Wednesday, August 31

Consider Donating A Day's Pay to the American Red Cross

So the Hurricane really gave the gulf coast a black eye. I can understand to a point (up to my thigh) what they went through having my home flooded in December 93, along with the rest of the homes in town, destroying most everything I owned.

Cleanup was a mess but at least it was possible to live in the second floor and electricy was restored quickly and there was no looting to be concerned about. What is going on New Orleans is a true tragedy. Sure not everyone had the means to escape, but many others did and elected not to. I would even hazard to guess that some stayed with the intent of looting once the clouds passed. However, those that managed to plan that far might not have figured on how they were going to escape with what they have looted. I would think that the looting problem will go away with most of the city now underwater. That which is still dry will probably be protected within the next day or two as the government is sure to take back control as the news footage of the stealing is an embarassment. (This does shed new light on the initial looting in Baghdad)

I only mention the looting because this type of activity diverts needed resources to deal with it instead of conducting search and rescue operations.

Anyway there are calls for an international Blog Beg (Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief DayThursday, September 1) to aid the hurricane victims in all the gulf states. I am not going to bet. But if you are thinking of giving, I have a suggestion:

Consider donating one day's Salary

This should fit into most everyone's budget. It is even progressive. Those who make more, would give more. Those who earn less, would donate less. All would donate in proportion.

I have done just that. I donated to the American Red Cross. Almost every penny you donate goes to aid victims and the pennies they need to operate the organization are not wasted. Click on the picture above to go to the American Red Cross Website.

(American Red Cross is not affiliated with the International Committee of the Red Cross)

Monday, August 29

UN Blames US for African Condom Shortage!

"There is no doubt in my mind that the condom crisis in Uganda is being driven by (U.S. programs)... To impose a dogma-driven policy that is fundamentally flawed is doing damage to Africa." - Stephen Lewis, the UN Secretary General's special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa

The fact that the US wants and ABC approach in combatting AIDS in Africa is no secret. As a refresher, ABC stands for:

  • Abstain
  • Be Faithful
  • Use Condoms

For some reason the UN and the anti-AIDS committe have always had a problem with the ABC approach. They only want two things; money and the right to break drug patents. With the money they want to buy condoms and manufacture cheap drugs to maintain those who already have AIDS.

This approach will not stop the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Presently too many people in Africa are having sex without condoms. this is a clear sign that people either do not know about AIDS or don't care about getting AIDS. If they knew about the dangers of unprotected sex and high-risk sex there is no way that any sane person would have unprotected sex. It would be worth it to them to spend a couple of cents it would cost to buy a condom.

Concerned that people in Africa cannot affort a condom? That is a load of Bull as one of the main ways that AIDS is spreading through Africa is through sex with prostitutes. If the guy can afford to buy a prostitute, he can also afford to buy a condom. Perhaps the UN does not want to educate the Africans to the point that they could be that self-reliant not to mention being RESPONSIBLE adults.

The situation is made even worse by the UN giving away condoms all over Africa. They have destroyed the commercial condom market leaving Africans no alternative source of condoms. Then again, if you do not bother to teach people why they should be wearing these things, they are not going to need one anyway.

In addition the the ABC approach to fighting AIDS, the US has put another restriction on donations:

The United States contribution to the Global Fund is subject to certain U.S. legislative restrictions, including that, during 2004-2008, no U.S. government contribution may cause the total amount of U.S. government funds contributed to exceed 33% of total contributions.

You can look at the list of who is giving what here.

Some notable contributors:

  • Gates Foundation $150 Million total
  • Int'l Olympic Committee $100,000
  • Mr. Kofi Annan $100,000
  • Saudi Arabia $10 Million
  • New Zealand $2.1 Million
  • Kuwait $1 Million
  • Greece $302,000
  • Canada $210 Million (Mr. Lewis is from Canada)
  • Iceland $206,299
  • South Korea $500,000
  • Liechtenstein $177,190
  • Mexico $100,000
  • Poland $30,000
  • Also:
  • India $0
  • Iran $0
  • North Korea $0
  • George Soros $0

This is such a non-story. The shortage is taking place in Uganda. what does the Ugandan Government have to say about this national crisis:

"It is not true that there is a condom shortage... There seems to be a co-ordinated smear campaign by those who do not want to use any other alternative simultaneously with condoms against AIDS." - Health Minister Jim Muhwezi of Uganda.

So the health Minister of Uganda, a country the UN is trying to help by calling attention to their crisis, is calling this for what it is, Pure Politics. Worse, it appears that the UN is attempting to userp a national government. Even if Uganda is short of condoms, it is up to them to say that there is a shortage. Lets also try to think that it is their responsibility to provide for thier people, not the UN.

With all of this in mind, I have a suggestion for Mr. Lewis. How about clicking on the link below. It turns out that they sell condoms in bulk. Need some money? How about asking your fellow UN Diplomats to stop getting parking tickets and contribute those funds towards buying condoms. After all, the US is doing its fair share in this crisis. Let some other country buy the condoms. Aren't we all suppossed to working together in this fight? Where is the rest of the team?

Sweden is giving almost $128 Million. Wouldn't it be fitting to use their donation to buy the condoms?


The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: Five-Year Strategy

Sunday, August 28

USAID to fund the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System

Wonder where your tax money goes?

Well if you an American, your tax money goes all sorts of places, from keeping terrorists behind bars in Gitmo, to flying the space shuttle piggyback on a 747 cross-country, maintaining the Global Positioning System, fighting AIDS in Africa, to operating two remote control cars, on Mars. Our tax money does all sorts of good, inside the US and around the world.

