Monday, April 30, 2007

زنان نیروی انتظامی

Recently I was challenged on another website by a fellow liberal and progressive (whom I greatly respect) for my fascination with Michelle Malkin. (If you follow the link to Vigilante's web site, go ahead and read his excellent essay and the resulting commentary about the proposed impeachment of Dick Cheney).

But, back to Malkin. Vigilante poses a legitimate question. I support gay rights (especially gay marriage and adoption), women's rights (including reproductive rights) and social justice. I've sided with vigilante about many (but not quite all) issues concerning George Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, and largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

Malkin is....well... she is..... a "Conservative!!!"

Here's why I read Malkin daily. Malkin seems to fill in vigorously and aggressively in defense of key Liberal issues like FREE SPEECH and WOMEN'S RIGHTS around the world when my traditional liberal allies ignore (or, at least underplay) the terrific evils all around us.

There is no doubt that some of the traditional liberal websites ignore, or at least downplay, certain stories. I think it's some variant of a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" philosophy. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just missing the liberal outrage I would have normally expected in the pre-Bush world.

Certainly I know of no liberal website or liberal blogger or liberal reporter that supports the kind of gross evil headlined this morning by Michelle Malkin:
A cry for help from Iran.

But Malkin is the one carrying the banner. VIVA MICHELLE!

I believe that
زنان نیروی انتظامی translates roughly as "Iranian Police and Woman with Hejab."




Sunday, April 29, 2007

Time is Running Out


The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on May 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!).

All of us who broadcast Internet Radio strongly believe that musicians, performers and ever record labels deserve to be compensated for their creations through radio performance royalties (even though AM/FM Radio station DO NOT PAY ANY PERFORMANCE ROYALTIES to artists, musicians, performers or record labels).

Why? The reasons are complex. Many believe the RIAA and the major record labels actually want to drive Internet Radio with its thousands of independent broadcasters off the air. You can learn more by following this link and reading all the articles posted there.

Regardless of the reasons the RIAA is making these demands, the bottom line is that Internet Radio will cease to exist without your support today!


  1. Call Your Representative in Congress Today! H.R. 2060, The Internet Radio Equality Act was introduced by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL) to save the Internet radio industry. Please call your congressperson to ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2060 by clicking the blue link above.
  2. Sign this on-line petition and open letter to the US Congress.
  3. Send an e-mail to your members of Congress. Thil link will help you locate your Congressperson and compose the letter.
  4. Once you've sent the e-mail above, print out a copy (you’ll actually receive one) and mail it to your Congress people. Follow up with a phone call. You can look up their addresses and phone numbers here.
  5. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspapers and any national magazines you enjoy. Short letters are more likely to be published. To save time and effort you can start with the e-mail you prepared for Congress and then modify it.
  6. Become a VIP Member of LIVE365, which will give you ad-free access to over 10,000 on-line radio stations, including all three Wizard Radio Stations. The very, very small monthly fee is well worth the price and you'll be supporting the continuation of Internet Radio.
  7. Tell a friend about the Internet Radio plight. Invite them to this website and invite them to listen to Internet Radio. Knowledge is power and we need to increase our base.
  8. Keep up to date on this issues and the progress of this fight. This LINK to the WIZARD, fkap Journal Radio Blog will keep you informed of all the related issues in great depth. You can learn as little or as much as you like.
  9. Go to LIVE365's SAVE INTERNET RADIO Website for the latest information and updates on actions you can take to Save Internet Radio.

Time is running out! You MUST ACT TODAY!!




Complexity and Freedom

I wish I could view the world through the simplistic glasses of Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson or Mike Gravel in last week's Democrat Presidential Debate. I'm not condemning any of them; I'll continue to listen with an open mind to all the candidates.

But a quick, very quick or nearly instantaneous and absolutely unilateral withdrawal from Iraq seems to be a short sighted and overly simplistic approach to a very complex problem in a very complex region of the world.

These candidates, along with Harry Reid, do not want to consult with the military (or even listen to them) and they don't want to consult with our allies in the coalition or even with out NATO partners in Afghanistan.

The candidates demand six months (or six days) and were out!

That bothers me a lot and, at any moment, I'm likely to post yet another verbatim statement or press release from Senator Joe Lieberman, who I feel really understands the complexity of the issues. But that is not the subject of this journal entry.

