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HEADLINES:      September 6 - Huge Step Taken by Europe’s Bank to Abate a Crisis       September 6 - U.S. policy on China sees little progress       September 6 - State Department drops Maoists from terrorist watch list       September 6 - Venezuela Holds U.S. Vessel And Crew On Suspicion Of Arms Trafficking       September 5 - DNC Overrules Delegates, Rams God and Jerusalem Back into Platform       September 5 - Powerful quake hits Costa Rica      

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Keep Talking, Bobby

Sometimes I wonder if some of these people on the left know how they sound. Yesterday, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote for The Huffington Post that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and in turn President Bush, are responsible for Hurricane Katrina.

Kennedy cites a memo that Barbour wrote and sent to White House officials designed to dissuade the regulation of CO2. According to Kennedy, the memo resulted in the President's March 13, 2001 announcement that he would not support mandatory CO2 caps.

Kennedy then claims that global warming science is clear and cites a recent study published by a "renowned MIT climatologist" which "linked the increasing prevalence of destructive hurricanes to human-induced global warming."

Kennedy's overt "Blame America First" attitude shines brightly when he states, "Our destructive addiction (fossil fuel dependence) has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and--now--Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children."

So, we went to war with Iraq for oil (what a worn-out and ludicrous argument!), and the Haley Barbour/George W. Bush combination caused Hurricane Katrina! Keep talking, Bobby. With the left advancing knuckleheaded arguments like this, Republicans should continue to win elections for a long time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami devastated large parts of Asia and Africa. On December 31st, the United States pledged $350 million in relief assistance. On February 9, 2005, President Bush asked Congress to increase that amount to a total of $950 million. By February 14th, the U.S. military had delivered over 9.4 million pounds of relief supplies to the affected areas. Current estimates of private U.S. citizens' donations to tsunami victims, according to the USAID website, is over $1 billion.

On August 29, 2005, one of the most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history left untold numbers dead, homeless, or without power, food, and water. When should we expect aid from foreign countries to begin to arrive?

Don’t hold your breath.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Emergency Stockpile Not the Answer

Reuters reports today that Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, has asked the Bush administration to open the U.S. emergency oil stockpile to help ease gasoline prices. According to the article, daily crude oil production from the Gulf Coast has been curtailed by 42 percent due to Hurricane Katrina.

OK, so dipping into the emergency stockpile might give consumers some short-term relief. The two key words are some and short-term. What we need is not a band-aid solution, but a real, long-term solution.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a long-term solution. According to The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources, there are over 10 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in ANWR, over twice the proven oil reserves in Texas and nearly half the total U.S. proven reserve. In short, ANWR represents a possible 45% increase in proven U.S. oil reserves.

So why aren't we utilizing this resource? The answer is that environmentalists' attempts at preventing development have thus far been successful. Environmentalists would have us believe that development in this area would destroy this home to caribou, polar bears, grizzlies, and other wildlife. They would also have us believe that the return for all this destruction would be negligible. The Defenders of Wildlife's Help Save The Arctic Wildlife Refuge website states that "It would be irresponsible to sacrifice this national treasure for a few months' supply of oil."

The fact is that ANWR, located in the northeast corner of Alaska, is over 19 million acres in size, approximately the same size as South Carolina. Development of the region would occur on less than 2000 acres, or .01% of the total ANWR acreage.

Much evidence exists that development would not destroy wildlife. In fact, arctic caribou herds in existing oil fields 80 miles west of ANWR have actually increased, from 3,000 to 32,000, since development began in the 1970’s.

And what about the "few months supply of oil"? The truth is that the 10 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in ANWR would provide the United States with over 1 million barrels a day for over 30 years.

In the Reuters report, Senator Schumer is quoted as saying, "If there was ever a time for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be tapped, it would be now." If this were September 10, 2001 and oil prices were $70/barrel, I might agree with the Senator. However, in a post 9-11 world, the emergency for which we might need to tap the emergency stockpile might be a future 9-11, perhaps multiplied several times over. We live in a world where a real emergency is not out of the question. In the meantime, the United States is being held hostage by foreign countries who choose to limit oil production to keep prices high. Even worse, we're being held hostage by environmentalists within our own borders who choose to limit oil production through misinformation and scare tactics.