Right now the world is a bit pissed that our tax money is currently fighting in Iraq. Well it is the habbit of the world to ignore the good things that America does and when they do acknowledge America's contribution, they have to criticize it. Take the Billions the US pledged to fight Aids in Africa. That money came with strings attached to it. See, it was not for purchasing condoms, it was for education. Sex education including abstinance (no sex) education. This was not good enough for the rest of the world. You see, we need to drop condoms from the sky in Africa. That will help the Aids crisis, not education. Well the US did not change thier plans. Anyway the world is full of countries besides the US, and why not have some other countries fund the condoms for Africa program. The last time I checked, condoms were not that expensive. Anyway, if the africans had proper education about aids and how they catch it, they for sure would not even think of having sex without one. What does this have to do with the title of this entry, not much I think, so back to the issue at hand:

In December 2004 a tsunami struck countries boarding the Indian Ocean. Hundreds of thousands of people died. One reason for the massive loss of life was the lack of an operational warning system. Now there was opportunity to have one that the US would install at no cost to these governments, but they passed on the gift as each country would need to put up the funds to man their own operations and setup domestic warning systems to get the alarm out to the people.

Currently the UN is investigating how best to impliment warning systems in each of these countries. The US has just announced that they are going to install the tsunami detecting equipment giving countries in the region the opportunity to be fore-warned if another tsunami winds up heading in their direction. By the looks of the press release, the US is going to do most everything from end to end:

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced the launch of the United States government's Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS) program in response to the December 2004 tsunami disaster. This two-year, $16.6 million effort will contribute to the development of integrated early warning and mitigation systems that allow countries in the Indian Ocean region to detect and prepare for tsunamis and related coastal hazards.

The program involves a number of key U.S. agencies, each contributing specialized expertise in tsunami warning and disaster management. USAID's Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok will lead the U.S. effort, with technical support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), and USDA Forest Service (USFS). USAID also recently contracted with a joint venture between the International Resources Group (IRG) and Tetra Tech, Inc. to provide overall support to the U.S. program as its "Lead Program Integrator" contractor. IRG-Tetra Tech's principal sub-contractor, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), will contribute additional on-the-ground technical resources.

The U.S. program involves close collaboration with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The IOC has the lead responsibility for developing the Indian Ocean's regional warning capabilities. At the national and local levels, U.S. technical assistance will primarily support efforts in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and the Maldives - the countries most severely affected by the December 2004 disaster where over 220,000 people perished.

Tim Beans, Mission Director for USAID's Regional Development Mission Asia based in Bangkok, states, "We have been extremely motivated to work with our counterparts at the IOC, other donor nations, and national governments in the region to assist with establishing a fully functional warning system for the Indian Ocean. This is one of our top priorities in Asia, and an important part of the U.S. post-tsunami reconstruction effort. This new program follows directly from years of U.S. Government disaster management assistance to the region. We are ready to help not only deploy the technologies needed to prevent future disasters, but to build up the uman and institutional infrastructure to make sure these systems are interoperable and sustainable for years to come."

Working in collaboration with the international community, the U.S. program will provide technical assistance using an "end-to-end" approach that addresses all levels of early warning capabilities from community-level disaster readiness to national and regional-level tsunami and earthquake detection and warning communications systems. The U.S. approach also promotes "multi-hazard" solutions that strengthen capabilities in the Indian Ocean to respond not only to tsunamis, but to other serious coastal hazards such as cyclones, sea swells, and floods as well as earthquakes. The program expects to have catalytic impact by sharing and replicating best practices elsewhere in the region and leveraging the additional resources of other donor nations and the private sector. Regional cooperation, real-time sharing of data, transparency, and harmonization will be underlying themes in the U.S. program.

In addition to leading the U.S. effort, USAID will support technical training, educational exchanges, and sharing of best practices across the region, and work closely with each of its U.S. agency partners in a number of technical areas. NOAA will contribute to designing and developing the regional warning system with the IOC and its members. In addition, NOAA will support the deployment of detection buoys and related technologies in the Indian Ocean, strengthen national and regional warning communications systems in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization, and implement a Tsunami Resilient Communities program. USGS will support seismic technology transfer to the region, capacity building for data analysis and associated earthquake hazard mapping and modeling related to tsunami hazards. The U.S. program will also include sharing USFS expertise in introducing emergency response operations into national disaster response frameworks. In addition, USTDA will identify opportunities for accessing private sector investment and expertise in communications and related technologies necessary for the tsunami warning system.

David McKinnie, NOAA's Program Coordinator for IOTWS, commented, "NOAA feels privileged to be able to participate in this important effort, and we have had very productive discussions to date with the national governments and international partners, particularly at the IOC's meeting in Perth, Australia earlier this month. NOAA shared a conceptual design for the regional early warning system, which we believe was very well received and provides a strong starting point for agreement on what the best approach should be."

"It remains critical to the U.S. to ensure the regional system is designed to save the ost lives in the region," Mr. McKinnie added. "We look forward to refining this plan through the IOC with our national partners, and to further sharing our own experience in building a system that makes the most sense technologically and economically."

Until a regional system can operate autonomously, part of the U.S. program will involve providing interim support for detecting earthquakes and possible tsunami conditions in the Indian Ocean, through the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii and the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) in Colorado.

The U.S. has already engaged directly with representatives from the IOC and national governments in the region, and plans to develop specific program activities through further dialogues in the next two months.

For more information about the U.S. IOTWS Program, please contact Mr. Tim Beans, Mission Director, USAID Regional Development Mission/Asia, tel. +66-2-263-7400.

