of our central safeguards against the impulses of intolerance that always threaten to engulf our commitment to proper respect for every person.


        Lee C. Bollinger

      Please ask yourself "What are we fighting for?" If the answer is "I don't know and don't give a damn," you're on the wrong road.

      Next time you go to a speech, please don't check your brain at the door.



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      Thursday, October 12, 2006

      Dirty Mary...errrr... I Mean Dirty Harry

      ******* 10/13/2006 4:42 pm SEE MAJOR UPDATE BELOW ********

      Surely, this will be the lead story on ABC, NBC, and CBS
      (as soon as hell freezes over).
      .......10/12/2006 Mary at FREEDOM EDEN

      From time to time I recommend other blog sites that I read regularly. When one of these fine folks cover a topic I can't cover, or offer a unique point of view or perspective, I recommend them to you all.

      Today I recommend you read FREEDOM EDEN'S review of the current story about Harry Reid's land transactions.


      FREEDOM EDEN is not for the faint of heart. Mary, the editor and author, is a Republican Right Wing Firebrand. She is a partisan of the highest order. Fair and balanced are not part of her vocabulary. Mary will kill me for saying that. But I mean she makes no pretense of giving a liberal or Democrat point of view.

      Her website slogan says it all: Mary, Location: In a Blue State, in a Red State of Mind

      Mary's posts are long, generally covering entire articles in depth and detail. She dissects and analyzes every word. Mary, like the old joke about DA's with a grand jury, could indict a ham sandwich.

      By the same token the could make the New York Telephone Directory funny and interesting.

      Once Mary gets you in her sights, the attack is withering.

      A prolific writer, Mary's FREEDOM EDEN is rapidly becoming one of the "must read" sites in the blogosphere. I simply am astounded (and jealous) of her rapid growth in readership. My only claim is to say "I found her first."

      I often disagree with her, but I still have great respect. When Mary talks, I listen.

      Since 90% of my readership is liberal to progressive to far left, I ask you to view with an open mind and show her the same respect you've generally shown me.

      Now, on to the topic at hand.....

      Mary is really covering the Harry Reid land transaction scandal (or non-scandal as the case may be). And she's all over Harry like ham on rye.

        WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.

        The complex dealings allowed Reid to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown's company without public knowledge, but still collect a seven-figure payoff nearly three years later.

        Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week.

      Mary feels like the main stream media is ignoring this story. I think she might be right. That's why I'm recommending it to you. Here's the link: Mary's FREEDOM EDEN

      ************ UPDATE 10/13/2006 4:33 PM ****************

      It looks like the major work being done by some of the up and coming bloggers like FREEDOM EDEN are starting to pay of. Today, three days after Mary began her major assault on the Harry Reid land sale story, the major media and high profile bloggers have begun to take notice and investigate. I'll point you to Michelle Malkin's "Pounding Dirty Harry" for a really thorough update on the story.




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        Tuesday, October 10, 2006

        Holding the Whole World Hostage

        While I'm on the subject of Freedom of Speech and how very precious it is........

        Associated Press is reporting tonight:

          Web sites remove video mocking Muhammad

          COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Videos showing anti-immigrant party members mocking the Prophet Muhammad were pulled from Web sites Monday as two youths seen in the clips were reported in hiding and the Foreign Ministry warned Danes against travel to much of the Middle East.

          Muslim clerics from Egypt and Indonesia condemned the video broadcast in Denmark last week showing members of the Danish People's Party youth wing with cartoons of a camel wearing the head of Muhammad and beer cans for humps. A second drawing placed a turbaned, bearded man next to a plus sign and a bomb, all equaling a mushroom cloud.

          Citing critical media reports from many Muslim regions, the Foreign Ministry cautioned against travel to Gaza, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

          "Against that background, we urge Danes to use caution as the matter could possibly lead to negative reactions. The atmosphere and reactions can vary dependent on time and place. Danes should be aware of the local mood," the ministry said.
        Here is the problem. This is a genuine clash of cultures. Our western culture prizes free speech, and the use of satire, comedy, sarcasm and parody to make point.

        The question is, "Are we going to simply abandon our our thousand year heritage when faced with a closed culture that prohibits free speech (along with most individual rights, especially for women)?"

