Friday, November 28, 2008

Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai, India Reveal Tactical Shift in War on Terror; Look To Scottish History to Solve Afghanistan, Pakistan Dilemma

The death toll is still climbing in Mumbai, India where Islamo-fascist terrorists struck Wednesday, targeting American and British citizens, Jews and police. News reports say the carnage and chaos were well planned, and the targets were pre-selected.

Among the dead in the initial moments of the assault were police officials who would have been in a position to direct a coordinated counter-assault. As a result the terrorists roamed freely, killing, taking hostages, and digging in for a protracted battle.

The attacks in India point out tragically just how simple it is to turn normal life into unthinkable horror. And they underscore the extent to which free societies must exert themselves if they are to deliver a death blow to terrorism.

Although security officials believe the attackers were members of an extreme Islamo-fascist organization based in Pakistan, and presumably had terrorist dollars and organizational capabilities backing them up, their weaponry was mostly small arms, grenades, and assault rifles. Mumbai, formerly Bombay, sits on the shore of the Arabian Sea and the attackers arrived aboard motorized rubber rafts.

Depending on the point of origin and the route taken, it is about 600-800 nautical miles from the shore of Pakistan to the water's edge in Mumbai, far too long and uncertain for a voyage entirely by motorized rafts. Thus, Indian security officials surmise that the rafts were launched from a larger ship.

But even arranging for sea transportation is not that difficult in areas of the world where pirates roam. In short, although there was significant pre-planning and intelligence gathering to launch the assault on Mumbai, the level of organization necessary to do it was not that complicated.

With US forces victorious in Iraq, and the Iraqi parliament approving an agreement outlining responsibility for its own security, it is obvious that worldwide terrorist organizations are looking for softer targets. They also need some form of "victory" to draw attention away from their overwhelming losses in Iraq.

As the assault continued into its third day, international news organizations reported on the possible identity of the attackers.

Foremost among the organizations blamed was Lashkar-e-Taiba - which in the depth of hypocrisy means Army of the Righteous. Attempts were made to shift the blame to a heretofore unheard of domestic (Indian) terror group, calling itself Deccan Mujahideen, but evidence indicates that the attacks originated with Pakistan/Afghanistan based "traditional" terrorists.

Although the terrorists claimed to be citizens of India, analyses of tape recordings between the attackers and the media indicated they were speaking with Pakistani accents.

Lashkar-e-Taiba reportedly originated in Kunar, Afghanistan, on the border with Pakistan, adjacent to the wild and Taliban/Al Qaeda friendly Tribal Areas. Regardless of which splinter group actually did the shooting, it is obvious that with Al Qaeda defeated in Iraq, there is a shift in emphasis to targets closer to its last remaining stronghold on the Afghan/Pakistan border.

Herein lies the reference to Scotland. One of the saddest chapters in Scottish history is the brutal end of the clan system by which the Scottish Highlands were emptied of inhabitants, their way of life, the homes, their language, and their culture.

Scotland and England ceased to be separate countries beginning with the Union of the Crowns in 1603 - which actually placed a Scottish king on the throne of England - and their Parliaments united in 1707. Nonetheless, there was still animosity between and within both countries, based to a large degree on religious issues as well as politics and nationalism. Catholicism was favored by some, opposed by others, and wars were fought and monarchs toppled over the question of whether Scotland would accept Catholicism as its state religion.

(To this day the National Church of Scotland is Presbyterian, although it is not considered the "state" church.)

This animosity, and efforts to restore a Scottish monarch, led ultimately to the Battle of Culloden in 1746, in which the pro-government forces (backed by England) brutally defeated the outnumbered and significantly outgunned Scottish Jacobites. The loss on the battlefield was only the beginning, and the real impact came in the following years during the Highland Clearances, more than a century of unchecked brutality.

During this time land speculators from England, backed by the English Army, invaded traditional Scottish Clan lands, threw the inhabitants out of their homes and communities, shot many, hanged many, and forced others to the coasts where they lived in abject penury. Tens of thousands were forced onto ships heading anywhere else in the world.

To accomplish this the Highland Scots were ordered to disarm, a violation of which brought instant death. To facilitate the army's access to the highland clans, many located in inaccessible areas where they had thrived for centuries, the English built roads and bridges to enhance the movement of troops.

But one of the most effective tactics used by the English in the Highland Clearances was not the brutality, which often has the affect of uniting the afflicted, but the practice of separating the clan chiefs from the clans.

The English did this by inviting the highest and most powerful chieftains to London, where they were assimilated into the English society. Their children, especially those born in England, were educated in English schools, taught English customs and within one generation any attachment to the Highlands was removed from their collective consciousness.

Today, if you travel north along Scotland's east coast, and then inland from the town of Helmsdale, to the lands once populated by the most northern clans you will find ... next to nothing.

If you go to the Helmsdale home page on the Internet you will find references to the emptiness of the land between the coast and the next inland settlement. Where the clans once thrived, now there are only scattered domiciles, and little to remind travellers of what once existed there.

I am not advocating using these tactics on the inhabitants of the Tribal Areas on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I don't advocate ripping people away from their homes, their families and their heritage.

But if the leaders of those tribes are going to conspire with extremists seeking world domination, then I do advocate separating the head from the body. One way or another, the leaders of these vicious attacks have to be separated from the people they are recruiting for their dirty work.

The Highland Clearances are a historical blot on the history of England, and a devastating era in Scottish history. But, from the standpoint of English rulers who wanted to ensure that they were never again threatened with invasion from the wild clansman of the Scottish Highlands, they were devastatingly effective.

The attacks in Mumbai have shown that no one in the free world is safe from terrorist attacks, launched by zealots who use murder, torture and mayhem as a means of imposing their will on everyone else.

But if free world forces can figure out a way to achieve the same level of effectiveness as the Highland Clearance, separating the head from the body and redirecting the energies of those doing the fighting - without brutalizing innocent civilians - there may still be some hope for the human race.
Thursday, November 27, 2008

Somewhere a Veteran is Hungry on Thanksgiving

Michelle Malkin ran an article on her blog the other day about the National Park Police hassling a Vietnam veteran for handing out Buddy Poppies on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The veteran, John Miska, served in Vietnam and is active to say the least in his Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Arlington, VA. But the park police say that because he accepts donations from some people who take a poppy, even if he doesn't ask for them, he is thus a panhandler, and that makes him a lawbreaker.

You can read the entire article at Michelle's blog here:

I'm certain I met John on one of my many trips to DC in the past few years and there is a good reason why I remember the encounter.

John was distributing the Buddy Poppies, which are little paper imitation flowers that that VFW uses to remind people of the blood shed in war. On that particular day I was looking to see how many people were wearing VFW or American Legion garb. We were standing up to the pro-terrorist coalition ANSWER, and there were damn few representatives from the major veterans organizations standing with the thousands of veterans who took it personally that the pro-terrorism crowd wanted to deface our memorials.

So when I saw a guy wearing a VFW hat and offering the poppies I took note. I also am the Buddy Poppy chairman for my local VFW post and organize our annual vigils in my town on the weekend before Memorial Day. My community, unlike the National Park Police, has an abundance of generous people who appreciate and support veterans and we thus are able to help the less fortunate among us - which is the sole purpose of the Buddy Poppy program in the first place.

The poppies harken back to World War I and specifically the poem On Flanders Fields, which talks of the horror of war and the need to remember veterans who fought in those far off battles.

I guess all that is lost in the government bureaucracies that are running our country right down the sewer.

But, John has friends like Michelle Malkin and she isn't one to let an issue like this go unchallenged.

From her blog: Now the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute has stepped in and filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the National Park Police.

John Miska enjoys volunteering and spends most of his time helping injured veterans and distributing "Buddy Poppies."

"They're handed out as a remembrance of veterans' sacrifice. The poppies are red, representing the blood the soldiers shed and it's a reminder and it gives people pause to think," said Miska.

"People see me standing there and they approach me and ask 'may I have a Poppy' and I give them a Poppy. If people are moved to offer a donation we accept the donations," said Miska.

According to president of the Rutherford Institute Miska hasn't done anything wrong, he has only expressed his First Amendment rights.

"People occasionally give him money. There's a statute, it's a D.C. law, that says you can't aggressively solicit money, but he doesn't do any of that. We feel it's a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which guarantees you the right to assemble or guarantees you the right to free speech to hand out Buddy Poppies," said John Whitehead, President, Rutherford Institute.

Miska says this experience isn't going to stop him from his mission and that it will only encourage him to do more.

"I took an oath to the constitution to preserve, protect and defend and I feel if you don't stand up for you rights you will lose those rights," said Miska.

I took the same oath as John and I feel the same way. And as I normally do on Thanksgiving I would like to call your attention to the fact that millions of American servicemen and women are not at home today. Many are in combat zones, facing enemies who not only don't celebrate our national holiday, they would spit on it if they had the chance.

These defenders of our country, our freedoms and our way of life are not here to speak out for themselves so it is up to people like John Miska to do it for them.

