Friday, October 29, 2004

Why Kerry will not Release his Military Records

John Kerry and his campaign have pounded the president for months over his military records. They have accused the President of being AWOL and not completing his service requirements. No matter how much information the President has been able turn up about his service, including signing the SF-180 making his service records public, the press and the Democrats have been merciless.

All during this time John Kerry has campaigned heavily on his war record, sighting his military service repeatedly as an example of his leadership and patriotism. It seems that he proudly references his Vietnam War “Hero” status at every possible turn. The press has been right behind Kerry the whole way, refusing to ask him tough questions and attacking people who have questioned his service. All through this Kerry has refused to release his full military service records by signing the SF-180 form. Why? If the President’s service record is so important why is the service record of a candidate less important? Since he has made his service the center point of the campaign shouldn't the voters be able to see for themselves how well he did his job in the military? Why won’t the media press him on this issue?

I cannot answer these questions with any authority, but the lack of information as led to speculation as to what may be hidden in John Kerry’s service record. There have been some accusations that John Kerry was less than honorably discharged from the military and his status was changed at a later date. There has been speculation that the reason for John Kerry’s request for reinstatement of his service awards in 1985 is evidence of his one-time less than honorable status. There is also speculation that his discharge letter contains evidence that he was not initially a recipient of an honorable discharge from the military. I believe that this is the reason the he has refused to release his military records.

It is time for John Kerry to release his FULL military record. The public has a right to know.

US Failed to Stop the Russians from Removing Iraq’s Banned Weapons

The Washington Time has a very interesting story today that points the finger at the Russians for removing the infamous "missing" explosives from al Qaqaa. It also accuses the Russians of being involved in the removal of the Iraqi WMD. This was clearly a case of CYA on the part of the Russians as they were the largest arms suppliers to the Iraqi military. So much for Russian friendship. With friends like these…

Add to this what we have already learned about the Oil for Food program, and the French abuse of that program, and it seems as if the UN is nothing but an organized crime syndicate. But just remember, everything is OK as long as the US is not doing it, anything we do is a crime against humanity.

UPDATE: Fox News had this information about the Russian connection:

Rumsfeld, in one radio interview, also cast doubt on the suggestion by one of his subordinates that Russian soldiers assisted Iraqis in removing the munitions.

The Washington Times on Thursday quoted John A. Shaw (search), the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, who said he believed Russian special-forces personnel, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material from the Al-Qaqaa facility.

Shaw said he believed the munitions were moved to Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 invasion.

Senior Defense officials urged caution over the Washington Times article because they could not verify its allegations as true.

"I have no information on that at all, and cannot validate that even slightly," Rumsfeld said.

The article prompted an angry denial from Moscow.

This throws a wrinkle in the story. In addition the Fox story covers the ABC News video that allegedly shows the missing explosives in the al Qaqaa dump on April 18, 2003. This seems to support the New York Times story that the explosives were removed after the US first entered the facility. Seems as if we know less about this story today than we did yesterday. Read the entire story and judge for your self.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This is another quote from an Foxs News article about the missing explosives:

A U.S. Army officer came forward Friday and said a team from the 3rd Infantry Division took about 250 tons of munititions and military material from the Al-Qaqaa (search) munitions base soon after Saddam Hussein's regime fell last year.

Explosives were included in the load taken by the team but Major Austin Pearson said he was unable to say what percentage it accounted for. The Pentagon believes the disclosure helps to explain what happened to 377 tons of explosives that the International Atomic Energy Agency (
search) said disappeared after Saddam Hussein's regime fell.

A Pentagon spokesman acknowledged they don't have all the answers and can't yet account for all of the missing material but he said it was a signficant development in unraveling the mystery.
"We've described what we know and as we know more we'll decribe that," said spokesman Larry Dirita.

Pearson, accompanied by Dirita, appeared at a Pentagon news conference to say it was his mission to go the facility and clear material from the base but he could not say what percentage of the material were explosives. He said he was not an explosives expert but instead said his main mission is to clear possibly dangerous material from bases to make them safe for U.S. forces.

This is the same story quoted above. The plot thickens...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

One More Good Story

This is one of those stories that you just know is a publicity stunt, but what good is a stunt if no one knows about it? I don’t care what anyone says, I believe that this guy means what he says and says what he means.

