Monday, July 31, 2006

The Cowardice Of Hezbollah

From the Ottawa Citizen comes this story on Hezbollah's cowardice.
The words of a Canadian United Nations observer written just days before he was killed in an Israeli bombing of a UN post in Lebanon are evidence Hezbollah was using the post as a "shield" to fire rockets into Israel, says a former UN commander in Bosnia.

Using the UN as a shield is nothing new to these cowards. They did it the last time the UN had forces there. It's like the little brother that picks a fight with his older brother, then runs behind his mother for cover. Hiding behind the skirts of the UN is one thing, but if that's not enough to demonstrate just how despicable this bunch is, here is a story from the Australian newspaper, the Herald-Sun, complete with photo evidence.
THIS is the picture that damns Hezbollah. It is one of several, smuggled from behind Lebanon's battle lines, showing that Hezbollah is waging war amid suburbia.

The images, obtained exclusively by the Sunday Herald Sun, show Hezbollah using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy-calibre weapons.

Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly disappear, the militants carrying automatic assault rifles and ride in on trucks mounted with cannon.

That's not the half of it. The world community is quick to condemn Israel for the Qana attack yesterday. But when you ask the same people that are quick to condemn them about Hezbollah using innocents as shields, they most always say: It's horrible, BUT ISRAEL........Israel shouldn't do this, Israel shouldn't do that, Israel should show restraint, Israel should fight with one arm tied behind their backs, etc.

Well here at PYY. we call it clearly and plainly, so that there is no doubt. Hezbollah is a bunch of cowards, plain and simple. If they had Allah on their side and he was all-powerful, shouldn't they be prevailing against the so-called "evil" Israelis, without using these cowardly techniques?

Well, they are not prevailing, are they? And you want to know something else? Israel IS fighting with one arm tied behind their backs. Imagine the carnage and the overwhelming defeat Hezbollah would have suffered by now, if the other hand were loosed. In fact, Israel is to be commended for showing the remarkable amount of restraint that it has shown, up to this point.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Israel Agrees To 48 Hour Suspension: Time To Search For Answers?

From the AP comes this story.

Israel agreed Sunday to halt air attacks on south Lebanon for 48 hours in the face of widespread outrage over an airstrike that killed at least 56 Lebanese, mostly women and children, when it leveled a building where they had taken shelter.

The announcement of the pause in overflights _ made by State Department spokesman Adam Ereli _ appeared to reflect American pressure on Israel. Ereli, who was in Israel with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said Israel reserved the right to hit targets if it learns that attacks are being prepared against them.

Is this a ceasefire? Yes and no.

Yes. It may be called a suspension, but in reality it is a form of a cease-fire. The wording is careful and deliberate. But make no mistake, it is a cessation of a form of firing and is hopefully a sign that this can be dealt with, sooner rather than later.

No. It comes with some conditions. Throughout all of this, Israel (in my opinion) is rightfully maintaining that if they are attacked during this voluntary cessation of air- attacks they reserve the right to strike back (thus, ending said the cessation of said activity). But whatever you wish to call it, it is an opportunity for diplomats from all nations to figure out how to best deal with this situation. But for them to be successful, they must deal with some stark realities.

Let's look at this a little closer and ask ourselves some deeper questions, here.

Who? Just who are the players involved, here?

Well, there is no doubt that both Lebanon and Israel are a part of this situation. And I do not think there is any doubt that Syria and Iran have their hands in this. Hezbollah is merely their proxy force. This is precisely why, any lasting agreement must include them.

This issue and the Iranian nuke situation are central to this whole mess. It is my firm belief that Iran has been putting off dealing with the nuke issue, so they could buy time. This is time that they have used to arm Hezbollah with long range missiles. Whether they are close to obtaining a nuclear weapon is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is for sure. There has been a resounding failure of the world community of great magnitude, to recognize this.

Syria is so bent on getting the Golan Heights back, they are using this opportunity to be a player too. It is my firm belief that Syria has been an instrumental intermediary, between themselves and Iran. They are looking at having some bargaining power, if the UN ever gets their act together long enough to try and help resolve this crisis. They want a slice of the pie, so to speak.

More than anything, at the forefront, there needs to be pressure applied to Syria to stop acting as an ally and go-between to Iran and Hezbollah. Then, there needs to be some real substantial action from the UN, in the Iranian situation. These things cannot be addressed with just Israel and Lebanon, alone.

Why? Why is it important to act while this cessation is in effect?

If this continues to escalate, there will be more incidents like the one that occurred earlier today, in Qana. This is not going away by itself and I would not expect Israel to relent in their goals one iota, unless they can be assured that these attacks on Israel can be guaranteed. Would any other nation expect anything else, if they were the ones being attacked in the same fashion that Hezbollah has attacked and provoked Israel?

And the only way to guarantee this for now and in the future is, disarming Hezbollah and allowing Lebanon to take control of their own sovereignty. This means Iran must stop, Syria must stop, and Hezbollah must choked off and not allowed to continue committing blatant acts of terror in Israel, and throughout the world.

What? What is the deeper meaning to all of this?

I suspect that if I haven't lost some of you by now, here is where most of the rest of you will get off.

This is part of the master plan that Iran has dreamed of since the Islamic Republic was installed by radical fundamentalists, known today as Islamofascists.

Don't buy it, you say?

Well take a look at
this montage of cartoons and pictures found over at Mike's America. Look at this real good and see what this reminds you of. Look and see the irony of it all and if your mind is truly open, you will see the hypocrisy that the world is showing towards Israel, today. If you are truly objective in your attitudes, you will also see just what the nature of this enemy, truly is.

This is a fight for Israel's existence. This is a fight against those that seek their annihilation. In Nazi Germany, they tried it as an internal measure, from within. Now, the Islamofascists are trying to finish the job Hitler started, by using external measures. They cannot crumble and eliminate Israel from within, the Israelis have way too much resolve for that. Jews cannot turn on themselves. Iran, Syria, and other hostile regimes cannot do it without provoking a large response from Israel, and possibly even the U.S. But what they can do, is use proxies and they are doing it right now.

They are desperately trying to sway the world opinion their way, by complaining about the brutal nature of today's earlier attack. Non-stop media outlets (to include Fox) are hyping and re-hyping the civilian casualties. But, how many have reported the fact that most of the victims are being reported as being women and children? If this strikes you as the least bit odd, mustn't we also consider that the men were all fight and using civilians, as shields?

How much should that point be emphasized in all of these rantings about just how utterly horrific this attack was on innocents? How much responsibility should Hezbollah assume in this?
In my view, a lot.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Howard Dean: The Electric Mouth

Plug him in and watch him go.
Dean said in Wednesday's speech that Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is "going to beat the pants off Katherine Harris, who didn't understand that it is ethically improper to be the chairman of a campaign and count the votes at the same time. This is not Russia and she is not Stalin."

Yeah, that's Howard for you. But let's read this article and see if him comparing Katherine Harris to Stalin is the real story, here.
Harris holds a commanding lead in the bid for the Republican nomination Sept. 5 against three lesser-known opponents, but she trails Nelson by 37 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Now we see the story. Bill Nelson leads Harris by 37%. Yet, Howard Dean, DNC Chairman, is campaigning for Nelson? There are two ways to look at this.

1. If I am Nelson, I say to Dean, "Thanks buddy, but I have a 37% lead and this thing is in the bag and I do not need you to help me.". Because if anyone were physically able to screw up a 37% lead at this stage of the game, it would be Dean.