Think for a moment if you will, that right now there is a soldier standing a lonely watch in a desert outpost. He might be thinking of turkey, but even if he gets it, he won't really be able to enjoy it as he would at home.

Elsewhere a Marine is pulling his field jacket closer as he braces against a bitter mountain wind, looking for signs that terrorists are about to launch an attack. He is keeping one eye on the sky, hoping a resupply helicopter will be coming to his area, possibly loaded with hot meals for the grunts.

Across the world American sailors are standing watch on vast oceans, while airmen are refueling patrol aircraft in distant and lonely airfields, and coast guardsmen are intercepting drug runners, terrorists, or saving the lives of those in peril.

Right here in America, veterans who have served their country honorably are hoping for a crumb, or a warm place to spend the night, not even daring to think of sitting down to a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. Except those who have found John Miska or been found by him.

He helps organize dinners at his VFW post, and makes certain that wounded hospitalized vets are not forgotten. That's a big, big job but Miska does it, and only asks that he not be hassled.

I don't think that's too much to ask. Somewhere today a veteran will go hungry because there aren't enough John Miska's in this world. But somewhere else a veteran will have an opportunity for a meal and a few hours away from the cares and woes of daily life, thanks to people like John.

Do you think the Park Police bureaucrats who don't understand the meaning of Buddy Poppies could take a few minutes to look them up on the Internet and for just once try to lighten up? Maybe at the same time, if it isn't too taxing mentally, they could reflect on the fact that 93 percent of all living Americans are free to live their lives because a mere 7 percent have served in the military - going all the way back to WWII and earlier.

If that 7 percent hadn't sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice to this very minute, the bureaucrats who are stuffing themselves today just might understand the true meaning of hunger and want.

Maybe, for a change, they could go to John Miska's VFW post and help serve meals to deserving veterans this holiday season. Maybe they could accompany him to a hospital when he visits the wounded and disabled.

Maybe then they would get an idea of the real meaning of Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 24, 2008

Victory in Iraq! But Mookie is Back!

Told you I did. Smack him I said. Muqtada Al Sadr. He has been a pain in the ass of progress in Iraq since before we invaded, and he is a pain in the ass til this very day.

But did the US government do what should have been done to insure that the single most divisive, destabilizing force in Iraqi politics was sent to meet Allah? Nope. Didn't do it. Worried about what people would say. Worried about the reaction.

So, now that we are a few steps away from having a workable agreement with the Iraqi parliament that would include a timetable for withdrawal of US troops in an orderly fashion, who is jumping up and down, stomping his feet and holding his breath until he turns blue? Who is threatening to trash the agreement, rip it up and throw it away? Good Ol' Mookie, that's who.

Our troops, when they were allowed to take the gloves off and do their job without overbearing oversight from the Judge Advocate's office and sleazeball Congressmen, did exactly what they are trained to do, did it well and have done it successfully. Victory in Iraq is at hand and many of my friends in the veterans' community believe we should be preparing a huge welcome home parade for our victorious troops.

Today, the bulk of Iraq is free of terrorism, the Iraqi Parliament is functioning as it should in a free society, and the local economy is enjoying a major comeback.

The Marines are shutting down Camp Fallujah, once the symbol of all that was wrong and violent in Iraq. Local markets, where car bombs kept the populace shut up inside only a year ago, now are thriving, the infrastructure has a long way to go but is being rebuilt, and victory is at hand.

Typical of career Marines, there even have been reports that they are bored with their peacekeeping duties and are asking for assignment to Afghanistan where there still is some action and a war to be won.

(Frankly, I never could stand garrison duty either. I shine my boots when they need it and I can create a spit-and-polish look with the best of them. But I thrived in the combat environment where attention to detail meant whacking bad guys instead of looking for loose threads on my uniform. What I'm saying here is I understand the mindset of the Marines who want to move on.)

But right in the middle of what should be joyous celebrations over our victory, and the emergence of a stable American ally in the most unstable section of the world, we have Muqtada Al Sadr. As usual, he is threatening to unleash his militia forces, depleted though they may be after taking the brunt of The Surge, and spending the last 18 months getting whacked.

That doesn't stop the wannabe blowhard from making threats though. And of course the American Terrorist Media jumps all over them and gives them credence they don't deserve. But thanks to his shadow buildup in the media, Al Sadr is given a status that is far beyond his capabilities and far beyond what he deserves.

The US had the opportunity to blow him to smithereens back in 2003, but the politically correct manipulators of the American military built an impenetrable shield around The Rotund One, and prevented US troops from doing their jobs. Thus, he was able to build an army of a few hundred disaffected anti-Saddam locals into a a force of ten thousand plus, supplementing it with terrorist extremists who wanted the US out of Iraq so they could plunder the populace unhindered.

When his militia went head to head with US forces and found out that good public relations doesn't translate into effective tactics and strategies, Al Sadr lit out for Iran where he conspired with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to find new ways to kill Americans.

Did we take him out when Al Sadr snuck back into Iraq to try to rally his defeated forces? Nope. We let him go. Did we work with the Iranian resistance forces to whack him in his Tehran sanctuary? Nope. We let him go.

So now, when the bulk of Iraqi people and their duly elected representatives in the Iraqi Parliament are finding ways to cooperate and move Iraq forward as a united country, who is running his mouth once again, saber rattling once again, and threatening to derail the entire process once again? You guessed it.

I have been watching the media tiptoe around the issue of the George W. Bush legacy for several months now. What will Americans think of his presidency, what will historians say?

Well, if you listen to the Democrat National Committee and its propaganda machine, the American media, it is all negative. "Eight years of failed Bush policies."

But when you ask the talking airheads on the news shows exactly what policies they are talking about, and debate them with facts instead of soundbites and talking points, they start sounding like robots stuck on replay. Meaning these ignoramuses can't think independently and they really don't have anything of substance to talk about.

George Bush actually has many good things he accomplished and history will reflect that. But if the Iraqi government unravels in the years after US forces leave, and the Iraqi countryside reverts to factionalism and terrorism, you can bet that Muqtada Al Sadr will be a major cause.

In that case, the George Bush presidency will be held up as the sole reason that the perpetrator of the destability was allowed to live, thrive and conspire to create chaos out of order. If you have looked up Al Sadr you will see that everything he does is done for his own greater glory, not for his religion and certainly not for his country.

If he is allowed to survive, and continues to be a destabilizing force in Iraq, there is only one person who will be held up to blame - the President of the United States who had myriad opportunities to neutralize Al Sadr, and screwed it up every single time.
Sunday, November 23, 2008

Palin "Pardon" Shows Media Bias Will Continue - For Ever!

I read recently about a turkey farm where the birds are dispatched for Thanksgiving meals "humanely" - which apparently makes the birds taste better, or at least eases the guilt to the consumer, and coincidentally drives the price of the birds way, way up.

I have worked with game birds in the past, and know how to "dispatch" them. Frankly, I don't see how giving the bird a well meaning hug before it is killed changes anything for the bird. It is still dead, and its death is still just one step on the way to someone's dinner table.

Just goes to show you I guess.

I was thinking of this the other day when I saw the video of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin "pardoning" a lucky Alaskan turkey. Unlike a similar ceremony that takes place each year at the White House, Gov. Palin went directly to the turkey farm, walked right into the holding pen among dozens of domestic turkeys, and took it upon herself to select the lucky bird. It is obvious that she does not delegate responsibility for her actions to others.

Afterward, when the governor emerged from the holding pen where she had read an official State of Alaska proclamation freeing the turkey, she held a press conference for the local media. As she was answering questions one of the local film crews walked behind the Governor, and began shooting a scene some yards to her left, where the turkey farm workers were going about the business of slaughtering birds that hadn't been pardoned.

As is to be expected, the national media immediately jumped on this obvious act of duplicity and began spreading a story about a another "bizarre" incident involving Governor Palin. But when you actually see the film, you realize the governor had nothing to do with the turkey farm workers going about their jobs, and nothing she did or said - about how her family celebrates the upcoming holidays, and her son's service in Iraq - was in any way bizarre or connected to the workers.

In fact, it was apparent that she wasn't even aware of what was happening. And the action wasn't behind her, as I said, it was off to her left, some yards away.

But this incident merely highlights the depths to which the media, both in Alaska and nationally, will go in its non-stop effort to discredit Sarah Palin. It is equally obvious that this reprehensible, unprofessional propaganda will continue as long as she is on the national scene.

There is no doubt in my mind that the continued attacks on Sarah Palin, including lies being spread by former workers in the John McCain campaign, are a deliberate attack designed to keep her from coming back on the presidential campaign trail in time for the 2012 election.

It seems that McCain's handlers, who have to be the all-time incompetents in the campaign strategy profession, were involved in a deliberate effort to sabotage McCain's campaign, either with or without his knowledge. It also seems that the decision to pick Sarah Palin as his running mate was not intended to enhance his campaign, but to drive it even deeper into the negative.

Anyone who has dealt with the inside the DC beltway or Manhattan Island elitists knows that they consider anyone who is not them to somehow be less. That means less intelligent, less sophisticated, less capable and certainly less worthy.

