Saturday, January 28, 2012

Florida Debate Showcases Santorum, Paul; Others Not So Hot

If you didn't watch the GOP presidential debate Thursday night, hosted by CNN, and your only input on how it went came from news reports, you could be excused for thinking that Mitt Romney had a great night.

He didn't and neither did Newt Gingrich, and I say that as a teacher of communications and public speaking at the college level. I was not impressed by either and many people with whom I have spoken since, who did view the debate, had much the same impression.

It was a dismal debate performance for Romney and Gingrich and reinforces the question that many Republicans have been asking for months now; why are GOP candidates subjecting themselves to debates hosted by liberal moderators who are in Obama's camp and want him re-elected? It was dismal because both Gingrich and Romney came across as spoiled brats who absolutely, positively had to get the last word.

Totally childish, hardly presidential.

The actual winners clearly were Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, although their performances may not translate to enough votes in the Florida primary on Tuesday to change the outcome. Florida's primary is winner take all, and both Paul and Santorum appear to be too far back in the polls to make much of a difference. (I use the word "appear" because the polls we have been assaulted with for the past week are incomplete, have huge margins of error, and probably are no closer to accurate than they were in Iowa.)

Nonetheless, Santorum came across as a knowledgeable adult who admonished both Gingrich and Romney to knock off their childishness and petty personal sniping, and stick to the issues.

Paul showed a sense of humor and grasp of reality that has been missing in previous debates, usually because he gets off on his foreign relations tangent and loses the audience. That didn't happen Thursday night, and instead he had a great one-liner and a shot at the moderator, Wolf Blitzer, that were very well received.

Paul's best one liner came when Blitzer asked him what he thought of Gingrich's plan to restart the space program and build a colony on the moon by 2020. Paul responded that other than sending some politicians to the moon, he didn't think it was a good idea, which the audience loved.

When Blitzer took a shot at Paul's age by asking whether he could reasonably expect to survive four years as president, Paul challenged everyone on stage to a 25-mile bike ride, and then warned Blitzer "You know we have age discrimination laws, so you'd better watch out."

But as is often the case in these debates, Gingrich and Romney had far more face time than the other two candidates and used it in non-stop bashing of each other. In fact, when Gingrich attempted to call a truce and stick to the issues, Romney acted like a petulant prima donna and refused.

You can blame both of these candidates for their gutter tactics, but I think it bears repeating that it was Romney who started the war by dumping $3.5 million in negative ads on Gingrich's head in Iowa, which led to a Santorum victory, although you wouldn't know that by the media coverage.

Yet, ever since Iowa, the fighting between Romney and Gingrich has taken center stage and seems to lead the news at every hour of the day. This even when Americans are being taken hostage in Egypt and Obama is proposing massive cuts in our military at the same time our biggest adversary, China, is going in the opposite direction.

Instead of news, we get character assassination.

In fact, I was contacted Friday by a close associate who lives and works in Florida and was told that the debate Thursday night solidified his decision to vote for Paul, even if it is only a protest vote. And he is not alone.

"The air down here is poisoned with attack ads," he told me, and the negative impression he was getting from both Gingrich and Romney was only reinforced by their actions at the debate.

Romney has been lauded by the media which has all but anointed him as the GOP candidate - caucuses, primaries and conventions be damned - but he actually came across as a petulant sixth-grader in his snit over Gingrich's attacks on his record and his money.

Gingrich for his part, came across exactly as he shouldn't have when he proposed to space agency workers that he would restart our space program that was shut down last year by Obama, and colonize the moon by the end of his second term as president.

It was bad enough that Romney accused him of interstate pandering by promising needed projects to residents of every state where he campaigns, but Gingrich should have seen the jokes at his expense coming from the far side of the moon.

It didn't take even one news cycle for a FOX News commentator to refer to Gingrich as a "lunatic" pun intended, hah, hah, hah.

Let's put aside the hypocrisy of the media that two generations ago lauded President John F. Kennedy for his vision of putting an American on the moon ahead of the Russians, both for national pride and security.

Let's put aside the fact that modern technology and understanding of our universe have gone light years further than they would have in the same time without all the research and development that went into our space program.

Let's just focus on the fact that our space program, such as it is, now is run by the Russians and the Chinese, neither of whom can reasonably and reliably be considered friends or allies. What the hell is wrong with our country when we concede the effort to benefit from the exploration of space to the two countries on this earth who would still love to see us crushed and groveling in the dirt?