Instead the subject is the rapidly vanishing Freedom of Speech among the Arab nations of the Middle East. I'll keep this brief and mostly just point to three stories and three links.

  1. Iran, who already has one of the most censored and restricted media on earth, with highly censored Internet access, has announced they will now begin to monitor and censor mobile phone communications, particularly messaging and photograph and video transfers. "Iran's Telecommunications Ministry will start filtering "immoral" video and audio messages sent via mobile phones, state television reported on Saturday." See the complete story here.
  2. Sandmonkey, one of the very few remaining, clandestine but free, bloggers in Egypt is shutting down his blog. Fearing at least for his freedom and possibly for his life, he is going into hiding. To be certain, Sandmonkey is pro-American and a darling of the right wing here, but shouldn't freedom allow all points of view? Sandomnkey writes, "One of the chief reasons is the fact that there has been too much heat around me lately. I no longer believe that my anonymity is kept, especially with State Security agents lurking around my street and asking questions about me since that day. I was the model of caution, and believing in my invincibility by managing not to get arrested for the past 2 and a half years, I've grown reckless. Stupid Monkey. Stupid And speaking of the state of the Egyptian blogsphere, it has been pretty depressing in its own right. One has to wonder at some point the futility of being a keyboard warrior in a country where nothing seems to matter to its people anymore."
  3. Finally, in spite of an extremely well organized effort by the FREE KAREEM website and his supporters worldwide, the eleven city worldwide protest yesterday is unlikely to encourage Egypt to lighten the four year prison sentence handed down to Kareem Amer, the young and idealist blogger whose criticism of Islam and his native Egypt was tame and restrained compared to the vitriolic attacks leveled at President Bush and the Christian religion everyday in the American blogosphere.

Islam and many governments of the Middle East are unwilling to allow the slightest dissent with the exception of one single, shining beacon of hope and freedom: Iraq.

That's why I can't join my fellow Democrats in a rush to destroy that freedom. I will not join those who simply use the war and occupation of Iraq as an excuse to attack the current Republican administration.

That is not to say we can or should tolerate the continued bloodshed that accompanies the current American occupation of Iraq. But let us not rush headlong to send Iraqis into the Orwellian world of their imprisoned neighbors.




Saturday, April 21, 2007

Are We Programmed to Self Destruct?

Most of us watched in horror today at the video of a twelve year old by slicing the throat of a man he was told (and no doubt believed) was an American. That the man was actually Pakistani is of little or no importance.

The photo on the right is of the boy, moments before he committed the beheading.

We are shocked by the pure evil. How could anyone manipulate a boy of twelve to commit such a heinous act? How can anyone develop that much hatred?

We aren't talking about a lone psychopath. This isn't a repeat of Virginia Tech. This isn't just one child, mistreated, bullied or unbalanced who snapped. This is an organization of hundreds, thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands who feel no remorse for the acts they commit. Metaphorically speaking, this is a holy war, spawned by the devil, to create a veritable hell on earth.

Over and over and over again in New York, London, Madrid, Bagdad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Afghanistan and in your home town, the target isn't military. It's not soldiers. The target is women and children. It isn't just genocide, it's humanicide.

As we debate Iraq we want to pretend it's simply a battle of ideas on how to extract ourselves from Iraq. We cannot and will not face the truth. It doesn't matter if you side with Harry Reid and John Murtha or with Joe Lieberman and John McCain. It doesn't matter. Iraq is just one small island of fear in an entire ocean of terror.

Why must the lighter skinned Janjaweed kill all the dark skinned Africans? Why must they rape and mutilate all the women? Why must some children be tortured? Why must other children be forced to do the torturing?

Can this violence spread? Will it happen here?

Of course we say no, but......

Why must I read vile attacks in blog responses on conservative and liberal blogs alike? Why must we react to those with whom we disagree by threatening murder, torture, rape and mutilation? In theory we only broker ideas. In theory. Why are we threatened? Is Al Sharpton really the devil? Ann Coulter?

The threats you can read every day against liberals and conservatives alike seem to mirror the events in the worst terrorist videos or the most horrific of Abu Ghraib photographs.

When will it happen that one or more of these threats become reality? When will we read the person "X'" was tortured, raped and murdered? And how long will it take for some blogger or reader to say that "X" got what he or she deserved?

The story in Genesis about the Tower of Babel tells us that God cursed man with many different languages to prevent him from reaching Heaven.