Another Voter Quiz Thingy

You preferred Kerry's statements 44% of the time
You preferred Bush's statements 56% of the time

Voting purely on the issues you should vote Bush

Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?

Find out now!

See, this guy doesn't think I am a complete wacko. This is a neat quiz because it is just a series of questions and the answers are from each campaign. You don't know from which campaign an answer comes from so it is strictly about the issues.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Catch of the Day

Vietnam Special Forces Veterans Oppose John Kerry More veterans groups are coming out against Kerry. Seems that the press loves his Vietnam service but a large number of veterans don’t. Wonder what that means…

60,000 absentee ballots lost in Broward County. Broward County has got to be the most incompetent place on the planet. In the 2000 election the entire state was won by less than 600 votes, and now 60,000 absentee ballots are missing. I wonder how this will impact the election considering that most absentee ballots are from the military, but then again these may be duplicate votes from New York…

What Would Patton Say About the Present War? I read this today and it brought a tear to my eye. I agree 100% with the author’s assessment of how Patton would handle the Iraq War. We could use a man like him today.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Hero to Both Sides

John Kerry is the only Vietnam War hero to be venerated by both sides of the conflict. It is strange that he only likes to talk about being a US hero not a hero to the North Vietnamese. This is a great article that talks about what the enemy thought of the activities of people like John Kerry. If this does not constitute giving aid and comfort to the enemy, I have no idea what would.

Kerry and Sports

This guy just needs to stop trying to be one of the guys. First it was the Ohio/Michigan flap, then Lambert Field, next came Manny Ortiz and now this story from ESPN. See more sports gaffs from John Kerry at

Everytime he opens his mouth about sports he just proves what a liar he is! If he lies this much about the little stuff, what would he say when it is really important? He is completely clueless...

More on the Explosives

The Drudge Report and other sites are quoting an NBC News story yesterday that indicated that the explosives had already been removed from al Qaqaa before US forces arrived. Wow! I think I said something about this yesterday. Seems highly fishy to me, especially since the New York Times broke the story and CBS was desperately scrambling to get the story out. These are both highly unbiased news sources, as we all know…

Once again we see that this is completely trumped up story that is being driven by politically biased news outlets for the purpose of making the President look bad.

Monday, October 25, 2004

October Surprise? I believe that we are seeing with the story of the “missing” explosives in Iraq, the first attempt at an October surprise meant to damage the President. If you read this story carefully you will notice that there is no mention of when the explosive disappeared. They were last seen before the US invasion. There is no mention of whether or not the explosives were ever in US custody. The site has not been the responsibility of the US since the June 28 hand over to the Iraqi government. How is this embarrassing for the White House? The report that this is based on is already 15 days old, why is it in all the news outlets today?,2933,136466,00.html Here is a Foxnews version of the story. ABCNews is running the AP version of the story. No new details in this story.,,3-1327947,00.html Yet another version of the story.

All other these stories are so incredibly similar and yet no one is really asking the important questions. What percentage of the missing explosives in Iraq does this one site represent – 10%, 20% 100%? Why is the press not lumping this in the same spin as the WMD issue? Maybe Saddam used the explosive to destroy his WMD stock piles after the UN left but before the US troops got there. Maybe he gave the explosives to the al Qiada operatives before the US got to the site. Since no one can say when the stuff was looted how do we know it was looted at all?

Up until today no one gave any thought to how terrorists in Iraq got explosives. They got them by looting military facilities are buying them from someone who has. Does anyone believe that the terrorist manufactured their own explosives? I really think this is a huge non-story


As I do my reading about the election one political group/action committee/whatever keeps popping up in relation to potential voter fraud – ACORN. It is very curious that they do not get more attention from the MSM. This is a story accusing ACORN of registering al Qiada members. This is a story I found a couple weeks ago and am referencing again. It is a story about voter fraud in Colorado. This is the official ACORN web site. You can read what they think about themselves. Like all of these special interest groups they sure sound good on their own site. This is a story from Ohio about possible ACORN involvement in a voter fraud scheme. How about a story from Pennsylvania? All the battleground states seem to have an ACORN scandal. ACRON is at work in Texas too.

I could go on but I think you get my point. This ACORN group needs to be investigated at the highest levels. As a matter of fact I don’t know why the investigation has not already begun and why have the major media outlets not been covering this more closely? This is a big deal. If these people had been working to get Republican voters we wouldn’t hear the end of it.