When Sarah Palin emerged from the wilds of Alaska you can bet that McCain's "strategists" figured she was a back country hick who would quickly become an even bigger embarrassment to the McCain campaign than he was. But she surprised them.

Sarah Palin burst on the scene as a straight talking, straight shooting, knowledgeable and capable chief executive who suddenly energized not just the Republican base, but also a big chunk of the crucial independent vote. What a shock that must have been to the McCain team!

Based on statements in the media that have continued after the election - from anonymous campaign "insiders" of course - Sarah Palin was chosen so these insiders could make a mockery of her and the McCain campaign. If the vote had been the landslide that nearly every media outlet was predicting, it would have been very convenient to make her the scapegoat, so conservative voters wouldn't spend much time questioning how McCain became the GOP nominee in the first place.

But Sarah Palin upset the apple cart and endeared herself to the America public. Only dolts, dupes, idiots and lamebrained nincompoops accept the garbage said about her at face value - especially when the media reports that the source of this slander invariably is "anonymous insiders."

I don't think this is a post-election cover-your-ass strategy at work. I think it is part of an ongoing effort to keep Sarah Palin in Alaska for the next twenty years.

To obtain a classic example of how the media has been lying and distorting Gov. Palin's comments, any American voter who takes any pride in their pre-election selection efforts need only find a tape of what she said about Russia - "you can see it from some of Alaska's islands" and compare it to what was said about her on Saturday Night Live - "you can see it from my house."

Sarah Palin is back in Alaska now, going about the business of being governor, including pardoning turkeys. McCain is out of the picture and the president elect is reneging on his campaign promises on a nearly daily basis - first Iraq, then Guantanamo, today the rollback on President Bush's tax policies.

However, the media is paying scant attention to McCain, the president-elect, or even President Bush. Yet it still is hounding Sarah Palin and deliberately producing contrived propaganda and calling it news. Why? You'd think she'd be yesterday's news.

Gov. Palin should take some time to think about her future and her options. If she is going to return to the campaign trail, she must give serious consideration to how she intends to deal with the media.

The American media - whether it is the treasonous New York Times, or Fox News reporter Carl Cameron who has no qualms about passing vicious rumors with no attribution or attempt to verify them - is compromised as far as political coverage is concerned. There is not a single news outlet on the national scene, print or electronic, that can be trusted to tell the truth.

Thus, Sarah Palin and any other national candidate will have to determine how to communicate their messages directly to the voters without the media filter. There are ways to minimize the impact of the media, and there must be a sea change in the way the candidates treat the media, including how much access is permitted.

Face it. Sarah Palin got no votes from what people saw on television, network or cable, and no votes from the print media. When she was speaking at live events such as the GOP convention, she scored big with the public, but when her comments went through the media filter, she suffered.

Changes are required. But as has been made clear by McCain's advisers and the ongoing media efforts to demonize her, Gov. Palin can not get her advice from establishment media or inside-the-beltway strategists. That truly would be hiring the fox to guard the henhouse.
Friday, November 21, 2008

The Mountain Comes To Mohammed! Well, Not Really, But Sen. Dodd Did Visit Enfield!

If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed

Remember that column I did a few weeks back about David and Goliath, aka, US Senator Christoper Dodd and Enfield Republican Town Chairman Mary Ann Turner? (She was David and he was Goliath, in case you have forgotten.)

There was a bit of a dust up between the two just before Election Day when the good Senator came to Enfield to tour the distressed Thompsonville section with Democrat candidates. Normally that is par for the course at election time, but this time Turner and a few GOP stalwarts turned out to protest Dodd's snubbing of Republican Mayor Scott Kaupin and the Republican majority on the Town Council.

Turner was not happy that after last year's municipal election the Senator had reneged on his promise to visit the newly elected council, which switched to a Republican mayor and majority after more than a decade of Democrat control. Although Sen. Dodd hadn't made good on his bipartisan promise, he did manage to find time to do a little handshaking and back slapping for the Democrat cause.

Turner responded like a good GOP Town Chairman should, turning out with pickets and signs. His walkabout was cancelled, and Turner persisted until she wrung a promise out of Sen. Dodd to come visit the entire town, not just the Democrats.

Today he did just that, and by all accounts it was a congenial, successful meeting.
He met with a slew of state and municipal officials, who used the visit to lobby for federal funding for municipal projects that include a multimodal transportation center in the Thompsonville section, and upgrades for police, fire, and EMS radios.

The biggest item on the agenda was the Thompsonville train depot, which, by referring to it as a multimodal transportation center, means there will be more than just trains available there.

Dodd received an in-depth briefing on Enfield's quest for the transportation center. Amtrak is picking up more ridership these days, what with the erratic cost of gas and uncertainty over prices stabilizing any time soon, thus a depot in the Thompsonville section would be a boon in many ways. People could board there to take the train south to Hartford or stops along the way, like Bradley International Airport, or north to Massachusetts and beyond. Where there are people there are opportunities for commerce.

However, town officials envision not just the depot, but a real commercial center with shops, parking, and all the necessary ingredients to revitalize a once thriving section of the community.

This is more than just a building alongside the tracks. For starters, at the moment there is only one track that has to be shared by both northbound and southbound trains - not at the same time obviously. This is a condition that persists all the way to Hartford, and at times can cause delays while one train waits on a siding for another to go by.

On the plus side, the railbed is still intact, but the one track line continues up into Massachusetts which means there must be, and should be, regional involvement in this issue. Dodd spoke to that, and also said that he would try to have the transportation station included in an economic stimulus package to be submitted early next year.

Attendees said Dodd took some good-natured digs at outgoing GOP President George Bush, and even tweaked the incoming Democrat President-elect. He talked about the big doings in DC these days what with Freddie and Fannie and The Big Three auto manufacturers and bailouts and hearings and all those high level events in Congress.

You'd think that with all that is going on in Washington, Dodd would have had an easier time visiting Enfield last spring instead of today. Regardless, the Senator arranged his schedule accordingly and did it. Everyone seemed quite pleased with the outcome, including Mary Ann Turner.

Turner said her latest encounter with Dodd was friendly and informative. She said the senator was "gracious" and she was pleased that he came to town so soon after their pre-election conversation. Turner noted that since the election is over for this cycle, it now is time for everyone to pull together and work out the issues that are facing the local community, the state and the nation.

Rather than paraphrasing her, I'll let you see what Mrs. Turner had to say: The Senator and I chatted and I thanked him for following through on his promise to meet with the local officials. We also spoke about the $700 billion bailout and the concern this is to all small business owners, me included.

He responded to my question that this is a circular problem. He used the example
of how small business are affected because of the tight credit of their suppliers and the lack of money-movement by local banks.

I want to believe that he will keep our trans-portal project moving. I believe he came away from the meeting understanding Enfield is doing what needs to be done and is not waiting for government to finally say "GO."

He helped arrange a meeting with Northeast Utilities, so he is doing the job he was elected to do. I'm happy that Enfield can benefit from his position in the Senate.

Well, how about that? It seems that every so often, everybody can "just get along."

It's Not Iraq, and Not Guantanamo. It's TAXES! Say Goodbye To "Alternative Energy!"

It didn't take long for the promises made on the campaign trail by our president-elect to start crumbling in the harsh light of reality.

It only took one visit to the White House, where the current occupants were described ad nauseum by the Democrat-run American Terrorist Media as "gracious," and the promise to be out of Iraq in 16 months was forgotten, while closing Guantanamo went from a no-brainer to a complicated issue.

Of course, we've won in Iraq. Our troops still are there, but in what would have been termed the "mopping up" phase in World War II, so it is much easier to put Iraq on the back burner and move on.

The Iraqi cabinet has agreed on a format where US troops will be gone in 2011, and even if that is far more than the 16 months the president elect said it would take for him to get the troops out, it still is a non-issue as long as the Democrat-run American Terrorist Media ignores it.

Guantanamo is a similarly flexible issue. During the campaign, Guantanamo's immediate closure was considered a sure thing. But after one visit with the sitting president the questions of what to do with a collection of murderous Islamo-fascists became a new and far more difficult puzzle.

Some of these fiends have been set free over the last six years, and what have they done? They returned to the battlefield and took part in the killing again! I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to hear that rabid, mad-dog Islamo-fascists return to their sworn duties and murderous lifestyles when released by a humane and understanding culture.

I have one suggestion for the president-elect. Try treating the terrorist prisoners the way the US government treated the Marines and soldiers who were falsely charged with crimes against terrorism in Iraq. Let's see how terrorists enjoy solitary confinement in reprehensible conditions, no access to legal counsel, attacks on the families of the accused - by their own government, all of which were the norm for our troops falsely accused of murder.

There was no Red Cross, no ACLU for our people, so why should there be for serial terrorist murderers? Treat the terrorists the way the government treated our own troops and the War on Terror will end in a month.

Frankly, I expected the president-elect to change his stance on some items. Campaign promises are made to be broken, you can see that by just matching up promises with after-election actions. Reality is much different and if the president-elect wants to have any chance of being considered an effective president he has to deal with reality, not with Democrat talking points as broadcast by the Democrat-run American Terrorist Media.