It's time for the majority of Americans, who are tired of high fuel prices and who are tired of small groups of activists controlling Congress, to let our voices be heard. We do not have to be dependent on foreign oil; we need to stand up for America and finally take this important step toward energy independence.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Iraq / 9-11 Link?

On August 17, Edward Morrissey wrote in The Weekly Standard that the 9-11 Commission may have more to explain than just its failure to mention Able Danger. The Commission also failed to mention evidence of a possible connection between Iraq and terrorist activities against the United States.

Morrissey refers to a BBC and a Reuters article, both from March 1, 2001, that reported on the arrest in Germany of two Iraqis on suspicion of "carrying out missions for an Iraqi intelligence service in a number of German towns since the beginning of 2001." The arrests of these Iraqi agents occurred at the same time that key 9-11 planners, including Mohammed Atta were meeting in Germany.

Coincidence? Maybe, but consider an al-Watan al-Arabi report, as summarized in this Middle East Intelligence Bulletin:

Al-Watan al-Arabi (Paris) reports that two Iraqis were arrested in Germany, charged with spying for Baghdad. The arrests came in the wake of reports that Iraq was reorganizing the external branches of its intelligence service and that it had drawn up a plan to strike at US interests around the world through a network of alliances with extremist fundamentalist parties.

The most serious report contained information that Iraq and Osama bin Ladin were working together.

No, this is not proof that Iraq was involved in 9-11. However, it certainly does raise some questions: questions that need to be answered, including why the 9-11 Commission didn't have anything to say about this information in its final report.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Anti-War Protests Target Wounded at Army Hospital -
...On Aug. 19, as the anti-war protesters chanted slogans such as "George Bush kills American soldiers," Cybercast News Service observed several wounded war veterans entering and departing the gates of Walter Reed, some with prosthetic limbs. Most of the demonstrations have been held on Friday evenings, a popular time for the family members of wounded soldiers to visit the hospital...

Bryan's Commentary These people don't have the decency not to protest, in front of the soldiers and their families, the very the cause for which these soldiers gave of themselves.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sheehan Calls Son's Killers 'Freedom Fighters' -
"Now that we have decimated [Iraq], the borders are open, freedom fighters from other countries are going in..."

Bryan's Commentary Are you kidding me? I have been extremely hesitant to criticize Cindy Sheehan because I can't imagine the pain she has experienced at having lost her son, but this woman is becoming completely unhinged! Freedom fighters? Freedom is the last thing these terrorists are fighting for!

Iraqi Marshlands Rebounding Quickly - ABC News: Associated Press Report
-The marshlands of southern Iraq, reputed inspiration for the biblical Garden of Eden, have recovered rapidly since the fall of Saddam Hussein, whose regime turned much of the lush waterscape into arid salt flats, the United Nations said Wednesday.

New satellite imagery shows a rapid increase in water and vegetation cover in just the past three years, with the marshes rebounding to about 37 percent of the area they covered in 1970, up from about 10 percent in 2002, the United Nations Environmental Program said...

Bryan's Commentary I look forward to hearing the environmentalists expressing their gratitude to President Bush.

Obese Woman Angry That Doctor Advised Weight Loss - FOX News: Associated Press Report
"I told a fat woman she was obese," Bennett says. "I tried to get her attention. I told her, 'You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.' "

Bryan's Commentary Doctor Bennett could have taken the politically correct road (lied) and told her that she was fine; then when she died from obesity, the John Edwards malpractice lawyers would have had another case with which to line their pockets.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Able Danger Update

Navy Officer Affirms Assertions About Pre-9/11 Data on Atta - New York Times
WASHINGTON- An active-duty Navy captain has become the second military officer to come forward publicly to say that a secret defense intelligence program tagged the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a possible terrorist more than a year before the attacks...

Bryan's Commentary Too many people are risking their careers by coming forth with information for there to not be anything to this. It needs to be thoroughly investigated.

Iraqi Parliament Delays Constitution Vote - Los Angeles Times AP: Top News
BAGHDAD, Iraq - In another dramatic last-minute standoff, Iraqi leaders late Monday put off a vote on a draft constitution, adjourning Parliament at a midnight deadline in a bid for more time to try to win over the Sunni Arab minority whose support is key to ending the insurgency...

Bryan's Commentary Why the artificial deadline? Sure, it's important for the constitution to be in place as soon as possible, but it's better that the Iraqis take the time needed to develop a workable constitution than to hurriedly vote on an ineffectual one.

