Monday, August 31, 2009

Back Home - The Things You Can't Leave Behind

First off, I'm back home - and my heartfelt thanks for all the e-mails I received from you.

As I mentioned, we were hit with a mandatory evacuation order because of the Station Fire in Southern California, since we live a stone's throw from Big Tujunga Canyon and were pretty much just one ridge away from the fire itself..maybe a mile, tops.

The picture you see above is Mt. Gleason,a place i see going and coming every day,just above my home.

So anyway, faced with that kind of decision, what would you take and what would you leave behind?

My first order of business was to get the family out of the way. I'd already decided that I was going to stay for awhile until I saw ( literally) which way the wind was blowing, but I wanted them gone and my car packed to the point that all I'd have to do would be to jump in the car and jam down the hill. Besides that, the cops were announcing the evacuation on their patrol car loudpeakers and I figured I wasn't the only one that heard them. I'm no hero, but the last thing I wanted was to leave my house empty and vulnerable until I had to.

Luckily, shelter wasn't a problem. My mother still lives 40 odd freeway minutes away Southeast in the house I grew up in and there was ample room there.

For them, it was mainly a question of packing toiletries, sleeping bags, a few treasured photos, the admission cards for the kids schools and a change of clothes. Fortunately, no animals to deal with at this particular time. My wife also insisted on taking every library book in the house with her. Once they were ready, I told them I was going to stay for awhile which didn't go over well, but as my friends will tell you, I can be quite stubborn at times.

It's odd I suppose, but once the choice came down to it, it was easy for me to figure out what to do and to figure out what I was taking.

For starters, I was looking ahead to an insurance claim. So my fire insurance policy went, along with a paper bag full of checkbooks, legal papers, deeds, copyrights and next month's bills.

I also went to work with my digital camera and took photos of the computers, the electronics, the few pieces of antique furniture, the insides of the closets virtually anything of value I could think of that I wasn't taking with me.A word to the this in advance and have the memory card easily available, just in case.It saves time.

Next, some artwork I have, including two paintings my father did. Then a change of clothes, some toiletries, and some rare guitars and a few other personal items. it all fit quite nicely into my fairly small car, with room to spare.

Take that as a commentary on how much useless junk we fill our lives with.

Once I was packed, I decided to hunker down and wait. By this time, the smoke was fairly thick and I could see where the fire was clearly.

First order of business was to wet down the roof,structures and plants thoroughly with the hose. It's a wood frame house with a comp roof and if things got hairy it wouldn't help much, but it would stop the odd spark from torching the place.

Then I turned on the radio and sat down to wait, going outside every few minutes or so for a first hand look at the situation.

The Station Fire is an unusual one in that it is fuel driven rather than wind driven. Part of the severity is due to the fact that environmental activists have prevented any culling or brush clearance in some of these areas for years. A Fire department spokesperson I heard in a live press conference was quite open about admitting that they actually wanted the fire to burn away this brush and choke itself out so it could be more easily contained, and their primary goal was to keep it from threatening homes along the borderline.

By late afternoon,around 6PM I could tell that the DC-10's,the supersoakers and a lot of incredibly brave fire fighters had pretty much established a perimeter and I was getting concerned calls from the family, so I decided it was time to leave. I gave the place a final soaking down, got in the car and put it in G-d's hands, where it really belonged all the time anyway.

By this time,it was dark and as I drove towards the freeway, I got a good look at the La Canada/La Crescenta part of the fire. The San Gabriels, which provide a gorgeous view most of the time were literally aflame.It was a frightening sight to see raging fires so near places i knew.

I spent the night on a chaise lounge on my mom's patio, partly for wanting to be out in the open air and partly out of sentiment, since my father and I built it from scratch originally when I was a kid.I helped dig the post holes and pour the concrete, it was always where he and I and his pals from the neighborhood got together to yak about life and the issues of the day. My father and those friends are all deceased now, and I felt the need of a friendly ghost or two.

The next day, I hit the road to go home again. It was like a war zone, except no bullets - a reddish haze, sooty smoke and ash all over. It's better now, but the gusty winds are supposed to kick in tonight so we'll see what happens.

The sheer scope of this fire is amazing. If you were able to drive around the edge of it, it would stretch 150 miles.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Howdy Y'all.

I normally don't post on this time of the weekend, but the fires have gotten worse and we've been ordered to evacuate.

Got the wife and kids out and may stick around for awhile to see how it goes, but the important stuff is loaded in the car and ready to go. It may be awhile before I post again, so I wanted the members of Joshua's Army to know why. More later..

Friday, August 28, 2009

Today's Must Reads...

Here are today's must read links. See something interesting out there? Send me anything you want me to review for this section at

  • David Fredosso: ::Obama Care will cover illegal aliens
  • ...and see this, from the Congressional Budget Office

  • Krauthammer :A Strategy To Save ObamaCare, But At What Cost?
  • more at The Glittering Eye, The New Republic, Outside The Beltway, Betsy's Page and Don Surber

  • Ann Coulter: Liberal Lies About National Health Care: Second in a series(Collect all 10!)

  • KELO TV : 'Cash For clunkers' rebate to consumers will be TAXED AS INCOME

  • WSJ:Dem Congressman Rangel, Chairman of tax-writing committee failed to report millions, hid assets

  • FOX: Bill Richardson Not Exonerated, But Will Not be Charged Or Investigated By Feds In Pay-For play Scandal
  • Dumping his benefactors the Clintons and embracing Obama has its rewards....