Is this rush to violence another curse from God?
Or, in modern, secular terms, are we all hard wired to kill? Are we infected with a computer-like virus to murder and rape those different from us? Even if the differences are only political or philosophical or religious?

Are we programed, as a species, to self destruct?

I don't know. I do know that someone programmed a twelve year old to behead a man.

We Should Not Surrender in the Face of Barbarism

This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is 'lost.'

With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid's statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there.
Al Qaeda's strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. They are trying to murder as many innocent civilians as possible in an effort to reignite sectarian fighting and drive us to retreat from Iraq.

The question now before us is whether we respond to these terrorist attacks by running away as Al Qaeda hopes - abandoning the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and ultimately our own security to the very same people responsible for this week's atrocities - or whether we stand united to fight them.

This is exactly the wrong time to conclude that we have lost the war in Iraq, or that our new strategy has failed. Instead, we should provide General Petraeus and his troops with the time and the resources to succeed. We should not surrender in the face of barbarism.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Divest Warren Buffett

Somewhere on his way to being a legend, Warren Buffett lost his humanity.

I don't think Buffett is greedy. His generosity is legendary.

But I do think he, like millions of Americans (and people around the world) has simply lost track of his priorities. I know Warren Buffett, just like all of us, had shed many tears over the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

Warren Buffett, this is just like Virginia Tech..... multiplied by 6,250. What is it worth to end this tragedy?

From Fortune Magazine. As always, editing and emphasis are mine. As always, you are encouraged to read the entire original article.

Warren Buffett and Darfur

Sudan divestment movement targets Berkshire Hathaway's China oil holdings, reports Fortune's Marc Gunther.

By Marc Gunther, Fortune senior writerc
April 18 2007: 4:42 PM EDT

NEW YORK (Fortune) --
Could Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway be helping to support genocide in Darfur?

The Sudan divestment movement, which has persuaded dozens of universities and state governments to sell holdings of companies doing business in Sudan, says Berkshire (Charts, Fortune 500) should do the same. Buffett is resisting. The legendary investor will tangle with his critics over the issue on May 5 at the company's annual meeting in Omaha.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett is being urged to divest his company's PetroChina holdings.

Divestment campaign targets mutual funds, and the nation's largest mutual fund company is the first target, says Fortune's Marc Gunther.

It should be a fascinating debate. Berkshire has become a target of the divestment campaign because it owns 2.3 billion shares of PetroChina Co., a subsidiary of the state-controlled China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC). CNPC has extensive operations in Sudan; it owns a major stake in Sudan's national oil consortia.

China and Sudan are engaged in a marriage of convenience. For its part, China gets oil - Beijing purchased more than half of Sudan's oil exports in 2005. China's growing demand for energy has led the Chinese to cultivate close relationships with many oil-rich African nations.

In return, Sudan gets money, weapons and political backing from China. Because about 70 to 80 percent of Sudan's oil revenue is funneled into its military, China's oil assets in Sudan are "an undeniable and well-documented enabler of Khartoum's genocidal policy in Darfur," according to the Sudan Divestment Task Force.

As a member of the United Nations Security Council, China has also blocked efforts by the U.S. and Britain to apply stricter sanctions against Sudan. Between 200,000 and 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur, and millions more have been thrown out of their homes.

Divestment activists say "targeted divestment" - aimed at companies like CNPC that have a business relationship with the government and have not taken a stand against the genocide - can help influence Sudan. The logic of this argument persuaded universities including Harvard, Yale and Stanford, the states of California, Illinois, New Hampshire and Iowa, and numerous religious institutions, to adopt divestment policies.

So-called socially responsible mutual funds also have sold their holdings in PetroChina. The Calvert family of funds went further, creating an online report aimed at helping people stop the violence in Darfur.

Harvard's decision to divest PetroChina is particularly significant because its $30 billion endowment fund rarely takes such action. Explaining its decision, The Harvard Corporation said:

"Although Harvard maintains a strong presumption against the divestment of stock for reasons unrelated to investment purposes, we believe that the case for divestment in this instance is persuasive."

To his credit, Buffett has responded publicly (his response is available for download here, as a PDF file) to the divestment campaign and he has welcomed debate at the annual meeting - although he is under no obligation to do so. This is in contrast to Fidelity Investments, which remains a target of a divestment drive.

In Buffett's response, he argues, first, that PetroChina itself has no holdings in Sudan and that it does not control CNPC. "Subsidiaries have no ability to control the policies of their parent," he says.