2. Why isn't Dean helping out in the tighter races, where there is a need for hard campaigning at this stage? Answer: Because the Dems do not want him screwing up their chances to pick up seats, there. Put him where he can do the least amount of damage, as humanly possible.

I like that strategy. If you think about it, it makes good sense. Call it pro-active damage control.

But the best strategy the Dems could implement, is get rid of him. The best strategy they could have ever implemented is NOT even pick him to be the Chairman, to begin with. He is a major liability and embarassment to most anyone that has any hopes of getting elected on the Dem ticket, both now and in the future.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

An Ineffective And Irrelevent UN: Nothing New

From the Indianapolis Star (via RCP) comes this essay by Pierre Atlas.

Dr. Atlas has always written some thought-provoking pieces and this is no exception. But the one portion I would most like to highlight is this little snippet (which is central to why the UN is an irrelevent and ineffective body):

There are many United Nations resolutions addressing the Middle East, and usually it is the Arab and Muslim world that demands their enforcement. But in this conflict, Israel is the party calling for the implementation of a U.N. resolution -- Security Council Resolution 1559, which for two years has called for Hezbollah's disarming. Much of the Arab and Muslim world, on the other hand, is conspicuously silent on 1559. Also ignored is the fact that Israel fulfilled the demands of Security Council Resolution 425 by completely withdrawing from Lebanon in 2000.

Can you see why the UN is kaput?

Right now the UN is debating about what to do about Iran, North Korea, and is now having to contend with the Israeli-Hezbollah war. They cannot agree on anything. They debate, hold seminars, meeting, conferences, symposium, and other worthless gatherings of the world's (so-called) elite. And they still cannot get anything done.

But that's not the half of it. UN Resolution 1559 was agreed upon and passed. So, what happens? It's ignored.

For the most part, the world does not respect the UN. The radical elements that threaten world peace and stability, damned sure don't. China doesn't, Russia doesn't. They obstruct, they manipulate. But they very seldom cooperate. So why should Hezbollah care about what Resolution 1559 calls for?

The funny thing in all of this is the scuttlebutt about getting a UN peacekeeping force in place in Southern Lebanon. The UN cannot even maintain a tent in Baghdad, what makes anyone think they have the will and the guts to stand in the way of Hezbollah? It is certainly way beyond me.

Let's get serious for a moment. The UN didn't have the resolve to stick the situation out in Baghdad, they cut out the moment they were attacked. So, now, UN forces are somehow going to have the stomach to stand down Hezbollah, on Hezbollah's own turf (turf they have controlled for years)? What do you think will happen, when they get hit by Hezbollah? Does anyone really believe that the presence of UN forces means a damned thing to these thugs?

By the way, I still have that cabin in the mountains of central Florida, for sale. Please leave all inquiries, in the comment section.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cable TV News Show Wars

From Drudge:

FNC BRIT HUME 1,648,000
FNC SHEP SMITH 1,559,000
FNC GRETA 1,491,000
CNN COOPER 1,128,000
CNN KING 1,097,000
CNN ZAHN 890,000
CNN DOBBS 784,000

You can criticize Fox News all you want. They are beating the pants off of the competition. You can say only stupid people watch Fox, but if you do, you have to ask yourself something.

How many stupid people watch news at all?

They can tell you what the subject was on Jerry Springer, alright. But I have never known them to watch any news shows that require any thinking, with any regularity.

What is particularly interesting is the little war between Olbermann and O'Reilly. Olbermann is really getting desperate and acting like a real horse's ass to get some viewers. And it isn't working. O'Reilly isn't my favorite by any stretch, because I think he is an arrogant and pompous ass. But he still has the numbers and Olbermann doesn't. Olbermann should have stayed on ESPN.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hezbollah Can Be Defeated

So argues Diana Muir in her essay entitled, So Hezbollah Can't Be Crushed?

I do not think it's a matter of can they be crushed, it's more a matter of will they be crushed? Will the world community allow it, or will they broker a deal to stop it?

Make no mistake, it can be done.

Check this piece out. It's a good read, but I do feel it has one flaw. See if you can find it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Power Of Perception

Two posts ago I posed a question or two, about what I perceive to be some conflicting data coming from three different sources of information, on France. And I have to say I got some lengthy responses that (predictably) differed, with some of the material that was presented. Rather than type out long individual responses in the comment section; I figured that by the time I was done, I'd end up with enough for another post. So, here it is.

While I think all of the commenters raise some interesting points, in their analyses, I think some may have missed the broader point I was getting at. Maybe I failed to make it clear. If so, that's my fault. And I apologize, if that is the case.

Let's look at the word perception for a moment.

Despite the fact that the Pew poll was favorable to the French and their attitudes towards Jews, there still is a perception that the French are biased against the U.S. and Israel. I showed some examples of the French media and their perceptions toward Israel and the U.S., as well as some instances documented by, and commented on, from a writer that some very much disagreed with. I countered it with the Pew poll.

One of the points I was trying to subtlely make was, despite the polls that showed otherwise, there were some instances that gave the perception that the French government and the French media were at very least, biased against Israel and the U.S. And I noticed in the responses, most responders that were critical of the article, spent much more time and effort trying to refute its contents, than trying to address the media quotes.

The French media (as well as the French government) are the mouthpieces of the French people. And in many instances that is all many people have to look to and consider, when trying to form an opinion on the situation. I do not think it matters much that one of the publications was/is owned by an American company, or not. They are French papers, printed and circulated primarily for French people. Anyone that can read French can read and understand them, but the people that do not speak French are at the mercies of the translators. So, regardless of ownership, they are French.

When they are negative towards Israel or the U.S., it doesn't matter who owns them. If they print anything negative, many in the world will interpret that as indicative of current values. I don't, because I know that the media is very often biased and very often does not reflect a true picture. (And I say that from personal experience with my own media.)

But many people do. Their perception is based on what they read.

Many French people have attitudes based on the very same principle, as what I described. They read the negative French press. They read the American versions that sometimes contradict the French version, many times by being counter-critical towards the French. And then they form their opinions based on that.

Why am I saying all of this?

The broader point (I think) is that instead of trying to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to argue and tear down the arguments of the other, the key to understanding and bridging the gaps between us, is understanding the differing perceptions, and why they are so.

Now, I have some thoughts on why I think their is a gap of misunderstanding between some people. If you think back in history, you will note that the US and France have always had a healthy rivalry and some level of competition. For as long as I have been alive, this has been the case. Go back to WWII and you can understand why we are at the point we are at, today. We have bickered and argued, but when the chips have been down we have been there for each other. Today is no exception.

Let's try something here that illustrates what I am saying.

Perception: Americans thought that DeGaulle's efforts to be less dependent on America after the war, were acts of ungratefulness.

Was that so? No. At least, I don't see it that way.

I think that he never wanted to allow France to get into a position it was in, ever again. Can't blame him for that. But I didn't just get my ass shot at for 2-3 years in a foreign land, trying to liberate people I didn't know, losing many friends in the process. A lot of the people that did, developed their attitudes based on their perceptions, at that time. They then passed those same values on to their children. Right or wrong, that was the reality of the situation.

Perception: America wanted to drive the train and be the hero, not giving any credit to the contributions made by the brave men and women of France.

That's also not true. While many were angry that DeGaulle kicked American forces out of the country (while still owing money to the U.S.), many of those same veterans (that got their asses shot at in France), told me of the stories of the French resistance. They also said that without the help of these brave men and women, we would have likely lost many more lives, had they not softened up the enemy before our arrival and during our advance.

