Archive for February, 2007

I can’t imagine anything good coming from negotiations with the primary sponsors terrorism in the world today.   

From the NY Sun 

WASHINGTON — With congressional pressure mounting against the Bush administration’s military surge in Baghdad, Secretary of State Rice yesterday said America would be participating in a regional conference that would include Iran and”Syria. The announcement comes at the Senate Appropriations Committee‘s first hearing to review the $99.6 billion that the White House is requesting to fund the troop surge in Iraq. It suggests that the Bush administration is making efforts to accommodate congressional Democrats, who have urged the president to send envoys to Damascus and Tehran to begin brokering an exit from Iraq.The summit also represents a change in tone for the Bush administration, which has accentuated the threat posed particularly from Iran in recent weeks. Yesterday, at a hearing of the Senate’s intelligence committee, the new director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, said some Shiite militia members received training in how to use armor-piercing explosives against American convoys inside Iran and in facilities run by Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.While an administration official denied the announcement from Ms. Rice was motivated by politics, the secretary of state’s testimony pointed out how the new initiative reflected the wishes of the administration’s congressional critics.

From ABC News 

A woman admitted Monday that she coached her two children to fake retardation starting when they were 4 and 8 years old so she could collect Social Security benefits on their behalf.

Rosie Costello, 46, admitted in U.S. District Court that she collected more than $280,000 in benefits, beginning in the mid-1980s. Most was from Social Security, but the state social services agency paid $53,000.

Costello pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government and Social Security fraud. Her son, Pete, 26, pleaded guilty earlier this month. Federal prosecutors in Seattle said Monday authorities had not yet located her daughter, Marie.

Cross Posted from DeMediacratic Nation

Free opinion here, no TimeSelect fee necessary.

From the editorial board over at the toilet “paper” of record:

“It’s almost enough to make us nostalgic for streaking and sitting on flagpoles. College students from Michigan to Florida have found a new way to get attention, offend others and make a right-wing statement all at once. It’s a game with a name that says it all: “Catch the Illegal Immigrant.”

Hey, I’m all for seeing a few “streakers,” however, if you’re into sitting on “flagpoles,” I’m sure there is an appropriate fetish site for that; but I regress digress.

Do you ever notice how certain “free speech” on campuses shouldn’t be “free?” Do you ever notice that it is usually speech or activity from groups labeled “Rightwing,” that tend to raise the ire of the Times/School Administrators/Liberal college groups?

This mornings Times pines for the days when life was as simple as making your statement the “old fashioned” way; with your flesh. Flashback to the day when re-writing reality wasn’t more easily countenanced. To a day when running naked was inappropriately appropriate. Fighting the message is much easier when you don’t know what the action was supposed to represent.

Today, unfortunately we have some (on the Right oddly), that now use an offensive game called “Catch the Illegal Immigrant,” and according to the board:

“have declared piously that they’re just trying to spark debate”

No “piety” detected from the board……

The editorial also concerns itself with the “fact” that:

“Administrators are in a tough spot, trying to balance free speech with offensive behavior.”

The tough spot being that we’re watching, waiting and listening to see how you react to something you don’t agree with, yet tend to accept, allow and justify from just about any college group from the Left (campus center). “Behavior,” the schools and Times find offensive perhaps because people with this type of opinion/behavior could easily have been aborted to avoid activities like this, yet Right wingers, being the zealots we are tend to prefer extermination later in life, i.e. wars, death penalty, etc.

In order to silence those the Times deems sub-intelligent, they close by simplifying the debate in terms that allow them to understand the opposition; as anyone with any semblance of thought can certainly understand this:

‘”Catch the Immigrant” also reflects a larger misunderstanding of the immigration issue. The more than 11 million illegal immigrants cannot be caught. Even if they could be, rounding them up and deporting them would be disastrous, economically and socially. Educators should teach the game players about the real world.”

See how stupid these crazy kids are? Don’t they understand the simplicity of immigration reform the paper supports is?

