Friday, September 21, 2012


I regret to inform you – at least for the purpose of this column – that I will be away for a brief period and unavailable by means of any technology not in use within the last hundred years or more (or far longer in case you would include the mail).  I am vanishing into the wilderness and will re-connect once I return, and discover what news has transpired in this world during my absence.  I appreciate the patience on the part of those who hang on my every word, and for everyone else.

My faithful will know me to be one of a healthy sense of paranoia, and I am not given easily to announce my absence.  But for those who believe that they have seen past my nom de plume and can discern my identity and home, remember that I am a dedicated believer in the Constitution and a full participant in liberties afforded by the Second Amendment, and so are the family members remaining behind in my residence.  In the spirit of a notice I saw recently in one of the firearms establishments which I frequent: “My doors are locked not to protect me, but to protect you.” 

I will miss all of you, but not so much that I pass up an opportunity to enjoy a series of sojourns through preserved areas of Elysian landscapes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Obama

The Obama Campaign has released their own version of the American flag ($35, suitable for framing), which falls into the Democratic National Convention theme of “Government is the only thing that we all belong to.”  They have conveniently forgotten the concept of ‘nation’.
So, where do you think they found the inspiration?

How about Benghazi, with the evidence of the American victims being dragged from the Consulate to their deaths?
Besides the creepy notion of 'one nation, under Obama', it just goes to show that sometimes Fate can slap you with a really unfortunate juxtaposition.  Almost Biblical, wouldn't you say?  'Handwriting on the wall', as it were.

Update: The story has really spread in hardly any time at all.  Take Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler, for one example.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Obama Fundraises While the Middle East Burns

I am often unable to sit down and comment on a news story as it unfolds, and that has been the case with the attack on the American embassy in Cairo and the assault on our consulate in Benghazi on the anniversary of the attacks of 11 September.  All well and good – the situation has been so bereft of solid initial information that it begs for a step back and a few beats of analysis.  But this much we know: the demonstration in Cairo involved thousands, and I am always leery when I hear such terms as ‘spontaneous’ applied these demonstrations, particularly when  they involve printed signs, some in English, and theatre regalia.

We know that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian successor to Usama bin Laden, called for such attacks throughout the Muslim nation (the umma) in a pre-recorded tape, and his brother was spotted and photographed at the Cairo demonstration.  At last word, the new Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, has still not apologized for the attack, though we now have word that he has at least condemned them and promised to protect foreign embassies.  That would certainly be an improvement over the initial attacks, when Egyptian security forces simply stood aside and watched the demonstrators scale the walls of the compound, where they tore down the US flag, shredding it after failing to burn it, and replaced it with a black Salafi flag bearing the shahada, the declaration of the Islamic faith – the flag used by al Qaeda. 

The attack in Benghazi was just that, far more than a demonstration that got out of hand.  It was an armed assault, using assault rifles, RPGs and mortars, and the small compound was quickly overrun.  It seems amazing that only four Americans were murdered. 

The rioters claim that they are enraged by the trailer of an anti-Islamic film, produced in a mysterious manner in a story that is taking on a life of itself.  The purported producer of the film is a fraud and felon, and more information about him and the film is being developed as time goes on.  I have seen the trailer, and it is of ludicrously poor quality by any measurement – I won’t link to it here, but it can be easily Googled if you want to waste precious moments of your time.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration is taking the rioters at their word, ignoring the clear symbolic value of the launch of this series of attacks across the Middle East.
The Cairo embassy quickly broadcast a press release which empathized with the rioters about the film.  This is a story that has also taken on a separate story thread, with its quick condemnation by Mitt Romney in a press conference that allowed questions, as opposed to Obama’s which did not, and he had to react to questions about whether he regretted making the statement (in a move orchestrated by the supposedly objective press).  I still fail to see anything that Romney said that was wrong, but the MSM story is concentrating on how early Romney made his observation.  The administration repudiated the embassy’s announcement and it disappeared shortly thereafter, but it is preserved here (click to enlarge):

In order to make its point, the main comment was sent out in a Twitter feed:

The US embassy in Sana’a has been attacked in the same way as our one in Cairo, and we now have reports of large demonstrations in Gaza, Tunis, Islamabad, and Khartoum, as well as others in Teheran, Dacca, Casablanca, and Baghdad. 