So, while it is important to refute the myths, the misinformation, the exaggerations, and in some cases the outright malicious lies that are present between our nations, the first step in that process is to broaden our vision to see the bigger picture. We need to understand why these things exist and why the perception is so very different from opposite sides of the pond.

Many French that have stereotypical views of Americans have never been to America. The only contact they have with them, is the tourists. And tourists are not a good picture of average Americans. Many Americans that are hypercritical of France, have never been there either. Their only frames of reference are the French media, the French government, and the handful of French people they encounter throughout their lives.

Both sides can get defensive, when their perceptions are challenged and dig themselves into a foxhole. Both sides have people that are extremely stubborn, in that respect. But both sides also have a story to tell, if the other side would only listen.

I have said before and I will say again, the media and the government stance on issues is never a full and complete indicator of what individual citizens think. However there is one area that I do believe Americans have been deficient in their understanding. I believe that France (and to some degree, Germany) openly criticize the U.S. and Israel as a smokescreen. They must publicly take certain stands because it is expedient to do so. But covertly, they have provided more assistance, support, and cooperation than they are willing to reveal.

And that's okay.

But when the choice is made to do this out of public view and to do it while appearing to be critical, the perception that France works against the US and Israel will always be there.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Needed: Arab Pressure On Hezbollah

From the New York Sun comes this article:

CAIRO, Egypt — One of Saudi Arabia's leading Wahhabi sheiks, Abdullah bin Jabreen has issued a strongly worded religious edict, or fatwa, declaring it unlawful to support, join or pray for Hezbollah, the Shiite militias lobbing missiles into northern Israel.

The day after Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers on July 12, Sheik Hamid al-Ali issued an informal statement titled "The Sharia position on what is going on." In it, the Kuwaiti based cleric condemned the imperial ambitions of Iran regarding Hezbollah's cross border raid.

Let's look at this realistically. Iran is asserting its influence and the world needs to get their act together before this blows up even further. This includes the Arab world. They must play a role in this or they will soon be dealing with Iranian influence at their back door.

Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran has had a goal of getting to Israel and sparking Islamic revolution any and everywhere along the way. If they were to be successful at driving Israel into the sea, we would see an even more empowered and emboldened Iran, than we are seeing at this present moment. And the Arabs do not want their sheikdoms turned over the foaming at the mouth militants.

So, what we need to see is more coverage when things like this happen. We need the media (worldwide) to cover bits like this, if there is ever going to be a peaceful solution to this. If there are any moderate Arab states that wish to keep the status quo (for the time being, anyway), they need to sound off. All moderate Muslim leaders (worldwide) need to sound off, too. Hezbollah must be neutralized socially, politically, diplomatically and if need be, militarily.

Just telling Israel to stop isn't going to get the job this time, folks.

Hat Tip: Regime Change Iran

Cross posted at The Wide Awakes

Friday, July 21, 2006

Why The Mixed Messages From The French?

The Jerusalem Post reports the divison of the Europeans newspapers, in the Israeli-Hezbollah War. (Bullet points are mine)

  • "As always," Le Monde wrote at the start of the crisis, Israel had responded "by making disproportionate use of military force, in violation of international law." On Wednesday, the paper applauded French President Jacques Chirac's call for Israel to exercise restraint as "without a doubt the most legitimate policy."

  • The French president's plan, Le Monde wrote, was the "only way to preserve a common line with the United States and a kernel of international consensus." It warned Israel that in implementing its "optimistic" plan "to do away with Hizbullah, it must not destroy Lebanon's efforts to reconstruct its country."

  • The Paris daily Liberation condemned the world's "relative indifference" to the crisis, which it blamed on US President George W. Bush's "policy of going along" with Israel's decisions. "We can deplore, but we cannot be surprised by the general helplessness," it wrote Wednesday.

  • Le Figaro of also found fault with the United States Monday for not responding more quickly to the crisis and criticized Bush's attempts to bring "something positive out of this double war against 'extremists,' out of this wreckage of weapons and blood, at least that of civilians."

These are not surprising responses, within themselves. I would expect this, given their criticisms I have read in the past. In fact, I would have been slightly shocked to read otherwise. But for more clarity about where I am going with this, let's read on.

The History News Network has posted an essay by Edward Olshaker, entitled, Axis of Hypocrisy—Russia, US, UK, Italy, France Urge Israeli Restraint.
This is a good essay to read in its entirety, but here are the points I want to outline, for the purposes of this post:

  • On October 28, 2004—five months after Yasser Arafat’s Fatah murdered eight-month-pregnant mother Tali Hatuel and her four young children, execution-style—Chirac wrote a note of encouragement to the terrorist mastermind, who was being treated in a French hospital: “I wish that you could resume as soon as possible your work at the service of the Palestinian people…[France] will always stand next to you.” Yet on November 6, 2005, Chirac vowed to punish all who “sow violence or terror” in France.

  • In early 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including dangerous terrorists—the kind of concession that the French government, among others, welcomed as a step toward peace. Later that year, French authorities arrested thousands of young rioters, vowing to prosecute, imprison, and in some cases deport them. Releasing them as a goodwill gesture never appeared to be an option under consideration.

  • In July 2004, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier visited Arafat in his Ramallah compound, where he was confined after it was found that he had resumed his involvement in serial murder of civilians. Barnier scolded Israel for limiting Arafat’s freedom of movement: “I’ve seen the situation, and it is not suitable for him nor for the Palestinian people.” Yet the state of emergency declared in France in late 2005 empowered the government to limit the freedom of movement of countless innocent citizens by imposing curfews enforced by imprisonment and fines. It also provided for bans on public meetings, and house searches without a warrant—measures that would be widely condemned as “trampling the Bill of Rights” if they occurred in the United States.

  • “…as Jacques Chirac explained to Ehud Barak [in 2000], Israel, being the stronger side, must be the first to stop [the use of force, in its attempts to fight terrorism]” (Yaacov Lozowick, Right to Exist). For Chirac himself, however, being the “stronger” side carried no obligation to be the first side to stop the use of force or make concessions; on the contrary, the stronger side—his side—must dominate, period. Chirac proclaimed, “The law must have the last word. The republic is quite determined, by definition, to be stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear.” As reported by Amir Taheri in the New York Post: “The French authorities hit back, sending in Special Forces, known as the CRS, with armored cars and tough rules of engagement.” The CRS is described as having a “brutal reputation.”

  • Although instructions to shoot the elderly wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer and dump him off a cruise ship came from Arafat’s headquarters, Chirac’s reaction to Arafat’s death was to visit the hospital and announce, teary-eyed, “I came to bow before President Yasser Arafat and pay him a final homage…with him disappears a man of courage and conviction” and urge Palestinians to “continue to be faithful to Yasser Arafat’s memory.” An Associated Press report during last year’s intifada in French cities described an atrocity that brought back memories of the Klinghoffer tragedy: “Attackers [in a Paris suburb] doused [a] woman, in her 50s and on crutches, with an inflammable liquid and set her afire as she tried to get off a bus…” Chirac never announced any intention to find those responsible, arrange generous funding for them, and engage in peace talks with them, even though Chirac apparently needed his own peace partners in order to negotiate an end to what his police commanders described as “a state of war.”