So let's talk about the one thing I was really hoping to see from whomever was elected to the White House - a full-bore effort to develop viable alternative energy forms that would lead to a drastic reduction in America's dependence on gasoline and other petroleum products for energy. This in turn would have led to a dramatic reduction in our reliance on foreign sources of oil, we would have shut off the flow of America dollars to countries that support terrorism and have secondary agendas to bring down America, and also would have drastically cut down on fossil fuel pollution.

Everybody was talking about it before the election. Everybody was screaming about it last summer when oil was $140 per barrel, gasoline was $4.50 per gallon at the pump and travel become horribly expensive for the average driver.

But what happened since? Well, as real estate magnate Donald Trump was saying for months, there never was an oil shortage. I saw him on television several times last spring and summer making the point over and over that tankers full of crude oil were sitting idle in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere, creating a false shortage and driving up the prices at the wellhead and at the pumps.

Now that the need for political manipulation has passed, the prices suddenly are plummeting. Granted, part of the reason behind the sudden drop in prices may be the global economic slowdown, especially in China, but you can bet that the sudden upsurge in supply, as fake as the previous downsurge, has had a major impact too.

This is not new. It happened in the 80s when reaction to the Arab Oil Embargo a decade earlier had led to a fledgling alternative energy boom. People were experimenting with solar, hydrogen, radio waves, magnetism, electricity and more. The government was backing research and development into alternative sources.

Why do we not have energy forms today that are completely independent of the oil producing nations? Because OPEC opened up the spigot, increased production and the price of oil fell to as low as $15 per barrel.

Suddenly, alternative energy forms were far too expensive compared to oil. Our nation's leaders didn't see, or refused to acknowledge, the presence of a new form of warfare - international terrorism - and how paying out billions of American dollars to terrorist supporting nations each year was just cutting our own throat.

The ridiculously low price of foreign oil also cut and gut the domestic oil industry. Our production was shut down and capped, where it remains today. Thousands of jobs were lost, refinery expansion was halted and today we are even more dependent on foreign oil than we were a quarter century ago.

Now, in addition to being fleeced, we are being directly attacked by the very people who are getting rich off of this dependency.

But there is another angle to this that goes beyond the cost of oil production versus the cost to develop solar, hydrogen, and other energy sources.

The US Congress and the president elect are not likely to do a damn thing about our dependence on foreign oil sources because the federal government soaks up some 27 billion dollars annually from the 18.4 cent per gallon federal tax on gasoline. That is just the federal government, and just the federal tax on gasoline.

You can bail out the entire US auto industry on a year's worth of federal gasoline taxes.

Then you move to the states where the tax on a gallon of gas can stretch up to three times the federal tax. Some states, like Connecticut, not only have fixed taxes on each gallon pumped, they also charge additional taxes that are a percentage of the price per gallon, meaning the taxes increase with the increasing price of gas.

These taxes are supposed to fund highway building, maintenance and repair. They are supposed to fund mass transportation. They are supposed to come back to the consumers in better roads, more transportation options, and highway safety.

But in general, as soon as new taxes are passed by state legislatures, the same people who told their constituents they were working for improved transportation by piling on the taxes, shift the tax revenues to the general fund where those tax dollars go to pay for pet projects while the roads and infrastructure deteriorate.

The president elect campaigned on a promise of "change" in Washington. Well, actually, everybody campaigned on a promise of "change" in Washington. You know what I'd like to see for a change?

I'd like to see the president elect make good on at least one campaign promise when he takes office. I'd like to see the president elect take some of the $700 billion in bailout money and use it to support "real" alternative energy research and development, instead of repeating the same old lip service we have been hearing for decades.

We have heard that it will take 10 years to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. Nonsense. It could happen by the middle of his term of office if he applied sufficient resources to the issue.

Let's see government work for the people for a change. Let's see a politician put the country ahead of personal ambitions for a change. Let's see the big oil, big business, big deal, big shots take a back seat for a change. Let's see the United States emerge free from dependence on foreign countries when that unnecessary dependence also delivers huge profits to a handful of internationalists who derive a warped pleasure from biting the hand that feeds them.

Seeing some real patriotism and real progress in Washington, DC would be a really nice change, for a change. That would be change I could believe in.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Amtrak Could Benefit From Compulsory National Service

If I have to travel a long distance, and time is not a pressing issue, I love riding the train.

There are myriad benefits to travel by train, such as far more leg room than airplanes or private automobiles, more comfortable seats, more storage room for luggage, and the ability to get up and walk around with worrying about turbulence. Trains have club cars where you can get a sandwich or snack and a drink, at your pace, and you aren't insulted by being limited to a cracker or some sort of gelatinous mess that the airlines refer to as "food."

You can have a hot dog if you want, or nachos, or a bag of peanuts. You can select what you want to drink, or you can even pack your own lunch if you prefer.

On my regular trips to the nation's Capitol I find that I can get there in the same time by taking Amtrak as I can by driving, without any of the hassle, at just about the same price. I also can work on the train, as cell phone service is fairly consistent, and I can use a laptop if I wish since I don't have to keep my eyes on the road.

But the biggest benefit to riding a train, from my perspective, is the sightseeing. I can stare our the window for hours as the scenery passes by, and never get bored. In fact, in the not-too-distant future I would love to take a long trip on one of those double-decker, bubble-topped trains out west where you can sit on the top level and absorb panoramic views of our country.

I would love to see the northern Rockies, and maybe even go to Alaska by train. You can sleep on a train too, in a bed. I have done it and it is far more comfortable than trying to catch a few winks on an airliner.

But if there is one downside to riding by train, it has to be the condition of the rights-of-way. I mean this in terms of the amount of litter along the rail beds. I have seen everything from scraps of paper and run-of-the-mill trash to building debris, appliances and even abandoned cars.

Grant you, it is much better now than it was in the late 80s and early 90s when I first started making commutes to DC by train. It was obvious back then that America's back porch desperately needed cleaning, and to a considerable extent it has improved.

But there still are stretches, mostly near the large cities, where the Amtrak right-of-way is considered to be a substitute landfill or transfer station for residents of that area. Transfer station in the context that the dumpers transfer their garbage to the railbed and then leave.

So what does this have to do with compulsory national service? Everything.

My college students, many of whom were vocal and enthusiastic supporters of the current president-elect, seemed quite surprised last week when I asked them if they had given any thought to how they would like to spend their period of compulsory national service.

The typical response was "What?" When I repeated "compulsory (or mandatory) national service" they repeated "What?" So I showed them a speech where the current president-elect was extolling the virtues of such service, backed up by a video interview with his appointed chief-of-staff delving a bit further into the issue - talking about the mechanics of how it will work.

Then the "What?" response was replaced by an "I'm not doing that. How are they going to find me? How do I get out of this?"

Frankly it sounded very much like the commentary from people in the 60s who didn't want to be drafted into the military and go to Vietnam.

Nonetheless, I think there is a place here where the president-elect and the youth who will be involved in this compulsory service can all come together for the national benefit.

As I noted above, the high cost of gasoline over the past couple of years has led many people to reconsider train service as opposed to driving their own vehicles or even car pooling. Many have had reacted with pleasant surprise upon rediscovering how nice it can be to let the engineer do the driving and the conductor take care of everything else.

But if trains are to make a big comeback on the national scene, and help reduce our energy dependency, especially on foreign oil sources, we have to convince even more people to take the train, and do it regularly. Cleaning up the scenery would be a nice addition to ongoing efforts to build more efficient engines and modern passenger cars.

This endeavor would be very similar to the Depression-Era Civilian Conservation Corps, where Americans lived in military style barracks, wore what amounted to uniforms that kept everyone's clothing budgets in check, and worked on tree cutting, road and bridge building and related projects.

Imagine if you will, squads of young college students and twenty-somethings, all clad in khaki shirts and trousers, with matching functional work boots instead of high priced name brand sneakers, dispatched for their summer vacations to the outskirts of major American cities where they would pick up trash for 8-10 hours per day at minimum wage. They would learn the value of hard work, learn the value of a dollar, forge lifelong relationships with their colleagues, and develop a greater appreciation for the challenges faced every day by the less fortunate among us.

America would benefit from a pristine landscape, and I am sure that regular travellers on our nation's railroads would be very appreciative of the improved scenery.

Granted, some of the work would involve graffiti removal near the cities, since that form of expression often is an escalating form of blight the nearer you get to big-city terminals. Much of the graffiti is gang-related and is placed on buildings, bridge abutments and overpasses by the gangs that control the surrounding areas.

We have to be realistic here and consider that the gangs wouldn't take kindly to a bunch of college kids descending on their turf to remove their messages and statements of dominance.

Obviously we also can't rely on a bunch of untrained suburbanites, whose best developed muscles are in their index fingers from years of playing video games, to provide their own security to ward off hardened gang members.

But here it gets even better. Our president-elect also is calling for establishment of a national police force - or security force if you will - that will be equivalent in size, funding and armament to the military.

If necessary, and it probably would be necessary, we could divert some of these forces from their primary mission - tracking down 18-25-year-olds who don't want to perform compulsory national service - to providing security for those who eagerly embrace this opportunity to serve their country.