It would be well to remember that the ‘Arab Spring’, with this administration’s delight about the spread of ‘democracy’, showed the Arab world how they could overthrow entrenched autocratic regimes.  It has surely occurred to the jihadis, particularly al Qaeda and the like, that that same movement can be used against the interests of the United States too.  We may be seeing the beginning of a whirlwind that we have sown with our benign neglect of capabilities of the enemy, courted instead of stalked.  The warnings of the Russian government in the case of Syria, about unleashing and supporting forces against even regimes as despicable as Assad without a means to control them to an end result of our benefit, are becoming true.
As for benign neglect, Obama is off to Las Vegas as part of a continuing string of fundraisers, amidst revelations that whatever interest he takes in intelligence briefings is done as reading over the notes of the briefs, without benefit of discussion with his national security staff.  Nothing gets in the way of his main purpose in life: fundraising to ensure the re-election of his regime, unless, that is, a round of golf presents itself.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Joe Biden Plays Both Sides

I’ve written before about how humiliating it is to have Joe Biden as our Vice President (such a rich trove from which to gather examples), but there are two photos, one of which cropped up on Sunday, which give examples of how his keen political instincts has him playing to both sides of an issue.

“Good ole Joe”, as the Democrats want to portray him (the exact opposite of their vituperative title if he were a Republican), was in Ohio (yes, that’s how it’s spelled) talking up some bikers.  Part of the conversation had Biden ask one of them, “Hey, can I ride your motorcycle?  They won’t let me any more.”  The biker dead-panned, “Probably not.”  You can see that the bikers’ expression was maintained as Biden nuzzled the neck of one of their biker chicks:

Bikers such as this like to cultivate an image as ‘outlaws’, an easy enough connection because many have been, well, actual outlaws.  These two make a compelling case for claiming the title, and Biden’s frat-boy antics were certain to have given the Secret Service some itchy trigger fingers.  The agents were already supremely annoyed at having drawn the short straws for protecting this clown, as demonstrated by how they supported the Virginia donut shop owner who refused a visit by Biden.

Perhaps Biden felt that he had to even the score in order to appeal (?) to a wider, more diverse constituency, having already ingratiated himself to law enforcement:

In other recent news of the same vein, though there were certainly no photos, we hear from the pseudonymous Mark Owen of the controversial book No Easy Day that after the raid that killed bin Laden, both Obama and Biden met the operators of that mission at Fort Campbell, home of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) that flew the mission.  Leaving aside the author’s viewpoints on Obama, he nevertheless described Biden as the stereotypical drunk uncle, telling lame jokes and generally annoying the members of the assembled team.

And again, whose judgment placed this buffoon a heart-beat away from the Presidency?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remember, Remember, 11 September – We Are Still In This Fight

My post of last year still holds true:
Today is a day of remembrance, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attack on the World Towers and the Pentagon, and the counter-attack of the brave citizens on United Flight 93, sacrificing themselves to kill the attackers on the flight and foil their plan to destroy their target, likely the US Capitol building.
It is fitting to keep in mind those innocents who died that day, and the brave people that died or were injured while doing their utmost to rescue them despite overwhelming odds.  I tire though on the focus seen today on all the stories of how other people were affected, in the ‘where were you?’ and ‘how did that make you feel?’ questions, seeming to make the focus on the entire nation as a collection of victims, particularly people who had no real connection to the attack.
I would rather focus on those who have endeavored since then to eliminate the world-wide threat of Islamic Supremacism – those uniformed troops, and all the others who support them and augment them, who have taken and continue to take the fight back to the enemy, wherever they may be, because as George Orwell said, “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
Understanding the enemy is fine, and our civilized response must be foremost, but compassion for your enemy only goes so far.  A fanatic has already forfeited his chance for our overweening forgiveness of his errors, since he has neither need nor value for such thoughts and actions.  There is a point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and there are times when the old ways are appropriate.
“It is better to avenge a friend than to mourn him long.” –Beowulf