  • After Israel was forced to hunt down terrorists in Jenin following the 2002 Passover massacre, Le Monde—displaying an obscene form of anti-Israel bias that has become more acceptable and commonplace during the Chirac administration—published a deeply dishonest and bigoted cartoon depicting Israelis as Nazis exterminating the population of the Jenin “Warsaw Ghetto,” further fanning the flames of anti-Semitism at a time when French Jews were being assaulted and synagogues and Jewish schools were being firebombed in epidemic numbers. Yet, although distortions and lies intended to demonize Israel are acceptable in the French media, merely reporting the facts about the French Muslim uprising was deemed inflammatory and therefore censored. “[France’s] largest private television network, TF1, refrains from airing footage of burning cars or buildings…The state-owned television channels, France 2 and France 3, have stopped reporting on the number of cars torched by rioting young immigrants every night…Explaining their restraint, TV execs say that they want to avoid inciting further violence.” (Wall Street Journal)

  • As reported by Martin Peretz of the New Republic, “France went into a frenzy to mobilize the countries of the EU at the UN to vote ‘yes’ on the General assembly resolution calling on Israel to take down the security barrier it is building against Palestinian terror.” Yet Chirac surrounded himself with a cozy barrier of protection when he went to lay a wreath in honor of fallen soldiers in late 2005. “Exceptional security measures were taken for Armistice Day ceremonies attended by President Chirac…under the watch of some 3,000 police officers…” (Agence France-Press) On November 16, the same day AFP reported that vandalism had declined “almost down to levels seen before the unrest broke out on October 27,” the French senate voted to extend the nation’s extraordinary emergency measures into 2006. Just to be safe.

My friend Super Frenchie regularly points to polls like this one, to support his claim that France is not as anti-semitic, as many Americans believe. Despite my skepticism concerning polls, Pew is one of the better polls. So, without making this about the poll, let's take the poll at face value.

So here we see that by taking Chirac's actions, the French media's highly critical wordings, and SF's polls, we are receiving a very confusing picture here. Why the disconnect in these three pieces of evidence? That's a good question and that's a fair question.

But since I do not live, nor have I ever lived in France, it's much more difficult to ascertain. I cannot go to the cafes and the inns for some refreshments, talk to everyday people, and stir up a conversation about this, on a daily basis. So I will depend on my French readers to help me understand, just why there is such disparity in the poll results, and the image that seems to be portrayed by the French mouthpieces (the government and the media).

(Keep in mind I am aware of the negative image that is being demonstrated by Spain. The stories on this, are here and here. And even Pat Buchanan has weighed in on this. But this is not about them. I want to know about France. And I am aware of the fact that criticism of Israel isn't always indicative of anti-semitism, not any more than criticism of the French government, media, or the system is general is French bashing.)

Arab States: You Are On Your Own.

From USA Today comes this opinion piece.

The attempt by Hezbollah and Hamas to drag the whole Arab world into their war with Israel in the past two weeks has drawn flak in the form of Arab public opinion that neither militant jihadist organizations anticipated.

Speaking in an unusually blunt tone, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain openly rejected what they described as unilateral "adventurism," telling both groups that they are on their own vis-à-vis Israel. More important, indications are surfacing that a long-silent Arab majority has had enough of being hijacked by extremists in its midst.

If this is true, we have a split in the camp. If this is true, I applaud these countries for at very least, verbally distancing themselves from these groups.

But rest assured, the cynic in me tells me, I will not be holding my breath for any real change in attitudes, just yet. In fact, their statements are not particularly comforting and may be coming because they know that they do not want Israel turning their weapons on them. Not only that, if these wealthy states had been helping the Palestinians, instead of leaving it almost entirely up to Hezbollah, this would likely not be happening right now.

But for now, we take them at face value. It remains to be seen whether or not, this is just a ruse.

Banished Muslim Cleric Begs To Return To Britain From Beirut

From the AFP comes this article.

EXILED Islamist preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed tried but failed to join the naval evacuation of British nationals from Lebanon's capital Beirut, it was reported today.

Bakri attempted to join evacuees boarding a Royal Navy vessel on Wednesday, but was rebuffed "at the harbour gates by sharp-eyed officials", The Sun said in a front page "exclusive".

A Ministry of Defence spokesman in London could not confirm the report, but said: "Our understanding is that's not true, and we've told The Sun that".

The Sun also reported that Syrian-born Bakri has written to the British embassy in Beirut, asking to be readmitted to Britain on "humanitarian grounds".

Bakri, who settled in Britain in 1985, was banned from reentering Britain in August last year, when then home secretary Charles Clarke ruled that his presence was "not conducive to the public good".

These guys that sit in their cushy mosques decorated with Middle Eastern art and nice Persian rugs, the ones that spew out hatred and teach how glorious it is to die for the cause of jihad, think they have it made. They tell tall tales about virgins and other forms of eternal bliss, in exchange for committing acts of violence against innocents, for Allah. And people go die for them, at their command. They snap their fingers and presto, it's as good as done.

But when they, themselves, have an opportunity to be where the action is, to commit themselves deeper to the cause (by demonstrating a proper example and fighting alongside the troops they command), they somehow end up cowering and hiding. What's particularly ironic about this case is, this guy begs to be let back into Britain, which is the very country that he bad-mouthed and preached his venomous teachings.

I say give him a rifle, a couple of magazines of ammo (ideally the ammo and weapon should match, but hey, no need to stress about it), and stick him on the border and let us see just how willing he is to get to those virgins. I would bet that the Israelis will feel like they are shooting fish in a barrel. I bet he isn't the slightest bit battle hardened. In fact, what would you bet that he turns and runs north?

The bottom line here is, the British government would be a bunch of fools to let him come back.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Rationale For A Disproportionate Response

From one of my favorite sites (RCP), comes this essay by Pierre Atlas, Director of the Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian College, in Indianapolis. I recommend everyone read this piece, but especially those that are critical of the actions, currently being taken by Israel. I understand there a few people that do not understand why Lebanon is made to suffer. It's a fair question and one that deserves some explanation.

Here is a very critical point
Dr. Atlas (who is far from being a Zionist) is trying to make and gives an important point to consider in your analyses:

Hizbollah is an unconventional enemy, unique in the world. It is a "state-within-a state" embedded within the Lebanese society and polity, yet it is also a rogue force that is well-armed, violent, and unaccountable to Lebanon's sovereign government. By all accounts, Hizbollah is more powerful than the Lebanese Army, and it has dragged an unwilling Lebanon into war with Israel to fulfill its own agenda, and perhaps the agendas of its patrons, Syria and Iran.

A "state within a state". Did you get that?

They are supported by both Syria and Iran. They care little about the wishes of anyone in the world, save their two radical supporters. Lebanon cannot be free from foreign domination, unless Hezbollah is disarmed, severely weakened, or expelled completely. We have seen how negotiations work with these people, we see how the world community cannot agree on sanctions for Iran; and besides a soccer match (winner take all), there is no other thing that these thugs understand better than being on the receiving end of a disproportionate response.

The same mentality that exists in an inner-city neighborhood with gang warfare, exists in Hezbollah. They have the run of the turf, they control. Try calling the police and filing a report on an inner city gang member that has control of the turf, and see what happens. When the cops leave, you are dead. It's easy to gain the cooperation of the locals that care nothing about being in that gang, when the cops can do little. You just keep your mouth shut and do not get into their way. The situation in Lebanon is much the same, only on a larger scale. Lebanon cannot do much about Hezbollah, when they get their orders from elsewhere.

This is war by proxy, if there ever was one.