Actually, I am not sure what, if anything, the International Community is contributing to this effort. The US was criticized for it's initial response to the effort. As we can see months later, the US is still involved. Where is the rest of the world?

USAID Rebuilds Lives After the Tsunami - More on the US Response

The Diplomad - Great coverage of the initial UN and US Response. (No longer Blogging)

030122-N-0780F-002 Souda Bay, Crete, Greece (Jan. 22, 2003) -- USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), a Mercy-class hospital ship, enters the harbor during her transit of the eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. is repositioning some of its military forces to support the President's global war on terrorism, and to prepare for future contingencies as may be directed. U.S. Navy photo by Paul Farley. (RELEASED)

I could have put a picture of the USNS MERCY in support of Tsunami victims but thought this pic was cooler. You can look at other MERCY Tsunami pics here. The MERCY is one of TWO hospital ships of this size that the US operates. The other one is currently supporting the operations in Iraq. It is the USNS COMFORT.

P.S. Image how those who hate the US could twist news of the US funding condoms in the third world.... Add to that paying for abortions in the third world.... Sounds like we would be trying to stop the population from continuing there. Look at Nigeria and the Polio vaccine. Rumor was that it was an American trick to spread Aids. Too bad not taking it spread Polio.

Tuesday, August 23

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
- George Santayana

Very fitting advise.

It sems that just a few years out from 9/11 people are starting to forget. There are claims that 9/11 was a fluke. claiming that 9/11 was engineered by the Bush administration. That the Pentagon was not hit by a plane. That Iraq is not a just war. That Muslims were not the hijackers. All bull.

National Geographic just aired this week a two part documentary on 9/11. It is a must-see. You can see a preview and some excerpts here.

There are those calling for the US to pull out of Iraq. Once again we should look to history. Al Queda has. They know that if the US Military is hit hard, that we will give up? Just look at:

  • Vietnam
  • Lebanon
  • Somalia

US withdrawls from each of the above-mentioned countries gave strength to those who were fighting against us.

So they say the reason that we went to Iraq (WMD) was 'false.' Should we give Saddam his country back then? Should we give the radicals another victory, just because some will do most anything to make the current President look bad including damaging the country itself in order that the President wears the country's black-eye.

"Bush=Hitler." That correlation drive me nuts. So many bad people on this planet are ignored by the global community, yet they have no problem lecturing the US. Perhaps it is partly Bush's fault that he is on the receiving end of all this criticism. It's not like he is going to punch Chirac in the face the next time they meet. But some of these other 'leaders' might take an interest in funding terrorist activity in their country if they speak out against North Korea, for example.

then we have Saddam. Well, he was no upstanding member of a modern global society. He was nothing short of a madman, who also happened to be a head of state, with one of the worlds most powerful armies, which happened to possess tons of WMDs. Disagree if you want, but be sure that you have reviewed Saddam's rap-sheet:

Saddam Hussein's Philanthropy of Terror

So, the US went to war without UN approval. Now we have the Oil-For Food scandal that most likely tainted the UN Security Council from acting without undue influence from Saddam.

Was Iraq Clean? Hardly. Those aluminum tubes nobody could agree on were probably for rockets, and not nuclear enrichment. What nobody bothers to mention was that Saddam was not allowed to build missiles of those types either. So no matter the purpose of the aluminum tubes, Saddam was in violation for trying to import them. Thanks to the weak inspecting by the sanctions firms, who knows what else they tried to import. Also, one can legitimately question the behavior of our 'partners' on the UN Security Council.

The US WMD Report states:

"One aspect of Saddam’s strategy of unhinging the UN’s sanctions against Iraq, centered on Saddam’s efforts to influence certain UN SC permanent members, such as Russia, France, and China and some nonpermanent(Syria, Ukraine) members to end UN sanctions. Under Saddam’s orders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs(MFA) formulated and implemented a strategy aimed at these UNSC members and international public opinion with the purpose of ending UN sanctions and undermining its subsequent OFF program by diplomatic and economic means. At a minimum, Saddam wanted to divide the five permanent members and foment international public support of Iraq at the UN and throughout the world by a savvy public relations campaign and an extensive diplomatic effort." - Page 138

"Saddam directed the Regime’s key ministries and governmental agencies to devise and implement strategies, policies, and techniques to discredit the UN sanctions, harass UN personnel in Iraq, and discredit the US. At the same time, according to reporting, he also wanted to obfuscate Iraq’s refusal to reveal the nature of its WMD and WMD-related programs, their capabilities, and his intentions." - Page 139

"The former Iraqi Regime sought a relationship with France to gain support in the UNSC for lifting the sanctions. Saddam’s Regime, in order to induce France to aid in getting sanctions lifted, targeted friendly companies and foreign political parties that possessed either extensive business ties to Iraq or held pro-Iraqi positions. In addition, Iraq sought out individuals whom they believed were in a position to
influence French policy. Saddam authorized lucrative oil contracts be granted to such parties, businesses, and individuals." - Page 69

"The Regime sought a favorable relationship with France because France was influential as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and was in a good position to help Iraq with lifting sanctions." - Page 90

"Asked by a US interviewer in 2004, why he had not used WMD against the Coalition during Desert Storm, Saddam replied, “Do you think we are mad? What would the world have thought of us? We would have completely discredited those who had supported us.” Iraqi use of WMD would deeply embarrass France and Russia, whom has cultivated Iraq. Use of WMD during Operation Iraqi Freedom would serve to justify US and UK prewar claims about Iraq’s illegal weapons capabilities. Such a justification would also serve to add resolve to those managing the occupation." - Page 97

"Figure 16 reflects the general proportion of the nationalities targeted to receive Iraq’s oil allocations by volume of oil allocated, according to a former government official with direct access to the information. The top three countries with companies or entities receiving vouchers were Russia (30%), France (15%), and China (10%)—three of the five permanent members of the UNSC, other than the US and UK."