        The Associated Press continues:

          The clip was removed from that broadcasters Web site Monday, as well as from a newspaper's site.

          The purpose of the original publication was "not to insult Muslims or expose any members ... to any danger," said the paper's editor, David Trads.

          A party official reportedly said that two youths seen in the video clips had gone into hiding.

          "They are very shaken by the huge reaction the drawings have had," Kenneth Kristensen was quoted as saying on the Web site of the newspaper Politiken.

          In Jordan on Monday, a powerful umbrella for some 200,000 professionals including engineers, doctors and journalists, said the video "reveals hatred toward the Prophet who came to the world with a message to enlighten the people."

          "We call on all Muslim states to sever relations with Denmark or any other country which harms Islam," the associations said in a statement.

          They said the video revealed the "nature of the struggle between Muslims and their enemies which are led by America."

        Respect is a two way street. We need to respect and understand Islam in all it's forms and practices. We must respect all cultures.

        But all people should also respect our culture, our heritage, our religions, our values and our laws.


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        Heroes and Villains


        On the evening of October 5th, the Young Republicans at Columbia University in New York reserved an auditorium and scheduled a guest speaker, Jim Gilchrist, founder of The Minutemen, a controversial group dedicated to building secure borders, especial the border with Mexico. Most of their efforts have been primarily dedicated to point out the massive failure in protecting the borders by the U.S. and Mexican governments.

        Several other student groups at Columbia, notably the International Socialist Organization, the Chicano Caucus and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism organization organized a protest. It MUST be noted that their motives were good and their protest was valid, even important to the current dialog about immigration and border security.

        But what actually happened at the speech was horribly wrong!! The protestors rushed the stage and caused general mayhem, overturning tables and chairs and driving Gilchrist from the auditorium. There was no speech, no debate, no dialog, just mob rule.

        University President Lee Bollinger called the students' disruption of the event "one of the most serious breaches of academic faith that can occur at a university."

        The students at Columbia could certainly learn from today's hero......

        THE HERO:

        A very proud tip o' the Wizard's pointy cap goes to Daily Kos writer
        Pierre Tristam who weighed in on behalf of his ideological enemy Michelle Malkin in her ongoing dispute with YOU TUBE over a video she made highlighting the recent history of the Islamic terrorism. YOU TUBE has yanked the video without explanation. Malkin supporters keep putting it up. Here's a link to the video on Malkin's site.

        Pierre Tristam wrote in the DAILY KOS:

          "I never thought I'd see the day (or the nightmare) when I'd be siding with Michelle Malkin - Ann Coulter without wit, and lethal injector to what remains of ethical journalism. But ideology never ought to trump principle; the fact that it so often does is what has us now in the no-exit mires of politics for self-destruction's sake. And as a matter of principle, anyone willing to defend the right of that Dutch newspaper to publish the Mohammed cartoons in September 2005 has to take Malkin's side in her little spat with YouTube."

          "Malkin produced a two-minute video montage called 'first they came' and inspired, as she wrote, 'by the Mohammed Cartoon riots.' She's right: 'It's a simple slideshow highlighting the victims of Islamic violence over the years.'"
        Later Tristam provides this eloquent defense of free speech.

          "Liberalism doesn't choose sides based on ideology. It defends all ideas, even the despicable ones, so long as ideas aren't translated into despicable actions. (Hear John Stats drum roll.) In this case, Malkin's two-minute video isn't anywhere near despicable. It's even worth a look. Some people will inevitably find its use of the Muhammad cartoons, or rather its slightly approving way of the cartoons (especially with its repeated use of the Mohammed's head as a bomb), offensive. So what? By now those cartoons are like 1970s scenes of violence in Charles Bronson films: faintly shocking then, hum-drum now, if not symbolic of a defense of free thought that shouldn't fade out."

        Could we possibly get Tristam to teach a class at Columbia?


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        Friday, October 06, 2006

        Peacekeeping in Darfur NOW!

        There was a stunning and impassioned plea tonight for an immediate infusion of peacekeeping troops into Darfur from a very unusual quarter: the FOX NEWS "All Stars" on the Brit Hume Show. Tonight's panel was journalist (and strong Bush supporter) Bill Sammon, nominal Democrat Mort Kondracke and ultra conservative Bill Kristol. Tonight's show was hosted by substitute host Jim Angle.