Let's read on, shall we? (emphasis is mine):

Yossi Alpher, Israeli strategic analyst and co-editor of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue website Bitter Lemons (, suggests that "the Israeli response in Lebanon is deliberately disproportional."

Alpher told me that deliberate disproportionality "is an imperative when fighting a guerrilla enemy waging asymmetrical warfare. It is also [Prime Minister] Olmert's strategy for weakening Hizbollah to a point where the Lebanese government, perhaps with international backing and participation, can remove it from Lebanon's southern border and disarm it."

Name one way better, than this. See if you can. Whatever it is, it's been tried before. And it hasn't worked yet, has it? Have negotiations worked? No. Sanctions? No. How can you sanction a guerrilla group? You can't. Iran? The UN cannot even agree on sanctions for the nuclear issue, what makes you think they can with this issue?

So here we are today, Israel is pounding the hell out of enemy targets and the world cannot believe that it has gotten to this point. The very fact that Israel must endure a constant state of war and at very least high state of alert when there is no active war, is deplorable enough. But to not let them defend themselves by going after the enemy, is even more so, in my view.

Go read this whole article, before you decide what you think it right. And when you are done read some others by Dr. Atlas, to get his overall perspective. You plainly will see that he is not a neocon.

Addendum: When you finish, you can also read this one, by Edward Alexander, emeritus professor of English at the University of Washington.

The Fair Tax Ballot Experiment

Not only were the Reed and McKinney stories making news in Georgia on Tuesday, here's an item that won't get a lot of coverage in the MSM. This comes courtesy of Neal Boortz, who along with Congressman John Linder, has been promoting and sponsoring this bill and authors of the best-selling book.

As a test, the Fair Tax proposal was voted on in three counties in Georgia. According to the numbers, 85% voted for it, in a non-binding referendum that serves only one purpose. That purpose is to get the "head in the sand" politicians that care about nothing except winning an election, to look at how they can get a few votes. If they get their votes, maybe we get a better system.

Frankly, I am surprised it's not getting more attention. But, who knows? Maybe it will now. Maybe other areas will get this thing on the ballot, for a trial vote, now that this has turned out so well. Maybe the opportunists will come out of the woodwork, support this thing, and build some momentum for it.

How anyone could not look at this thing objectively and see that this is a much better way to collect taxes, is beyond me.

Reed Out, McKinney Faces Runoff In Georgia Primary

In the primary elections in Georgia this past Tuesday, Ralph Reed was told by GOP voters that no matter how nice a guy he may be, he was not the one they wanted for Lt. Governor. Pundits are pointing to the Abramoff ties, which were certainly an instrumental factor. But if I were a GOP voter in Georgia, my reasoning for voting against him would have been deeper than just that, alone.

From the AP comes this article.
Reed was making his first bid for elective office after working for years as a behind-the-scenes campaign strategist and leading the Christian Coalition and the state Republican Party.

He vied with Cagle for the GOP nomination in a primary race that appeared closer than expected in recent months because of Reed's work with Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to fraud and corruption earlier this year.

In attack ads and televised debates, Cagle hammered away at Reed's connections to Abramoff, and asked whether Reed could face criminal charges for accepting more than $5.3 million from two Indian tribes. Reed has not been charged with a crime and has said repeatedly that he regrets the work he did with Abramoff. Reed said he was vindicated by a two-year Senate probe.

"If good decent people offer themselves in this state for public office, we can make this state a better place," Cagle said as he declared victory.

From where I sit, I get a little nervous when someone merges religious beliefs of any kind with a political lobby and tries to openly influence government to pass laws that promote one religion over another (no matter what religion it may be). That is not to say that an elected official cannot practice his faith and vote his conscience. But, one only needs to look at how organized religion has played an integral role in abuses, throughout the history of the world, to understand why I feel this way.

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have a right to express their opinions, but I do not want them or others like them, making policy. Ralph Reed led an organization that was their mouth piece. That pretty much sums it up for me.

As for Ms. McKinney, she has commanded a lot of attention in her career and seems to be having some difficulty, at present.

From the AJC:
U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney is headed to a runoff against a relatively unknown challenger in a Democratic primary she was expected to win with ease.

The controversial 4th District incumbent, accused of striking a Capitol Hill police officer last March, narrowly led former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson.

Alpharetta businessman John F. Coyne III came in a distant third but with enough votes to play the spoiler in his first election, keeping McKinney from topping 50 percent of the vote.

Few political analysts expected McKinney to have much trouble in her re-election bid even though her longheld status as a political lightning rod reached new heights over her very public confrontation with the Capitol guard.

Using a strategy that has been effective before, McKinney ran a low-key campaign — even refusing to appear at major debates against her challengers. She concentrated on her base in south DeKalb, meeting with constituents in the area.

Many pundits point to her slugging a cop, but to me there's a larger issue here, too. What many may not know is, her "low key" campaign is financed by a lot of people with Arab names. And almost all of them are from outside Georgia. Which leads me to wonder, does anyone from Hezbollah, Hamas, or other potentially dangerous terror organizations drop a little cash in her till?

As for the election analysis, more voted against her than voted for her. She's in serious trouble, because she will not gain much support from the number three candidate. His supporters will likely rally behind Mr. Johnson. Maybe the nation will finally be rid of Cynthia McKinney. She is, at very least, a huge embarassment to herself and her district.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Some Thoughts On War.

I just read a post by a teenager. Read this and tell me that this kid doesn't see what is reality, and what isn't.

You know, when I read something like this (or hear something like this) from a kid that has his whole life ahead of him, it makes me very sad. To think that the world that I knew when I was his age, is gone. Oh yes, we had the USSR, Vietnam, and other hostile regimes in our day. They gave us headaches and tried our resolve. The world was just as uncertain, at that time; and we questioned whether or not there would be a decent world to grow up into and make lives for ourselves. But when I see what we face today, when I see the depths and the breadths this enemy will go to just to kill an American or a Jew, it really does bum me out.

These kids do not deserve this, not our kids, and not the ones that the enemy is teaching jihad to, either. They deserve a chance at a world that will accept them, teach them, and help them realize their potentials. They do not deserve to be exposed to the evil deeds of a doctrine of hate, not on the receiving end and not on the giving end. But they are.

The question is, what are we going to do about it?

Look at this famous quote:

"My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time...Go home and get a nice quiet sleep."

So said Neville Chamberlain after signing the Munich Agreement with Hitler, in 1938. Not even a year later, Hitler marched his forces into Poland.

I know that I am not the first person to compare this event with today's situation. And I do not expect that this is some new revelation, to anyone that knows anything about WWII. But I have been on this blog for 18 months now. I have been saying the same thing for the same amount of time, over and over again.

We are at war. Israel is at war. No amount of negotiations will prevent it, because the enemy cares nothing about peace.

Many people do not accept this as WWIII. I expect the anti-war left to not accept it. Even some that support the war on terror, have not come to grips with this fact yet. But now that Newt Gingrich went on Meet The Press yesterday and called it such, all of a sudden, there's a few light bulbs that just lit up. There seems to be some level of amazement that this could possibly be true. The media is abuzz with this proclamation by the former Speaker, and preoccupied that Bush said the s--- word. Well, big sh*t.

A little over a year ago, I posted
Struggling For Words, which linked to an essay entitled, "A Short History Of WWIII", written in March 2003. Many of you that read me now may have not read it. Many of you will probably not read it now. But if you haven't, you owe it to yourself to read it. It's a bit long and exhaustive, but it shows just how long this war has been going on, right under everyone's nose.