What is more important than the fact that this is not getting media coverage is the fact that it is happening. I hope that, not matter who wins Nov. 2, there is a thorough investigation of this, and other groups, and that people are prosecuted.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The George W. Bush Loyalty Quiz

This is a real popular item today so I thought I would try it. Here are my results from this quiz:

Your score is 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. You are a True Believer in President Bush. Your loyalty and devotion to him is matched only by your desire to see his liberal detractors locked away and declared enemy combatants. If all Americans thought as you did, and were it constitutionally viable, George W. Bush would be president for life.

Then take the John Kerry Loyalty Quiz Here are my results for this one:

Your score is 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. You hate John Kerry with every fiber of your being. He is the embodiment of everything you despise in a politician: a weak, liberal, flip-flopping, elitist, condescending appeaser who threatens all that is good and decent in America. Worst of all, you think he looks French

Seems pretty good but I don’t really fit with either one. I am definitely a Bush supporter but President for life is a little nuts. The Kerry one is off a little, I don’t hate him.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Political Stereotypes

We have all heard the political stereotypes being thrown around by both political parties – Republicans are old white men, Democrats care about the poor – blah, blah. There are dozens of these stereotypes for each party. But how many people do you know that do not match the common political stereotypes for their party?

Before I go any further I will try to list as many of these stereotypes as I can. I know I will miss some so feel free to remind me.

Democrats – weak on defense, intellectual, environmentalist, gay, anti-business, young, hippies, pro-choice, pro-UN, socialist, communist, anarchist, anti-American, pro-gun control, support higher taxes, support big government, multicultural, progressive, support redistribution of wealth, pro-science, anti-rich, cultured, Pro-free expression, for the common man/woman, inclusive, fans of pop/rock or hip-hop music, media friendly, pro-labor, New Englander, Liberal, liar, pro-separation of church and state

Republican – racist, warmonger, white, male, pro-business, anti-worker, fundamentalist Christian, Nazi, fascist, redneck, pro-personal responsibility, likes country music, ignorant, uneducated, not worldly, isolationist, intolerant, pro-gun, greedy, exploitive, rude, cowboy, NASCAR fan or sports fan in general, Southern, Conservative, anti-old people, hunter, rich, pro-life, anti-gay, anti-science, creationists, against the Arts, pro-censorship, liar, pro school prayer

Ok, I know that these lists are not complete and I know that there are some on here that you might disagree with or feel are inaccurate. That is the point of stereotypes – they do not have to be accurate and frequently are very inaccurate. Take a look at the list. How many of these stereotypes match your beliefs and your party affiliation?

Here are my political beliefs, you tell me what party I belong to (don’t cheat by reading my other posts).

I am a white male who believes in personal responsibility.
I am an agnostic who loves Heavy Metal and Rock music.
I am immensely interested in science and technology and believe that many of society’s problems will be solved by the proper application of both.
I believe in free markets and free trade.
I do not like the UN but I am not an isolationist.
I do not hunt.
I am not rich.
I believe that evolution is more likely than creationism to be able explain human origins.
I have attended college but I have no degree, yet.
I think that immigration is important to the future of the country but I support English only rules for government and schools.
I think the US-Mexico boarder is in need of greater security (as is the US-Canadian boarder), but I think we need to make it easier for Mexicans to enter the country legally. I love art in all of its forms but I do not think the government should spend the people’s money supporting it.
I am not worried about outsourcing of jobs to India even though I work in a call center (I actually think it is a great thing to a degree).
I am against censorship but I think most people have no idea what censorship really is.
I am a Patriot but I really love our friends from all over the planet (no matter what country you are from).
I hate Michael Moore!

So there you have it, what party do I belong too? This is not too tough to figure out. How do you fit into the common stereotypes? Do you think that the political parties do a good job representing your views? I believe that both the Democrat Party and the Republican Party have gone to the extreme in many of their views and have forgotten that most people are in the middle.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Things I have Found Interesting Today When I was younger I loved Bill Cosby, then a few years ago he seemed to loose it. In the last few months he has given a series of speeches that have cause quite a stir. Now I think he is doing a great job at shaking people up, making them think. This one is not earth shattering but it is extremely important. This one has been going around today but I just think this is a priceless example of double standards. Evil Dick got a flu shot and John Kerry and company attack him, but St. Bill got his and there is no outrage from the Kerry camp. Why? Once again the double standard raises its ugly head. Why is no one complaining about this movie being on TV before the election but Sinclair is somehow breaking the law?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Jimmy Carter is Insane He proves with this interview that he has completely lost his mind. Why do people still listen to this loon? To think that we actually elected this man President...