I am not a major fan of country music, though I do appreciate much of it and its lyric intensity.  Darryl Worley put the sentiment of today well in his song Have You Forgotten?, with the key lines:

They took all the footage off my TV
Said it's too disturbing for you and me.
It'll just breed anger - that's what the experts say;
If it was up to me, I'd show it every day.
Some say this country's just out looking for a fight.
Well, after 9/11, man, I'd have to say that's right.  
The current president cannot speak of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in terms other than their “ending”, with no praise for the valor of the troops, though he has thanked them, which is the very least – and I do mean the very least – he can do as their Commander-in-chief.  But as the troops are pulled out of these theatres, we must surely realize that this war is not over, as much as we would want it to be, as much as we want to ignore the warning signs as we did in the 1990s. 

Iran is a major threat with its nuclear weapons program to bolster the power of its military and its proxies like Hezbollah against its proclaimed goal of wiping Israel off the map.  It is a threat that is looming ever larger in the greater Middle East, a region that, like the Balkans, has always produced more history than it can consume locally.  Al Qaeda is still a major factor in Yemen and the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), the cultural heartland of Islam despite the sacred Two Cities in Saudi Arabia, which is itself ripe for a revolution of a medieval jihad against a medieval autocracy.  The bloody civil war in Algeria, containing now a proclaimed al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has joined forces with similar movements like Boko Haram in Nigeria and  al Shabaab in Somalia, and has spread into fighting in Mali.  We have badly bungled our reaction to the revolution in Egypt, which now has the Muslim Brotherhood in power (and at this very moment a mob has stormed the American Embassy in Cairo, torn down the US flag and replaced it with a black al Qaeda flag, in scenes similar to the storming of our embassy in Teheran in 1979, and for that matter, the British embassy in Teheran last year).  It took us six months of tepid support for what Obama called a one-month operation to depose Qaddafi in Libya, who finally was killed by a mob into whose hands he fell almost by accident, and Libya is still not settled securely.  Syria is in the midst of an Iranian- and Russian-supported civil war, on the border of a Turkey which was historically secular since Atatürk of World War I but which is now led by an Islamist party.  The list goes on, but all these elements of unrest and upheaval in this part of the world are united in one common understanding – a hatred of the United States and our culture. 

This is not over, and I shall not see its end in my lifetime, nor I expect will my children in theirs.  The Islamic Supremacists have settled in for the long haul, and are content to wage this crusade against the West for generations.  The only form of our vaunted toleration they will accept is the jizyah, an Islamic Danegeld, and acceptance of shariah in our midst. 

We pause to lick our spiritual wounds today, as well we might, but we should then focus on our future campaign that was brought upon us this day eleven years ago (and even earlier), and which started in earnest with those people on Flight 93 who seized the very first opportunity to fight back.  We mourn our losses on that day and since, but we take our call from them and other heroes who have taken the fight back to the enemy. 

It takes but one to make a war, not two, and those who do not take up swords can still die upon them.” --J R R Tolkien

Friday, September 7, 2012

Democrats Dither About God and Jerusalem (Update: Debbie Digs Deeper)

I was watching the C-Span footage of the Democratic National Convention during the attempt to re-insert the previous language of the platform about God and Jerusalem being the capital of Israel (both items being included in the platforms going back at least to 2000, as far as I cared to look).  It struck me that the delegates on the floor rejected the declarations three times, drawing an immediate correlation for me (and others) to the actions of Peter denying Christ.

"... let them do what they're gonna do."

[Peter’s story is reflected in all four Gospels (allow me a brief aside), lending it credence amongst those who seek reasons to disregard the historical accounts of the Bible.  The fact that it is present in all accounts (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13) reflects Peter’s confession to the others of his profound contrition when he realized the truth of Christ’s prediction and his craven reaction (he “wept bitterly”).  Those critics point out differences in some details between the Gospels as impeaching their veracity, but this ignores the truth that this is exactly what we would expect to find when comparing historical accounts of the past, or even eyewitness accounts today.  I have dealt for many years and in many ways with analyzing testimony, and I am doubtful when different accounts match up in precise detail.] 

