Friday, December 10, 2004

MoveOn Is Taking Over

CNN is reporting that MoveOnPAC, a 527 group, sent an e-mail to their supporters.

"For years, the party has been led by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base," said the e-mail from MoveOn PAC's Eli Pariser. "But we can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers."

This quote was of particular interest:

"In the last year, grass-roots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive," the message continued. "Now it's our party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back."
"Call me crazy, but I think the fact that for the first time in party history we outraised the Republicans, and did so primarily through grass-roots fund raising is something to be proud of," Cabrera said.

The Democratic party has a real problem. MoveOn represents the Michael Moore crowd. They are definitely on the left side of the party. From their quotes, it looks like they're planning on either taking over the party from the more moderate elements or will end up starting their own party. If MoveOn starts their own party, it would mean the end of the Democratic party. The Democratic party needs the far left to win elections. This is obvious from the elections lost because of Ralph Nader. If MoveOn takes the party over, they will alienate moderates and push them over to the Republicans. In the past 25 years and longer, the Democrats haven't been able to run and win a liberal president. Kerry was the closest they got but that was mostly because of an anti-Bush sentiment within the whole party as well as the fact that Kerry never committed to too many positions. Bill Clinton always ran as a Southern Democrat and a moderate. Many of his policies weren't moderate (ie Socialized Medicine) but he was always able to run on a moderate platform. So the Democrats find them selves in a very difficult position.

On a side note, this quote I thought was funny:

"In the last year, grass-roots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive,"

I thought 527 were supposed to have no direct ties or coordination to the candidacy itself. So much for campaign finance reform.

P.S. - I'm looking for a copy of the whole e-mail. If anyone has a link to it, I'd appreciate it.


Shot In The Dark

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Parents Go On Strike

The parents of a Deltona, Florida family have gone on strike to teach their kids to help out around the house. The story can be read here.

"I want socially conscious children. That's what I want. Children who can see the world beyond them," Barnard said.

Barnard said the kids don't know how to rinse the dishes, let alone put them in the dishwasher.

Barnard and her husband, Harlan, moved out of the house and into the driveway complete with picket signs, the tent, a grill and a television Monday. Tired of wisecracks and no help with cleaning or straightening up, they went on strike.

"We cannot let them continue on this path because this is not preparing them for the real world ... It's not that I want indentured servants, I want children who can see beyond their own noses," Cat Barnard said.

Some have suggested the wrong people are in the driveway and that the Barnards need to be tougher and not use psychology with their kids.

I tend to agree with the people in the last paragraph. There is a real lack of discipline among many parents today. Parent's are afraid to punish their kids or else they might not be their best friend. Kids seem to have the upper hand in the family and that's just wrong. When my wife and I took a pre-natal class before my first child was born, the nurse would go on about not letting your baby cry, feeding on demand, not keeping a schedule, and basically doing whatever the kid wants you to do. The fact is, kids want structure. They want boundaries. These things make them feel safe because they know what to expect. They will always test boundaries, but they give them a sense of security. They don't want parents to be friends. They have peers that are much better at that. They want parents to be parents. Too often I see people that let the kids rule the roost and in the end, they aren't going to learn to be accountable for their actions because they never have consequences. I fear for the children raised up in this kind of situation and for our society as a result of it.

Rumsfeld's Questioners Planted By Reporter

Drudge is has a copy of an e-mail from an embedded reporter that apparently planted the questions about the armored vehicles that Secretary Rumsfeld was asked yesterday in Kuwait. Here's a copy:

Sent: Wednesday, December 8, 2004 4:44 PM
To: Staffers

Subject: RE: Way to go

I just had one of my best days as a journalist today. As luck would have it, our journey North was delayed just long enough see I could attend a visit today here by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. I was told yesterday that only soldiers could ask questions so I brought two of them along with me as my escorts. Before hand we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have. While waiting for the VIP, I went and found the Sgt. in charge of the microphone for the question and answer session and made sure he knew to get my guys out of the crowd.

So during the Q&A session, one of my guys was the second person called on. When he asked Rumsfeld why after two years here soldiers are still having to dig through trash bins to find rusted scrap metal and cracked ballistic windows for their Humvees, the place erupted in cheers so loud that Rumsfeld had to ask the guy to repeat his question. Then Rumsfeld answered something about it being "not a lack of desire or money but a logistics/physics problem." He said he recently saw about 8 of the special up-armored Humvees guarding Washington, DC, and he promised that they would no longer be used for that and that he would send them over here. Then he asked a three star general standing behind him, the commander of all ground forces here, to also answer the question. The general said it was a problem he is working on.