EDIT: I am adding my responce to the comments here because I cannot format the text in the comments section. Sorry for the long post!

Jimmy Carter Bullsh*t from Hardball

In response to your question, this is why I, a “reasonable intelligent person” would “question his intellectual ability or judgment.”

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you the question about…the Revolutionary War as it was fought out in the South in those last years of the War, insurgency against a powerful British force, do you see any parallels between the fighting that we did on our side and the fighting that is going on in Iraq today?

This is a stupid question designed to plug Carter’s book while attacking the current administration.

CARTER: Well, one parallel is that the Revolutionary War, more than any other war up until recently, has been the most bloody war we‘ve fought.

This statement is complete crap. It has no basis in fact, whatsoever. Let’s look at the facts related to US war casualties “until recently:”
American Revolution – total killed 4435, wounded 6188, duration 8 years.
War of 1812 – total killed 2260, wounded 4505, duration 3 years.
Mexican War – total killed 13,283, wounded 4152, duration 2 years.
Civil War (Union) – total killed 364,511, wounded 281,881, duration 5 years.
Spanish-American War – total killed 2446, wounded 1662, duration less than a year.
World War I – total killed 116,516, wounded 204,002, duration just over a year.
World War II – total killed 405,399, wounded 671,846, duration 4 years.
Korean War – total killed 36,574, wounded 103,284, duration 3 years.
Vietnam War – total killed 58,209, wounded 153,303, duration 9 years.
Persian Gulf War – total killed 382, wounded 467, duration a few months.

Just a brief look at this list shows that the American Revolution is not even in the top half of our “most bloody wars.” Why would he say this? Either he is stupid or he is a liar.

I think another parallel is that in some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war.

This is a complete revisionist fantasy, deliberately phrased as to use current Democratic talking points – “It was an unnecessary war.” He is talking exclusively about Iraq here.

Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial‘s really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely, and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way.

This is what is commonly referred to mental masturbation. It is in the same league as people who like to speculate on why Hitler lost WWII. He assumes that Canada, India and Australia could have peacefully gained their independence without the American Revolution. This is known as a fallacious association.

I think in many ways the British were very misled in going to war against America and in trying to enforce their will on people who were quite different from them at the time.

Again, he is using party talking points here. Just how were the British misled into the American Revolution?

MATTHEWS: The president has said he had miscalculated in terms of not realizing how the war would proceed from the initial knockout of Saddam‘s forces, including the Revolutionary Guard, and then what he faced on the ground in terms of the insurgency.


Do you think as an historian you would have foreseen, had you been president, the nationalistic fight of those people in Iraq once we got in there?

As a historian, the idea that you can foresee future events is ludicrous. No one can foresee the future, not even Jimmy Carter.

CARTER: Well, I think almost any reasonable person who knew history would say that you can‘t go into an alien environment and force by rule of arms by forcing the people to adopt a strange concept.

This is truly an amazing thing to say. The implication is that the Iraqi people are not capable of understanding democracy. I am a reasonable person and I believe that the Iraqi people are more than ready to decide their own fate rather than living in fear and terror.

And also when we were so destructive in going into Iraq with tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed and now it‘s still, up until this moment now many months later there is still a great deal of animosity toward American troops. And there is no doubt that American troops‘ presence is stimulating additional violence.

There was a war, people died, it is a tragedy but this is clearly overstated. He should read “Dawn Over Baghdad” by Karl Zinmeister. The Iraq War is the most “sensitive” war any nation has ever fought. The US military’s ability to pinpoint a target is unmatched in history. No one does it better.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this new philosophy, Mr. President, that we can go into countries like Iraq and that we can use our force of arms and our economic might to transform them into democracies? It‘s the new conservative philosophy. It‘s the Bush doctrine, whatever you want to call it. What do you make of it?

Another leading question. This is not a new philosophy, it is only new in the context of no longer waiting for an attack before we strike the bad guys.

CARTER: I don‘t think it‘s ever been proven to be accurate as a premise that you can go into an alien society, win with force of arms, destroying a major portion of that country and killing their people to make them adopt a new form of government and to accept new rulers.