Romney said he would fire anyone who proposed a moon colony to him. I think a functioning colony might be outside the grasp of our current financial status in the next eight years, but a controlled effort to do it should not be ridiculed. On that issue Romney should be fired for failing to grasp international intrigue and lacking imagination and vision.

Gingrich also has a problem here, and it is one that surfaced earlier in the campaign but was ignored by most of the media. Gingrich is a highly intelligent man, but his intelligence seems to be focused in philosophical concepts without a corresponding level of ability in the technical or scientific arenas.

In short, Gingrich's intelligence doesn't make math as easy and natural to him as government and politics.

Someone should have told him that even mentioning the moon in the current political environment would leave him wide open to media assaults, not to mention ridicule from Romney and his supporters. Gingrich would have won the hearts of space workers simply by vowing to put them back on the payroll without going Kennedyesque.

But he did and now he will have to live with it.

We can only hope that in the remaining 46 states (or 53 if you are an Obama supporter - thank you Sarah Palin) our GOP candidates take a deep breath, and in the case of Romney and Gingrich start acting like adults and leaders instead of spoiled children in a school yard fight.

One debate does not a campaign make, but frankly, if I have to watch another two months of this nonsense I may be taking my vote elsewhere. Remember, it is the Obama administration that is running this country into the ground, and it is Obama who must emerge as the loser on Election Day.

Anything less would be - uncivilized.
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Domestic Terrorists, Piracy, Conspiracies and ME?

Did you ever add one and one and one and get three, but still not like the answer?

I did, and the answer scares the hell out of me!

The first "1" was the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 which the government claims will stop people from using the Internet to steal or make money from copyrighted material.

But yesterday some major Internet sites including Google and Wikipedia along with thousands of others, shut down completely in protest of efforts to enact SOPA into law. The bill's critics say it is part of an ongoing effort to stifle free speech, clamp down on whistle blowing and knock the pins out from under the free flow of information.

The second "1" is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, which has amendments that allow for indefinite detention of American citizens on US soil, who normally are not under military control.

The third "1" is the definition of "Domestic Terrorists" as interpreted by the Obama Administration, which has a lot of people fearful that it includes Internet bloggers such as me. In theory, the detention law and domestic terrorist definitions are supposed to give law enforcement officials and the military additional tools with which to protect us from Islamo-fascists.

Since the definitions are terribly vague, however, it is more than possible that the full weight of the government could be brought to bear on ordinary, law-abiding citizens who are doing nothing more than exercising their constitutional rights to free speech, assembly, and to redress their grievances with their government! (The assembly in this case would be of the 'virtual' kind since it is done on the Internet.)

According to news reports Section 1021 of the NDAA requires military detainment of people belonging to terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda or the Taliban and their supporters. Actually I think that includes numerous organizations that made up the nearly defunct – as in "it hurts to camp out in the cold" – "Occupy" movement.

But when you realize that the Obama Administration's definition of a domestic terrorist includes: veterans (check); conservatives (check); supporters of the original constitution (check); supporters of the second amendment to the US Constitution (check); male (let me take a look. Yes! Check.) Christian, (check); supporters of the Fair Tax as opposed to production –income – taxes, (check); opposed to the IRS making criminals out of wage earners who want to keep what they earn (check); oh, and white (Last time I looked. Check.)

Then we have further vague definitions that surfaced in the last couple of days including people who blame the government for what is wrong with the country (most voters of virtually all parties. check); people who use the Internet to draw attention to their beliefs, and seek out like-minded individuals (check); and people who believe in conspiracies.

Let explain something here. Legally, a conspiracy exists when as few as two people plot between them to do something that is harmful or illegal. So when a couple of congressmen or senators find a place that is out of range of cameras and microphones and decide to support each others bills, such as SOPA, it is legally a conspiracy, since SOPA clearly poses potential harm to the American public.

So yes, I believe in conspiracies. (check)

Oh, and lately there have been some additions to the institutional paranoia that marks the Obama Administration in particular and our government in general. People who stock up on flashlights and batteries, and people who buy more than 7 days worth of food are now considered potential terrorism suspects. People who pay for motel rooms with cash instead of credit cards – maybe a couple involved in an illicit tryst for instance – now might be terrorists.

Must I remind you that the Northeast of the United States received two weather whacks last year, once from storm Irene and again from an October snowstorm that both times knocked out the power and left communities hard pressed to provide the basic necessities to people who had lost their food, heat and access to water for weeks on end? Such people, including yours truly, stocked up on dried goods, batteries and generators to help prepare for any future calamities.