11 million is an estimate and I’ve always wondered how one deals face to face with an estimate. Legislation put forward thus far of the “comprehensive” variety will send a certain number of the “estimates (based on time “illegally” in the country),” back “home,” then allow them to return and file for “legal” citizenship at the front of the line. Some “estimates,” will be allowed to remain, pay a fine, then receive their “amnesty, regularization, legalization, normalization, permanence, earned adjustment, phased-in access to earned regularization,” or whatever term the Times may use to cloud the issue to their liking/understanding.

That last line? “Educators should teach the game players about the real world.” Starting with one of the “star” players sitting comfortably passing judgment at the Times.

Recent posts from the CAII:

More on the Memphis Cabbie,” from The Bear Creek Ledger.”
“The “Gun of Navarette” Fires Again – Immigration debate between wall and wallet” from Demediacratic Nation

Mexican Wives Tell U.S. To Close Border from Common Sense America

Imaginary Friend – Real Credit at Bank of America
from Liberally Conservative

Export Dollars to Mexico Free with Bank of America from Liberally Conservative

**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email stiknstein-at-gmail-dot-com and let us know at what level you would like to participate.**

Here are two articles… the first an editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Joe Lieberman…

The Choice on Iraq

Two months into the 110th Congress, Washington has never been more bitterly divided over our mission in Iraq. The Senate and House of Representatives are bracing for parliamentary trench warfare — trapped in an escalating dynamic of division and confrontation that will neither resolve the tough challenges we face in Iraq nor strengthen our nation against its terrorist enemies around the world.

What is remarkable about this state of affairs in Washington is just how removed it is from what is actually happening in Iraq. There, the battle of Baghdad is now under way. A new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has taken command, having been confirmed by the Senate, 81-0, just a few weeks ago. And a new strategy is being put into action, with thousands of additional American soldiers streaming into the Iraqi capital.

Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq — or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?

[Lieberman]

If we stopped the legislative maneuvering and looked to Baghdad, we would see what the new security strategy actually entails and how dramatically it differs from previous efforts. For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security — meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.

Tamping down this violence is more than a moral imperative. Al Qaeda’s stated strategy in Iraq has been to provoke a Sunni-Shiite civil war, precisely because they recognize that it is their best chance to radicalize the country’s politics, derail any hope of democracy in the Middle East, and drive the U.S. to despair and retreat. It also takes advantage of what has been the single greatest American weakness in Iraq: the absence of sufficient troops to protect ordinary Iraqis from violence and terrorism.

The new strategy at last begins to tackle these problems. Where previously there weren’t enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias, now more U.S. and Iraqi forces are either in place or on the way. Where previously American forces were based on the outskirts of Baghdad, unable to help secure the city, now they are living and working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts on small bases being set up throughout the capital.

At least four of these new joint bases have already been established in the Sunni neighborhoods in west Baghdad — the same neighborhoods where, just a few weeks ago, jihadists and death squads held sway. In the Shiite neighborhoods of east Baghdad, American troops are also moving in — and Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army are moving out.

We of course will not know whether this new strategy in Iraq will succeed for some time. Even under the most optimistic of scenarios, there will be more attacks and casualties in the months ahead, especially as our fanatical enemies react and attempt to thwart any perception of progress.

But the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago — with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground. We are now in a stronger position to ensure basic security — and with that, we are in a stronger position to marginalize the extremists and strengthen the moderates; a stronger position to foster the economic activity that will drain the insurgency and militias of public support; and a stronger position to press the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that everyone acknowledges are necessary for progress.

Unfortunately, for many congressional opponents of the war, none of this seems to matter. As the battle of Baghdad just gets underway, they have already made up their minds about America’s cause in Iraq, declaring their intention to put an end to the mission before we have had the time to see whether our new plan will work.

There is of course a direct and straightforward way that Congress could end the war, consistent with its authority under the Constitution: by cutting off funds. Yet this option is not being proposed. Critics of the war instead are planning to constrain and squeeze the current strategy and troops by a thousand cuts and conditions.

Among the specific ideas under consideration are to tangle up the deployment of requested reinforcements by imposing certain “readiness” standards, and to redraft the congressional authorization for the war, apparently in such a way that Congress will assume the role of commander in chief and dictate when, where and against whom U.S. troops can fight.