The Perpetuation of Racism - From the Left

The NCAA announced last week that it would consider allowing some universities to use Native American names as mascots, if the tribe whose name was being used was supportive. See NCAA Clarifies Ban on Mascots for the Washington Times report on this announcement.

When I read this report, the most interesting comment to me was the statement by Vernon Bellecourt, who is the president of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media, and a member of the Objiwe Nation in Minnesota. Bellecourt called Seminole Tribe council members, who support Florida State University's use of the Seminole name, "hang-around-the-fort Indians," a derisory title given to Indians seen as selling out to the white man. The term is a Native American equivalent of the African American "Uncle Tom."

Many will recall that in 2002, singer Harry Belafonte chastised Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as selling out their principles for the "privilege of living in the house if you served the master." Some will also recall that in 2004, Madison, Wisconsin radio host John Sylvester called Rice an "Aunt Jemima" and Powell an "Uncle Tom."

The left is constantly giving lip service to breaking down racial barriers, yet when a member of a minority group transcends the stereotypes associated with that group, that person is denounced by the left as one who has betrayed the principles of the group.

It seems to me that it is not the right, but the left, who is holding back minorities by perpetuating racial stereotypes.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Conservative Belief, Abortion, and the Role of Government

A few days ago, I heard a question regarding conservative belief and abortion. The question was to the effect that if conservatives believe in limited government, if conservatives believe in the individual's right to live life without government interference, then how can a conservative be opposed to an individual's right to choose for herself whether or not to have an abortion?

This question fails to recognize two very important points: first, when conservatives advocate the rights of the individual, they mean all individuals, and second, the conservative belief in limited government includes a belief in the purpose of government as defined in The Declaration of Independence.

The relevant passage from The Declaration is the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men … are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, …

When we analyze this passage, we see that Thomas Jefferson, his co-authors, and all the signers of this document believed that all humans (all men) have certain rights that are not to be taken away (certain unalienable Rights), and that these have been given to us by God (endowed by their Creator). The writers specifically identify three of these rights - the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness - and imply that there are additional rights not specifically named (that among these rights are).

It is not by accident that Jefferson and the other authors chose these particular rights to specifically identify. Without these three, it would be pointless to even consider any other rights.

Happiness, for example, means different things to different people, but however an individual defines happiness, this passage recognizes the God-given right of the individual to pursue that happiness. Without this right, it would be meaningless to talk about the right to seek companionship, raise a family, work towards career fulfillment, or anything else that an individual might define as happiness.

Before an individual can pursue happiness, however, he or she must be free. Therefore, the right to liberty must be recognized before one can consider a right to pursue happiness.

Finally, it is no accident that the right to life is listed first. Without life, one obviously cannot be free, cannot pursue happiness, and cannot enjoy any other right to which we might think him or her entitled.

After specifically identifying these three basic rights, Jefferson and the other authors and signers establish the purpose of government. That purpose is, according to The Declaration of Independence, to guard and protect these rights (to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men). Based on this statement, we see that to guard and protect the individual's right to life is the very essence of government.

For conservatives to champion the rights of the individual is nothing new. The Republican Party was founded in the 1850's by joining together factions of already existing parties. These factions were united as a party dedicated to preventing the spread of slavery into the Western territories; thus the Republican Party was founded on the principle of securing for African-Americans the right to liberty. Should the conservatives of the day have simply stood aside and said that each individual territory or state should have the right to decide for itself whether or not to legalize slavery? Of course not! To do so would have been to fail to protect the rights of the individual.

The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, is thought to have said, "The purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do at all or do so well for themselves." Whether or not Lincoln actually ever verbalized those words, it is certainly true that American slaves could not secure for themselves the right to liberty. It was well within the proper role of government to secure this right for the slave, even though advocates of slavery charged that by doing so, the government was interfering with the individual's right to choose to own slaves.

Today, the unborn are entirely unable to secure for themselves the right to life. Conservatives believe that it is well within the proper role of government to secure this right for the unborn, even though advocates of abortion rights charge that by doing so, the government is interfering with the individual's right to choose to have an abortion.