But now, we might be domestic terrorists. (check.)

Here is an example of what I consider to be a real conspiracy. Does anyone have an accurate and up-to-date accounting of the trillions of dollars in stimulus money that the Obama administration has appropriated to itself? Last I heard, hundreds of billions of dollars have not been spent and no one knows where they went.

OK, now check this out, from July 2008 when Obama was campaigning out in Colorado.

Now that you've seen the video, consider that establishment and upkeep of a full-sized national police force such as the Gestapo, or the Russian NKVD, or the East German Stasi, would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and where would a person in charge get that kind of money without too much oversight? Well, first you use your Congress to appropriate far more than you need, then you fund a bunch of no-brainer initiatives – like Clunkers for Cash – that waste billions of taxpayer's dollars which gives you the image of a spendthrift who can't keep track of his toys, and while everyone is focused on stupid diversions, you build up your national secret police force.

Meanwhile, you pass initiatives that supposedly portray you as a tough-on-terror wartime president, when you really are stripping away the individual rights and protections of the American public that won't catch on until it is too late. Now that is a conspiracy.

I was watching the Republican debate on FOX News the other night and I couldn’t help but think of all the things that are going on behind our backs, seemingly not connected, but in reality part of an overall plan, when Ron Paul made the remarks that got him booed by South Carolina Republicans.

Paul said he believes that we should follow a Golden Rule policy of 'Do Unto Our Enemies AS We Would Have Them Do Unto Us.'

I don't agree with him on that, although I do agree that our income tax should go back to being zero percent as it was before 1913.

But when protecting our country from all enemies "foreign and domestic" I say we should follow a more realistic policy of Do Unto Our Enemies BEFORE They Do Unto Us!

That is neither terrorism nor a conspiracy theory. That is just plain common sense!
Monday, January 16, 2012

United States Marines Under Attack From ... US

It certainly looks like a bad time to be a US Marine.

First we have nearly every major politician and bureaucrat on the national scene, not to mention senior military officials, going apoplectic over a video of four US Marines p---ing on the bodies of some dead terrorists in Afghanistan last summer.

Then we have the ongoing court martial of SSgt. Frank Wuterich, a Connecticut native who is the only one of the original eight Haditha Marines to still be facing trial on murder charges - nearly everyone else has had all the charges dropped, and one other Marine who went to trial was exonerated on all charges, so how Wuterich gets singled out is perplexing to say the least.

Aside from the "so-what" factor in the international p---ing contest, given that enemy combatants have long been p---ing on each other after especially bloody battles, the fact is, US troops have endured far, far worse at the hands of our enemies going all the way back to the French and Indian War. Just ask John McCain the Vietnam era POW and current Arizona senator who was one of the first people to jump up and convict the Marines even before they were positively identified or the video authenticated.

I guess he misses his old buddy, the late John Murtha D-PA, the "King of Pork" who used the media to convict the Haditha Marines, calling them cold-blooded murderers before even a shred of evidence was presented.

And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has never served in the military and whose only exposure to battle was a faked claim of coming under sniper fire in Bosnia when she was First Lady sure had plenty to say about it.

Clinton apparently is upset that the video which surfaced last week even though it is at least many months old, will mess up the ticklish appeasement talks between the US State Department and the Taliban terrorists. You know, the people who joined with Al Qaeda to attack us on 9-11-2001 and whom we vanquished in 2001-2002.

Then after we handed over conduct of Afghan operations to NATO which spent the next five or six years messing the place up royally, the terrorists (Taliban) enjoyed a Renaissance of Terror which helped them achieve an explosion in recruitment. And now, according to the administration of the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces the Taliban "is not our enemy." Really, can it get any more Alice in Wonderland-like than this?

We even have the commandant of the Marine Corps convening a massive investigatory effort headed by a hand-picked general to get to the bottom of it ... so to speak.

Does the commandant know that according to folk lore Scottish Sword Dancing originated during the Highland Clan era when the leader of whatever clan defeated whatever other clan in battle danced over crossed swords, one his and one belonging to his vanquished foe? And that some legends even say that the swords were crossed over the bloodied head of his rival?

Kind of makes taking a p--- seem pretty tame in comparison doesn't it?

UPDATE: A reader sent me the following, which certainly gives Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a former Army lieutenant colonel a huge boost in my book. From Rep. West: I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah. All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file ... . As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.