I understand the frustration, anger and exhaustion so many Americans feel about Iraq, the desire to throw up our hands and simply say, “Enough.” And I am painfully aware of the enormous toll of this war in human life, and of the infuriating mistakes that have been made in the war’s conduct.

But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake — assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.

In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences. It would put thousands of American troops already deployed in the heart of Baghdad in even greater danger — forced to choose between trying to hold their position without the required reinforcements or, more likely, abandoning them outright. A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill — probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.

I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next. Instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed.

Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then. Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home.

We are at a critical moment in Iraq — at the beginning of a key battle, in the midst of a war that is irretrievably bound up in an even bigger, global struggle against the totalitarian ideology of radical Islamism. However tired, however frustrated, however angry we may feel, we must remember that our forces in Iraq carry America’s cause — the cause of freedom — which we abandon at our peril.

And then there is this from Time: The last paragraph is in my opinion very telling.. 

Behind the Dems’ War Strategy

Led by Nevada’s Harry Reid, Senate Democrats are making an effort to galvanize support around a still-unspecified resolution which would, in effect, replace the resolution that authorized George W. Bush to go to war in 2002 with a new measure that sets new limits on the American mission in Iraq. The details of Reid’s resolution are fuzzy because the Democratic leadership only just glommed onto this idea last week and the language of the resolution is still being worked out. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said on Sunday that the new measure would set a deadline next year for withdrawal of some US forces — he did not say how many. It would most likely restrict US troops to training, support and counter-terror roles, though that too has to be worked out. Reid is expected to unveil the resolution on Tuesday.

But it’s hard to see how this is going to fly.

It’s not certain that Reid can come up with wording that will unify his own caucus. And already, even the moderate Republicans who stood with the Democrats two weeks ago on a much milder, non-binding resolution, have signaled their opposition to anything like a rewrite of the authorization of force resolution. “They are grasping at straws,” said an aide to a Republican who voted with the Democrats two weeks ago. “My boss will never support it.” An aide to a more conservative Senator, who doesn’t like what’s going on in Iraq but is not willing to oppose the President, was more pointed. “They are all trying to figure out a way to embarrass the President and rally the netroots,” he said. “It won’t get very far.”

The idea to revisit the original war authorization was first proposed by Sen. Edward Kennedy in January and has been bouncing around the Senate chamber for a few weeks, talked up at various points by different Democratic senators. It was ignored chiefly because it had virtually no chance of winning any Republican votes — and that fact hasn’t changed.

But as politically flawed as the idea was, it began to look good to Democrats when all the alternatives began to look worse.

Republicans blocked debate on the non-binding resolution, and Democrats overplayed their hand in the House, meanwhile, when Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania threatened to withhold funds for any combat unit destined for Iraq which was undermanned or under-equipped in some way — an indirect Iraq no confidence vote. Republicans seized on this too-clever-by-half gambit, charging the majority with bleeding the troops and shrewdly challenging Democrats to simply cut off all funds if they didn’t like the war. That worked. Murtha hasn’t been heard from since, though his aides say he may say something in public this week about his next steps.

Even if Republicans are right and the Democrats’ tactic is doomed, success may not be Reid’s goal. Democrats (and Republicans) across Washington have been buzzing for days about the increasingly lopsided poll ratings on Bush and the war — numbers that have led Democrats to conclude that there is simply no downside to bringing up vote after vote on the war in order to force Republicans to choose which side of Bush and Iraq they are on.

Which means Reid’ s goal isn’t really to legislate a new direction in Iraq at all. It is simply to get Republicans who are up for reelection in 2008 on the record as many times as is possible as sticking with a president — and a war — that most of the country has lost confidence in.

Both articles clearly show where both sides sit on the issue… On one side (in this case articulated very well by Senator Lieberman) we have those who want to see the success of our forces in Iraq and elsewhere in the GWOT. We would like to see any discussion or debate in congress in which the ultimate goal of that discussion is to further our chances for success in Iraq.

The other side led by “Ringside” Harry Reid, & Nancy “Tunagate” Pelosi are so determined to undermine President Bush that they could care less what damage it does to our national security or the safety of our troops deployed in Iraq and elsewhere.  For them the war is in Washington.  If the Harry, Nancy and the rest of the Surrendercrats are successful, it very well could be on the streets of Washington, and every other city here at home.   