See how this works? Everyone will benefit from this outside-the-box thinking. We most definitely will see the "change" that was promised in the pre-election rhetoric, we will enjoy a significant shift away from personal vehicle modes of transportation back to public transportation, our dependency on foreign oil will drop, the scenery will improve, and the nation's youth will have a new appreciation for their country.

Be honest with me. What are you feeling right now? Is that a tingle running up your leg, or a warm glow in your heart?
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sarah Palin Soars as News Media Wilts; Is There A Connection? What Do They Mean, Redefine the GOP?

After the presidential election results were in, the mainstream media, apparently realizing it had gone further overboard than usual in its despicable treatment of Alaska Governor and GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, decided to cut her some slack.

In an effort to make voters forget that it had gone on an orgy of character assassination and voter manipulation through bogus "polls" and savagely inaccurate "stories," the media suddenly backed off a bit. But just a bit. We even had a mini-outbreak of positive publicity about Gov. Palin.

Americans, those who truly are Americans and usually don't work in the media, were way ahead of the non-Americans who do work in the media. Suddenly the non-Americans in the media have produced new "polls" that aren't really any more reliable than the bogus polls used before the election, but the new ones now say her popularity is rising. How incredibly surprising.

This mind you, in the wake not only of some of the most vicious personal assaults since the heyday of Stalin and Hitler's propaganda machines, but also from remorseless attacks on Palin from the incompetents - or Democrat plants - who ran John McCain's presidential campaign.

Can you believe that these Nimrods - the same people who without Palin's authorization went on a spending spree in Manhattan's priciest clothing stores and then blamed Palin for spending too much on clothes - tried to cover their own asses, after McCain fell through his, by saying she brought the campaign down?

Let's get it all out on the table shall we? The one thing the pollsters were accurately predicting before the election was an Obama landslide and the only reason he didn't get it was McCain's choice of Palin for his VP running mate. If she hadn't been on the ticket, McCain would have fared just about as well as Mondale vs. Reagan in 1984.

Meanwhile, as reporters, editors, producers and publishers suck up to political elitists in the hopes that in the next election the media won't be a non-entity - as it should have been this time - the public is responding by turning off the media in a big way.

In Connecticut, two daily newspapers that at one time were stalwarts of the region's fourth estate - The Bristol Press and the New Britain Herald - are on the auction block and slated for closing if no one will buy them. This is not an anomaly.

The Journal Register Company has hired a broker to sell newspapers it owns not just in Connecticut, but in Pennsylvania and Michigan too.

Then we have the Hartford Courant, Connecticut's largest daily newspaper which bills itself as the country's oldest in continuous publication. The Courant has shrunk physically to the point that it looks like an enlarged roll of paper towels with gag writing on it instead of news.

Even though Connecticut's population has increased along with the nation's, the Courant's daily circulation has shrunk substantially and last summer it reduced its editorial staff by 25 percent. That was on top of less obvious shrinkage in staffing and coverage that had been going on at the Courant for years.

Nationally, the New York Times is suddenly a shining example of larger papers that no longer are considered viable investments. It too has shrunk to the point that its motto, All The News That's Fit to Print should be changed to Just What Fits. The reason is the same one as the decline in readership at papers like the Courant, the Herald and the Press. The public no longer trusts the media, and with good reason.

The Times' pro-communist, pro-terrorist bias is well known. Its treasonous publications of national security matters that put our troops who are fighting the War on Terror in even greater danger has been well documented. But even on a regional level the bias is equally intense, it just covers a smaller area.

The Courant gave overwhelmingly favorable coverage to Democrats in the recent election, including imposing a virtual blackout on coverage of the GOP candidate for Congress in its own district. In fact, the absence of coverage of the GOP candidate was so blatant that a case probably could be made that the Democrat received unreported in-kind donations of free "advertising."

It bears noting here, however, that there were bright spots in the darkness of the media blackout. Dennis House from Channel 3 television did a great job of covering both sides of the Congressional election.

And Steve Collins of the Bristol Press was out front every time with his blog column. In fact, when others refused to even mention that a Republican was in the race for Congress, Collins was writing in-depth articles giving fair coverage to both sides.

It is unfortunately true though, that Collins and House were the exceptions rather than the rule.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is finally free of the constraints of campaign handlers who obviously didn't want her on the ticket, and the results are clear. America is seeing the real Sarah Palin and discovering why she had such high favorability ratings in her home state before the Democrats' media propaganda machine kicked into high gear.

As Palin goes about the business of building a solid foundation for whatever may transpire in four years, the Republican Party is said to be working to reestablish itself. Some factions are saying the party has to be reformed and redefined with a broad liberal agenda to make it palatable to a wider ranger of voters.

I agree with the other side that says there is nothing wrong with the core values of the party, but there sure as hell is something wrong with offering up candidates who don't live up to them, don't adhere to them when they are in office, and turn out to be something else, even though they wear the GOP label.

If this last election was lost because the GOP didn't attract enough women and minorities, then the real job ahead of us is to communicate with women and minority voters exactly what the GOP has to offer them, versus the Democrats. We also have to communicate with - or write off - Jewish voters who went for the Democrats nationally in a big way, despite McCain's claims that he would cut into that demographic.

But first and foremost the GOP has to field candidates who really are Republicans and adhere to the values of the Republican Party.

Sarah Palin is at the top of that list, as is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. I don't expect either of them to get much of a break from the media. It has its own agenda and will follow it lemming-like right down the sewer.

Republican candidates will have to find new ways to communicate with the voters and circumvent news organizations that will never give them a fair break or anything remotely resembling competent, unbiased reporting.

If the GOP is to reemerge as a true competitor it doesn't have to redefine itself, it just has to live up to its own definition, and do a far, far better job of communicating that definition to the next generation of voters.
Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday US Marine Corps!

Today marks the 233rd birthday of my beloved United States Marine Corps.

By order of the Continental Congress:
"Resolved, That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said battalions but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve with advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by names of First and Second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of."

It is traditional on this day to throw a party at all Marine commands around the world, whether they be at massive bases such as Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Camp Pendleton in California, Camp Butler in Okinawa, small recruiting offices in the American heartland, or Marine outposts and combat bases engaged in the War on Terror.

This tradition includes a birthday cake, which is cut with a ceremonial sword. A piece is then served to the oldest Marine present and the youngest Marine present, to ensure that the values and traditions of the past are observed and honored, and that they are passed on to the younger generation for care, preservation and updating as new battles are fought and won.

Although today is the official birthday, dating from Nov. 10, 1775, this weekend saw many small celebrations too. I was honored to speak at a gathering of nearly 200 Marines and family members in Enfield, Connecticut. Brian Delano, whom I met through the Together We Served website, did a terrific job of arranging an SOS breakfast - it really is creamed chipped beef on toast, and if you want to know why it is called SOS you'll have to look it up.

We also had the traditional cake cutting ceremony, and the reading of the Marine Corps Commandant's message, as follows:

During the summer of 1982, in the wake of a presidential directive, Marines went ashore at Beirut, Lebanon. Fifteen months later, on 23 October 1983, extremists struck the first major blow against American forces - starting this long war on terrorism. On that Sunday morning, a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden truck into the headquarters of Battalion Landing Team 1/8, destroying the building and killing 241 Marines and corpsmen.

Extremists have attacked our Nation, at home and abroad, numerous times since that fateful day in Beirut. Their aim has always been the same - to kill as many innocent Americans as possible. The attacks of 11 September 2001 changed our Nation forever, and our president has resolved that this Nation will not stand idle while murderous terrorists plan their next strike. Marines will continue to take the fight to the enemy - hitting them on their own turf, crushing them when they show themselves, and finding them where they hide.

Only a few Americans choose the dangerous, but necessary, work of fighting our Nation's enemies. When our chapter of history is written, it will be a saga of a selfless generation of Marines who were willing to stand up and fight for our Nation; to defend those who could not defend themselves; to thrive on the hardship and sacrifice expected of an elite warrior class; to march to the sound of the guns; and to ably shoulder the legacy of those Marines who have gone before.

On our 233rd birthday, first remember those who have served and those "angels" who have fallen - our reputation was built on their sacrifices. Remember our families; they are the unsung heroes whose support and dedication allow us to answer our Nation's call. Finally, to all Marines and Sailors, know that I am proud of you and what you do. Your successes on the battlefield have only added to our illustrious history. Lieutenant General Victor H. "Brute" Krulak said it best when he wrote, " ... the United States does not need a Marine Corps ... the United States wants a Marine Corps." Your actions, in Iraq and Afghanistan and across the globe, are at the core of why America loves her Marines.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

Semper Fidelis,

James T. Conway
General, U.S. Marine Corps

For a montage of Marine operations please visit the site below.

I'd also like to point out that heroes can be found in unlikely places. From FOX news this past weekend:

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - A half-dozen off-duty Marines who raced through a burning motel on Sunday warning sleeping guests that it was on fire were hailed as lifesaving heroes.