He goes on to say that CNPC cannot "withdraw" its assets from Sudan since its assets consist of oil in the ground and the fixed infrastructure to transport and refine it. Should China sell those assets to the Sudanese government, the government would still be able to sell its oil on the world market. "Proponents of the Chinese government's divesting should then ask the most important question in economics, 'And then what?'" Buffett writes.

It's a fair question. Here are two possible answers. The first is that Sudan would try to buy out the Chinese, although the Khartoum government is already in deep debt. A second possibility is that other major investors in Sudan's oil, the state-owned oil companies of Malaysia and India, would step in. Either way, severing the economic ties between China and Sudan would have a significant benefit. As the Sudan Divestment Task Forces writes in response to Berkshire's response:

"The sale of CNPC's Sudan assets would remove China's economic incentive to enable Sudan's ongoing genocide. Even short of forcing divestiture of its Sudan assets, pressure on CNPC is likely to change China's approach towards Sudan diplomacy, especially given how highly China prizes its Sudan oil assets."

In truth, China is unlikely to divest, even under pressure from Berkshire. But the Chinese have shown lately that they may be vulnerable to pressure. A high-ranking Chinese official recently traveled to Darfur and urged the Sudanese government to accept a United Nations peacekeeping force. He appears to have done so after Hollywood activists - notably Mia Farrow - threatened to link the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the genocide. Film director Steven Spielberg, who is an artistic advisor to the Olympics, also condemned the genocide in a letter to President Hu Jintao of China.

So Buffett could, at a minimum, engage in discussions with PetroChina. He could ask that PetroChina and CNPC to use their influence to ask Sudan to allow in peacekeepers. He could speak to the Indians and the Malaysians and ask them to work with him. If all of that fails, he could then sell the stock - noisily.

Warren Buffett is, after all, much more than one of the world's great investors. He is a decent, generous man of unquestioned integrity. When he speaks, much of the world listens. He now has a platform to speak on behalf of victims of genocide. Why not take it?

"Warren Buffett is, after all, much more than one of the world's great investors. He is a decent, generous man of unquestioned integrity. When he speaks, much of the world listens. He now has a platform to speak on behalf of victims of genocide. Why not take it?" It was worth repeating!

Why Not indeed?




Lost in the News

Pick your fight. Take your stand.

What is your priority? Where do you invest time and money? Where is your heart and soul?

The Supreme Court Ruling on Partial Birth Abortion?

The Albert Gonzales/Bush Administration firing of 8 Federal Prosecutors?

The massacre at Virginia Tech and, now the deranged video tape of the killer, reaching out from the grave to exact the ultimate revenge on us all?

The massive suicide murders of 200 in Iraq yesterday? Think of it as Virginia Tech times Six! Twelve more killed today, by the way.

I could easily list twenty more stories. Or thirty. Or more.

They are all important. But please take a few moments of your day and consider the horror in Sudan and Darfur. I've compiled the story below from multiple press reports. All are linked at the end of this story:

Sudan's Youth Endure "Unspeakable Abuse" as the World Stands By

Children in Sudan are press-ganged, coerced to join armed groups, raped and used as forced labor or sex slaves, according to a new report by humanitarian groups.

The report, Sudan's Children at a Crossroads, concentrates mainly on Darfur, where a conflict has been raging for four years, and southern Sudan, emerging from 20 years of war.

"Children in Sudan continue to endure some of the most inhumane treatment found anywhere in the world," said Kathleen Hunt, chair of the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, on Wednesday.

"Despite the end of the war in the south and recent signs of hope for a strengthened peacekeeping force in Darfur, many Sudanese children are not faring any better than they were four years ago," Hunt told a news conference on the report, compiled by six humanitarian organizations.

While Sudan's military continues to deny the presence of children in its ranks, the report said its representatives have acknowledged that youth from other armed groups have recently been incorporated into the government armed forces.

In Darfur, most rebel and militia groups recruit children, including the pro-government Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, the rebel Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army.

While reports of rape and maiming are prevalent in Darfur, Sudanese girls from other areas have been forced into prostitution or into domestic service in and out of Sudan.

Boys as young as 4 or 5 years old "have been trafficked to Arab Gulf countries to work as camel jockeys and beggars," Watchlist said.