Back in July The UNSC set a deadline of Aug 31 2006 (my post here) for Iran to either suspend uranium enrichment or face economic & diplomatic sanctions…. That deadline came and went with no significant sanctions imposed nor a commitment by Iran to halt its uranium enrichment and other aspects of its nuclear weapons program. 

Reminds me of a couple of Quotes:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Edmund Burke

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

Winston Churchill

U.S. seeks more stringent U.N. sanctions against Iran 

WASHINGTON – The United States will seek tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran for defying a Security Council demand to suspend uranium enrichment, U.S. officials said Thursday. But it was unclear whether Russia or China, which hold Security Council vetoes, will go along.

U.S. officials disclosed the latest move after the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, said Iran was expanding an industrial-scale uranium enrichment facility and continuing to build the Arak heavy water reactor.

The United States and its European allies believe that Iran’s uranium enrichment program is part of a secret effort to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran insists that the program is aimed at generating electrical power. There is ambiguity, because the same process that produces low-enriched uranium for power plants also produces highly enriched uranium fuel used in nuclear weapons.

A renewed drive for sanctions almost certainly will ratchet up tensions that are already rising following U.S. charges that Iranian-supplied weapons have cost hundreds of American troops in Iraq their lives.

Britain announced that it would support tougher sanctions, but there was no word from Russia and China on whether they would drop their earlier objections to stronger measures.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that Iran would “never” abandon its nuclear program, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

And this from the NY Times:

Iran Expanding Nuclear Effort, Agency Reports

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 — In open defiance of the United Nations, Iran is steadily expanding its efforts to enrich uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Thursday. In response, the Bush administration immediately pressed for more severe sanctions against the country, at a moment of greatly increased tensions between Washington and Tehran.

In a mild surprise to outside experts, the nuclear agency reported that Iran was now operating or about to switch on roughly 1,000 centrifuges, the high-speed devices that enrich uranium, at its nuclear facility at Natanz.

Each month, I try and put together a post of some of the good news out of Iraq. Public opinion of the war in Iraq has diminished considerably, poll results and the November elections demonstrated that full well. Public opinion however is driven in a very large part by how the media portrays what is happening on the ground in Iraq.  While Car bombs and other terror attacks are certainly news and of concern to everyone, especially those of us who have friends and family in harms way.  Those reports however are only part of what is happening in Iraq.

The media has completely failed in reporting the tremendous efforts and successes of Coalition & Iraqi forces in engaging terrorists, or on the progress being made in rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure decimated by nearly 3 decades of Saddam’s reign. The media’s coverage in Iraq has been it seems to serve a political agenda rather than to inform the public. This agenda driven reporting on Iraq has been successful in shaping public opinion, and undermining our mission as well as our troops deployed to carry out that mission.  

Here are a few articles and press releases that did not make it onto the evening news nor on headlines in any news paper…. Simply they just do not support the agenda that the old media wants to advance.

Market Grand Opening Signifies Iraqi Resilience

Last July, innocent women and children were killed here when terrorists attacked one of the only places that thrived with livelihood – the Mahmudiyah Marketplace.

Since the attack, which killed more than 40 Iraqis and wounded more than 100, Iraqis and coalition forces worked together to rebuild the market.

Local Iraqis gathered at the Mahmudiyah Marketplace, now named the Martyrs Market in remembrance of the local nationals killed during the July attack, for the grand opening Feb. 14.

Iraqi Police Train to Lead, Protect

Iraqi policemen from the Babil and Karbala provinces took a big step on the journey towards Provincial Iraqi Control on Feb. 10.

The Iraqi police stations across the Babil and Karbala provinces sent 20 dedicated, experienced officers to the forward operating base to attend the Iraqi police sustainment training program. After 10 days, the officers graduated the course having gained valuable knowledge to provide advanced instruction to fellow officers at their home stations

Soldiers Work with Iraqis to Provide Medical Care

Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Company C, 414th Civil Affairs Battalion, and Iraqi civilian healthcare professionals helped the citizens here at the newly refurbished Sab Al Bor Health Clinic, providing medical care Feb. 10 during a community healthcare outreach project.