The great part was that after the event was over the throng of national media following Rumsfeld- The New York Times, AP, all the major networks -- swarmed to the two soldiers I brought from the unit I am embedded with. Out of the 1,000 or so troops at the event there were only a handful of guys from my unit b/c the rest were too busy prepping for our trip north. The national media asked if they were the guys with the armor problem and then stuck cameras in their faces. The NY Times reporter asked me to email him the stories I had already done on it, but I said he could search for them himself on the Internet and he better not steal any of my lines. I have been trying to get this story out for weeks- as soon as I foud out I would be on an unarmored truck- and my paper published two stories on it. But it felt good to hand it off to the national press. I believe lives are at stake with so many soldiers going across the border riding with scrap metal as protection. It may be to late for the unit I am with, but hopefully not for those who come after.

The press officer in charge of my regiment, the 278th, came up to me afterwords and asked if my story would be positive. I replied that I would write the truth. Then I pointed at the horde of national media pointing cameras and mics at the 278th guys and said he had bigger problems on his hands than the Chattanooga Times Free Press. This is what this job is all about - people need to know. The solider who asked the question said he felt good b/c he took his complaints to the top. When he got back to his unit most of the guys patted him on the back but a few of the officers were upset b/c they thought it would make them look bad. From what I understand this is all over the news back home.



I know that the armor on some of the personnel vehicles has been lacking. Should the military get better armor? Of course, and it's in progress. The President has been trying to procure money from congress to try and improve the situation. The fact that soldiers are improvising in the mean time is nothing new. This has always been done in the military and is encouraged. The problem I have with it is its purpose. This was set up purposely to further a reporters career and to give the media something to jump on the administration about. The media has used it to try and show that there is widespread discontent and a huge lack of support within the military for this administration which is very obviously not true. Just like focusing on the few number of deserters and lawsuits, the media is trying to take something that is miniscule in consequence and blow it up to push their political view.


A Line In The Sand

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Desertion and the Deserting Deserters who Desert

Two news stories have caught my eye in the past three days. The first is about a petty officer in the Navy, Pablo Paredes, that has made a huge media spectacle concerning his refusal to deploy on Monday from San Diego. The San Diego Union Tribune has been reporting on it since Saturday when he started calling news agencies for press coverage. It's also been all over the local news. Paredes went down to the naval pier to make his point seen and was planning to through his military ID into the water (though he didn't when he found out he could be fined for destruction of government property). He brought friends to video tape the whole thing with instructions to send it to Michael Moore should anything happen to him. I'm sure he was disappointed when he wasn't so much as even arrested. What will Paredes do now?

Paredes is looking for a lawyer to represent him for free before he turns himself in to the Navy.

"I knew what was coming," Paredes said, "and now I just have to see it through."

The second story I found today thanks to Drudge. A marine, Jeremy Hinzman, didn't show up for deployment and has escaped to Canada and is seeking political asylum. Hinzman is testifying in a hearing on all of the atrocities and murders of civilians US soldiers are committing over in Iraq. Of course, most of the occurrences cited were well known in the media and were legitimate given the circumstances (ie shooting up a car of civilians as it attempted to rush a military checkpoint). Here's a telling quote from Hinzman:

"I was deeply concerned about the civilian casualties," he said.

"What they were doing was committing murder."
"This was a criminal war," Hinzman said.

"Any act of violence in an unjustified conflict is an atrocity."

The fact is, these men as well as some others that have popped up in the media here and there signed a contract and made a commitment and took an oath. It is up to them to fulfill their commitment. They don't have the option to pick and choose where they want to go and what conflict to take part in. If that were the case, it would make the military ineffective as a fighting force. They obviously have the right to break their contracts and their commitments, but they will suffer the consequences of their actions. Paredes will likely spend a year or two in jail. Hinzman should get deported back the US to face his consequences as well. I'm sure some on the left will cheer them on for their protest because of their general disdain for the military, but most people, like myself, will have no respect for men who refuse to carry out the duty that they had agreed to.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Annan Digging In

The AP has a story with Kofi Annan's response to Senator Coleman's, among other's, call for his resignation.

"I have quite a lot of work to do and I'm carrying on with my work," Annan said when asked when he would respond to those calling for his resignation. "We have a major agenda next year, and the year ahead, trying to reform this organization. So we'll carry on."

Asked if he was definitely saying he would not resign, Annan replied: "I think you heard my answer."

It's telling that the only ones calling for his resignation are from the United States.