But getting back to the original purpose of this post, beyond its symbolic value, the spectacle of the vote was amazing as it unfolded.  The revisions were introduced without prior announcement, to a floor that was at an ebb, probably in the hopes that it would slide past quickly, needing a clear two-thirds positive voice vote, without the risk of attracting others to the floor who found the action provocative.

The “clarification” was introduced by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who made a point of saying that he was a United Methodist minister (if you are a follower of the Rev Donald Sensing’s web log Sense of Events, you will understand the dénouement of the United Methodist Church).  Yet the moderator, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was dumbfounded when the initial reaction was so negative – not only was it clearly not a two-thirds vote in favor, it was doubtful that it was even a simple majority.  He sought another vote, but this time the negative reaction was even louder.

He is confused and perplexed until supported by a lady with an Aunt Bee from Mayberry appearance, with a gently smiling countenance throughout (‘the Dark side is seductive precisely because it appears to be so pleasant’), who counsels, “You gotta rule, and then you gotta let them do what they’re gonna do.”  In other words, make the decision and ignore the consequences.  On the third attempt, the ‘no’ vote is thunderous, and Villaraigosa announces that the positive vote is clearly in excess of two-thirds and the revision passes.  The boos of the crowd are almost palpable.

John Lott (scroll down to the last entry on 9/05/2012) shows a graphic representation of the result:

Earlier, before the surprise vote, Bret Baier questioned Sen Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) – the one who compared US troops to Nazis, Soviets, and Pol Pot because of Guantánamo – about the removal of the reference to God and Jerusalem, but Durbin launched into a diatribe against Fox News, illustrating the lawyer’s axiom of “If you have the law on your side, cite the law.  If not, cry for justice.  If you have neither, pound the table.”

He never answered nor even addressed Baier’s simple questions about why the language was removed.  After the vote, Durbin was unavailable under any circumstance. 

This adds fuel to the fire which includes Democratic National Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz being caught in a lie, in which she denied accusations that she said that the Israeli ambassador called the Republicans “dangerous” to Israel.  When Ambassador Michael Oren condemned the report, she stated for the record:
I didn’t say he said that.  And unfortunately, that comment was reported by a conservative newspaper.  It’s not surprising they would deliberately misquote me.
Unfortunately for her thin veneer of veracity, a recording of her stating her quote precisely, word for word, was quickly released by the Washington Examiner.  She too is suddenly unavailable.


For that and more, all in all, it was a bad day for the Democrats. 

Rep Allen West (R-Florida) quickly picked up on the ‘thrice denied’ theme and released a political ad called simply “Three Times”.

A weak attempt by some in the media, with footage of the reaction of two Arab-American members in the convention audience, sought to portray the vote as the voice of the ethnic Arabs because of the Jerusalem part of the vote, but really, do they expect us to believe that half the delegates on the floor are Arab-Americans?  Interviews with some delegates talk of how they wanted to appear ‘inclusive’, but how is that truly done by removing language that Christians and supporters of Israel find vital to their cause?

Update: Wasserman Schultz has finally responded to the release of the audio recording of her statement which she initially denied making.  She now claims, predictably and straight-faced, that she was instead “quoted out of context”, and tries to make a case for what she said in toto.  But Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner, who broke the story and just won’t go away, continues to show how deep she is digging herself.  Klein has released a more detailed story expanding on the quote and the reaction, and includes the entire audio (at the bottom of the piece) starting at 28 seconds prior to the statement ‘in question’, and extending for 38 seconds afterward.

As for this being a trick of a “conservative reporter”, note that the Washington Post has given her a Four Pinocchio mark on her “false accus[ation]”, and PolitiFact has given her remarks a score of “pants on fire”.

Alana Goodman at Commentary looks at CNN's Don Lemon and his attempt to confront Wasserman Schultz with her own words, but to no avail.