Wow! This guy is a historian, as Chris Matthews has repeatedly pointed out, and he does not believe that this can be done? Has he forgotten Germany after WWII? What about Japan? Italy? These countries were completely transformed as a direct result of military and economic action, not internal revolution. History is full of these types of transformations.

Obviously, the only way out of this quagmire that we have formed in Iraq now is to have some guarantee of withdrawal of American troops and turning their premises of the Iraqis over to them politically and to the international community to help on an equal basis and a shared basis with many allies both in economic and military concerns in the future.

This is getting very tiring, after this point I will be done with this crap. Iraq is not a quagmire. Is it a difficult project? Yes. Will US troops be there for a long time? Yes. We will be based in Iraq much the same way as we spent the last 50 years in Germany. The boys are not coming home. Get over it!

I have no more time or energy for this. I hope this clarifies my opinion.

What Good is a Poll?

Everyday there is a new poll showing who is in the lead in the presidential race. Today it is Bush on top and tomorrow it will be Kerry. Change the channel and the results will be completely switched. What good are these polls? Does anyone out there believe them? Take a look at what all the polls lined up look like. You might decide that the polls are of some value after all.

Hump-day News Stories Tommy Franks is one of the greatest American generals. Too bad he retired. It is illegal to teach Christianity in the public school system but it is OK to teach Islam. I am really beginning to hate the public school system… News paper endorsements are not my favorite things. In fact I think the media should never endorse a candidate in a political campaign. That being said why is it OK for the Democrats to get an endorsement from a news paper but not a Republican?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

When the Man Comes Around

When The Man Comes Around This is a great piece of animation! Make sure you have sound!

Beldar Asks... This is one of the best posts on who you should vote for and why. Everyone needs to read this.

Good Finds of the Day This one is just priceless! Love that hair Mr. Edwards. Thanks to everything is wrong for digging this one up. Vietnamese-Americans are not going to be supporting Kerry and I can’t blame them.,13918,1329858,00.html The Guardian got what it wanted – a bunch of pissed off Americans. Brilliant!

How to Vote

With all of the talk on the news lately about disenfranchisement and voter irregularities from the 2000 election and how it will happen again, I thought this would be a good time to talk about how to vote. It seems that many of the problems with the 2000 vote were attributed to confusion among voters. In an effort to do my part in eliminating confusion here is my step by step guide on how to vote:

1. Register – In order to vote in the election you must be a registered voter. Each state has there own process for registering. You can usually find out how to vote by checking your states voter registration instruction on-line. Google is a great tool for finding this info. Arizona has an on-line registration form or you can request the form be mailed to you. I am sure almost every state has a similar system. To be a registered voter you MUST BE A US CITIZEN. This is crucial. Most states may have additional prohibitions against felons voting. Check your local laws. There is a deadline to register – most states require that you submit your registration form no less than 30 days from the elections. If you send it in later too bad, you will not be voting in this election, but you will be registered for the next election. Never register from partisan hacks that come to your door or approach you in the mall. They cannot be trusted and if you register for a party they are not being paid by, your form may just end up in the trash.

2. Review your sample ballot and voting guide – Once you have been registered to vote you will receive your voter registration card and the voting guide. The voting guide will have a sample ballot. Read these materials, they will give all the info on the various candidates and propositions that are on the ballot. The sample ballot also has the information about where you are to vote. This is extremely important – you can only vote in you assigned precinct and your assigned polling place. If you don’t know where it is call the number on the ballot and get directions. Drive to the polling place before the election so you know how to get there.

3. Vote – This is the point of the whole process. Don’t go through steps one and two and then forget to vote on Election Day! When you arrive at the polling place you will need to sign in. They should have a list of registered votes for the polls. If you are in the right place, and you are a registered voter, your name will be on the list. Depending on your state’s laws you may need to show ID or a voter registration card. Be prepared to do this if required. If your name is not on the list you may request a provisional ballot. Follow the instructions on this ballot, but be warned, there is no guarantee that the provisional ballot will be counted. Once you are given you ballot and are in the voting booth READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! There will be instructions on the ballot as well as instruction in the voting booth. If you do not understand how to vote ask a volunteer. Vote.