In the latest violence, a rebel group accused Khartoum's troops and militia on Tuesday of killing scores of people in a cluster of north Darfur villages -- though the army denied the charge and blamed the fighting on "normal" tribal clashes.

Meanwhile western powers pressed Sudan on Tuesday to allow a big U.N. peacekeeping force into violence-torn Darfur, but the United Nations was struggling to put together even a smaller unit that Khartoum has agreed to.

The United States and Britain said that while Sudan's acceptance on Monday of an interim U.N. reinforcement of the African Union force in Darfur was important, many more peacekeepers were needed for a total strength of up to 20,000.

At least 200,000 people have been killed since 2003 in ethnic and political conflict triggered by a rebellion in the western Sudanese region.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said in Chad the African Union commander in Darfur had told him his 5,000 troops were not enough to police an area as big as France where rebels were battling Sudanese government forces and Janjaweed militias.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was encouraged by Sudan's acceptance of a "heavy support package" of 3,000 extra peacekeepers, but "the more important thing is how to implement these agreements into action".

The United Nations and the African Union want to complete the interim package "and move on to the third phase, finally deploying a hybrid operation in Darfur," he told reporters after two days of talks with AU chairman Alpha Oumar Konare.

The proposed 20,000-strong force is known as a "hybrid."

But even the 3,000 peacekeepers Sudan has agreed to accept, who would staff control centers but not join infantry units, may take six months to recruit and deploy, U.N. diplomats say.

"I think there will be a real problem of timing ... It depends on who now comes forward as troop contributing countries," British Ambassador and current Security Council president Emyr Jones Parry told reporters.

"That'll take a while to establish and then how soon can they get there? ... The hope is that the (peacekeepers) there will remain, but that others will come on board."

Also unresolved is the question of funding. Cash will have to come from voluntary donations until the U.N. force arrives, at which time all U.N. members will be assessed for the financing. But first Sudan needs to allot land for camps and provide water needs.

Britain's Blair said if Sudan did not agree to the U.N. package, "a strong resolution with sanctions" would be needed.

The apparent deal on the interim package, however, has temporarily defused talk of sanctions and in New York, both Jones Parry and Wolff dodged questions on the issue.

In my opinion the actions by the world's so-called leaders amounts to nothing more than posturing and preening. China is chafing under the threats, mostly from French Presidential Candidates, to boycott the 2008 Bejing Olympics. But they still prevent any meaningful United Nations sanctions.

And while President Bush yesterday announce the strongest unilateral sanctions against Sudan, and has continued to place diplomatic pressure on Khartoum, economic leaders like Warren Buffett refuse to divest stock in the Chinese oil companies that fuel Sudan's continued genocide.

Is it progress that a few American politicians at least try to make the news with posturing speeches or congressional confrontations.


Unless you're a six year old sex slave.

Reuters Alert Net and Yahoo News (via Reuters)

You can help to stop the Genocide in Darfur: Save Darfur




Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragic Predictions.....

Remember when I wrote this......

Darfur: The Final Solution

Someday soon Darfur will be a memory. A blight on our history. A sad moment we'll all look back upon and say "Why didn't somebody do something?"

Maybe we will build a monument. Or a Darfur Genocide Museum. Maybe we'll have speeches and an annual "Remember Darfur" day.

But one thing is certain. Darfur will be over. Genocides all eventually die. The people all die.

More to follow.... Maybe a monument or two.

But I still have a lot to say.

Watch this space.




Monday, April 16, 2007

Our Prayers Are With You

We are all Hokies tonight......




John McCain and Iraq

Below you will find my edit and my emphasis of the remarks made by Senator John McCain on April 11, 2007 at VMI. I am in agreement with both Senator McCain's analysis and approach to today's situation in Iraq.

The McCain plan for Iraq today (which basically endorses President Bush's "surge" plan) is the best plan for Iraq in this interim period until the next election.

In the 2008 election the American people will have a chance to choose a new Commander in Chief. I trust that we will be able make a reasoned, logical decision between two (or more) candidates who will offer clear direction to take in the middle east.

Between today and January, 2009, I want to place our trust with General Petraeus and the commanders on the ground in Iraq. I also do not want to weaken or usurp the powers entrusted to the President under the Constitution. I certainly don't want Nancy Pelosi as the Pretender in Chief.

To those who feel President Bush has betrayed that trust, then begin the steps necessary for impeachment. But, until you replace the President, you must allow the President and General Petraeus to do their jobs.