        While previous pleas for unilateral United States intervention have come from former Clinton advisors, this was the strongest, most articulate and aggressive demand for action from any well known group of conservatives.

        It certainly should be noted that President Bush has been the strongest supporter for African issues from Darfur to HIV/AIDS of any president in modern U.S. history. And it should be noted that George Bush, Condoleeza Rice and John Bolton have led the fight for U.N. action.

        But, sadly, it must also be noted that China and Russia have effectively blocked U.N. action so far by insisting the U.N. act only with the permission of Sudan. Following
        this link will take you to a series of posts that will provide the complete background about the tragedy in Darfur and the U.N. and U.S. actions.

        Below are some key points made during tonight's discussion. The transcription is mine.

        BILL KRISTOL: "You can't depend on the U.N. to do it and I'm sympathetic with some of the Clinton aides who say.... not just Clinton aides.... who say 'no second Rwanda.' It's time for military intervention."

        MORT KONDRACKE: "I don't know why it's not possible, if the U.N. is going to fail in this endeavor, and it seems to me that their delaying action while the janjaweed and the Sudanese go around raping and killing people by the hundreds of thousands and it could be another one hundred thousand people get killed, there ought to be a way for the United States if necessary to organize a posse, the calvary, a force, it doesn't have to be that many people, to go do it."

        JIM ANGLE: "To go in, invade... to take preemptive action against the government of Sudan?"

        MORT KONDRACKE: "To do whatever it takes. And then organize the holding force later."

        These guys were tough. All of them were united in their demand for unilateral action. All of them were right.

        Later in the conversation:

        BILL SAMMON: "In other words preemptively invade a sovereign nation that hadn't done anything to us or its neighbors lately......"

        MORT KNODRACKE: (interrupts) "
        yes... Yes... YES!"

        BILL KRISTON: "That's no reason not to do it."

        JIM ANGLE:
        "Do really think the U.S. could do this without a huge outcry in the U.S.?"

        BILL KRISTOL: "If the President went on T.V. next week and said this has got to stop. We cannot have another genocide to start the 21st century like the genocide that ended the 20th century, he would get huge support. He would have bipartisan support. I actually believe that Harry Reid would support him, that Nancy Pelosi, Bill and Hilary Clinton would support him."

        MORT KONDRACKE: "I completely agree with that."

        Words from three paid FOX NEWS consultants don't actually make a bit of difference in the overall debate. They don't make policy.

        But perhaps this finally represents a seed change in the American discussion. Let's hope so. And let's hope a Nancy Pelosi House doesn't end our chances for peace in Darfur.


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        Thank You Anderson Cooper

        Another very, very brief blog entry to do something I should have done several days ago.

        I want to strongly urge everyone to watch
        Anderson Cooper 360's continuing specials on AFRICA: The Killing Fields, The World's Shame tonight on CNN cable news network. And, if somehow you missed Anderson the last several nights I want you to view as many of the videos available on the CNN Website as possible.

        This is cable news finest production in the entire history of the medium. I am a frequent and very vocal critic of the absolute waste of airtime, money, resources and talent of all three cable news networks: FOX, CNN and MSNBC. Real reporting about anything is virtually absent on all three networks. Until now.

        Anderson Cooper's in depth analysis of Africa is even more impressive because he has done it during the American Election Season. While he does have nightly break-always for election news, this program clearly shows me that CNN and Cooper, alone among all U.S. television networks, actually have their priorities straight.

        Be sure to also add
        Anderson Cooper's blog to your favorites or bookmarks. And be sure to read his entries daily. And be certain to go back and read all his African entries.

          "Wherever you go in Sudan, especially as a journalist, you have to have the right paperwork and credentials. Even if you leave the capital, Khartoum, you have to have a stamped piece of paper that says you can carry out your work in whichever town you end up in."

          "We were aware of this, and aware the authorities would be looking for any excuse to make doing our work as difficult as possible."

          "Our interpreter warned us not to use the word "janjaweed" openly here because the locals don't like its negative connotations. "What does it mean?" I ask. "It means, 'Devil on a horse with a gun,'" explains Mohammed, our fixer."

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