That’s all there is too it! Remember, voting is a right and a responsibility and like any other responsibility you must be willing to do your part. See you on Election Day!

Notes on Neo-cons

This is phrase that gets thrown around a lot in today’s political debates and it is meant to have the same negative connotation as “commie” or “Nazi.” Just to be clear, people who subscribe to this political philosophy do not call themselves “neo-cons,” this is a term that their detractors use. It is meant to be a menacing, scary label.

But what does the average American know about people who are labeled neo-con? You should start by reading The Project for the New American Century Statement of Principle. This document is commonly referred to as the Neocon Manifesto. Gosh, what a terrifying document. It advocates exactly what the world complains we do not do but should do. Somehow when Americans speak of responsibility to the world, kooks all over begin to talk about American Imperialism or Fascism.

Compare the Statement of Principle to the points in the Fascist Manifesto and decide for yourself if “neo-cons” are just Fascists in disguise. Here is a link to the Communist Manifesto if you are really bored.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More Good Stuff The ‘rich’ should be taxed more, more, more! They are getting all the breaks! Hypocrites! Election nightmares. This could really get ugly.

News Stories of Interest This is a story about a school that will not allow students to have the flag in the background of their yearbook picture. I really don’t understand why this is such a big deal. Rules for the sake of rules is what this seems like to me. Hmm, let me get this straight, the guy Saddam invited to Iraq, before the US invasion, and supported is allied with Osama Bin Laden. Duh! This is news? I thought there was no connection between Iraq and al-Quida? The press is full of idiots… Why is this not on ABC, CBS or NBC? Oh yeah, they don’t want Bush to be re-elected.

Weekend Movies

I managed to get in a few movies this weekend. The first of this weekend’s selections is The Dream by Akira Kurosawa. This is more of a collection of shorts rather than a proper movie. The stories are all dreams, oddly enough, and they all have an environmentalist, anti-modernism or anti-war theme. The film is beautiful and incredibly well made. Although I disagree with the message, the movie is excellent.

The next one on the list was The Mayor of the Sunset Strip by George Hickenlooper. This a documentary film about LA DJ and rock groupie Rodney Bingenhiemer. This guy has had a life that most people can only dream of; it is filled with brushes with fame. He has probably met most all of the important musicians and stars for the last 40 years and was instrumental in the success of several bands, but no one knows who he is. What really surprised me is how miserable this guy is after living an amazing life. If you have an interest in music history this is a must see.

The last movie for the weekend was The Alamo staring Billy Bob Thornton and others. This movie did OK but after seeing it I am surprised that it did not do much better in the theaters. I really liked it. Like all Hollywood history movies I am sure that there are some pretty big holes in the movie but I still enjoyed it.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A Nice Article on the Economy This is a nice piece about the realtive strength of the US economy compared to that of Europe. It is a real eye-opener!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Team America,2933,135633,00.html I just can't wait to see the Exploding Michael Moore puppet! Anyone seen this yet? Sounds like it will be a blast.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Questions about Universal Healthcare

John Kerry and John Edwards have spent the last several days promoting their view of a universal healthcare for America. This is an extremely popular issue with Democrats and other social liberal political groups. It seems that once or twice a decade the idea resurfaces only to fade soon after election time. With all of the talk about universal healthcare there are a huge number of questions that are not being asked. Well, I am going to ask them, but I am sure I will get no answers.

How much will this cost? OK, this has been asked but the answer depends on the party affiliation. Republicans are throwing around numbers like $1.5 trillion or more over 5 years. They are sure that the cost will be astronomical. Democrats are rarely talking about the cost, preferring to imply that almost the entire cost can be covered by repealing tax cuts for people making more than $200,000 per year. I don’t know who is right but it seems to me that the cost will be the most important aspect of any healthcare reform.

Who will be covered? At first Kerry stated that universal Healthcare would be universal – everyone is covered. During the last debate he seemed to backtrack on that and target mostly poor and middle-class people for coverage. I think the ultimate goal of the Kerry plan is to cover everyone.

Who will provide the medical service? Is this a plan that is like a giant HMO in which the program will employ the doctors or more like a giant PPO where you will be able to visit any doctor you want? I really have no clue on this one. It seems that the giant HMO idea would be pure insanity.

Who will administer the program? Will this be an expansion of an existing government agency or an entirely new one? It does not seem possible for a program of this size to be administered by the government without adding an enormous amount of people to the federal payroll.