Everyone escaped the Americas Best Value Inn motel, including one elderly man who required oxygen after he was carried to safety by one of the Marines. Marine Pvt. Colton Oliver said he and two colleagues were walking along a second-floor landing about 8 a.m. when they saw flames and smoke. They rousted their fellow Marines and all six began knocking on doors and windows of rooms, urging people to leave.

"Everybody was out by the time the firefighters got here," Oliver said. "It's what we're trained to do."

"I'd call them absolute heroes," said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Pardi.

Some of my favorite Vietnam photos:

Marine Infantry and a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter, silhouetted against a monsoon sky.

Even in war there was a haunting beauty. Ridges poking through the clouds just south of the Demilitarized Zone. The Razorback and The Rockpile were two high points we used to monitor enemy troop movements. Troops there were resupplied by helicopter which required skillful maneuvers by the pilots.

In Every Clime And Place - A Rare Quiet Moment in Quang Tri, Vietnam, 1968. Oppressive heat, and a cigar.

Happy Birthday to all my Marine brothers and sisters. And please take a moment today to remember those who served with us and have fallen, either in combat or in the years after.

Semper Fidelis
Sunday, November 09, 2008

A New GOP? Bread and Circuses! Without Street Fighters, It's Insane

Republican candidates in Connecticut were telling voters during their campaigns that the mess the state is in can be traced directly to the Legislature's Democrat majority.

They used variations on the theme that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Send the same people back to Hartford, they said, and nothing will change. Voters seemed to agree, at least before Election Day.

Yet, across the length and breadth of the state as well as most of the country, GOP incumbents were thrown out even if they had opposed the most unpopular of policies identified by voters. Challengers did not fare well either. Democrat incumbents, on the other hand, swept in barely without campaigning in many cases.

In Connecticut, voters even turned down, by a wide margin, an opportunity to have a direct say in some of the most controversial issues facing us, including Sanctuary Cities, binding arbitration for teacher contracts - which is the costliest item in every municipal budget - gay marriage, gun control, you name it.

This opportunity - to convene a Constitutional Convention that will identify and refer major issues to referendum - comes only once every twenty years. Yet Connecticut voters dismissed it out of hand, with a yawn and a wave, and goodbye until 2028.

Why do you suppose voters offhandedly gave up an opportunity to take back some control; to deny a handful of judges and a roomful of legislators the absolute power they now have to totally screw this state into utter chaos? Our infrastructure is crumbling, billions in budget surpluses have disappeared to be replaced by billion-dollar deficits, and yet the voters who complain bitterly all year long didn't care enough to throw out the people who created this mess?

Who opposed this opportunity? Special interests obviously. Teacher unions, well most unions actually, gay advocacy organizations, the ACLU, the top Democrats in the state. Basically, anyone who got or wants anything from the courts and the legislature without having to deal with voters directly.

Were they powerful enough to manipulate the will of a million voters? Were the polls rigged? Are the voters that disconnected from reality? Apparently so.

So what does the GOP do about this? Well, for starters, read my opening sentences. If we want different results, we can't continue using the same tactics.

What tactics are those, you may well ask? Good question. I really don't know, because for years now I haven't seen anything that remotely resembles winning tactics coming from the GOP. A close associate who played on a number of sports teams in college made the observation a few days ago that the GOP resembles a losing team. I agree.

Also, we Republicans who don't reside inside the DC Beltway have been told repeatedly by no less an authority than Rush Limbaugh - on his show, not in person - that "Country Club" Republicans want nothing to do with people like us, other than to convince us to vote for their candidates without asking any questions.

We don't have the right "pedigree." We may have descended from recently arrived immigrant stock, which apparently is a good thing if it happened generations ago, but not if it was just one generation ago.

It doesn't matter that many of us served our country not just in wartime but often in actual combat, that we came home and put ourselves through college or learned a trade through a combination of working nights and the G.I Bill. We have conservative viewpoints but no pedigree, and thus are not welcome in the GOP inner circle.

I have had conversations with GOP operatives in Washington over the years, and sooner or later the voice on the other end of the phone informs me that I am speaking to a Harvard - or similar Ivy League college - graduate. Which leads me to ask the same question today that I have been asking for years: "If you are so smart, why are you so ineffective?"

I am not criticizing someone with advanced degrees from top colleges and universities. Good for them! But what good is it to have world class expertise in international relations, or a doctorate in political science, if you can't communicate your core values to the electorate and convince voters to cast their ballots for Republican candidates?

What good is it to know everything there is to know about politics if you don't know how to fend off attacks from people who are bent on convincing the voters that Republican values are negative, elitist, out of touch, and inherently bad for the country?

If you don't know how to fight, and fight effectively, at all levels from the streets, to guerrilla warfare to conventional political war, all the brains and all the education in the world will not win you an election. You either use all the tools in your tool box to get the job done, or we will be forced to conclude that this is all just bread and circuses, a diversion to keep the mob occupied while the ruling class plays God with our country and our lives.

One of the biggest problems facing the GOP today is its central authority, emanating from inside the beltway, which decides in advance which races in far away states will get the nod, the attention, and most important the money. But this approach ignores the reality of on-the-scene intelligence that can provide a better view on the viability of candidates who may have never met the GOP leaders - or worse, curried their favor.

Take Joe Visconti for instance, the GOP candidate in Connecticut's 1st Congressional District. Visconti got zero help from DC and ran his entire campaign on less than $20,000. Yet he increased the vote tally in his district by more than 37 percent over the results from two years ago.

The incumbent, despite all the claims of a huge increase in voter registration favoring his party, and the claims of record turnout, picked up only 3 percent over his tally from two years ago! While Visconti was working with less than $1,000 for each of the 27 towns in the district, his opponent had a campaign chest stocked with well over a million dollars.

Visconti may have lost, along with every other Republican Congressional candidate in Connecticut, but he ran a far more efficient, effective campaign especially when compared to the "Franchise" candidates.

Compared to the two Connecticut congressional candidates favored by the DC power brokers, Visconti was not only a bargain, he produced far more, dollar per dollar, and may well have had a decent shot at unseating a long-term incumbent if he had received a fraction of the help that favored candidates enjoyed.

David Cappiello, who ran in the 5th District had a campaign fund of about a million dollars, and spent roughly 8 dollars for each vote cast for him. Incumbent Chris Shays had well over 3 million dollars to spend, amounting to more than 20 dollars for each vote cast for him.

Both lost.

But Visconti, with no help at all, while also enduring a virtual blackout from the Hartford area media including The Hartford Courant and FOX 61, spent only about 20 cents per vote and increased the tally in the 1st District significantly over the number cast for the GOP candidate in 2006. This in a year when the Obama campaign helped every Democrat running for office, and the McCain campaign hurt nearly every Republican.

Speaking of which, there were many things the McCain campaign could have done, both to win and to help down-ballot candidates. He could have stopped bragging about his "across the aisle" reputation, he could have avoided mentioning the McCain-Feingold Act.

He certainly could have avoided whining about Obama sucker punching him by claiming he would accept public financing and then reneging after McCain had accepted it, thus limiting the amount McCain would have for his campaign while Obama had limitless funds. After all, McCain's campaign financing was limited by the very legislation he had sponsored.

He could have voted against the Wall Street Welfare Act - known as the "Bailout." He could have reached out to his own base instead of seeking mythical support from people who don't agree with his views. John McCain could have done a lot of things that he didn't do, either from his own inclinations or from bad advice.

If the GOP wants to get back in the game it has to put the McCain campaign, and the mindset behind it, into the obsolete file, and start rethinking how upper management relates to its own troops, in addition to how it relates to the voters. The GOP is not an elitist organization and conservative values are not negative values; in fact the opposite is true. But the voters must know this, and support Republican candidates.

I wrote a column before the election noting that "Gentleman" John McCain would have to use tactics that are not necessarily endorsed by the Marquis of Queensbury, but nonetheless are effective, if he wanted to win. There is no dishonor in being skilled at street fighting, especially if you want to walk the streets unmolested.

If you rely on limo transportation and private jets to move around you may be safe from muggers, but you will never know the mindset of average people and what will convince them to vote for you. Besides, many street fighters are effective without being gutter fighters. There is a difference.

I take no pride in noting that I said if McCain didn't figure that out, he would get sucker punched by Obama and end up on the floor, a loser, whining that Obama didn't fight fair.

Well the sucker punch came in many forms: The Democrat engineered credit crisis, resulting from more than a decade of plotting and manipulation of the mortgage and housing market; attacks on Sarah Palin from within the campaign rivaling the vicious assaults on her from the media; stupid issues such as the cost of Gov. Palin's clothing; and gaffe after gaffe reminding voters that often they really didn't agree with McCain.

But McCain didn't fight back, at least not effectively. When the NY Times planted a fake story that Palin was hurting his campaign, McCain should have parked his ego and shouted from the rooftops that his numbers were up all across the nation due to her presence on his team. But he didn't. He didn't fight effectively and he didn't take on the Times, or any other media outlet.

So, the election is over, McCain is down for the count, and all we have left is the sounds of pain and disbelief that he got suckered, and he lost.