More than 200 Iraqis from the village were treated for ailments ranging from common colds, minor burns, open wounds, aches and pains, allergies, to ear infections.

Reconstruction Projects Help Improve Quality of Life

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division has completed 3,825 construction projects as of Feb. 9, 2007, with a total of 4,035 construction projects planned.

Currently, there are 802 construction projects ongoing – all funded through the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund, the Development Fund for Iraq, the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, the Economic Support Fund and the Iraq Security Forces Fund. Previous construction rollups included only IRRF and DFI projects, this and future roll-ups will include GRD projects under all funding programs.

Iraqi Police in Ramadi Discover Large Weapons Cache

Members of the Albu Obaid Iraqi Police station discovered one of the largest weapons cache in the last year while conducting dismounted patrols in eastern Ramadi, Feb. 3.

The cache consisted of over 300 82mm mortar rounds, three 152mm artillery rounds, two bags of homemade explosives, two Katyusha 107mm rockets, in addition to other items which included a mortar base plate, a spool of copper wire used for detonating improvised explosive devices and various smaller caliber ammunition.

There are 25 other similar articles for the month of February alone, that like these never managed to make it to any news cast or newspaper article .  In January there were 50 such articles.  Iraq is a long way from the stable democratically elected government we hoped would replace the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein but they have made a hell of a lot of progress toward that goal with US and Coalition assistance.  It is thoroughly disgusting that Media elites can shape public opinion about something as crucial to our national security by biased and one sided reporting. Even more disgusting is the failure of the American Public to demand fair and honest reporting in Iraq so an Informed opinion can be made.

Didn’t we do this already? 

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Rescuers who camped out on Mount Hood set out at daybreak Monday to try to reach three climbers who fell from a snowy ledge and were huddled in sleeping bags and cuddled with a dog amid ferocious winds and blowing snow.

“They are on the move,” Russell Gubele, coordinating communications for the rescue operation, said of the rescuers.

Other rescue teams from the ground were also on the way to the site, which is believed to be around the 8,300-foot level on the 11,239-foot mountain. The rescuers, about 30 in all were hoping to beat a snow storm expected later in the day.

The three climbers, two women and a man, fell on Sunday. They are believed to be good shape.

Rescuers reached the general area where the three climbers had found shelter behind rocks earlier Monday, but they decided to wait until daybreak because they couldn’t see anything, Gubele said, and “it’s extremely treacherous up where they are. One false step could be not good.”

Battling winds up to 70 mph and blowing snow, rescue teams had worked through the night trying to locate the climbers.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran began its largest war games in almost a year Monday, just two days ahead of a U.N. Security Council deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment or face further economic sanctions.

The elite Revolutionary Guards began three days of ground maneuvers, state-run media reported Monday.

State television said the exercise is the biggest since last March and is taking place in 16 of Iran’s 30 provinces. The broadcast said an estimated 60,000 troops are participating in the maneuvers.

“All weapons possessed by the Guards’ ground force … including new weapons, will be tested during the war games,” Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, commander of the Guards’ ground force, was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying Monday.

got-your-back.jpg

Graphic via News Blaze

From the Globe & Mail

WASHINGTON — Democrats, now a majority in Congress, fired a symbolic shot across President George W. Bush’s bow yesterday, passing a toughly worded but non-binding resolution that opposes sending thousands more U.S. soldiers into Baghdad’s violent cauldron.

Here is the Roll Call on the Vote… How did your Representative vote:

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 99

Hang Right Politics

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York businessman was indicted on terrorism charges on Friday, accused of transferring $152,000 to fund the purchase of equipment for use in a militant training camp in Afghanistan.

Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari was charged with financing terrorism and with money laundering for accepting an unspecified payment to secretly transfer $152,000 for equipment including night-vision goggles in the second half of 2006, said an indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

One such transfer by Alishtari, also known as Michael Mixon, included $25,000 from a New York bank account to a bank account in Montreal, Canada, the indictment said.