To read or to watch John McCain's complete speech,
click here. Again, what follows below is highly edited to reflect my exact views, and all emphasis is mine.

It is the right strategy. General Petraeus literally wrote the book on counter insurgency. He is a determined, resourceful and bold commander. Our troops, many of whom have served multiple tours in Iraq, are performing with great skill and bravery. But the hour is late and we should have no illusion that success is certain.

But having been a critic of the way this war was fought and a proponent of the very strategy now being followed, it is my obligation to encourage Americans to give it a chance to succeed. To do otherwise would be contrary to the interests of my country and dishonorable.

Many in Washington have called for an end to our involvement in Iraq. Yet they offer no opinion about the consequences of this course of action beyond a vague assurance that all will be well if the Iraqis are left to work out their differences themselves.

It is obviously true that no military solution is capable of doing what the Iraqis won't do politically. But, my friends,
no political solution has a chance to succeed when al Qaeda is free to foment civil war and Iraqis remain dependent on sectarian militias to protect their children from being murdered.

America has a vital interest in preventing the emergence of Iraq as a Wild West for terrorists, similar to Afghanistan before 9/11. By leaving Iraq before there is a stable Iraqi governing authority we risk precisely this, and the potential consequence of allowing terrorists sanctuary in Iraq is another 9/11 or worse.

In Iraq today, terrorists have resorted to levels of barbarism that shock the world, and we should not be so naive as to believe their intentions are limited solely to the borders of that country. We Americans are their primary enemy, and we Americans are their ultimate target.

A power vacuum in Iraq would invite further interference from Iran at a time when Tehran already feels emboldened enough to develop nuclear weapons, threaten Israel and America, and kidnap British sailors. If the government collapses in Iraq, which it surely will if we leave prematurely, Iraq's neighbors, from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Egypt, will feel pressure to intervene on the side of their favored factions. This uncertain swirl of events could cause the region to explode and foreclose the opportunity for millions of Muslims and their children to achieve freedom. We could face a terrible choice: watch the region burn, the price of oil escalate dramatically and our economy decline, watch the terrorists establish new base camps or send American troops back to Iraq, with the odds against our success much worse than they are today.

To enumerate the strategic interests at stake in Iraq does not address our moral obligation to a people we liberated from Saddam Hussein's tyranny. I suspect many in this audience, and most members of Congress, look back at America's failure to act to prevent genocide in Rwanda with shame. I know I do. And yet I fear the potential for genocide and ethnic cleansing in Iraq is even worse. The sectarian violence, the social divisions, the armaments, the weakened security apparatus of the state - all the ingredients are there. Unless we fight to prevent it, our withdrawal will be coupled with a genocide in which we are complicit.

What struck me upon my return from Baghdad is the enormous gulf between the harsh but hopeful realities in Iraq, where politics is for many a matter of life and death, and the fanciful and self-interested debates about Iraq that substitute for statesmanship in Washington.

In Iraq, American and Iraqi soldiers risk everything to hold the country together, to prevent it from becoming a terrorist sanctuary and the region from descending into the dangerous chaos of a widening war.

In Washington, where political calculation seems to trump all other considerations, Democrats in Congress and their leading candidates for President, heedless of the terrible consequences of our failure, unanimously confirmed our new commander, and then insisted he be prevented from taking the action he believes necessary to safeguard our country's interests.

In Iraq, hope is a fragile thing, but all the more admirable for the courage and sacrifice necessary to nurture it.

In Washington, cynicism appears to be the quality most prized by those who accept defeat but not the responsibility for its consequences.
Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering. A defeat for the United States is a cause for mourning not celebrating.
And determining how the United States can avert such a disaster should encourage the most sober, public-spirited reasoning among our elected leaders not the giddy anticipation of the next election.

Democrats who voted to authorize this war, and criticized the failed strategy that has led us to this perilous moment, have the same responsibility I do, to offer support when that failure is recognized and the right strategy is proposed and the right commanders take the field to implement it or, at the least, to offer an alternative strategy that has some relationship to reality.

Democrats argue we should redirect American resources to the real war on terror, of which Iraq is just a sideshow. But whether or not al Qaeda terrorists were a present danger in Iraq before the war, there is no disputing they are there now, and their leaders recognize Iraq as the main battleground in the war on terror. Today, al Qaeda terrorists are the ones preparing the car bombs, firing the Katyusha rockets, planting the IEDs. They maneuver in the midst of Iraq's sectarian conflict, sparking and fueling the horrendous violence, destroying efforts at political reconciliation, killing innocents on both sides in the hope of creating a conflagration that will cause Americans to lose heart and leave.