I take no pride in being right about matters such as this. But, I did tell you. In my column on "Gentleman" John McCain and "Street Fighter" Obama, back on October 14. Go into the archives and look it up for yourself. It's there. Now, what are we going to do about it?
Monday, November 03, 2008

McCain - Palin; Anything Less is Unthinkable

My mother always told me "you are judged by the company you keep." Apparently Barack Obama's mother never told him that, or he didn't care, because he has kept company with terrorists, Islamo-fascists, communists, socialists and race baiters. So I'm not voting for him.

I don't agree with his programs either.

So let's talk about Sarah Palin. She came out of nowhere, at least to the insulated and uninformed, many of whom are pundits and commentators living inside the D.C. Beltway, and have no working knowledge of anything more than 40 miles away, except Manhattan, where a few of their colleagues live.

She is bright, experienced, quick to learn, strong in her opinions and strong in expressing them. She is arguably the best thing that has happened to the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan and she certainly is the best thing that has happened to John McCain's entire presidential campaign.


She must be. Since bursting on the national scene this summer she has been scrutinized by the national media and the extreme-Socialist wing of the Democratic Party - meaning the group in charge of running Barack Obama's campaign - in ways beyond spiteful and vengeful, passing right through disgraceful and reprehensible.

Among the worst offenders is Fox News which seems to be hell bent on smearing Palin. Apparently they took umbrage at her refusal to appear on Fox News Sunday. John McCain did, but Palin, after being sabotaged by other network interviews, was far more careful about where she spent her time in the weeks before the election.

So I guess the deal with Fox is, you either come in and get skewered by Chris Wallace, or the rest of the staff will skewer you behind your back, with phony polls and statistics they pull out of their rear ends.

Sarah Palin has shown time and again that she knows what is going on in the world, and if an obscure subject area is passed before her one day, she will be conversant on it the next.

As a result of her enthusiasm, likability, approachability and outright common sense, the McCain campaign is still very much in contention and has as much chance as the Obama camp to win tomorrow's Presidential election. Quite possibly much more.

That she has endured the withering attacks and invasions of privacy posing as journalism against her and her family, speaks volumes about her ability to be the vice president. That she has never once faltered, despite the loathsome unprofessionalism of the so-called "media" that is covering her every breath, shows that she has mettle and backbone far beyond the norm.

She is in fact, far stronger, smarter and capable than anyone in any media outlet who has been assigned to cover her, or assassinate her character, which probably is the same thing.

She has been lied about by nearly every media personality covering her appearances, and she is still right there on the campaign trail, attracting enormous crowds that can't wait for a chance to hear her speak and cheer in support.

Gov. Palin is the commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard, has a son serving in Iraq, and is the only executive level candidate from the major parties in the presidential race. Yet she has been repeatedly attacked as incapable of leading the country in an emergency, when in truth she is far more capable than either of the Democrat candidates, and certainly more experienced.

Democrat Joe Biden, who is running for Vice President in opposition to Gov. Palin, is a draft dodger from the Vietnam era who faked an asthma condition to avoid serving in the military. It didn't stop him from high school athletics though.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama has never served, period. He does seem to be skilled at flipping people the bird though. First Hillary Clinton in her run for the nomination, then today in Florida when he supposedly was congratulating John McCain. Do you really want a President who has this little class and dignity? Wait until the French really get to know him.

My cousin Bob, who has been doing some digging of his own, sent me a few tidbits on Sarah Palin's responsibilities that really put Biden and Obama to shame.

Guess who, as Governor of Alaska has responsibility for America's first line of missile interceptor defense that protects the entire United States?

Sarah Palin because the 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard has that job. She is their commander-in-chief.

Who has responsibility for the ONLY National Guard unit on permanent active duty? Once again it is Sarah Palin, because again the 49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard is awake while everyone else is asleep.

Also, as Governor of a state that abuts two foreign countries, Canada, friendly, and Russia, not so friendly, Sarah Palin is routinely briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counter terrorism!

And to put a little icing on the cake, Sarah Palin reportedly has a higher classified security rating than the Democrat Party candidate!

And last but not least, the Washington Post reported that although Gov. Palin first met with Sen. McCain in February to discuss running with him, nobody ever found out. Meaning she can keep a secret, and she can be entrusted with our national security, because she has been doing it ever since she became governor! It also explains why the media in Manhattan and DC, along with a bunch of elitist Republicans, are so mad at her!

But did you see about two weeks ago where Joe Biden said that the biggest problem with John McCain's economic plan was "A three-letter word, J-O-B-S!"

That gaffe, one of so many from Biden it is almost impossible to choose among them, proves that the Democratic Presidential nominee selected a running mate who lies, dodged the draft, has questionable financial associations with D.C. insiders, and can't spell - or count! And we are supposed to trust either of them?

Obama would have a very difficult time passing a routine security clearance due to his past activities and associations, but both McCain and Palin already have cleared that hurdle!

For all the biased liberal nonsense and pseudo-elitist claptrap that has been spewed out of the media sewers for the past four months, the truth is, we are being asked to choose between a team that provides solid, time-tested competence and experience, or a novice with a murky past and his Wonder Choice. As in I wonder why he chose that guy to run for VP?

When Obama and Biden are compared to McCain and Palin objectively, it is painfully obvious that the Democrats ran a team with less experience, less real ability, and far more questions about their character and background than should be considered for the highest elected job in the free world.

If you really are voting for the best team to lead the country, then the McCain/Palin team is the clear choice.

Vote For Visconti; Larson is Taken!

In a surprising display of pre-election information sharing, The Hartford Courant reported today that with the exception of Republican Chris Shays, Connecticut's Congressional delegation is bought and paid for by outside interests.

This is especially true of 1st District Representative John Larson. For anyone who has followed Larson's federal career as he has "represented" the 1st District for the past decade, this is hardly a surprise. Larson is one of the most fun to watch representatives because he is in the running for the most hypocritical member of Congress.

Larson stares into a television camera and says with a straight face that he has brought jobs to Connecticut even as quarterly reports from the state Department of Labor say exactly the opposite. In a similar vein Larson wants to treat illegal immigrants with kid gloves, as our country sinks deeper into red ink from providing social services for millions of illegals, and schooling for their children.

His opponent, Republican Joe Visconti, a member of the West Hartford Town Council who owns a small business and is acutely aware of the impact of illegal immigrants on the workforce and the economy, says we must crack down on illegal immigration - handled humanely - but handled nonetheless.

Joseph Visconti, Republican Candidate for Connecticut's First Congressional District.
Visconti has called for a federal racketeering investigation into "Sanctuary Cities" harboring illegal immigrants. He favors clean and safe drilling, opposed the Wall Street "bailout," and has stood up against corporate welfare. He is an Emmy Award winning producer of a documentary on children with disabilities for Public Broadcasting.

Meanwhile Larson talks.

Larson gets a media buddy to portray him as the moving force behind bringing a replica of the Vietnam Memorial to the district, a feat that has been done elsewhere in the state without Congressional intervention, and uses that to bolster his "support for the troops" rhetoric.

But when his friend, mentor, boss and fellow Congressperson, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, insults, ridicules and demeans our fighting forces, he zips his lip and says nothing in response. He votes against funding for the troops while they are locked in battle, and can't even say "thank you" to them when they emerge victorious despite his efforts to sabotage them.

Crime on the streets of our cities? Visconti is a proponent of putting criminals behind bars, permanently if the situation calls for it.

Larson wants to establish a new bureaucracy to "study" why criminals commit crimes.

Dependency on foreign oil that threatens national security? Visconti says drill, mine, build nuclear - safe and clean on all counts. He wants major investment in viable alternative energy sources, and a working program to wean the US off of foreign oil as soon as possible

Larson votes against offshore drilling, and gives lip service to alternative energy. He has been in Congress for 10 years and brags about being #5 in the House of Representatives. Why didn't he do something before now to avoid this energy dependence and the accompanying wide swings in oil prices?

The Wall Street "bailout?" Larson was part of the problem, and instead of coming up with a solution, he votes to tax us out of nearly a trillion dollars more to help his buddies like Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Charles Schuster, Pelosi and Harry Reed.

Visconti opposes the bailout and wants an investigation into why lending institutions were pressured, some would say forced, into making mortgage loans to people who couldn't obtain them through the usual, regulated, channels.

Larson lays claim to being a man of the people, supposedly due to the huge sums of money he raises in his campaigns, but then we find he is bought and paid for not by individual donations from local people, but with special interest PAC and lobbyist money from outside the area.

Obviously, Larson is a man of some people, just not the people who reside in Connecticut and have to live under the weight of the taxes, regulations and incompetence he has brought down on his constituents. A vote for Larson is actually a vote for a nameless, faceless lobbyist somewhere else who will continue to pocket fat checks paid for with 1st District taxpayer dollars if Larson is elected again.

Meanwhile, Americans are fed up with incompetence and endless bickering on both the national and statewide levels. We say we want real, meaningful change, so my questions is, "Are we going to prove it?"

Larson's buddies in the area media imposed a virtual blackout on Visconti's campaign. To get around this, Visconti displayed all of his positions, press releases, and commentaries on his website They are there for anyone to see.