  • Jerusalem Post :Only 4% of Israeli Jews view Obama as pro-Israel
  • High pro-Obama numbers shock country (/ sarcasm off)

  • WSJ:The Fall Guy- CIA Director Leon Panetta Getting Sacked By His Own Team

  • Afghanistan's Karzai And US: An Angry Confrontation

    "If you hires you a thief, ain't no sense gettin' mad because he steals" - Old African -American proverb.

    Apparently the Obama Administration and Afghan president Hamid Karzai are on the outs, and in a big way.

    A number of senior sources have confirmed the details of a meeting between Mr Holbrooke and Mr Karzai held on 21 August, one day after the election.

    The meeting was described as "explosive" and "a dramatic bust-up".

    Mr Holbrooke is said to have twice raised the idea of holding a second round run-off because of concerns about the voting process.

    He is believed to have complained about the use of fraud and ballot stuffing by some members of the president's campaign team, as well as other candidates.

    Mr Karzai reacted very angrily and the meeting ended shortly afterwards, the sources said.

    Richard Holbrooke, of course, is Obama's special envoy to the region.

    This breakup has been coming ever since Obama took office back in January. The Obama Administration has never liked Hamid Karzai, whom they perceived as Bush's man in Kabul. And Karzai returned the favor, criticizing US activities in Afghanistan and campaigning with a distinctly anti-American slant in the recent presidential election.

    The Obama Administration was probably hoping Karzai would be ousted in the election, and are angered that he likely resorted to cooking the results in his favor. That probably strikes Karzai as rank hypocrisy, since he's not exactly ignorant of American politics (Karzai used to be an Exxon executive)and knows all about Obama, ACORN and Chicago.

    In any event, the real irony is that Obama needs Karzai if he plans on continuing to maintain any US presence in Afghanistan, and ticking him off over allegations of 'voter fraud' unless Obama plans an immediate pull out...which in fact might very well be the case.

    Like most thing in Afghanistan, it comes down to tribalism.The Pathans are the dominant tribe in Afghanistan, any leader of Afghanistan has to be a Pathan and Karzai is the only Pathan leader capable of governing. In the current election, the only challenger anywhere close to Karzai's vote totals is Abdullah Abdullah, who's only half-Pathan ( his mother was a Tajik). And Abdullah Abdullah campaigned on tossing NATO out of the country and negotiating a truce with the Taliban.

    Karzai is simply doing what any other Afghan warlord in his place would do - collecting tribute, rewarding his followers and doing what's necessary to stay in power.That's the kind of place it is, and expecting him to act with higher ethical standards than the ones shown in places like Cook County, Illinois is simply ridiculous.

    It might be more productive for us to start figuring out what we're doing in Afghanistan and what we hope to achieve there. So far, I don't think Obama has a clue.

    New Bill Would Give Obama 'Emergency' Control Of Internet

    Declan McCullagh at CBS has the story....

    Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

    They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

    The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

    "I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. "It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector.{...}

    The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," he says.

    Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

    "The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."

    Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

    Two critical things that come to mind are the ability of Obama to simply declare a national emergency and then to require government control over the 'net,especially when it comes to requiring companies to share the names, addresses, social security numbers and other data of 'dissidents', or the shutting down of websites criticizing Obama's policies. It's a Leftist wet dream.

    Probably no president should be entitled to exercise this much power without oversight. But the current occupant of the White House has already shown some fairly authoritarian tendencies in this regard, and a real sensitivity to any dissent and criticism of his policies. While an actual policy for cybersecurity might be vital, Obama has already proven that he's not the man to be trusted to implement it.

    This is real Reichstag fire territory. Contact your Congressmen. Now.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Obamacare Will Divulge IRS, Financial Info To Thousands Of Government Workers

    Just another inconvenient truth about the Democrat's government -run healthcare bill..

    Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

    Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details -- there's no specified limit on what's available or unavailable -- to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify "affordability credits."

    Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a "low-income prescription drug subsidy" but has not applied for it.

    Over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (a free-market think tank and presumably no fan of Obamacare), Tom Giovanetti argues that: "How many thousands of federal employees will have access to your records? The privacy of your health records will be only as good as the most nosy, most dishonest and most malcontented federal employee.... So say good-bye to privacy from the federal government. It was fun while it lasted for 233 years."

    The writer, Declan McCullagh goes on to attempt to debunk this a bit ( after all, it is CBS news) and suggest that the bill be changed a bit to limit access to private data. He might want to ask Joe the Plumber, the people reported at or the millions who got partisan spam e-mails from David Axelrod courtesy of a marketing company paid for by your tax dollars about how likely any respect from the Obama Administration for individual privacy is...even if it's legislated.

    An Inconvenient Point About Obama's Eulogizing Ted Kennedy

    With all the pious mouthings coming out of Obama over the death of Ted Kennedy, it seems like there's something that's not being noticed.

    As Tim Blair rightly points out, Obama best pals Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn dedicated their communist manifesto Prairie Fire to Sirhan Sirhan, among others - the Arab murderer of Ted Kennedy's brother, Robert F. Kennedy.

    Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

    Obama's Coming Middle East Plan - A Disaster In The Making

    This is still reportedly in the works, but the outline of Obama's brand spankin' new Middle East Peace Plan is apparently being worked on as I write this, and one of my notorious Little Birdies has given me a few details to work with.

    Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were humiliated by the Arab's absolute refusal to toss any reciprocal concessions Israel's way in exchange for concessions by Israel. So naturally, the Obama Administration decided to concentrate on wringing more concessions out of Israel in the hopes of persuading the Saudis and the Arab League to give a little, because this time, hey, maybe it might work!