I realize that many will not understand it, will try to parse it, and explain away some stark realities. Some will even ignore it altogether. But it doesn't change anything, it's still there. It will not go away. Whether a person gets it or not, will not change the reality of the situation. Why? I cannot say for a certainty. Frankly, it puzzles the hell out of me. But one thing I do know for sure, Israel gets it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Alabama GOP Chair Invites Howard Dean To Campaign With Dem Candidate

From the Birmingham News comes this story.

The head of Alabama's Republican Party has an offer for Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean: She'll pay for the plane ticket if he will come campaign with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lucy Baxley.

Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh said Friday she would foot the cost of Dean's flight to Alabama if he'd come stand with Baxley and explain his party's position on issues including abortion, gay marriage, gun rights and taxes.

Sounds like a strategy to me. All Howard has to do is open his mouth and the most idiotic things seem to come out. Like this:

"You know, people say the Republicans are tough on defense. How can you be tough on defense if five years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden is still at large, the Iranians are about to get nuclear weapons, North Korea's quadrupled their nuclear weapons stash. . . .

Explain to me how it is that this president is tough on defense? I think this president is weak on defense and he's hurt America because he hasn't done the right thing.

This country is in the worst shape since Richard Nixon, and probably before that... We've lost the high moral high ground everywhere in the world. We want to be respected around the world again. We want our moral authority to be restored, because part of defending America is not just well-armed troops; it's having the high moral ground."

Okay. To my Democratic friends that claim the GOP campaigns on moral grounds, how do you explain this? Whose moral ground is more moral here? Better yet, if we had captured Osama by now, would we be anymore moral than we are now? Would the war on terror be over? What are Mr. Dean's alternative solutions? It's easy to describe a problem, but solving it is altogether another matter. And their moral ground isn't any more moral than the GOP.

Would all of the world's problems be solved? Would our foreign critics feel we are more moral? And if so, why?

How about Iran? Is it George Bush's fault that the Iranians are about to get nukes? North Korea? Does anyone believe that if Al Gore would have won in 2000 or John Kerry in 2004, these things would not have happened? If you do, I have a mountain cabin in Florida I will sell you dirt cheap.

Look, here's the bottom line:

Criticize the President and his administration all you want, both generally and specifically. But, do not insult our intelligence by claiming that a Democratic President would be a pancea and cure all of the world's ills, just because he is a Democrat. (Example: Carter.) Democrats cannot expect the majority of the American people to vote for them, when all they do is complain, while not providing a plan to accomplish this. "We would have done better" may work in the schoolyard or in a tavern somewhere, but this is a grown-up and sober world now.

Dan Quayle Walks Out Of Mellencamp Concert

Here's the report.

Dan Quayle took time out from participating in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Stateline, Nev., on Friday to attend John Mellencamp's concert only to run into a political statement.

He then made a statement of his own by walking out during Mellencamp's rendition of ``Walk Tall.'' Before launching into the song, Mellencamp told the Harveys casino crowd, in effect, that it was dedicated to everyone hurt by policies of the current Bush administration.

First of all, let me say that Dan Quayle was and is not my favorite politico, for a variety of reasons. Secondly, let me say that Mellencamp has never been one of my favorite recording artists.

In my opinion, Mellencamp's only CD worth owning is his first big album, simply entitled, Johnny Cougar. (He had a couple of others that were very weak, before he was a national star.) There is only one I would consider owning since that time, Human Wheels. But of the countless releases he has put out since that first success, I wouldn't waste my money on them. So, his politics have nothing to do with my decision to not buy or listen to his music.

I suspect that Mellencamp's sales are down based on the merits of his work, so what does he do? Tap into the anti-war crowd. That'll generate a little more sales, for a little while at least.

But as for Quayle walking out of the concert, just what did he expect at a Mellencamp show? Mellencamp is a jerk (in real life and on stage) and knowing that Quayle was in the audience probably fueled his fire a little bit. Anyone that is in tune with politics knows that if you are going to get upset at anti-war statements, you must avoid Springteen, the Dixie Chicks, and Mellencamp. (There are more, but this is a blog, not an exhaustive op-ed piece.)

So, in my estimation, he should have done a little more homework. That is, unless he had every intention of doing it as a statement of his own. And frankly, I do not think he is capable of thinking more than one move ahead.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day Nine: Saddam Hunger Strike Continues

From Reuters comes this story.
Saddam Hussein spent a ninth day without food on Sunday, the U.S. military said, continuing a hunger strike to demand better protection for defense lawyers after a third advocate was killed in Baghdad last month.

Time is running out. The situation may become a problem for some American workers, real soon. There's a persistent rumor that Frito-Lay, the makers of Doritos Chips, may be soon laying off a shift. But, this cannot be confirmed at this time. Frito-Lay has yet to return any of our calls.

The Political Yen/Yang Principle: The Political pH Scale

Political Science may be a science, but it is not quantitative like chemistry. It, like most social sciences, can be measured to some degree. But Poli-Sci is mostly an abstract discipline, like sociology, psychology, and several others. Research is limited to surveys and other subjective methods, much unlike lab sciences that require more concrete thinking, less opinion, and more finite terminology.

But knowing all of this, means little except to say that any abstract science, will always be subject to much more scrutiny and skepticism, than those sciences that can settle their difference in a laboratory. With that said, let me also say that like other social sciences, Poli-Sci has changed much since I took a couple of classes, 30 years ago.

Recently, I posted a piece called, The Political Yen/ Yang Principle. If you haven't read it, I recommending reading it first. But if you already have or just don't care to, that's fine too. It's not a prerequisite to what I am about to present.

Except for this part:

Yen And Yang In Science

Take chemistry for instance. Remember the pH scale of acids and bases? Too much of one or the other, creates an unstable compound. The more stable the compound the more balance between the two. Here is but one example: Sodium (Na+) and chlorine (Cl-) molecules by themselves are not stable. Yet when they develop a bond with each other, they become one of the more stable compounds, known to mankind, table salt.

Table salt (NaCl), by itself and in its natural form, serves many useful functions today and at one point in history was a valuable trading commodity, with the ancient Romans even using it as money.

As I said earlier, Poli-Sci is not easily measured. Like any other science it covers a wide range of topics, sub-topics, and subjects. It is different from country to country, mainly due to the differences in political systems and the ideologies that govern them.

But leave a person alone long enough with a set of subjects that are interesting and fascinating at the same time, and soon, you will come up with all kinds of theories. These theories are debated more intensely than in other fields, because objective data is less prevalent than in those that are more quantified. Much is left open to various interpretations and they are often times, hotly contested and debated.

One widely accepted model developed to helped explain political ideology is the
political spectrum. Clicking on the link will better explain it, if you do not understand just how many different models have been developed, over the years. While trying to explain pretty much the same things, each has its own set of attributes and faults, or better yet, its pluses and minuses. Thus, the debate can be endless, with good agruments, both for and against the use of said models.

But the thing to note here is, since this is difficult to quantify, some method has to be used to qualify Poli-Sci as a valid discipline. And this is a simple way of doing it, if you do not get too deep into the technicalities that are so subjective to begin with.

Now look at the
pH scale we all learned in chemistry. 0= strong acid, 14=strong base, and 7=pure water, which is perfectly balanced. Note: Pure water does not occur naturally unless it is distilled.