"Moreover, the IIS paper targeted a number of French individuals that the Iraqi’s thought had close relations to French President Chirac, including, according to the Iraqi assessment, the offi cial spokesperson of President Chirac’s re-election campaign, two reported “counselors” of President Chirac, and two well-known French businessmen. In May 2002, IIS correspondence addressed to Saddam stated that a MFA (quite possibly an IIS offi cer under diplomatic cover) met with French parliamentarian to discuss Iraq-Franco relations. The French politician assured the Iraqi that France would use its veto in the UNSC against any American decision to attack Iraq, according to the IIS memo." - Page 200

And my favorite:

Senior military officers and former Regime officials were uncertain about the existence of WMD during the sanctions period and the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom because Saddam sent mixed messages. Early on, Saddam sought to foster the impression with his generals that Iraq could resist a Coalition ground attack using WMD. Then, in a series of meetings in late 2002, Saddam appears to have reversed course and advised various groups of senior officers and officials that Iraq in fact did not have WMD. His admissions persuaded top commanders that they really would have to fight the United States without recourse to WMD. In March 2003, Saddam created further confusion when he implied to his ministers and senior officers that he had some kind of secret weapon.” If Saddam's Military was not sure if Iraq had WMD, then how could we. Not to mention the French, Germans, Russians and British who all also believed that Iraq was hiding WMD.- Page 94

Now why does any of this matter?

Could it be that we are all traveling down a similar road with Iran? Some of the similarities can be haunting, like Sean Penn visits Iraq just before the US Military. Now he just got back from visiting Iran.

Those who cannot learn, Prologue: SONY Blue-Ray DVD Stupidity

"Next-generation optical disks that are robust enough to stay relevant for more than 10 years are required to take advantage of high-definition video and high-quality audio, and the 0.1 mm (Blu-ray) disk structure is advantageous in this regard," - Taro Takamine, Sony

I won't touch Sony products with a ten foot pole. The breakdown in talks about deciding the next DVD format is just another example of how Sony simply insists on selling electronics that are not compatible with anything other than another Sony product. Oh, yes, the Sony products are more expensive then other comparable products.

It might be that Sony makes the best electronics, but I have a digital camera, computer, and now a fully electronic movie camera. None of these are Sony, but they are high quality products and the output is excellent. Sony was handed a valuable lesson years ago when they pressed ahead with their Betamax tapes when everyone else went VHS. You would think, lesson learned, but no.

Sony has their Memory Sticks, which I consider a very expensive storage option when compared to compact flash and the other storage cards. Do their products accept other types of storage? No.

So now Sony has their Blu-Ray DVD format that is better that the HD DVD format and they are unwilling to comprimize at all to define a standard. Oh yes, the Blu-Ray DVDs will be more expensive.

I do not predict a happy outcome for Blu-Ray.

Sunday, August 21

Would Europe go to war over oil?

"This morning I read that military options are now on the table. My answer to that is: 'Dear friends in Europe and America, let us work out a strong negotiating position. But let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work',"

- Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany

The question of this piece totally ignores an equally relevant question ‘Can Europe go to war?’ Europe has steadily reduced their military capabilities for years and the US has many times commented that Europe needs to spend more on defense. This did not happen in most of the ‘Old Europe’ countries, as the money was needed more for social programs and a military did not exactly fit with the utopian future that the E.U. was working towards. It also did not sit well with the pacifist nature of Europe. After all, how can you start a war without a military to fight it with? Too bad Europe’s utopian future view did not take into account that the E.U. did not encompass the entire planet and that some countries were eager to build strong military capabilities.

Anyway, the Iranian military is the 8th largest in the world, slightly smaller than a theoretical combined French-German army. Regardless, there is no chance that the E.U. could (or would) go to war. We all know this, especially the Iranians. So Europe is missing a useful tool for negotiations (with rogue states,) the threat of military action.

Negotiating with Iran is no piece of cake as we can all see. Iran has its oil exports that it can hold over the negotiators head. That is a powerful bargaining chip as most of the E.U. Countries import oil from Iran including Italy, France and to a lesser extent, Germany. Europe combined receives approximately 9% of their oil imports from Iran, averaging about 860 thousand barrels/day. In addition, Japan receives approximately 12% of their oil imports from Iran. There are no real alternate sources to replace this oil if Iran decides to turn off the tap if the E.U. negotiators attempt to push Iran on permanently halting their (alleged) nuclear weapon program.

The US is often accused of doing most anything to get its hands on more oil. So it might seem strange that the US imports NO Iranian oil. Neither does the UK and Canada. Canada and the UK are actually net exporters of oil. (While Canada and the UK import oil, they are both net exporters of oil.) This situation is to Iran’s benefit, as the major Allied military powers are not dependant on a drop of Iranian oil. So Iran can turn off the tap without the threat of retaliation from any of these countries.

The US can hardly do more to Iran without actually attacking it, already with cut diplomatic relations, frozen assets in the US and Sanctions. Provided that Iran does not get too brazen about their nuclear ambitions, until they actually develop a bomb, the threat of the military action from the US is pretty low. “No Blood for Oil for france!” might be a catchy slogan.