    In fact, it won't, as the Arabs have made abundantly clear, most recently at the Fatah conference. But given the hostility towards Israel by Obama, that's the track that's being pursued.

    Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Obama's US Middle East envoy George Mitchell dickered back and forth at a meeting they had in London and reportedly came up with a deal on Israel's building homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria(AKA the West Bank). The Israelis are reportedly offering a temporary 9 month freeze in these areas, although a number of already started projects will be completed. They're also committing not to build any new Jewish communities in these areas.

    On Jerusalem Netanyahu and Mitchell have agreed to disagree, with Netanyahu stating that Israel will continue to build in its capitol and Mitchell saying that the US will continue to oppose construction in East Jerusalem. But the basic idea is that Netanyahu will limit construction in East Jerusalem and the US will limit its opposition to rhetoric.

    What Israel is supposedly going to get in return is a harder US line on Iran. I've seen speculation on this several places. The US, along with Britain and France, is supposedly going to try to get the United Nations security council to expand sanctions to include Iran's oil and gas industry.

    I personally doubt this scenario, because I'm sure Netanyahu is smart enough to realize that Obama isn't going to be able to stop China or Russia from vetoing any meaningful sanctions. Not to mention the fact that EU countries like Germany who have a healthy trade with Iran aren't about to abide by any sanctions that do get through. The UN's Oil For Food scandal is a pretty good indication on how well that works. Nor is Obama going to let America's military do anything personally to stop Iran's nukes, that's for damned sure. And I certainly don't see Israel trusting France or Britain ( Britain??? Guffaw!) to do anything meaningful either.

    I think a more likely scenario is something like this: in exchange for a temporary building freeze, Obama has promised to try to try and get some kind of symbolic concession out of the Arabs and to come up with whatever watered down sanctions the he can get through the UN, and if that doesn't work out by say, year end, he'll wink at the IDF taking out the Iranian nuke sites.

    There are a number of things wrong with this scenario, from Israel's point of view and from America's.

    First, Obama's new revelation on Iran (if in fact it even exists) is a day late and a dollar short. The mullahs are at most six months to a year from developing nuclear weapons, and their missile technology has progressed to solid fuel, putting all of Europe in range. The day is long past when sanctions can be expected to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. This has implications for America as well, in that it will give Iran the power to shut off oil from the Persian Gulf any time it chooses and black mail Europe. It will also turn Iraq and Lebanon into Iranian colonies.

    Second, Israel already had a formal agreement with the US on Judea and Samaria, one made between President George Bush and Israeli PM Ariel Sharon. That agreement was that existing Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria would be part of Israel in any final settlement and that normal building would be allowed. And the Obama administration, aided and abetted by ex-President Bush's cowardice in keeping his mouth shut has simply pretended it doesn't exist.

    If the Israelis go along with a freeze, they're essentially agreeing to waive the agreement they made with Bush, the entire basis by which Israel signed on to the Roadmap in the first place. Not only that, but they'd be making a new deal with an American administration that has already shown its hostility to Israel and its willingness to renege on any agreements it makes.

    When it comes to Israel, Obama simply isn't part of their fan club. Just like his closest friends, advisers and associates. And don't be fooled by the Jews in his administration like Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. They're simply ruthless and ambitious hard Left careerists who are primarily interested in their own power and aggrandizement. They've latched onto Obama and could care less about any 'anti- Zionist' policies the boss man comes out with as long as they maintain that connection.

    Obama wants to appease the Muslim world and sees Israel as an obstruction to that goal , and certainly not a US ally to be cultivated. As Victor Davis Hanson astutely pointed out, "to Obama, Israel is the exploiting Jewish landlord,the Palestinians are the oppressed tenant and Obama is the superior, all-knowing organizer-mediator who will give pep talks to the Palestinians on "responsibility" and "self-help" while drawing material concessions from the too wealthy Israeli building owner."

    Obama will take whatever the Israelis give him and then simply ask for more without any reciprocation from the Arabs whatsoever. And there's no agreement Netanyahu could make with him that would be worth anything.

    Imagine this scenario: Obama addresses the UN General Assembly in September, as he's scheduled to do. He has an informal agreement with Netanyahu along the lines mentioned above. But then, surrounded by the Arab nations in the anti-Israel UN, Obama unilaterally expands on that agreement, announcing a new plan that would substantially follow the Saudi peace ultimatum, which he's already endorsed.In exchange for an ill-defined 'comprehensive peace' with the Arabs, Obama calls for the Israelis to redivide Jerusalem and cede the Golan and the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria ( AKA the West Bank)to the Arabs, effectively making them judenrein and pushing Israel back to the pre-1967 borders Abba Eban aptly called 'the Auschwitz lines'. he calls for Israel to unconditionally recognize a Palestinian state.

    He doesn't address the other two parts of the Arab demands,releasing convicted murderers from Israeli prisons and swamping what's left of Israel with genocidal 'refugees'- for the present.

    Instead he introduces a couple of new angles. He calls for his anti-Israel adviserSusan Powers' solution, imposing this new settlement and enforcing it with a UN peacekeeping force to establish 'security' along the new borders, which would work about as well as UNFIL has enforcing UN resolutions against Hezbollah in Lebanon. And as a 'confidence building measure' to facilitate negotiations with Iran, he demands that Israel sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and open its nuclear site to espionage umm..inspections from Mohammad El Baradi and the IAEA.