Now, take this model and apply it to the political spectrum, and there you have the Political pH scale. 0=anarchistic left wing militants, 14=anarchistic right wing militants, and 7=perfect centrist, which is probably not an attainable value, in reality. I would say it exists only in theory.

Some believe that a value should be should not be assigned, nor should a label be given to political ideologies and/or their proponents/opponents. But I ask, how else can you describe behavior, beliefs, and/or value systems that exist in the political world? Labels and values are not always a bad thing, they are what they are.

In the future and whenever applicable, I will refer to the Political pH Scale and will assign what I feel is a proper pH value to selected ideologies, ideas, philosophies, and other things that exist in the realm of political science. It is not a perfect model by any means, but it does serve the purposes of these conversations, on the whole. There is no claim to scientific method here. It, like it has always been, is just one man's opinion.

Friday, July 14, 2006

World Leaders Disapprove Of Israeli Response

From the AFP comes this article.

Surprise, surprise. Israel defends itself and it gets castigated. This comes as no real surprise here.

French President Jacques Chirac questioned whether Israel was seeking Lebanon's destruction.

"One may well ask if there isn't today a kind of wish to destroy Lebanon -- its infrastructure, its roads, its communications, its energy, its airport. And for what?

For what?

Hezbollah and Hamas attack Israel, kidnap soldiers, and we have to ask ourselves, for what? Let's ask ourselves something. How about this. Did Israel kidnap any of Hamas' or Hezbollah's men, before they were attacked?

"I find honestly -- as all Europeans do -- that the current reactions are totally disproportionate," he said in a live television interview on France's national Bastille Day.

Of course, they are disproportionate. That is the only thing this element understands. Not only that, the Israelis know that when you go to war, you go to win. If diplomacy was ever going to work, it would have worked by now. The time for talk is over. The Israelis have made their decision to up the ante. Talking only plays into the hands of those that seek to intimidate and manipulate.

Do you really want peace in the Middle East? Tell Hamas and Hezbollah to give back the soldiers and sit down and talk. Tell them to do it and do it now. Tell them to stop launching rocket and suicide bombing attacks. Tell them give up their criminal ways and be diplomats and statesmen.

If they do that, then all (and I say ALL) of the pressure goes back to Israel. And if after that they do not stop, then you can condemn them. Then, you can call for strongly worded statements, resolutions, and even sanctions. But until you get the terrorists to stop, you will not be able to convince the Israelis to stop this military campaign, and quite frankly, I wouldn't ask them to.

UPDATE: Check out this article by Krauthammer, it tells of some stark realities and explains further what I am trying to say.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

A World Without America?

Russia and China Reconsidered
by Tom Tony Blankley

(From RCP)

Read this article. Then ask yourselves some questions.

America is not well-loved by all, this we all know. We know that if the Islamofacsists had their way, America would be destroyed. Others would be content to see that happen or at very least, see us severely weakened. If that were to happen, how would that affect the world, in general? How would it affect Europe? China? Russia?

Have you ever really stopped and thought what the world would be like with no America?

Europe would be faced with dealing with Islamofascists, probably with little help from Russia or China. China would soon be the dominant economy and have a lot of the markets that the U.S.currently has. When a disaster would strike, would China (or even Europe for that matter) step up to the plate and make up the difference? How about Russia?

Who would get the UN? Could they run up large bills and parking tickets in Paris? Beijing? Moscow? Would these countries allow it? Where would Mexicans want to live? Would they cross the vast wasteland to live in Canada? Would there even be a Canada? Would Hugo Chavez want to use his countries oil money to uplift Latin America?

These are some questions those that are so overly critical of America, should really ask themselves. I mean criticize us if you want to, but do not forget, who the world depends on when things get tough.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Poli-Sci 101 Moment

Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times


This is an objective op-ed that examines the two major parties' ideologies. It's not very long or deep, but it is to the point. And, it is a good read. It illustrates the contrasts between the Dems and the GOP, very well, in Poli-Sci 101 terms.

When reading this though, remember these points:

1. Not all nationalism is fascist.

2. Not all fascism is nazism.

3. Not all socialism is communism.

I do not have time to run a more complete critique of the article and there are a couple of things that I am not sure I completely buy. But, overall it seems to a credible analysis.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Long Story Short. Problem Solved.

Many thanks are in order for the kind words, thoughts, and prayers offered for my now resolved crisis.

The basics are as follows:

1. An off duty cop arrested my daughter yesterday on her son's (my grandson) second birthday and charged her with a Class B Felony.

2. She spent a night in a large urban jail with murderers.

3. She was innocent.

4. The prosecutor's office took one look at the case, said it was BS and threw it out. Charges were dropped immediately.

Now, I have been a huge supporter of law enforcement the biggest part of my life. There is nobody that appreciates the sacrifices they make, by putting their lives on the line, daily. But when a cop thinks he is the law instead of an enforcer of that law, this is what we all get. And what do the good cops get? A much undeserved bad reputation.

The jail has been under the gun for years for overcrowding. In fact, the county has been in federal court over the issue. So last night, she took up valuable space that was needed for criminals, at the taxpayers' expense.

So to sum it all up in a nutshell, I hope the son of a bitch gets a horrible rash.

Explanation Of Absence

I am currently preoccupied with a family crisis. I hope to be back as soon as possible. Any and all prayers would certainly be welcomed.

Thank you for your readership.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Weekend Funnies

Some of you that read PYY will probably not think this is funny.

But, I do.

(Maybe if you have a drink or two and loosen up, the true inner self will come out and realize that this is satire and pretty damned good satire, at that.) ;)

Check this out.

(Courtesy of Les at Living in the Surreal World)

Europe And America: Both A Contrast And Comparison

Note-This post was inspired by this recent comment by my good blogfriend Super Frenchie (whom I disagree with quite frequently): American might make more money than a European. So what? If you feel like working 50 hours a week with 9 vacation days and 3 sick days a year until you're 70 so you can afford a big truck with big wheels and impress your neighbor, fine. To each their own enjoyment. I'll take my 35-hour a week, 8-week vacation schedule and a smaller car any day, thank you very much!

When the discussion of the cultural and social values of Americans and Europeans comes up, many people (on both sides of the pond) fail to take many things into consideration. We are in many ways very similar, and in many ways, very different.

It's no secret that Americans have borrowed a lot of European culture throughout its short history. One only needs to drive through a New England state to see the English, New Orleans to see the French, and up (or down) the Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California for the Spanish, influences in architecture.

If that isn't enough, take a look at the menu of some American homes. European-style dishes and cooking are still used by many people. Everytime you eat a casserole (of any kind) you can credit the French, for that invention. When you have a traditional meat and potatoes meal, you can trace it to the Germans, the English, and even the Spanish. Sure, we have put our own signature to it, in many ways. We have modified it, somewhat. But overall, the influences are still there.

So, let's take Frenchie's defense of the defense of the French work week, for instance. There are reasons that many Europeans feel the way Frenchie does and there are good reasons that Americans think nothing of working longer hours to gain more.

When European settlers came to America, most of them left Europe with nothing, but what they could carry. They left a certain world for uncertainty, for certain reasons. When they arrived they had to fight, claw, and scratch to make ends meet. Whether we speak of the pilgrims on the Mayflower, the Irish, or the Italians that came through Ellis Island in the 1800s, all of them had to rough it out.

There was no nanny state in those days, to depend on. There was no welfare, no entitlements, and no manor to join. If you wanted to eat, you had to hunt or work. So, it should come as no surprise why many Americans, still find it hard to rest and relax. Their tendency to overwork, came out of necessity, and has been handed down throughout the generations.