What happens to the existing health insurance industry and the employees of these companies? It seems that if you nationalize an industry or a large part of an industry the jobs impact can be very large. Will all these people be employed by the government? Will the loss of this portion of the insurance business adversely affect the stock values of these companies? Will a hit on the stocks of these companies impact the market as a whole? The economic ripples of a change this large will be very significant and should be overlooked when considering a program such as this.

What types of treatments will be covered? One of the complaints of an HMO system is that the HMO will control what types of treatments are available as a matter of company policy. Would our federal system attempt to control treatments in the same way? Will the government have input on when treatment should stop?

How will a federal healthcare system impact important debates over issues like abortion? Would the government have to pay for all abortions? How will abortion opponents feel about their tax dollars being used to pay for all abortions performed? This has the potential to be a very contention aspect of the plan.

What will the government’s claim to medical records of patients be? Since they are paying for the care will they make claims to the records? Who will have access to the information and how will the information be used? Rush Limbaugh is already seeing the potential for government intrusion into personal medical matters, will this system make this easier for the government to get information about you and your lifestyle? Will they use this against you and continued medical care?

When the program fails to reduce medical costs for the system as a whole will there be pressure to force behavioral changes in patients? What if you are a smoker, will the government now have the right to force you to stop? Will patients be forced to have procedures for their own good, like gastric bypass surgery for the obese?

How will this new program impact old programs like Medicare/Medicaid? What about VA medical benefits, will they be rolled into this new program or will they remain separate?

The more I think about this idea of universal healthcare the more questions I have. The more questions I have the fewer answers I can find. It seems to me the public cannot properly evaluate a program such as the one proposed by John Kerry without more information – a lot more information. Everyone in the country should be asking these questions and more before we allow anyone to attempt such massive change to our healthcare industry.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

ABC News Bias in Political Coverage

The Drudge Report ran this story last week about institutional bias at ABC: At the time I chalked this up as a ‘no duh’ and moved on. So, ABC News likes Kerry and wants to down-play his mistakes and play up the president’s mistakes. I really thought that this was already so obvious as to be a waste of time.

However, today I ran across this piece: This is a great analysis of the background of Mark Halperin, ABC News Political Director. Mark is the guy who sets the editorial tone of political coverage at ABC and the author of the memo referenced in the Drudge Report story. What makes this so interesting is that if the media connections outlined in this story had been connected to a Republican or Conservative in the media or business world, the outcry from the rest of the media would be deafening.

Consider this scenario if the participants had been relations of Karl Rove and the newsroom involved was Fox News…. Do you think this might get some time in the press?

The Daily News This is a discussion of the impact of Senator Kerry’s tax plan. This guy has really lost it. I though he was a kook when he boycotted the Iraqi Prime Minister’s speech a few weeks ago.

Will Germany ever send troops to Iraq?
Or not?,4386,277913,00.html
I guess this all depends on who is elected president, but the Germans don’t want us to think that this all depends on who is elected president. This seems a little like an attempt to influence the outcome of the US election. Maybe Kerry will get his wish. I am really disappointed in the Germans… I really like Joe Leiberman. He is a very sensible person, we could use more people like him in government.

The Presidential Debate

I watched last night’s presidential debate from the Republican Party viewing event at Bank One Ballpark. The security at the ballpark was very tight, as you would expect, but everything went smooth. It took us about 20 min to get through the security screening. The tickets that they used were color coded and ours were coded for the second level. It soon became evident that there were more tickets for the second level then there were seats. This was quickly resolved by allowing people to go up the third level and allowing yellow ticket people (second level color) to sit in the lower levels. All in all, the crowd was large, between 20,000 – 25,000 by my guess. The place was about half full – much bigger than the last several Diamondbacks games.

Before the debate started there were a couple of speakers that I did not hear too much because we were walking around looking for a place to sit. I think one of the speakers was probable the Arizona Republican Party chairman. After these speakers that most people missed they had some musical entertainment, a country band, but I never did hear who it was. Maybe the name was Aaron Tibasomething, I just don’t follow country music and their small sound system was swallowed by the size of the park and the crowd.

Once the debate started the real action began. Now, I must confess that I have not watched the previous 2 debates in their entirety. I have watched parts and read a lot of reporting covering the debates, but I just have a tough time watching them. The crowd did exactly what you would expect from a partisan crowd, they booed Kerry and cheered Bush but this made it tough at times to hear what was being said.