    All this could explain why, after extensive visits by Obama administration special envoys to Damascus, Hamas suddenly made a major change and announced it was now open to Obama's plan for a two state solution.

    Can you imagine the UN not jumping at the chance to vote for this as a binding resolution,particularly with American support? Would anyone listen to the Israelis protesting this rape of their country?

    If Israel accepts anything like this, it will be national suicide. If they don't, they will be seriously isolated as a pariah nation and likely subject to massive sanctions for disobeying the UN diktat....which is probably what Obama intends.

    Middle East peace for the Arabs has never been about 'settlements', 'occupation' or 'refugees'. It's always been about destroying Israel and the Jews. The ludicrous thing, the cosmic bad joke about the whole affair is that by helping destroy Israel, America and the EU are not buying themselves peace but paving the way for their own destruction. As the Iranians and others are fond of chanting, first the Little Satan, then the Big Satan.

    Since Obama is likely to do this no matter what the Israelis agree to, they'd be far better off not bothering with making deals with him. Far better for them to simply hunker down and wait things out, concentrate on their own priorities and perhaps look for some new best friends. Israeli high tech an know how is a highly desired commodity on the world market. And India and China look increasingly promising as consumers.

    Watcher's Council Nominations, 8/27/09

    The Watcher's Council is a group of some of the most incisive blogs in the`sphere. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one of their own and one from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.

    So, let's see what we have this week....and do check out the Watcher's fine commentary Desperate Democrats grasp at straws

    Council Submissions

    Non-Council Submissions

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Ted Kennedy Stumbles Offstage

    "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." -Isaiah 5-20.

    Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy died today at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, succumbing to brain cancer at the age of 77.

    Whatever one might think about his politics, he deserves credit for one thing. He was in a position to live a life of ease and indolence and whether through family pressure or his own convictions, he chose instead to get involved in public service and make a difference as he saw it.

    Normally, being a compassionate person I would simply extend my condolences to his loved ones and move on to other matters. But looking at the various adulatory recaps of Kennedy's career, I feel compelled to spell out exactly what those differences Kennedy made consisted of - just for the record. And just because one seldom sees even a semblance of real honesty in the dinosaur media nowadays.

    I'll limit this examination to the Senator's impact as a mention of any of personal scandals Kennedy was involved in, because that's between the Senator and his Maker at this point.

    What is Kennedy's true legacy?

    Senator Ted Kennedy could accurately be called the Godfather of our current immigration mess, starting with his role in creating and passing the Immigration Act of 1965, which radically changed the demographic face of America. It abolished the long standing quota system based on national origins that had regulated America's demographic composition based on the fair proportion of each group's existing presence in the US population. Instead, the 1965 bill was heavily weighted towards promoting immigration from the third world. It greatly eased immigration requirements for entry and extended those downgraded requirements to extended family members who faced no quota whatsoever, thus allowing 'chain migration'.

    Speaking on the floor of the Senate in 1965, Senator Kennedy had this to say about the bill:

    “Our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same. Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset. Contrary to the charges in some quarters, the bill will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia — and in the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.

    The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs..No immigrant visa will be issued to a person who is likely to become a public charge.”

    Kennedy assured the American people that immigration would remain at around 300,000 per year, as it was in 1965. It almost doubled the year after the bill was passed and is now running at well over a million legal immigrants per year.

    Needless to say, the Senator wasn't being exactly truthful here. But the numbers alone don't tell the story. While many of the immigrants became a productive and vital part of American society, Kennedy's bill allowed in a lot of immigrants in who would indeed become public charges, or work in government or at low paying blue collar jobs, or for the unions, thus insuring the political survival of the Democrats as they now exist. His party owes him a debt for that. The country as a whole, perhaps not so much.

    Senator Kennedy was also behind the 1980 Refugee Act was designed to remove foreign-policy considerations from our immigrations laws. What it actually did was to create a massive bureaucracy that has sent phony asylum applications skyrocketing to over 120,000 a year. And it also allows immigration from a number of questionable countries in places like the Middle East with a record of exporting terrorism to these shores.

    He was also a major mover and shaker behind the fraud-ridden 1986 immigration amnesty, one of Ronald Reagan's worst mistakes during his presidency. As you'll remember, Kennedy tried to repeat that last year with yet another amnesty bill. Since he obviously had the opportunity to see the results of his first one, one can't defend him by assuming he simply didn't know what he was doing.

    Thanks to the amnesty bill and the other legislation Kennedy engineered, there are now over three million people on the visa waiting list, which stretches for years and years. Kennedy's legislation created the Byzantine, loophole ridden immigration laws we have today. There are huge backlogs, for one thing, to the point where the system for legal immigration is inundated and overwhelmed.Any American citizen who legally marries a foreign spouse and has attempted to get them into the US can tell you what a nightmare it is. The sheer volume of applications crushes an already dysfunctional system and allows very little oversight. It's also now difficult if not impossible to deal with visa fraud and detect people who overstay visas thanks to Kennedy's 'reforms'. And ICE still has no effective arrival/departure tracking system in a post-9/11 era. We have difficulty even finding and deporting illegal aliens and committers of Visa and Green Card fraud who've already been given court orders for deportation. As I write this, there are over 600,000 illegal aliens who already have court orders for deportation who ICE is simply unable to find.

    And As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Kennedy also did little or nothing to deal with curbing illegal immigration, and vigorously fought any legislation designed to improve the situation. All in all, it's quite a legacy.

    But wait, there's more.