There have been threats that Iran’s violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT,) which it is a signatory will be reported to the Security Council for debate and possible UN sanctions. UN sanctions are not likely either as France, China and Russia will probably end up falling over each other to veto any sanctions that come up for a vote. France would most likely veto any sanctions due to its dependence on Iranian oil. China would veto for a promise of a guaranteed oil supply, and Russia simply to keep the US in check.

So what is Europe to do? We saw the first step recently when the E.U. 3 caved and presented a solution that would allow Iran a peaceful nuclear energy program. They would assist Iran to obtain nuclear energy plants, in essence, meeting their demands. The offer was ejected before it even cooled. This was followed by comments from the Iranian Government on how they fooled the E.U.3 for about a year in order to finish a phase of their nuclear program. This is a perfect example of how serious they view those who they are negotiating with. The E.U. negotiators are nothing more than tools to the Iranians.

To make the E.U. negotiators position worse, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany decided to lecture President Bush that military action is not an option in getting Iran to abide with the will of the international community. It does not appear that they have many other options left. Of course Chancellor Schroeder could have taken a moment to lecture the Iranian Government, but perhaps that slipped his mind.

The E.U.3 have another problem. They are all working to get more access to Iran for French, German, and British businesses. It must be hard to push the Iranians one minute on the nuclear issue and the next minute ask for access to more business opportunities. Could the negotiators the US is depending on compromise themselves any more than they already have?

Europe keeps lecturing the US to not act unilaterally and search out peaceful solutions through the international community. Now Europe has a perfect opportunity to solve the Iran problem on their own. The question is, can they do it before the US warms up their cruise missiles to cancel the Iranian nuclear program before Iran becomes nuclear armed. Perhaps they might want to play good-cop, bad-cop (or carrot and stick.) Simply tell the mullahs running the country to either deal with them now or deal with the Cowboy in control of the US. So lets see how Europe handles a difficult to solve problem President Bush has little faith that these negotiations will work and neither do I. I hope they do, I really do. After all it does the US no good to lecture the E.U. about how they royally screwed up the Iran issue if in the end we have to attack Iran.

See Michael Ledeen’s piece in the National Review for a sobering look at the new Iranian Government: Iran the Model - National Review

Schröder campaigns against Bush - Secular Blasphemy
Germany rejects Iran military option - ABC News Australia
Iran and EU - Captain Marlow

Update 22 Aug 05:

Opinionjournal has a great editorial laying out What two years of "non-cowboy strategy has achieved." It is a good read and points out even more reasons that the current negotiations will not work:

Iran and Diplomacy (How the negotiating strategy is working so far) -

My Box of Docs: Box 30-JGR/Judges (8)

Adopt a box of documents from the Reagan Library released because they somehow relate to Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts and review it for anything that might 'fuel any fire' against Roberts approval.

The master list of boxes and adoptees are at Radioblogger.
The operation is organized by Hugh Hewitt.

My box contains nothing I would consider Pertinent to Roberts Supreme Court Nomination.

This box totaled 33 pages. The first 26 pages were copies of two articles from the Judicature (Volume 68, Numbers 9-10, April, May 1985) sent to Roberts and other for their information:

“Reaganizing the Judiciary: The First Term Appoints” Pgs. 3-18
“Reaganizing the Judiciary: What Role Politics” Pgs 19-26

I did not read the articles.

On page 27 there is a memo from Roberts, Associate Counsel to the President, dated June 24, 1985 to Daniel Engler, Staff Assistant, Office of White House Correspondence

The memo clears letters to Circuit Judge Fred Wicker (Mississippi) and Senior Judge Samuel Rosenstein (US Court of International Trade, FL) from President Reagan thanking them for their letters in support of his visit to the Nazi Cemetery in Bitburg, Germany.

You can download the documents from this box Here.

Saturday, August 20

DC Housing Bubble Popping

With all the talk of whether or not there is a Housing bubble, it has been pretty clear to me that there has been a housing bubble forming in the DC area for some time.

Now there appears to be admission that there is a bubble in the DC area, but that is of no concern to buyers because housing prices will simple rise slower, flatten out, or in a worse-case situation decline slightly. Nobody is willing to predict that house prices will drop dramatically. However, this is what I believe is going to happen.

You read it here first. the DC housing market will pop and it is going to be a dramatic event.

I live in Northwest DC (NW) and each morning I pass the same four houses that have been for sale for months already, and in one case at least a year. Two of them are on the market for well over a million. My wife and I really like one of them, but it is going for $1.2 million, with the price recently reduced. Now I have a good salary, but we have been priced out of the DC market. Sure we could get a loan and buy a house here, but we would be stretched to the limit. We could make things easier on ourselves and take out an 'interest only' loan, but that would be stupid.

So the wife and I are going to wait. We have a nice park-side apartment with a balcony that extends into Rock Creek Park. When the leaves drop in the fall, we can see the million-plus homes on the other side of the park. Our rent is cheap and all utilities are included. We plan on looking again in about a year, once the bubble has deflated. My guess is that prices will drop dramatically and then start their way back up. The trick is knowing when the market hits bottom.

We partly have to thank all of the investors who bought up many of the properties. When we first moved here in 2001 I went to one development looking for a house and was told that they were all sold already. I was shocked to hear that because none of the houses were build yet, just recently poured foundations. Well the houses are built and the investors have them up for sale. Good luck to them . They're going to need it.

Update: Long Island Housing Bubble Popping - Posted 20 Sept

Update: DC Housing Bubble: Popped - Posted 13 November

Market Cools in the Washington Area - DC Examiner (19 Aug 05)

D.C. Area Housing Market Cools Off - Washington Post (24 July 05)

I am an Optimist - Carnival of the Optimists #18

I have been called many things, rarely an optimist. But I feel that I am. when living overseas, I ran across an Eastern European who I was talking current events with, when she made the statement:

"that is what is wrong with all you Americans. You always hope for the best while the rest of us always expct the worst."