Conservatives have long opposed big government and will continue to do so. However, conservatives have also long championed the basic rights of the individual, and nothing is more basic than the right to life.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

New and Views - August 18, 2005

Russia/China: Joint Military Exercise A Result Of New Strategic Partnership - Global

'Peace Mom,' Her Mother Ill, Leaves Camp -

Seeing Grown Men and Seasoned Soldiers Cry - Los Angeles Times

Dean's distortions by Robert Novak -

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

MOM (Mother of a Marine) - A Must Hear!

Regardless of how you feel about Rush Limbaugh, everyone needs to hear this call from Debbie in Indianapolis. Debbie is responding to the Cindy Sheehan protest in Crawford, Texas.
Audio Link (Requires Windows Media Player)

News and Views - August 17, 2005

Officer Says Military Blocked Sharing of Files on Terrorists - The New York Times
State Dept. Says It Warned About bin Laden in 1996 - The New York Times
No room in Sandy's pants? - The American Thinker

Monday, August 15, 2005

Able Danger

Although I know of no documentation to support this conjecture, my guess is that ninety-five percent of America has probably never heard of Able Danger. If you are reading this, you are probably among the five percent who has. The reason, of course, is that the major news networks have barely mentioned this potentially explosive story; however, bloggers and talk radio have been examining and discussing the situation in depth.

The situation, in brief, is that U.S. Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) has disclosed that in 1999, a military intelligence program known as "Able Danger" had identified a terrorist cell operating in New York. The cell included Mohammed Atta and three other 9-11 hijackers.

According to Weldon, in September of 2000, Able Danger recommended that information on the cell be passed on to the FBI. However, Pentagon lawyers rejected the idea because Atta was in the country legally, and the matter was never pursued.

Weldon further states that the 9-11 Commission was informed on two occasions of the Able Danger information; however, the Commission did not investigate or make any mention of Able Danger in its final report.

There are at this point many more questions than answers on this story. A few questions that I would like to see investigated and answered include the following:

1. What roll, if any, did the so-called "wall," a policy that restricted the sharing of information between intelligence and law enforcement, play in the fact that information collected by Able Danger was not shared with the FBI?

2. What role, if any, did the fact that Jamie Gorelick was a member of the 9-11 Commission play in the Commission's decision not to fully investigate or to include revelations concerning Able Danger? (Gorelick is the former Clinton administration deputy attorney general whom former Attorney General John Ashcroft and others claim to have been the architect of the intel information wall.)

3. In what way, if any, were the classified documents that former Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger stole from the National Archives related to the Able Danger info? (Berger took the documents from the National Archives in October of 2003; according to Weldon, the 9-11 Commission was first briefed on Able Danger in... October, 2003!)

4. Why do the major news outlets seem to have such an overwhelming lack of curiosity about this issue?

For more information on Able Danger, try these websites:
Government Security News
The New York Times
Michelle Malkin (Michelle has links to about eight or ten more sources of info.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Politically Correct NCAA

Now that the NCAA has banned the use of Native American nicknames and mascots during tournament competition, it's time to make sure all other offensive nicknames and mascots are likewise eliminated.

To begin, Oklahoma State and Wyoming need to discard the offensive Cowboys nickname. The name Cowboys invokes images of horse riding, bull lassoing, gun shooting tough guys. In reality, many of these people were compassionate and warm-hearted, and to reduce them to the status of a mascot only serves to perpetuate an unfortunate stereotype.

Next, we need to dispense with the regrettable use of the Sooners moniker at the University of Oklahoma. After all, we wouldn't want to offend someone whose great-great-grandfather happened to settle on government land sooner than legally allowed, thus gaining an unfair claim to the land.

We need also be cognizant of the offensive nature of the name Runnin' Rebels . Thousands of confederate soldiers fought bravely during the Civil War, and for UNLV to continue to desecrate their memory is an affront to their descendants and is completely unacceptable.

We certainly need to eliminate the obviously racist name of Ragin' Cajuns . What makes officials at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette think that a human being is an appropriate mascot just because he or she is of French-Canadian descent? And why do they assume that Cajuns are full of rage?

Mountaineers is a clearly prejudice nickname. West Virginia simply cannot be allowed to continue to mock those who live in the mountains. Many of these people are sophisticated, highly educated citizens of this great nation, yet when used as a mascot, the name Mountaineers reminds one of the Darlings from The Andy Griffith Show or the Clampetts from The Beverly Hillbillies.

With names like the Northern Kentucky Norse and the Vikings of Cleveland State, Portland State, and Western Washington, we've been terribly insensitive to those of Scandinavian descent. To advance the notion that people from that part of the world are a bunch of barbaric pirates raiding the coasts of Europe is just inexcusable.