Some argue the war in Iraq no longer has anything to do with us; that it is a hopelessly complicated mess of tribal warfare and sectarian conflict. The situation is complex, and very difficult. Yet from one perspective it is quite simple. We are engaged in a basic struggle: a struggle between humanity and inhumanity; between builders and destroyers.

Consider our other strategic challenges in the region: preventing Iran from going nuclear; stabilizing Afghanistan against a resurgent Taliban; the battle for the future of Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others; protecting Israel's security; the struggle for Lebanon's independence. Does any honest observer believe those challenges will be easier to confront and at lesser cost in American blood and treasure if the United States accepts defeat in Iraq?

We all agree a military solution alone will not solve the problems of Iraq. There must be a political agreement among Iraqis that allows all groups to participate in the building of their nation, to share in its resources and to live in peace with each other. But without greater security imposed by the United States military and the Iraqi Army, there can be no political solution. As Americans and Iraqis sacrifice to provide that security, Iraq's leaders must do the hard work of political reconciliation. We can help them get there, but we cannot assume their responsibilities. Unless they accept their own obligations to all Iraqis, we will all fail, and America, Iraq and the world will have to live with the terrible consequences. We are giving Iraq's leaders and people the chance to have a better future, but they must seize it.

In the many mistakes we have made in this war, a few lessons have become clear. America should never undertake a war unless we are prepared to do everything necessary to succeed, and unless we have a realistic and comprehensive plan for success. We did not meet this responsibility initially. We are trying to do so now.

I know the pain war causes. I understand the frustration caused by our mistakes in this war. We, who are willing to support this new strategy, and give General Petraeus the time and support he needs, have chosen a hard road. But it is the right road. It is necessary and just.

See also my essay from back on March 13, 2007: Arrogant Americans Determined To Go It Alone




Thursday, April 12, 2007

Can We Let the Ho Go?

LANGUAGE WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS VILE, DISGUSTING HATE SPEECH AND NEARLY EVERY FOUL WORD YOU'VE EVER HEARD! If you're only reading this for the vile language just skip on down to the second set of boxed comments.

I really am working on two essays I feel are important. One concerns Iraq and the other Darfur. I hope to have them both posted within the next 24 hours. Sadly I am unable to accomplish as much in 24 hours as the fictional hero Jack Bauer on the television series "24."

But the Imus controversy has exposed a raw nerve. Are we going to have a protected group within our society? Are we happy with two sets of rules? Two sets of morality?

The answer is nowhere as simple as it might seem.

Don Imus is attacked and vilified and fired for a simple statement that is racist and misogynistic. Ill timed and poorly thought out as the statement was, the attack on Imus seems well out of proportion to the crime.

Imus is gone from at least MSNBC and that, in itself, is not the issue. I have no problem with his firing. Shows get cancelled and disk jockeys get fired every day. They have no union and there is no grievance committee.

But I have a great deal of a problem with the resulting theory that there are and should be two sets of rules regarding speech, especially racist and misogynistic speech or any other forms of hate speech. One set of rules for the rap stars (black and white) and one set of rules for the middle aged white men.

I don't buy Snoop Dog's explanation for one second.

"First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them mutha-----as say we in the same league as him."

Now Snoop is absolutely right when he says that old white men can't know his life, his story, his path, his pain or his feelings. Snoop can, should and must write and perform what's in his mind. And, I must add, Snoop is a great talent.

But this isn't affirmative action for rappers. And multi-millionaire singers don't get additional rights denied to the rest of society. A ho is a ho is a ho is a ho.

We can't have one class of people protected from all criticism. Snoop should, can and must be allowed to write and sing what he feels. But attacks on women, the objectification of a sex, the hate speech directed at a race (and people who aren't absolutely physically beautiful and physically picture perfect)is not acceptable.

He can write it, but he must be subject to the same criticism as anyone who portrays similar disregard for the worth of another human being.