    On the foreign policy front, Senator Kennedy could best be described as charitably on the wrong side of history.

    He was a major supporter of the IRA, demanded that British troops leave Ulster, called for a united Ireland, and the ethnic cleansing of Ulster, and declared that Protestants who could not accept this "should be given a decent opportunity to go back to Britain."

    He strongly opposed President Nixon's policies for ending the war in Vietnam while our troops were under fire, calling for an immediate pullout and thus being part of the movement in this country dedicated to what amounted to sabotaging a war effort . After Nixon successfully ended the war, Kennedy later was a leader of those congressmen who gleefully supported abrogating our signed treaties and breaking our pledged word to Vietnam and Cambodia as part of the Democrat majority that took office after Watergate.The cut off in military aid he and his fellow Democrats voted for doomed millions of Cambodians and Vietnamese to death,Communist slavery and for the lucky ones, exile.It ranks as one of the most despicable foreign policy decisions in American history.

    He was also a major supporter of the Church Committee and it's legislation, which essentially eviscerated US intelligence during the Cold War with effects that continue to this day. Needless to say, he supported President Carter's policies on Iran that transformed an ally into a violent Islamist theocracy at war with America.

    Throughout the Cold War, Kennedy was a major supporter of arms reductions, nuclear test bans and disarmament. He opposed all of President Reagan's strategies that eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Empire and the end of the Cold War, including U.S. aid to a friendly government in El Salvador, U.S. support for the Contras in Nicaragua, Reagan's defense buildup, the B-1 bomber, the MX missile, and the Strategic Defense Initiative as well as deployment of US missiles in Europe to defend our NATO allies. He was also the Senate's leading advocate of a nuclear freeze, even if it was unilateral.

    In other foreign policy decisions, he voted against the First Gulf War,and voted against George W. Bush's bill authorizing use of military force against Iraq in 2002, for which I can't exactly fault him. But once the bill passed and the troops were committed, he repeated his Vietnam role and consistently did his best to legislatively impede funding men under fire, both in his votes and in committee shenanigans. He also consistently supported an immediate pullout.

    As a matter of fact, virtually the only proactive US policy Senator Kennedy supported in all his years in the Senate was Clinton's intervention in Kossovo.

    Kennedy was a leader among those who opposed Bush's surveillance plan and virtually any major efforts against Islamist terrorism. In September of 2007, he voted no on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists...even when they were involved in killing our warriors overseas.

    When it comes to issues like Second Amendment rights, abortion, tax policy or other domestic policy, Senator Kennedy's votes can be imagined. Here are a few highlights:

    Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)

    Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999, Mar 2003)

    Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get abortions. (Jul 2006)

    Voted NO on banning human cloning. (Feb 1998)

    Voted NO on paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness. (Mar 2007)

    Voted NO on Balanced-budget constitutional amendment. (Mar 1997)

    Voted NO on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration.(Dec 1995, June 2006)

    Voted NO on school vouchers (Sep 1997, January 2001)

    Voted NO on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections. (Sep 2005, Jul 2007)

    Voted NO on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration. (Feb 2002)

    Voted NO on allowing personal retirement accounts. (Apr 1998)

    Aside from his immigration policies, Senator Kennedy's most lasting contribution to American life is the addition of a new word to the national vocabulary, 'borking'.

    This refers to the Senator's actions when President Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, an eminently qualified jurist.He was widely expected to be easily confirmed.

    Kennedy's response was to launch a totally false, vicious and even libelous attack on Judge Bork, calling him a racist, misogynist and fascist:

    "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens ..."

    The Reagan Administration was ill-prepared for Kennedy's assault, which was unprecedented in modern times when it came to court or cabinet nominees. And when Judge Bork fell into the trap Kennedy set for him and became outraged at the attacks on his character, Kennedy was able to muster enough opposition to defeat Bork's nomination. This essentially changed the way Washington worked, making partisan attacks and all-out war waged against nominees standard operating procedure.

    Kennedy's 'borking' had a major influence on poisoning bi-partisan cooperation in Congress and still has a huge effect being felt two decades later. Ironically, his apologists tout him as a model of bi-partisan cooperation!

    Am I saying here that Ted Kennedy was an evil man? That's simply not for me to judge. He had his opinions and goals and pursued them with an admirable single mindedness. A few of them any right thinking person would agree with. But it's also true that the vast majority of the ideas and policies he embraced and helped create and implement hurt the country badly, dissipated its wealth, and poisoned the waters. He lived his entire public life as one of the curious breed of birds who foul their own nest, and reveled in it.

    Since it's become obvious the media won't do it, I suppose it's left for me to put Senator Ted Kennedy's real legacy out into the ozone. for whatever that might be worth.

    There's a ghoulish move among the Democrats to make political advantage out of Kennedy's death and rename the abortive ObamaCare bill after him, in tribute to his long standing support of government run health care.

    In view of the policies Ted Kennedy advocated in the Senate during his time there and their poisonous effect on America, naming the ObamaCare bill after him is a sterling example of one cause Senator Kennedy supported that I definitely agree with - truth in labeling.



    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    US To Stop Issuing Honduras Visas Until Zelaya Returned To Power

    Yes, the Obama Administration continues to pressure Honduras to take back impeached presidente and Hugo Chavez wanna-be Manuel Zelaya.Just another case of the Obama Administration behaving with obsequiousness to our enemies and with rancor and sheer nastiness to our friends:

    The United States will stop issuing most visas on Wednesday at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras because of the current government is standing by its refusal to sign an accord that would bring back overthrown President Manuel Zelaya.