Finally, the perpetuation of the idea that the Irish are a bunch of fighting leprechauns drinking green beer is an abomination. Notre Dame should change its mascot to something more peaceful – maybe the Notre Dame Four-Leaf Clovers.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Pictures You Won't See on the Evening News

I recently read a comment on another blog in which the writer stated that U.S. actions in Iraq have done nothing other than to cause more hatred for Americans around the world and to create more terrorists.

Considering the fact that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1993 guerilla attack in Mogadishu, the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the October 12, 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were all before the invasion of Iraq, it's clear that these have people hated us for many years. Did Iraq cause them to hate us more? It's difficult to see how it would be possible to hate more than the level of hate required to kill thousands of innocent people.

My only conclusion is that the writer who made this comment must have meant that our presence in Iraq has caused a greater number of people to hate us. It's understandable that someone might come to that conclusion, given that 95% of the reporting on Iraq that we see in the mainstream media is negative. However, there is another side to what is going on in Iraq, which almost never gets reported.

Perhaps U.S. presence in Iraq has caused some new hatred of Americans. However, it is certain that American efforts in Iraq have cultivated good will and respect in the minds of many others.

The following are just a few of the pictures that you're not likely to see on the evening news.

Does it look like U.S. actions in Iraq have done nothing other than to cause more hatred for Americans?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Tony Blair is Right

This week British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a new policy of deportation of foreigners who preach hatred and the closing of extremist mosques.

Blair said, "We are angry about extremism and about what they are doing to our country... We welcome people here who share our values and our way of life. But don't meddle in extremism because if you meddle in it ... you are going back out again."

The British have good reason to be angry. So does the United States. It's good to see Mr. Blair direct his anger at those responsible for inciting the hate. It would be great to see people like Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Jimmy Carter, and the Michael Moore Hollywood type follow Blair's lead and start directing their anger at the terrorists and the terrorists' enablers instead of at the President and those who are working to destroy terrorism networks.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Saddam and Terrorism

I recently found an excellent web site detailing Saddam Hussein's terrorist connections. The site has an incredible amount of information with sources cited and links to those sources. It also has links to additional information. My only question is this: "Why don't we get more of this kind of information from the mainstream media and less reporting on the air conditioning being too cold at Gitmo?"
Here is a link to the site: Saddam Hussein's Philanthropy of Terror

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

John Bolton

Yesterday, President Bush made a recess appointment of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The President certainly knew that by executing his Constitutional right to install Bolton in this position, he would anger democrats and would receive an avalanche of criticism, but so what? Everything President Bush does angers democrats and triggers criticism. However, after five months of deadlock, it was time to have the position filled.

The left have constantly been extolling the virtues of the United States working with the United Nations, yet they were willing to set still with this position unfilled since John Danforth left in January. Evidently, obstructing every move the President makes is more important to them than having the United States' interests represented in the U.N. Fortunately, the President took the right course of action.

Democrats' denunciation of Bolton has focused largely on three areas: mistreatment of subordinates, intimidation of intelligence analysts, and past criticism of the U.N.

On the charge of mistreatment of subordinates, I suspect that most of those making this charge really don't care, and in truth, it has nothing to do with Bolton's qualifications for the position of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. It is, however, good ammunition in a gun aimed at Bolton, and ultimately at Bush. Reminds me of Gitmo.

As for the alleged intimidation of intelligence analysts - investigations have yielded no proof of wrongdoing. It sounds like just another chapter in the "Bush lied" absurdity. (See "Bush Lied" - A Mindless Rant for my thoughts on that issue.)

What about the charge that Bolton has been critical of the United Nations? That allegation is accurate. He has been critical of the U.N. Why shouldn't he be? The U.N. is one of the most corrupt, ineffectual organizations on the planet.

The only real fear the left has of Bolton is his aggressive outspokenness and the danger that he will, from a position of strength, vigorously defend U.S. interests. This is unnerving for those who believe that better U.S. policy is to appease our enemies in hopes of making them like us.

Yesterday, after being named to his new position, Bolton said, "It will be a distinct privilege to be an advocate for America's values and interests at the U.N." The words "for America's values and interests" are welcome words. We need someone who will stand up for America. Bolton looks like just the man to do so.

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