The over-reaction to the video of the Marines relieving themselves on enemy terrorists is similar to what occurred after the media falsely reported that Marines slaughtered innocent civilians in the town of Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005. SSgt. Wuterich is charged with 12 counts of unpremeditated murder associated with the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians following an IED attack on the 12-man squad he commanded that killed one Marine and wounded two others.

Originally a total of 8 Marines were charged with crimes following the battle but all charges against all the others have been dismissed, except for one Marine who went through a full trial and was found innocent of all charges. (One Marine turned against his comrades in exchange for charges against him being dropped. But his testimony turned out to be so full of holes that he has been doing more damage to the prosecution than to Wuterich. Oh, and he claimed to have p---ed on a dead Taliban fighter in Haditha but nothing was made of it.)

Battalion commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, also faced criminal charges for failing to adequately investigate the incident, which were eventually dropped, since the government investigation of his investigation showed that the Marines didn't murder anyone and that media reports that initiated the entire fiasco were fraudulent.

Since the government couldn't find anything to charge Lt. Col. Chessani's Marines with, they had to conclude that his investigation must have been thorough and appropriate because he didn't find anything amiss either. But Chessani's career ended nonetheless, and for reasons that defy common sense the government is still trying Wuterich, apparently attempting to salvage something, anything, of its pathetic missteps against our Armed Forces.

I have written in the past and will repeat it here, that one of the most hypocritical facets of the current political atmosphere within our military is the insistence that the people who are at the point of the spear, our ground combat forces, are required to adhere to Rules of Engagement that simply are impossible to apply in close-quarter combat without significantly increasing the risk of injury or death to our own forces.

If an artilleryman fires a shell on an approved mission that for unknown reasons goes awry and hits a friendly position or a civilian position, little to nothing is done to the man who actually fires the cannon. The shell could go long or short for many reasons - bad ammo packing back in the states; unexpected atmospheric conditions on a flight that can span a dozen miles and more for instance - but the man who pulls the trigger rarely is held accountable.

If a pilot in a jet bomber anywhere from ground level to 30,000 feet, drops a bomb that hits the wrong target, once again, little if anything is done to the pilot. Everyone knows that munitions fired from high altitudes at high speeds can go off target; even if there is an inquiry, it is rare to blame the pilot when so much is out of his control.

But put an infantryman in a warren of houses and twisted narrow streets with rocket and sniper fire all around, and insurgents running into and out of houses where civilians are cowering in fear and suddenly he is supposed to act like RoboCop instead of a scared kid whose heart is pounding, ears are ringing and whose mouth is as dry as cotton.

He is supposed to force open the doors of house after house where enemy troops had been firing at him only seconds earlier, clear the rooms without being shot himself, usually by throwing a grenade inside, and then enter the darkness and make split second decisions on whether anyone is inside and if so, if they are enemy or civilian. He is supposed to be able to see in the smoke and darkness and know without question that any movement is either friend or foe, all in a split second.

If he survives the battle, where the terrorists routinely enter homes in the towns they have occupied and kill the inhabitants before running out the back so they can blame the US for atrocities, the American fighters face an onslaught from a communist inspired media and chicken-s**t politicians and military "leaders" who have no qualms over convicting innocent members of the Armed Forces.

I dare Hillary Clinton or John McCain to go through a combat infantry course that includes house-to-house and street fighting and see how well they'd do - not in real combat where a mistake can cost you your life and the lives of your friends - but just in training. I bet they'd both fail miserably.

These continued attacks on our troops, stabbing them in the back here at home while they are overseas attempting to preserve our freedoms and way of life, are certain to have a long-term negative impact on our military.

Most warriors go into battle with an "I'm here to kick a$$ and chew bubble gum and I'm all out of bubble gum," attitude. But how long can we expect our warriors to maintain the warrior spirit if they are perpetually second-guessed by a bunch of desk riders and chair polishers back in Congress and the Pentagon?

Over-reactions as in the Haditha fighting and now the Afghanistan Urination Situation, could make this a very bad time to be in the service. Unfortunately, we have honorable young men and women who are trying to do something honorable for people who have no honor.

There is a better way to show support for our troops than to go off the wall in a needless investigation that results in a career ending court martial. Ask the Marines if they did it, and if they say yes, ask them why. Then write down their explanation, and put a letter of reprimand in their personnel files.

Oh, and write the letter in disappearing ink.

If the Taliban, those rascally little devils that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and John McCain like so much, don't want to be shot and p---ed on I have another idea. How about they stop shooting and blowing up our guys? Then our guys will stop p---ing on them.