Anyway. The newest edition of the Carnival of the Optimists (#18) is out. take a minute to visit and see what other optimists have to say. My "Buy American" post was highlighted.

Thanks to Boxing Alcibiades for considering the piece worth reccomending.

Thursday, August 18

Iran's new Flag

I do not know what is more disturbing, Iran's suicidal march towards the bomb or Europe's lack of concern.

Some on the left would like to excuse Iran's actions citing that Iran merely wants nukes because they know that the US won't attack a nuclear armed country. Too bad that they neglect that the US might very well attack them to prevent them from obtaining a bomb. So with that in mind, here is the latest political bumper sticker:

I am sure that the left really wants to protest outside the Iranian Embassy for their bad behavior, but don't think that they have one in the US. Well, turns out that they do, located inside the Embassy of Pakistan:

Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

See you there!

Monday, August 15

Bring General MacArthur Home

General MacArthur died in 1964 and is buried in Norfolk, Virginia.

During his life, he served the United States in the Army during WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.

The man is a great American Hero

There is a good summary of his life in Wikipedia. It also mentions that there was some controversy over his decisions in all the wars he fought. Well I doubt there are any great leaders who can escape the claim of being a ‘controversial’ figure in today’s politically correct world.

There is a statue of General MacArthur in Inchon, Korea. This is where the General landed troops behind the North Korean invaders, turning the tide of the Korean War and putting the North on the defensive. It was no easy feat landing troops in Inchon, and probably would never have been attempted without MacArthur insisting to attack there. The statue was built in 1957 to honor the General and most likely was ignored until sometime in 2002 when Anti-American hatred (most likely Iraq/Bush related) began to spill out into Korean society. Seeing the MacArthur Statue as a target, the police have guarded it around the clock since 2002.

Those wishing to do damage to the General are small in number, but then again it does not take many to do a great deal of damage in the name of an extreme position. We all know that South Koreans (in general) no longer see North Korea as a threat, or at least not as great a threat as the United States. This of course is partly due to these South Koreans completely ignoring their own history, which I pointed out in a previous post.

The US has removed some of it’s troops, partly to appease the south, and partly because they were needed elsewhere and not needed where they're at. We are their guests after all. We have put up with the friction of being there because it is easier to keep the North from thinking of attacking, then it is to take the country back from the North, again.

It was pointed out to the North Koreans that the US was moving its forces from the border but that the US had high altitude bombers ready to strike if they ever attacked. In essence this was a smart move as if the North ever attacked they were going to fall over the demilitarized zone anyway and Seoul is expected to fall into the hands of the North in any future attack. The American forces close to the border were there mostly to destroy everything that would slow down their advance. Best to get them out of the way and in a better defensive position.

However, with the repositioning further south, we have left one of our own behind. I say it is time to get him back.

(Riot Police and supporters defending the MacArthur Statue in Inchon, Korea)

Story and photo at:

Gen. MacArthur statue spawns Korea protest - China Daily

Gen. MacArthur statue spawns Korea protest -

macarthur statue korea - Google News

Sunday, August 14

Things that you can and can’t do in a Fascist State

Things that you can’t do in a Fascist State:

  • Enjoy freedom of speech
  • Call for the impeachment of the President
  • Call the President a Liar
  • Question foreign policy
  • Publicize examples of prisoner abuse
  • Go to court to protect your right to privacy
  • Go to court to protect the rights of terrorists
  • Stage protests (In the Capital no less)
  • Travel freely
  • Demand a meeting with the President (Especially after already having one)
  • Practice the religion of your choice or no religion at all
  • Be found innocent of a crime due to a technicality
  • Avoid the death penalty because your under 18
  • Be Michael Moore, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, Cindy Sheehan, be members of the ACLU, Code Pink, etc....

Things that you can do in a Fascist State:

  • Place your political opponents in jail
  • Racial profiling
  • Summary executions
  • Control the media
  • Starve the population
  • Forced labor
  • Place Michael Moore, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, members of the ACLU, Cindy Sheehan, and all their supporters and fans into re-education camps
  • Anything you want (Provided that your in charge)

Now it was Cindy Sheehan who was thinking that existence of the Internet as the saving grace for preventing the US from descending into a fascist state. Well with the quick list I drew up above, I think we have a long way to go before we end up anywhere near the type of horror Mrs. Sheehan fears.

I too am thankful for the Internet. I now have a place to express my thoughts and enjoy my First Amendment Right. In addition, I think that conservative-minded persons like myself have even more to thank for the internet, considering that the Mainstream media is so left-leaning. If it wasn’t for the internet, CBS probably would not have been caught accusing the President with fake documents. Nor would we know that the only public copy of the Downing Street Memos were typed out by the secretary of the reporter who broke the story of their existence and that there are no originals or copies of the 'original' documents, or even if they exist at all.

We would not know that Cindy Sheehan posted an open letter to the President calling for his impeachment two days after the election. In a fascist State that would have been enough to give the government reason to silence her. Yet there she is, down the road from the President, with an ever-larger group of protesters by her side, to support and protest her. Thankfully, since we do not live in a fascist state, and we can judge them on their own words and actions.

Code Pink Protesters protesting outside the White House (December 2002)

They don't look afraid do they?