Those that came to America worked for themselves, initially. If they wanted a dwelling, they had to find a piece of land, cut down some trees, and build it. The fruits of their labor were theirs, to keep. They never had a lord of the manor to deal with. Now as time went on, people came into wealth and the processes of capitalism came into being, here. Communal living, such as existed in Plymouth Rock in the 1600s, was not to be forever. People that amassed wealth by working harder and catching a break or two (here and there) were rewarded with more fruits than others.

Europeans are the way they are, for good reasons too. Those that remained and didn't flee their homelands for a life in America, have faced their share of grief, too. Just take a look back at medievel times and you will see that under feudalism, the workers were exploited for years, under many despotic monarchies. Their needs were met (barely) by most manor lords, but they worked long hard hours. Most of the fruits of their labors went to the lord of the manor and they were left with, what was left. They owned nothing, there was very little upward mobility. They worked hard throughout their lives, then they died (usually at a young age, compared to today), with nothing to show for it.

So, the Europeans were content for many years to live under the feudalistic system (mostly because they knew of little else), but eventually they got restless and revolted. After the Renaissance had broken the grip of the Vatican's control and feudalism was dying out, the Europeans discovered a new lifestyle, one that involved pleasures.

The arts flourished. There were new discoveries in science and there was a new world discovered. There were those that came to settle the new world out of greed and were looking for ways to make more money for their monarchies. Monarchies at the time were competing for the resources, under the period of mercantilism. Others were just rying to escape that world.

But those monarchies were still despotic and eventually the people of Europe got restless again. The catalyst was the birth of the American nation. But wars and disputes followed, and Europe was still a political mess for years. Two world wars followed a series of smaller wars that seemed to always be plaguing the continent.

For 60 years now, the Europeans have enjoyed peace. They are now ready to take it easy and enjoy some of the fruits of that peace. Besides the War of 1812 and the Civil War, Americans have had not had to fight a war on their own soil. They have worked to support foreign wars, WWI and WWII saw a boom in certain industries, with WWII putting women to work in record numbers, for that day. To defeat Nazism, they had to.

Europe (on the other hand) had its homeland destroyed. It had to be practically rebuilt from the ground up. While Americans had to sacrifice a lot, meaning rationing of commodities, Europeans had seen everything they had, laying in rubble. Having enough coffee and sugar was the least of their problems.

With all of that said, here's the point I am trying to make. We are different today, because of the paths we have taken since the time of the settlement of the American continent. We are the same today, because for the most part, our roots are the same. (See: Footnote below) The thing that makes the Europeans and the Americans unique is, despite our differences we stand united when the chips are down. I only wish more Europeans would realize that the chips are really beginning to turn downward, now. Having visited and lived in Europe, I do not want to see that beautiful land lay in ruins, anymore than I want this one to be destroyed.

(Footnote-American Indians and Black Americans are two groups that didn't originate in Europe. As we all know, blacks were brought here by force, by Europeans, and were exploited by those of wealthy European heritage, to minimize the work load, so that the Europeans could have more leisure time and work less. This was a practice that was allowed to exist, even after the birth of America and until after the Civil War. American Indians really got the shaft, in that they were pushed back further and further out of their land, to make way for American expansion. But these issues, could and would deserve their own posts.)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

IHT Looks Back At The Dreyfus Affair

IHT: Entr'acte: Dreyfus Affair - Over, or under a new name?

One hundred years ago this month, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French-Jewish army officer who had spent five years on Devil's Island for high treason and an additional seven years trying to clear his name, was absolved by France's Supreme Court. A few days later, he was reinstated into the army, promoted to lieutenant colonel and given the Légion d'Honneur.

The Dreyfus Affair, which deeply divided France and sparked a vicious wave of anti-Semitism, was finally over. Or was it?

I know I have a sizable French crowd that pops in from time to time. I would be interested what they (and others that have knowledge of the subject) have to say about this article/essay.

So, what say ye?

Chavez To Seek Nukes From North Korea?

McQ from Q and O has the information and the links. Read what he has to say and give this possible scenario some thought.

I am not saying we should get all up in arms about this, just yet. But, this definitely bears watching.

North Korea's Missile Firings: The Tantrum Of A Dictator

At the time of this writing, it is being reported that North Korea has fired a total of seven missiles in what amounts to a "hissy fit", because they are not getting enough attention. Talks are going nowhere (mainly because of the NK government) and Kim wants to let it be known that he's still around. Like a spoiled little brat that doesn't get enough of mommy and daddy's attention, when they are occupied with other things, he is making noise in a crowded restaurant.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to downplay this at all. But before we get ahead of the game here, we must think this thing out, just a little.

The Taepodong-2 missile, which is believed to be capable of striking the U.S., failed and failed miserably. The other missiles were not long range and they already had them in their arsenal. So, there's really nothing new here, except that they fired them (instead of talking about firing them). They hit nothing. They hurt no one (except for one hell of a contusion on Kim's ego).

The main point in all of this is, the failure takes a lot steam out of things, at least for the time being. A little leverage is lost, when those kinds of things happen. The bargaining power slips away.

Now, it appears that NK may be preparing for another attempted launch of a T-2, as NBC is currently reporting. And so, the real pressure is now on. If this one fails, then it's bound to be a case of "back to the drawing board" for the North Korean engineering staff. That is, it will be after the current project director is executed or sent to a harsh North Korean prison for the rest of his life. If there is another failure, it is likely that there will be new people working on the program for awhile. If that turns out to be the case, more time can be bought.

But what does this matter? Kim is showing the hand he is playing. One can argue that he has even overplayed it. We can see it, as it unfolds. We can study it and learn how to best outplay him.

China and Russia don't seem to be too worried at this time. And I do not believe that they have a lot of influence with him, anyway. So even if they were upset, nothing could be done about it, certainly not much more than already has been done. Jon Henke of Q and O, also believes that China isn't worried and tells us all why:
At first glance, it's very difficult to tell what North Korea was hoping to accomplish with their recent missile tests. The threat of indeterminate missile capability was one of the few tools in the North Korean foreign policy toolbox. One would think this means North Korea is getting (much more) desparate.

Perhaps for that reason, China does not "appear too upset by the launches", and is generally asking everybody involved to settle down and resume negotiations. It's difficult to discern the motivations and interests of each actor involved, but Chinese ennui may arise from the fact that, without it's missile leverage, North Korea now finds itself with fewer diplomatic and military options. This means North Korea is now much more dependent on China, both for protection and aid.

It could be selfishness on the part of China, but they may be right on this one.

As long as he doesn't send one packed towards civilization, I say let him "expend all ammo". Each missile dropped into the sea, is one that he can't use against us or his neighbors. That's one less that he has. I know he can make more, but as desperate as he is for funds (which is what this is really all about), it will not be easy to raise the financing for this kind of rearmament, and the price tag that comes with it. Then we can all have him over a barrel.

But make no mistake. This bears watching and deserves full attention. With a madman like this, he may just throw a tantrum right in the middle of the store, if ignored too long. He may decide to push the boundaries out a bit further, if he doesn't get the response he wants. And if he does, he should then be taken out into the parking lot, for a spanking that he will never forget.

If this next T-2 so much as looks like it will head into the airspace of the western hemisphere, it needs to be shot down by our missile defense system. What a blow that would be. I would hate to be the cook in the Kim house that night, as well as, all of the department heads.