    A statement by State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the United States considers the San Jose Accord, sponsored by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, the best solution to the impasse begun with Zelaya's overthrow and expulsion on June 28.

    What impasse? Zelaya, a neo-Marxist with an ideology similar to Chavez, Daniel Ortega, Envio Morales and the Castros was legally tossed out by the Honduran Supreme Court after he attempted to push through an illegal referendum expanding his powers and term of office that violated the Honduran Constitution, and except for Zelaya's hardline supporters the Honduran people appear to be glad he's gone.

    We ought to be standing up for them. Instead, Obama has cut millions in US aid and continues to ramp up the pressure.

    The sordid spectacle of the Obama Administration attempting to bully one of our few Latin American allies to try and gain favor with a bunch of anti-American Marxist thugs is a despicable one, but hardly unexpected.

    Birds of a feather and all that...

    Further Discussion: The one and only Faustahas a fine piece examining what the Obama Administration wants the current Honduran government to do, aside from restoring Zelaya to power - and why it violates the Honduran laws and Constitution.

    Iraqi Shiite Alliance Discards Maliki And Moves Closer To Iran

    Iraqi PM Maliki is definitely in some trouble. The major Iranian-backed Shiite parties that propelled him into power three years ago formed a new political alliance and dumped him yesterday as their candidate for re-election for the January 2010 election.

    The new bloc, the Iraqi National Alliance, is led by the largest Shiite party, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, and a bloc loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Both have close ties to the mullahs in Iran.

    The new bloc replaces the Shiite alliance that won the last election in December 2005, taking most of the places in the in the 275-seat legislature.

    Maliki has been juggling their support and the support of the Sunni parties for quite some time, and it was only a matter of time until the tribal brinkmanship toppled.

    Al-Maliki now has some interesting choices to make. His own Dawa party is fairly small and doesn't give him much of a loyal political base. He can either try to make a deal with minority Sunni parties or even the Kurds to strengthen his position, but that risks peeling off even more Shiites from his supporters.Or he can try moving more towards a hard line Shiite pro-Iran position in hopes of pulling enough votes to cobble together a coalition.

    Maliki was counting on his reputation as a strong leader to win re-election, based on his defeating al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and keeping order in Baghdad.

    That reputation took a major blow from the wave of horrific bombings and violence that occurred once US forces pulled out of Iraq's cities.

    If Maliki is tossed out of office in January, the US would be faced with an increasingly hostile pro-Iranian regime in Iraq as we withdraw. The final US withdrawal is scheduled for 2011, but the Iraqis will vote in a referendum before then whether to request an earlier US withdrawal.

    On the other hand, if he wins by pandering to the Shiite pro-Iran voters, the result will be pretty much the same.

    Today's Must Reads, 8/25/09

    Here are today's must read links. See something interesting out there? Send me anything you want me to review for this section at

  • Steve Forbes::Obama Is Retarding Economic Recovery

  • AP: White House projects bigger deficits, bigger debt

  • The Hill::Senator Warns of Hyperinflation

  • Bloomberg:Major Democrat Fundraiser Arrested in $74M Citibank Fraud

  • Bloomberg: Court Orders Federal Reserve to Disclose Companies, Details On Emergency Loans

  • Dr. Kevin Pho :Why The Doctor Won't See You Now - There Aren't Enough Doctors For Universal Healthcare

  • Daily Mail: Britain's NHS forced to import foreign doctors at huge cost

  • Politico : Rep. Peter King On Holder - 'You have to wonder which side they're on.'

  • Weekly Standard:Cheney Statement On CIA Documents/Investigation

  • Powerline : What The CIA report Says

  • Ed Morrisey/Hot Air: CIA docs: EITs worked

  • NY Daily News :Rudy Giuliani Strongly Considering Run For Governor

  • Nevada Polls Show Reid In Big Trouble

  • Debra Saunders, SF Chronicle: The mysterious case of Scottish justice

  • Marty Peretz/New Republic: Obama's Inept Reply to Libyan Pep Rally

  • Ralph Peters: A Wining Week For Terror

  • Richard Pipes/WSJ:Pride And Power - Aligning Russia Back With The West

  • Der Spiegel:Interview With Israeli Intelligence Chief Dan Meridor-'We All See the Clock Ticking'

  • Caroline Glick:Netanyahu's Perilous Statecraft

  • Melanie Phillips:The Bitter Fruits Of Appeasement

  • Pam Geller/American Thinker: Media Lies About Rifqa Bary

  • Monday, August 24, 2009

    AG Holder Names Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Terrorist Interrogations

    "She's a witch CIA Interrogator..burn her!"

    The AG had this ready and was obviously waiting for Obama's final OK:

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move.

    Holder is poised to name John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to lead the inquiry, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

    It also appears that Durham has 'issues' with the CIA anyway:

    The attorney general selected Durham in part because the longtime prosecutor is familiar with the CIA and its past interrogation regime. For nearly two years, Durham has been probing whether laws against obstruction or false statements were violated in connection with the 2005 destruction of CIA videotapes. The tapes allegedly depicted brutal scenes including waterboarding of some of the agency's high value detainees. That inquiry is proceeding before a grand jury in Alexandria, although lawyers following the investigation have cast doubt on whether it will result in any criminal charges.

    Nine GOP senators on the Senate on the Judiciary Committee spent time last week urging Holder not to do this.

    "The intelligence community will be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift," said the letter, signed by lawmakers including Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), John Cornyn (Tex.), Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Charles Grassley (Iowa).