Free Speech does not extend everywhere, like at work:

Saturday, August 13

The Connection between Iraq, Al-Qaeda and the War on Terror

- Iraq invades Kuwait (2 August 1990)

- UN demands that Iraq withdraw from Kuwait (2 August 1990)

- US military invited into Saudi Arabia to defend the Kingdom against Iraq. (7 August 1990)

- Osama Bin Laden issues fatwa against the Americans “Occupying the land of the two Holy Places.” (23 August 1996)

See, this whole War on Terror is all due to a simple misunderstanding. Look at the last point above. Bin Laden issues a Fatwa against the Americans that were occupying Saudi Arabia. Well the US was not occupying any part of Saudi Arabia, they just so happened to be invited into Saudi Arabia.

Why were they invited in? Could it be that the Saudis realized that they could not defend the "Two Holy Places" on their own? Haven’t we since left?

Now this is not a connection between Iraq and 9/11. I am not going to attempt to do that. Hell, they can't even convict Atta's roommate in Germany (Abdelghani Mzoudi) for assisting Atta with 9/11 because it is not possible to prove that Atta had told him about 9/11. He knew that Atta was a terrorist. After all they were both went to terrorist training together in Afghanistan and the roommate knew that Atta was in flight school in the US, pay his bills and sending Atta money.

Did Bush start the whole Iraq War? Nope, the timeline that I have says that Saddam did in 1990. Bush is the one who finished the war, and yes, this is the same war that Saddam started in 1990. Bush Senior did not finish it (the UN got in the way) Clinton did not finish it, letting the UN oversee the hunt for weapons. It was Bush Jr. who finished it.

Al-Qaeda is not the only player in world terror. This is something the left needs to understand.
Would September 11 ever have happened if Saddam had not invaded Kuwait and set the timeline above rolling? Then again, he could have complied with the UN Weapons Inspectors and proved he had no WMD, but he decided against that.

Friday, August 12

Sheehan and George: Update II

Just to give you an idea of how slanted the press is treating this story, I give you the following Google News searches as a perfect example: (Search done 12:40 Eastern)

Sheehan - 3,730 hits

Sheehan Family - 850 Hits

Quarterolo - 4 Hits

Mrs. Quarterolo is the Aunt who release a statment from the Rest of Soldier Sheehan's familiy concerning the actions of his mother in Texas.

The four hits do not include the Drudge Report, probably because Google does not consider it a news source. One of the three results actually questions the authenticity of the family statement.
What, no coverage from CNN, Fox News, CBS, the NY Times? Good job MSM. LEts see how they cover Able Danger-Gate.
Able Danger - 6,140 Hits. Not bad.

Thursday, August 11

The US knew of Atta and the Sept. 11 commission did not think this was Important "ABLE DANGER"

I am almost speachless:

The Sept. 11 commission knew military intelligence officials had identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as a member of al-Qaida who might be part of U.S.-based terror cell more than a year before the terror attacks but decided not to include that in its final report, a spokesman acknowledged Thursday.

The information did not make it into the final report because it was not consistent with what the commission knew about Atta's whereabouts before the attacks, Felzenberg said.

So let me get this straight. A government Organization manages to identify Atta and three other hijackers over a year before the attacks and the Commission does not mention this in the report because some of the information conflicted with other information you have? Ever hear of a footnote? How about explaining the difference in the information? Did the conflicting information make it into the report? Not for anything, but if they had even managed to guest the identities of four of the hijackers I would expect that to be in the report.

Hmm, they only identified four of the 19. They could have done better, but which four? Was it the four pilots?* According to the news reports, they were all in the Us already. Not bad considering that many of the supporting hijackers did not arrive in the US until just before the event.

So how did they manage to identify these guys? I will take a guess:


Well I bet that profiling was a part. This is only the tip of the iceberg concerning this story. As you have probably read already, what exactly was Sandy Berger smuggling out of the National Archives?


Turns out that they were using Data Mining techniques. This just so happened to be a data mining experiment to prove the usefulness of data mining. Apparently at least two of the four identified were pilots.

This is the same technique the privacy extremists are so against. Now we can see why. I bet this technique is also useful in identifying criminals....

Cindy Sheehan and 'George' (the President of the United States): Update

I was wondering where the rest of Mrs. Sheehan's family was. Today we received the answer through a statement issued by the rest of the family.

Sheehan Family Statement:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.


Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

My deepest condolences to Mrs. Sheehan and to all of Soldier Sheehan's relatives and friends. While the actions in Iraq are worth it to the US, some families pay a much higher price than others. For the Sheehan family, Iraq was not worth it for them. It is one of the sad aspects of war, the cost in human lives. Not going to war does not gaurantee saving lives. We were not at war on Sept 11th, and who knows what the death toll from further terrorist attacks would have been by now had we done nothing. This is why Soldier Sheehan's sacrifice is so important.

Monday, August 8

Remembering the Manhattan Project and the end of WWII

The use of nuclear weapons signaled the end of WWII. At first America celebrated the victory over Japan, VJ day (14 August.)

Now as Rightwingnutouse points out, while the blame America crowd uses the bomb anniversaries for propaganda, they manage to conveniently forget that it was Japan that started the war by attacking the US at Pearl Harbor. They also manage to forget items of history that we all should remember. So take a look at Right Wing’s post for a list of atrocities that the Japanese have yet to apologize for.

I would also like to remember those who made the bomb program a success. They are truly a group that has not gotten the recognition for their contribution to ending the war.

In addition, here is an incomplete list of some other events that people should be remembering about the end of WWII:

- At the end of WWII the US (eventually) liberated all the land it occupied.
- Even some US Territories gained their independence.

- The Soviet Union held onto every square meter its troops occupied.