Five Republicans in the House of Representative on Monday backed a call last week by a GOP senator for Annan to resign amid allegations of corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program. But outside the United States, there is no clamor for the secretary-general's resignation, and he has picked up support from many of the 191 U.N. member states.

Why is that? The Oil-For-Food Scandal has allowed billions of dollars to be siphoned off and gone to Saddam Hussein's palaces, weapons programs, and supported Islamic terrorism, especially in Palestine, and has lined the pockets of officials all over Europe and Asia. Kofi Annan's own son has been found to be one of the ring leaders. All of this has happened either with the cooperation of the Secretary General or at the very least right under his nose. This, obviously, affected the UN's ability to deal with Iraq effectively and to enforce its own resolutions to the point that the US had to go outside of the UN and obtained its own coalition to get the job done.

Now Kofi Annan wants to be the one to reform it all. Why should he have that chance? He's already demonstrated himself to be at best incompetent and at worse a criminal. And look at who's supporting him. EVERYONE ELSE!!! What is this world that we live in? Why isn't every nation clamoring for his resignation? I know we can't be an island in the world and start isolating ourselves again like in the early 20th century, but you can see why people have wanted to. Is this the UN we want to be a part of? Is corruption so commonplace everywhere else, that they can flaunt it now? We have our own corruptions, but at least we don't accept it and when it's found, the public demands payment for the crimes. Until the UN and the rest of the world gets its act together, it will continue to be ineffective in its role and it will be up to us to pick up the slack. It is in our best interest to do whatever is in our power to either reform the UN or get out.


Captain's Quareters
Shot In The Dark
American Kestrel

Monday, December 06, 2004

America's Enemies - Past and Present

Here's a story I heard last night. You can read the full text in the Deseret News. Here's the main story:

....Several months later on Christmas Eve, I had just celebrated my 20th birthday on Dec. 21. We were on our way home from the Mediterranean approaching the Straits of Gibraltar on our way to the North Atlantic. We were happily bound for the East Coast of the good old USA. It was a stormy night that Christmas Eve, and I was once again on watch at the bow of the ship.

The sea was covered in white caps, which make it almost impossible to see "turkey feathers," a term we used to describe the white plume that flows behind a submarine's periscope when it is close to the surface. Understandably all of our thoughts were of home and of Christmas and of hopes of soon being with our families.

The past days had been unremarkable, and the sights, sounds and smell of the ocean lulled me into a sense of well-being. Then it all seemed to happen in an instant. I saw the plume of a periscope appear off the port side of our ship. It couldn't have been more than 100 yards away. I had no chance to ring the bridge this time. They must have seen the periscope at the same time I did because the ship was suddenly alive with alarms and shouts of men scurrying to their battle stations.

But there was no time to ready ourselves for a fight. There was no time to protect ourselves in any way. The submarine was already on us, rising up out of that choppy sea. The enemy had us dead to rights. I'll never forget what happened next.

There was a flashing. Dash dash, dot dot dash dot. I mouthed the letters as I saw the German submarine blinking its Morse code message. I couldn't believe what was I was seeing. M-E-R. Could I be reading it correctly? Another "R" and then, dash dot dash dash, a "Y." It was happening so fast as the second word flashed to us in the darkness. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. Then it was over. As fast as the U-boat had appeared it sank back into the blackness of the sea and was gone.

We all stood transfixed. No one moved for several seconds as we recovered from our shock and surprise. We had escaped death before by a twist of fate or maybe luck.

But on this Christmas Eve we had been given a gift. As the reality of what had just transpired and the words "Merry Christmas" took hold in our minds and then our hearts, we unitedly sent up a cheer. A cheer of relief, and of joy and true celebration.

I have had many wonderful Christmases since that Christmas Eve in 1944. I was able to marry and spend 56 years with my lovely wife and help to raise our three children.

Each consecutive Christmas has been surrounded by grandchildren and now, great-grandchildren. None of these memories would have ever been possible if it wasn't for that fortuitous night when the "enemy" gave a ship full of men the gift of peace and one of their best Christmas memories possible.

World War II has been described by many as the last good war. Here we had an enemy that was truly evil. They were bent on world domination and killed indiscriminately for no better reason than ethnic heritage and prejudices. Yet things like this happened. I've also heard stories of battlefields becoming quiet (though this may have been World War I) on christmas eve and enemies sharing a brief moment of peace together. How does this compare with our current enemy of radical Islam? Would something comparable to this happen in our current conflict? Could something like this happen? Give me your thoughts in the comments section.