This gigantic hit for Snoop Dog and Ludacris, "Hoes in My Room," put literally millions of dollars in their pockets. Imus, in the worst day of his 40 year career never thought, mush less said, anything this disgusting:


by Snoop Dog and Ludacris

Who in the hell let them booger bears out they cell (Not me)
And what they doin' in ya' room? Nigga make 'em bail (Yeah)

Got some fine bitches, dime bitches on they way (Okay)
And told security, "Let 'em in, with no delay" (Ha Ha!)
So when they get here, they'll probably be like half naked
Don't mean to trip out, but bitch yall got to dip out (Dip Out!)
Catch the elevator up one floor
Presidential with the slidin' key for the door (Oh No!)
What the fuck goin' on? Shit, all around the world Luda, then its the same song
Them bitches was so ugly, I told 'em to go home

Who let these hoes in my room?
(Man who let these hoes in my room?)
Who let these hoes in my room? (Oh no!)
(Did you let 'em in?)
Who let these hoes in my room?
(Well who let 'em in then?)
Who let these hoes in my room? (Get out!)

[Verse 3 - Luda (Snoop)]
Now, these chicks wouldn't leave, they was ready to clown
One was 5'6 and weighed three hundred pounds
(No she didn't come thru with a thong on
She did for the hell of it, big fat whale of it)

You can't separate me, Ima separate you
Bitch ya' pussy smell like Pepe Le Pew
(You filthy, nasty, sick in the head
Sittin' in my dressin room with dick on ya' bread)
She said "I want you to climb in this underwear, silly"
But I was turned off by her tupper-ware titties
(Fake bitches, break bitches, make bitches
Kick rocks, when they fucked up in they face
Tick-tock, you gots to get up out my space

Hey Ludacris let's get the fuck up out this place, let's bounce)
Then it got to my head, and somethin' reminded me
I know who let 'em in, it was
Bill O'Reilly (Faggot)
(Ya' white bread, chicken-shit nigga!)


You gotta love the reference to Bill O'Reilly. I guess ole Ludacris and Snoop Dog told us a thing or two. Yep, they sure put them old white men in their place.

Say, my memory seems to be failing me... didn't Ann Coulter get in deep trouble for calling someone a faggot? Didn't she lose a bunch of newspaper columns? I guess Ann is not in the protected class. Only rap stars can call people faggots without any penalty.

We're talking about Ludacirs and Snoop Dog, two of the richest, most influential and powerful men on earth today. Men so powerful and so influential that they escape the fair and balanced criticism of leaders like Bruce Gordon and Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson.

They wrote this and they performed this piece of art and radio stations played it and they are getting rich from it.

But that nappy headed ho Imus got fired.




Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hos and Hypocrisy

I'm deeply troubled by the seeming hypocrisy in the media and in the world of entertainment over the Don Imus quote.

The first shoe has just dropped as it has just been
announced that MSNBC has made the decision to terminate Don Imus from the MSNBC schedule. I believe CBS will soon echo that decision.

In light of all that has gone on, I recommend that you read Michelle Malkin's dogged, determined and thorough research into the world of "Bitches, Niggas and Hos."

WARNING BEFORE YOU PROCEED! The language used in Malkin's post is about the most vile, disgusting and hateful you will ever read. And every word of it was written, not by Malkin, but by the urban contemporary Rap and Hip Hop stars who dominate the charts today. This is the music today's youth are drowning in.

Every word is from a music track being played this instant in the community where you live!

The language used to describe women and the overt abuse of women in this music makes Imus literally look like a saint! And while he got fired, these stars earn millions and win Grammy's.

Doesn't anybody besides me realize this is a double standard that turns every moral imperative on its head.

And, while I'm on a rant, let me tell you of my disappointment at the one sided actions of CBS Board member, and former NAACP President, Bruce Gordon. Gordon is on every venue
calling for Imus to be fired from CBS radio. And yet CBS Radio owns about 180 radio stations. Nearly half of these stations play the music (the exact songs with the exact words) Malkin profiles in her blog.

Gordon states, "We must have a zero tolerance policy."

If Gordon had one ounce of moral integrity in his body he would DEMAND CBS IMMEDIATELY REMOVE ALL THIS MUSIC FROM EVERY CBS STATION. Is Gordon avoiding the issue and protecting the "integrity" of black music artists? Gordon has the power. Gordon has the moral authority. If Bruce Gordon spoke, the Hip Hop community would listen.

Or does "zero tolerance" only apply to middle aged white disk jockeys?

Here is the link to Malkin's blog entry into the musical landscape of hit radio:
Imus vs. the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks Chart

Read it and weep.