One of the cardinal rules of politics is “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”  Debbie Wasserman Schultz just doesn’t know when to shut up, but then we already knew that, didn’t we?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Suffering Self Pity? Consider Corporal Todd Love

Corporal Todd S Love, USMC was assigned to 1st Platoon, B Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when he volunteered to take over the point position during a patrol in Sangin on 25 October 2010.  He doesn’t remember the explosion that blasted away his legs when he stepped on a pressure plate that detonated the IED.  The platoon Corpsman reached him within moments and expected to find that Love was likely dead, but instead he detected signs of life.  As he was giving him morphine, Cpl Love regained consciousness and started talking to the Corpsman about his injuries, knowing that his legs were gone, but glad to hear a favorable reply to the usual question.  He then asked about his team leader, Cpl Kyle Thompson, who was hit in the face with shrapnel and lost an eye.  In keeping with the dark humor so common among the men in ‘high speed, low drag’ combat units, Love yelled, “Thompson!  Thompson!  Hey, it sucks to be you right now!”

The heat of the blast had fortunately (all things considered) cauterized his massive wounds, so the Corpsman was able to keep him alive for the hour and twenty minutes it took for the British medevac helo to arrive, and Love’s second stroke of luck was that the helo was able to lift off and exfil despite the large volume of ground-fire, including multiple RPGs, that were directed at it, the door gunner and Love’s Marine cohort being actively engaged throughout.

It was good fortune that kept him alive, but after that, as they say, you make your own luck.

Love’s touch of gallows humor was a clue to the enormous fortitude that sustained him through the months of attention and rehabilitation that took him through care at Landstuhl, Bethesda, and Walter Reed, including the surgeon’s decision that his left hand would also have to amputated below the elbow.  How does someone bounce back, or even cope, with the thought of re-learning to live life as a trimembral amputee?  Here’s an example:

Todd Love, ascending 

Cpl Love participated last Wednesday in the Spartan Heroes Heat in Leesburg, Virginia as a member of Team X-T.R.E.M.E. (Train, Rehabilitate, Empower, Motivate, Endure), one of eight team members that included Army SGT Noah Galloway (late of B Co, 1/502nd Parachute Infantry, 101st Airborne Division), who lost his left leg and left arm in Iraq, and Marine Sgt Jonathan Mozingo (3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division), who lost his left leg in Marjah, Afghanistan.  The course is a demanding 10.5-mile muddy gauntlet that includes 75 obstacles, five and a half hours of self-imposed torture, and as if that isn’t bad enough, in order to make it ‘sporting’ (and mainly as an homage to veterans) the team dons blacked-out gas masks to cut down on vision and restrict some 20-30% of oxygen intake.

This is a singular and inspiring accomplishment for someone with Todd Love’s limitations, who approaches them as obstacles like any other to be overcome.  His infectious good humor and attitude should be an inspiration to the most cynical and jaded, yet he isn’t just a one-trick pony, even though it be of Clydesdale proportions.

Corporal Todd Love returns home

Love does a remarkable turn at the piano of C P E Bach’s Solfeggietto, that warm-up mainstay of concert pianists because of its complexity and rigid meter.

He lives out one of his life’s dreams by wrestling an alligator.

He also goes snowboarding on a device that he helped design:

Then he does a tandem parachute free-fall with Michael Elliot, formerly of the Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team, and parachute buddy of President George H W Bush (Cpl Love had earned his Marine gold paratrooper wings about two weeks before his incident with the mine), while participating in another extreme endurance meet on northeast Oahu.  The dark humor was still evident during the ride to altitude (9000 feet): “When you land, don’t forget to pick up your feet.”  “Don’t worry if we have a high-speed malfunction; we’ll have the rest of our lives to figure it out.”  Seeing him do push-ups will help you understand how he later goes surfing and scuba-diving.

So, what was that problem you were whining about?

And why is it that I learn of this from the Daily Mail, a British newspaper?  The only US national coverage I can find is from the Huffington Post, of all places.