- The Soviet Union also occupied the Northern half of Korea, which was occupied by the Japanese. The US occupied the south of Korea. Both sides pledge that Korea will be unified after a temporary occupation.

- The UN holds elections in Southern Korea. (1948)
- The Soviet Union refuses to let the election be held in the North and gives the country to Kim Il-Sung, who was in exile in The Soviet Union.

- NORTH Korea INVADES South Korea (25 June 1950)
- The UN approves force to defend South Korea. (27 June 50)
- UN Forces push the North Koreas back across 38 North. (8 October 50)
- To prevent defeat of the North Koreans, China fights UN Forces. (19 October 50)
- To prevent defeat of the North Koreans, Soviet Union Pilots fight for the North.

North Korea gives American POWs to the Soviet Union (They were never returned)

Just amazing, we have the Soviet Union to thank for not only the birth of North Korea, but also for the Korean War. By default, we can thank the Russian Government for the current state of North Korea.

And to think that the left (in America and Europe) proclaimed a strong Soviet Union a good thing for America. Now without a strong Soviet Union, the left is saying that a nuclear Iran, North Korea, an militarily strong China will provide balance against the strengths of the US, without giving a thought about the strength of America’s restraint.
Now, some are calling a “balance of terror” a good thing. (anonymous comment #42.)

Of course these same voices blame lots of the problems on the strong US and that we should voluntarily weaken, like our enemies will simply stop. For years we let them live out their dreams in Afghanistan (which we can thank the Soviet Union for destabilizing.) But having their own country, laws (and US aid) was not good enough. They had to come after us because we were not living they way they wanted. After all, the world is Gray. To that I say BULL, and it just so happends that I wrote about Seeing things in Black and white instead of in shades of gray as the subject of my very first post.

Sunday, August 7

Cindy Sheehan and 'George' (the President of the United States)

Cindy Sheehan is in the news. She is the mother of Soldier Casey Sheehan. Soldier Sheehan was killed in Iraq on 4 April 2004. Watching the news, you might get the impression that Soldier Sheehan died recently and that Cindy Sheehan is a grieving mom looking for answers and that is why she is camped out outside the President’s Ranch in Texas demanding accountability from the President for her son’s death.

I hope that the President feels accountable for every soldier’s death and from the news, it would seem that he does show concern in this regard. He visits with wounded soldiers. He also often visits with relatives of those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

My first thought was that she would only need to wait for her opportunity to get a chance to meet with/confront the President and then she could ask him whatever she wanted.

Any of these family members can put the President to task for his actions. If anything, there seems to be no news concerning these meetings. It is White House policy to not release too many details about these meetings, but there is nothing holding the families back from talking to the press about meeting the president about the loss of their relative. Guess there is not enough badmouthing of the President to be news-worthy.

Which brings us to Cindy Sheehan. She wants her time with the President. Turns out, she already had her time with the President last June. She explains that she was in shock at the time, and didn’t think of holding him accountable then. Now she wants another meeting.

So there she sits on the side of the road in Texas, creating news for the MSM that they can twist into an anti-Bush story, neglecting to mention she already met with him. There is no real news here. There are over 100,000 troops currently in Iraq that the President is accountable to. Now the White House could have ignored this woman, but instead they sent out White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. They met with her for 45 minutes, which I find amazing taking into account her open letter to the President, dated 4 November 2004, two days after the election.

Some highlights: (Keep in mind that her son died in Iraq)

“It has been seven months since your ignorant and arrogant lack of planning for the peace murdered my oldest child. It has been two days since your dishonest campaign stole another election…but you all were way more subtle this time than in 2000, weren’t you? You hardly had to get the Supreme Court of the United States involved at all this week.”

“If you think I am going to allow you another four years to do even more damage, then you truly are mistaken. I will fight for a true vote count and if that fails, your impeachment. Also, the impeachment of your Vice President. The only thing is, I'm not politically savvy, and I don't have a Karl Rove to plan my strategy, but I do have a big mouth and a righteous cause, which still mean something in this country, I hope.”

The 56,000,000 plus citizens who voted against you and your agenda have given me a mandate to move forward with my agenda. Also, thanks to you and your careless domestic policies, I am unemployed, so this will be my full-time job.”

“By the way, George, how many more innocent Iraqis are your policies going to kill before you convince them that you are better than Saddam?”

You can find the whole letter here.

Her words speak for itself. I added some color to the more interesting bits.

Note: Fred is a commissioned reserve officer.

Thursday, August 4

Before you move to Canada: Update

In December 2004 I wrote a piece titled: Before you move to Canada

At the time there was lots of talk that many Liberals, upset about the outcome of the 04 Presidential Elections, were going to move north to Canada to escape the 'Neocons' running the country.

Like other things the left shouts off about, the threat/promise that many were going to move out of the country, this turned out to ring hallow. The Canadian Government has released statistics that for the six months after the election, not only did the number of American moving north not rise, but actually fell.
"I can only assume the Americans who checked out the Web site subsequently checked out our winter temperatures and further took note that the National Hockey League was being locked out and had second thoughts," - Toby Condliffe, Canadian chapter of Democrats Abroad
If the election results were not reason enough to move to Canada, one would think that the Supreme Court killing 'Medical Marihuana' programs in California and a couple of other 'Progressive' states and the fact that the drug is readily available in Canada would only further encourage a mass migration north. As it turns out, not so.

This actually creates a problem for Canada which is openly welcoming immigrants, partly to replace those Canadians who are moving to the US. After all, if having a society compatible to Democratic ideals AND a liberal drug policy can't entice people to move from here, what will?