    These senators, unfortunately, are living in a dream world. Barack Obama needs to get people's minds off the healthcare debacle. And he needs to gin up his Angry Left base and his pals in the media. What better way than to pull something out of the old Obama playbook and demonize BushHitler one more time? It's always worked before, and in this administration politics trumps everything, even national security.

    That's simply how it is.

    Obama Versus CIA: New WH Interrogation Unit Created As Panetta Threatens To Resign

    Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton announced today that President Obama has approved creating a brand new anti-terrorism interrogation squad that will report directly to the White House:

    The administration has also decided that all U.S. interrogators will follow the rules for detainees laid out by the Army Field Manual, according to senior administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision. That decision aims to end years of fierce debate over how rough U.S. personnel can get with terror suspects in custody. {...}

    Burton said the unit will include "all these different elements under one group," and it said that it will be situated at the FBI headquarters in Washington.

    The unit would be led by an FBI official, with a deputy director from somewhere in the government's vast intelligence apparatus, and members from across agencies.
    It will be directly supervised by the White House, but the senior administration officials insisted the unit's agency bosses will make operational decisions, not the White House.

    The officials also said that in cases where terror suspects are transferred to other countries, the U.S. will work harder to ensure the suspect is not tortured.

    Separately, Burton said that a recommendation now before Attorney General Eric Holder to reopen and pursue prisoner abuse cases is a decision solely for Holder to make without any intervention from the president.

    The structure of the new unit the White House is creating would depart significantly from such work under the previous administration, when the CIA had the lead and sometimes exclusive role in questioning al-Qaida suspects.

    There quite a bit of meat here, and I'm not surprised that Obama waited until he was on vacation to have one of his spokesmouths announce it to avoid any awkward questions for awhile.

    First, the formation of this new unit reporting directly to the president is yet one more example of this Administration's obsessive consolidating of power in its own hands through minions and 'czars' and 'special envoys' who report directly to the White House and undercut the normal congressional oversight.

    To name just two examples of how this has worked , at the State Department, the UN envoys' seat was changed into a cabinet level post reporting directly to Obama and presidential special envoys were named to handle all the major diplomatic hot spots to the point where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's role is basically that of messenger girl and occasional spokeswoman.

    And in the Department of Commerce, cabinet nominee Judd Gregg removed his name from consideration once he found out that Obama and Rahm Emanuel were going to politicize the 2010 census by running it out of the White House instead of allowing the Department of Commerce to conduct it as it always has.

    Second, this statement is a clear indication that Obama has decided to reduce the CIA to a mere figurehead, and the fact that the FBI is taking the lead is a clear indication that this White House considers Islamist fascism as primarily a law enforcement problem.

    Obama started out by putting a political apparatchnik in charge of the CIA and severely downgrading the Agency's mission, even overseas. As I reported previously, the Obama Administration now has FBI agents conducting interrogations and actually reading captured jihadis in Afghanistan and elsewhere their Miranda Rights as part of what the Administration policy known as the Global Justice Initiative, which allows the FBI and the most far Left Justice Department in American history to essentially take over global counter-terrorism operations and design their investigations with court cases in mind.

    The final blow is allowing Attorney General Eric Holder carte blanche to conduct a witch hunt on CIA personnel for any activities deemed as 'torture' during the Bush Administration, and probably to extend it to higher level members of the Bush Administration itself.

    This is something new in American politics, the use of the Justice Department to prosecute the out of power political opposition. It's the sort of move more associated with coups and juntas than America's traditional democracy, which has always been noted for peaceful transitions.

    In fact, that's the entire rationale for this. It isn't about 'justice' or reforming the way we interrogate people. It's politics, as always with Obama. He badly needs to distract attention from the health care debacle, and he's going to do it by attacking the Bush Administration again and grabbing a few scalps to excite his base.

    This is very different from what Obama has said about the matter in the past, but with this president, who's counting?

    Actually, it's probably just as well the CIA isn't going to be handling terrorism investigations and interrogations in the future. After this, one couldn't blame the agents for anything if they're merely going through the motions.After all, why risk getting hauled before Holder's Star Chamber and risk losing your livelyhood and your retirement just for trying to do your job properly?

    Speaking of the political apparatchnik, Leon Panetta is apparently pretty upset about all this and is reportedly talking resignation.Apparently he actually figured on having some real input in US security policy:

    A "profanity-laced screaming match" at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC {...}

    According to intelligence officials, Panetta erupted in a tirade last month during a meeting with a senior White House staff member. Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed "torture." {..}

    In addition to concerns about the CIA's reputation and its legal exposure, other White House insiders say Panetta has been frustrated by what he perceives to be less of a role than he was promised in the administration's intelligence structure. Panetta has reportedly chafed at reporting through the director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, according to the senior adviser who said Blair is equally unhappy with Panetta.

    Panetta was already in hot water with the CIA rank and file for being an outsider with no knowledge of espionage, and for insulting the Agency during his confirmation by shooting his mouth off in an AP interview.

    He tried to make nice by promising his men - 'on the every highest authority'- that they didn't have to worry about an Obama Administration witch hunt.But now Obama and Attorney General Holder just made him a liar to his own men publicly. While lying per se has never been a problem for Panetta, it can't be pleasant wondering if today's the day the limo blows up when the ignition key's turned on, or having some low level secretary taste your coffee every morning. Not to mention someone of Panetta's inflated sense of self-importance being reduced to a chair sitter with absolutely no power whatsoever.