I recommend that if you are an independent, a cross-over Democrat, Republican or reside in that undecided category, you really can make a difference this year. Are you unhappy with what is going on in Congress?

Well you are in good company. Congress yaks incessantly about George Bush's approval ratings, but hides from the fact that his approvals are 300 percent higher than Congress.

91 percent of the American public are dissatisfied with Congress and John Larson is the face and voice of that body - he is the cause of our discontent.

Joe Visconti has good ideas, good experience of the right kind, and a great common sense understanding of how to make government work for the people. So I guess you have to ask yourself, do you really expect anything different if you keep sending the same people back to Washington?

Vote For Ackert, Lavelli-Hozempa, Ballard, Sawyer; "Yes" on the Constitutional Question; And Please Be Sure To VOTE!

Just about a year ago I wrote about a candidate in Enfield, Connecticut, Republican Clemence Dumont, and her unlikely effort to oust a local Democrat councilman.

She was a newcomer to politics, a Republican in a town where the Democrats had a 2-1 voter registration advantage. Her opponent was entrenched in the Democrat party and presumably in his council seat too.

But Clem, as she is known, went to work early, stayed late, and didn't give up. She kept right on campaigning until the last poll closed on Election Day.

Clem won by a slim margin that stood up to a recount, and now she is finishing up her first year on the council, representing her district, doing the people's work - really, she actually believes she should perform as promised when she was campaigning!

Clem set an example last year that I have seen repeated throughout Connecticut's Assembly districts and I would like to highlight four candidates for state office who I see as shining examples of that dedication and work ethic.

First, in the 8th House District, Timothy Ackert, Tim to everyone, but Timothy on the ballot, has put in a disciplined and energetic campaign. Tim was among the first candidates for the state Legislature to qualify for public financing, and he has spent his money wisely.

Tim sent out thousands of flyers, mailers and letters to the voters in the 8th District, which covers Columbia, Coventry and part of Vernon. But he also got out among the people shaking hands at event after event in all three towns.

And he didn't stop there. Tim knocked on thousands of doors throughout the campaign. I kid you not. Thousands! Tim personally, taking time to talk with voters who seem to be universally discouraged, frustrated and fed up with what has been going on in Washington, D.C., and in Hartford, Connecticut as well.

He ran a clean, issues-oriented campaign and did everything he could to get his message to the voters and show what action in Hartford could be like, after years of inaction by the Democrat incumbents.

Following Tim's lead are two candidates in Enfield, Susan Lavelli-Hozempa running for the 58th Assembly district, and William "Bill" Ballard for the 59th. Sue also received public financing which she put to good use and she too made extraordinary efforts to spread her message to the voters.

Sue currently serves on the Enfield Board of Education and spearheaded the first-ever in the nation Citizens Audit Committee to delve into school financing. To say that the committee's work was successful is a major understatement.

Sue's knowledge of how government is supposed to work, and her insight on financial matters, will serve her community and the state well if they send her to Hartford. Does she have a chance against a 10-year incumbent?

Well, her opponent is so confident of retaining her seat that she sent out campaign literature that included a recipe for pot roast and family photos! Can you believe that? She either is not thinking or not caring that voters might notice.

If you want campaign memorabilia, go find a 2008 brochure from Enfield Democrat Kathy Tallarita - especially if you want to cook a roast tonight - if you can afford a roast tonight what with all the taxes the Democrats have attached to it.

But make sure you vote for Susan Lavelli-Hozempa tomorrow!

Bill Ballard didn't receive public financing, but his district is entirely within the town of Enfield, and he has been able to make his case to the voters by walking out his door and down the street.

Bill has focused on crime and illegal immigration among other issues. He doesn't approve of sanctuary cities and wants a roll back on gasoline taxes, the business entity tax, and other "temporary" taxes passed by the Democrats that never go away.

Lavelli-Hozempa and Ballard, like Ackert, are up against entrenched Democrats. Two out of three of the incumbents, those faced by Ackert and Lavelli-Hozempa, are long-term office holders. The Democrat incumbents are major players in the state Legislature that has brought a breakdown in the state economy, out-of-sight gasoline, property and business taxes, and a burgeoning budget deficit that is heading toward a billion dollars.

Under the Democrats, who control both houses of the Legislature with near veto-proof majorities, Connecticut has earned the dishonor of being the least business friendly state in the nation, and jobs have been fleeing as a result.

Crime is out of control in our cities as well as suburban areas, shoot outs and murders in the Capital city vie for news headlines with home invasions in once-quiet communities. The Democrats passed a watered-down law that they say "gets tough" on career violent criminals - by increasing the average time spent behind bars for third offenders to a whopping 7.9 years. (Sarcasm implied and intended.)

Republicans are backing a Three-Strikes bill that would put all violent career felons behind bars for life.

Last but not least on my list is Pamela Sawyer who is running - unopposed - in the state's 55th House District. Sawyer is one of those rare legislators who can stand on her record of performance, even in a year when "incumbent" has become a dirty word in most districts.

She is so effective, so energetic, and so well-liked in her district that the Democrats couldn't find anyone to run against her. But that hasn't stopped Sawyer from campaigning!

She has made public appearances, her lawn signs are all over the district, she stands up for others of her party who are running for office, and basically shows the world what a real representative should look like.

Also on the ballot this year is an opportunity that comes only once every two decades - a vote to give us the right to amend the state Constitution. If we approve this measure, Connecticut will have the right to hold referendums on issues that matter to the voters, instead of letting a handful of legislators and judges write the laws of the land.

The question is: "Shall there be a Constitutional Convention to amend or revise the Constitution of the State?" My answer is Yes!

I have heard some negative comments about the viability of this measure from people who say that if the Democrats maintain their majorities in the Legislature they will set the agendas, and the makeup of the convention. Well, we have two answers to that.

One, throw the Democrats out of office. Term limits can be imposed tomorrow so impose them! Second, regardless of what the Constitutional Convention proposes, we the voters will still have the final say for a change.

So vote Yes on the Constitutional question, vote for the GOP, throw the bad guys out, put good guys in and let's get back to Government OF THE PEOPLE!

If we get government of the people, then BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE follow like day after night.

But this all rests on the willingness of voters to take a few minutes of their time tomorrow and get out there to vote! Please.

Clem Dumont has shown what can happen when good people work to participate in government. I have given you four more examples of her approach. It is a rare opportunity facing us, on every race from President, to Congress, to our state Legislators. WE can make a change.

But first we have to vote!
Sunday, November 02, 2008

Move America Forward - Country's Largest Pro-Troop Organization - Endorses Visconti, Slams Larson

Below is a news release issued yesterday by the political action committee for the country's largest pro-troop organization, Move America Forward, with a million plus membership.

They hit the nail right on the head. Visconti will stand up for our country's security, and our individual freedoms, by standing up for the people who secure them - our armed forces.

John Larson talks a big game, but he denies the bulk of those who serve the one thing that makes it all worthwhile, the honor and respect we receive from our countrymen. Larson voted against the Iraq war which now, for all practical purposes, has been won.

He voted to cut off funding for our troops when they were locked in battle against a vicious enemy. He did this as the battles were raging, but since then the battles have been won, Iraq is closer every day to being an independent democracy and US ally.

Yet this past summer, when Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi went to Iraq - with Larson in tow - to see for herself that the Surge had worked, she insulted our men and women who fought so hard for that victory, by saying they hadn't really won, "the Iranians let them."

Larson said nothing then or now. Talk is cheap, but even verbal approval for our troops is too expensive for Larson.

Visconti stands up for the troops, and they stand up for us. Without further ado, the Move America Forward news release follows.

Pro-Troop PAC Endorses Joe Visconti for Congress
Cites His Support for Troops, Their Missions

SACRAMENTO, CA- Joe Visconti is picking up additional support for his campaign as Election Day rapidly approaches. The latest group to throw its support behind Visconti is MAF Freedom PAC, the political arm of Move America Forward, the nation's largest grassroots pro-troop organization.

Move America Forward has been involved in issues such as the controversy over the Marine recruiting office in Berkeley, CA and has shipped over 100 tons of care packages to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of an ongoing program.

Melanie Morgan, the group's Executive Director, praised Visconti for his support for providing US troops with the tools they need and the benefits they deserve and for recognizing the successes they've achieved. "Joe Visconti will be steadfast in giving our troops the attention they demand and the credit they've earned" said Morgan.

"John Larson was on the wrong side of history when we invaded Iraq and he hasn't changed a bit. We can't afford his kind of weakness and shortsightedness in Congress," Morgan said.

"Joe Visconti understands why it's so critical not to abandon the American soldiers who are fighting to prevent further acts of terror on American soil. He won't turn his back on these brave men and women."

"I know that our troops in the field appreciate those in Washington who stand behind them, give them the tools they need, recognize their accomplishments and want to see them through to success. Joe would be one of those people."

Morgan also stressed why it's so essential - now more than ever - to support leaders committed to protecting America. "When it comes to national defense and homeland security, too many of our elected officials fall far short," she said.


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