As for Ms. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr Cain and the rest of the DC political and military hand-wringing, appeasing sycophants who have so much to say about our fighters, I have three words for all of you ... pi$$ off wankers!
Sunday, January 08, 2012

A Vote for Huntsman is a Vote for Obama

I have generally been in agreement with comments by nearly all the GOP presidential candidates that any one of them would be better than the current occupant of the White House, Barack Hussein Obama.

That is, until I watched the ABC News version of a "debate" Saturday night, which actually was an ABC News version of "gotcha," and was generally worthless except to expose Jon Huntsman as a consummate insider with an 60's era anti-military bias. (It should be noted that Huntsman's last job was Ambassador to China for none other than Barack Hussein Obama which essentially disqualified him from consideration in my mind anyway.)

Huntsman's attitude toward the military was revealed during one of the most asinine exchanges of the night - which really is saying something - over whether an American president should be a military veteran to be an effective commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The question served as a vehicle to attack Newt Gingrich, and to showcase the military service of Ron Paul and Rick Perry.

Mr. Paul was drafted soon after he received his medical degree and served as an Air Force flight surgeon from 1963 to 1965, well before the US committed major forces to Vietnam, and then did another three years in the Texas Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968. OK, he did two years performing flight physicals on pilots and air crew members to clear them for flight status, not exactly hazardous duty, but still, he was in, and then he did three more years of the one weekend each month and two weeks in the summer bit.

But Paul also has called Mr. Gingrich a "chicken-hawk" because Gingrich, who grew up in an Army family, and lived his entire childhood moving from one army base to another, didn't get drafted to serve in the military during Vietnam. Now, that is a low blow to begin with, and not worthy of true debate on the issues facing America, but this is where Huntsman got into it and lost my vote forever.

Gingrich was saying something about requiring leadership in the position, not necessarily military experience and how the commander in chief has to rely on his military leaders to give him the advice he needs to make the right decisions. Gingrich has a point since I doubt a flight surgeon, even one who may be an outstanding doctor, knows very much about the order of battle.

Up jumps Huntsman with a snide comment about the advice the American military gave to the president in 1967, an obvious reference to the oft-repeated and wholly inaccurate media claims that the military didn't know the Tet Offensive which the communist's launched on Jan. 31, 1968 was coming. In fact, the South Vietnamese military was on reduced alert because they had trusted the communist leaders who offered a cease fire so both sides could observe the traditional New Year.

Obviously the communists lied, which should have surprised no one, but it didn't matter because American forces - aided by South Vietnamese who were on duty and others who made it back to their units - responded magnificently and handed the communists their worst defeat of the war to that point. The liars on the American side were politicians, like Huntsman, and the media, like the stooges at ABC "news" who moderated Saturday night's alleged "debate."

(I think the most laughable issue of the night was a question by George Stephanopoulos who is famous for revealing in the 2000 elections that he didn't know the Florida panhandle is in the Central Time Zone, about whether states should have the right to ban contraceptives. Mitt Romney handled that one very well ... No states want to so what's  your point?)

We don't need to re-fight the Vietnam War here, history will be the final judge, but the American military never lost a single major engagement in that war. While we lost 58,000 troops trying to prevent world communism from taking over all of Southeast Asia, the communists lost by their own admission more than one-million troops, some sources say it was more like 1.5 million, and the Viet Cong guerrilla forces were wiped out.

Vietnam didn't fall until people that Huntsman probably thinks of as heroes forced the South Vietnamese to sign the absolutely worthless Paris Peace accords in 1973, and then the US Congress passed the Case-Church resolution which ended all aid to the south, economic, military and humanitarian. Two years later the communists invaded the south, which fell, and then went on a five-year rampage of torture, slaughter and butchery that left millions dead and millions more displaced.

That was not the fault of America's military, it was 100 percent the fault of America's interfering politicians ... guys like Huntsman, and a media that was so biased in favor of the communists there should have been treason trials. So in my opinion,  you vote for a guy like Huntsman, you are voting for Obama all over again. Hopefully Huntsman will be gone soon enough.

As far as the posturing about military service I would advise Mr. Gingrich that the next time he encounters that crap he should point out that less than 10 percent of all living Americans are serving or have served in the military. But that doesn't negate the service of tens of millions of other Americans who have honorably served in other ways - and support the military in any way they can.

In fact, the original question and the responses quite frankly are an insult to those Americans. Gingrich should point that out and Mr. Paul should stop posturing as some kind of hero. The fact that he served should be enough.


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