    I'll permit myself a malicious giggle at the way people like Hillary and Panetta thought that they were co-opting Obama while all the while he was umm....out-Clintoning them.

    What isn't funny is the idea of treating the Islamist threat like a law enforcement problem. We tried that before prior to 9-11 and it didn't work out so well.

    In many ways, we've regressed to exactly where we were the day before the jihadis struck our country and turned the World Trade Center into a smoldering, ash laden burial ground for a large number of our fellow Americans.

    And that's a sobering thought.

    Sunday, August 23, 2009

    Today's Must Reads.............

    Here are today's must read links. See something interesting out there? Send me anything you want me to review for this section at

  • Drake Bennett, Boston Globe ::Can Money Buy Happiness?

  • Rasmussen: Obama Approval Ratings Hit New Low

  • Newsbusters::The Truth About Whether Obamacare Funds Abortions

  • Ace of Spades:Obama is lying About Healthcare bill funding abortions

  • The Politico: Chuck Schumer Wants Democrat Only Obamacare Plan

  • Dr. Kevin Pho :Why The Doctor Won't See You Now - There Aren't Enough Doctors For Universal Healthcare

  • Investor's Business Daily: Health Mandate Could Impose Costly Burden On Middle Class

  • Mark Steyn: How Obama's Stimulus Has Prolonged The Recession

  • Christian Science Monitor:Head of US Joint Chiefs Of Staff Joins In Lockerbie Outrage

  • Sunday Herald :America's Rage Over Lockerbie

  • WSJ: 'Dear Moamar' - The UK's Bad Deal With Gadhaffi

  • Con Coughlin? Daily Telegraph: The West Is Giving Karzai One Last Chance

  • Bloomberg: Head Of JCS Says Afghan Security Situation ‘Serious,’ Getting Worse

  • Richard Pipes/WSJ:Pride And Power - Aligning Russia Back With The West

  • Michael Jacobson, Washington Institute For Near East Policy:Cracking Down on Iran's Illicit Trade

  • Caroline Glick:Netanyahu's Perilous Statecraft

  • Melanie Phillips:The Bitter Fruits Of Appeasement

  • Andrew Bostom/American Thinker :Killing Rifqa - A Muslim Apostate Flees An Honor Killing In America

  • Wafa Sultan/Jihadwatch: Rifqa Bary’s case highlights the danger of creeping Jihad in the Western world

  • Watcher's Council Results, 8/21/09

    The Council has spoken! A complete rundown of the voting tallies is here.

    The winning entry in the Council category this week was Bookworm Room with The view from the other side re health care, her very interesting recounting of a conversation with a pro-Obamacare physician.

    In second place was Mere Rhetoric for Human Rights Watch Earns Their Saudi Pay, Publishes Another Thinly-Sourced Report Demonizing Israel a great fisking of a biased anti-Israel NGO.

    Also getting votes were Right Truth for We have an opportunity to prevent a disaster, The Glittering Eye for The Healthcare Reform We Need, Joshuapundit for ‘Moderate’ Fatah Declares War On Israel, Soccer Dad with Still stuck on “moderate”, and Rhymes With Right for About The Gun-Toters At Town Halls And Presidential Events

    In the Non-Council category, the winner was zenpundit for On Afghanistan and Strategy

    In second place, we had a tie between Victor Davis Hanson with Our Ongoing Catharsis, which I nominated and David Goldhill in the Atlantic for How American Health Care Killed My Father.

    As always, congratulations not only to the winners but to the participants.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    Courageous Ex-Marine Vs Democrat Congressman At A Townhall - No Contest

    Just another of those dangerous right wing extremists Obama and his pals are warning us about...and this one, ex-Marine vet David Hedrick wasn't about to be intimidated or silenced when talking to the likes of Congressman Brian Baird.

    Money quotes: "Stay away from my kids" and "If Nancy Pelosi Wants To Find A Swastika, Maybe She Should Look On The Sleeve Of Her Own Arm".

    This world class bitch slapping was delivered in a matter-of-fact tone without Hedrick ever needing to yell. And to say the least, the tribe heartily approved.

    A must see. ( hat tip Ace)

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Allah And Man At Yale ( With Apologies To WF Buckley)

    The above photo is of Yale's Coxe Cage, October 2008 showing hundreds of area Muslims, including Yale students, gathered for an Islamic service.

    This is the same university where the Yale University Press just censored the Danish MoToons and other imagery of Muhammad from an upcoming book about the cartoons and images of Mohammed, believe it or not.

    It's all part of the ongoing Islamization and dhimmitude of Yale and the other Ivy League colleges.Diana West has the story...and more on her blog.

    An informative read to start the weekend off with...

    Somebody Needs To Doublecheck Their...Ummm..Headlines

    Long time Joshua's Army member Louie Louie sent this my way. Kinda funny, and it sort of speaks for itself.

    The accompanying photo probably wasn't the best choice either...!

    Obama hikes deficit to $9 Trillion - and then goes on vacation

    President Obama just revised his ten year deficit projection sharply upwards, from $7.108 trillion to approximately $9 trillion.

    And that's without Obamacare.

    The figures Obama is admitting to now are more in line with those put out by the Congressional Budget Office. Oh, you remember..the ones Obama and his friends said were all wrong and vastly, vastly inflated.

    In other news, the president leaves DC today and is headed to Martha's Vineyard for a 10 day vacation at a private 28-acre estate that rents for $35,000 a week.

    I suppose he needs a nice rest after all his hard work.