From what I heard and saw I thought the President did much better this time around. He seemed comfortable and well prepared for what many people though would be his weakest topic – domestic issues. I felt that he did fall back too much on the issue of education and the No Child Left behind act. This point was well made the first time through and he should have used a different approach later in the debate. It is a poor debate tactic to repeat yourself unless absolutely necessary and I didn’t think it was necessary.

Kerry, on the other hand, seemed stunned by the president’s aggressiveness, but he kept his cool. He too, was very repetitive in his arguments; most every issue that came up was going to be solved by repealing the tax cuts. He seemed very awkward when the topic came to his faith, seemed like a topic he was not comfortable with. The president was passionate but you could see that he was trying to restrain his enthusiasm. Another interesting point that I thought went against Kerry was the point when Bob Schieffer asked about the impotence of the strong women in their lives. The President really answered this question with conviction and the emotion was genuine, Kerry was totally caught unprepared for this. I don’t think he as ever, really, considered this. His ‘joke’ about how they all ‘married up’ was telling and sad. Not a good moment for Kerry.

I was really surprised with the performance of Bob Schieffer as the moderator. He asked very relevant questions and did not spare either candidate the tough questions. Some of this I am sure is due, plainly, to a professional journalist doing his job, but some of it had to be the fact that he is a CBS journalist and that news team is in real need of some fresh credibility.

In the end, however, a debate rarely changes the world. I think most people already know each candidate’s position on these topics. Each side will see what they want to see – their guy won hands down. It would take a MAJOR blunder by a candidate to truly impact the race and I don’t think either side made any major mistakes. A very good debate, in my opinion.

After the debate the crowd at the BOB eagerly anticipated the arrival of the president. Aaron Whatshisname came back out and played a few more songs to a much more energetic crowd. Everyone was excided about the president’s performance. The debate ended at 7:30 pm, which surprised me, and the president arrived at about 8:00 pm. He was accompanied by Sen. McCain and Sen. Kyle and their wives. The president was accompanied by the First Lady and their daughters. The crowd, of course, went nuts when the president was introduced. I expected that the president would not take very long and I was right. Both the Senators spoke briefly as did the president, they were all done by 8:15 to 8:20. I really wish he had spoken a little longer and really follow-up some the points that he made in the debate; it was not to be.

I really had a great time. It would have been better is the food lines had been shorter and if they had been serving beer. It was neat to be part of history.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I am not even going to attempt to explain this. A friend of mine turned me on to this ‘philosophy’ a few months ago but I have only just started to read about it. On the surface it feels like an updated Marxism. This is the ‘official’ site for Technocracy Inc. Seems to me like most of the articles were written in the 1940s. This is a site information and a community devoted to establishing a Technocracy in North America. There is background information and forums.

Technocracy is to politics/economics what Scientology is to religion.

There is Always something New on the Web This ACORN group seems to be involved in several voter registration scams. I will see if I can find other stories about the stuff they have been up to.,13918,1326033,00.html If the readers of the Guardian are so concerned about the US election, and if it is so important to life in the UK, why don’t they take the next logical step and become a state? If they did this then they would not need to try and influence a foreign election. I generally don’t like the Arizona Republics columnists but this is a good piece. I really would like to hear the President say something like this tonight. More evidence that Saddam and his cronies are murders on par with any in history. If the cost of a college education is so expensive how come people aren’t knocking each other over to get free money? I guess we should just automatically sign everyone up for financial aid and force them to take it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Evidence that Thomas Barnett is Correct This is an example of the importance of connectivity that is described in The Pentagon's New Map: Warfare and Peace in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas P. M. Barnett. You must read this book to fully understand the importance of this story.

Today's Web Stories,,2-1306055,00.html Don’t believe the junk about strict gun control laws stopping gun violence. This is just the type of story the American gun control advocates don’t want you to read.,,3284-1305030,00.html From the same news source – the exact wrong response to drug-gun related violence. When this does not work will they propose legalizing murder because they can’t stop it? This is pure craziness.

Between these two articles we see an example of Liberal political solutions to problems. First, in response to increased gun violence related primarily to the drug trade they outlaw guns. This, of course, does nothing to discourage criminals from continuing business as usual, but it does limit private, law-abiding citizens, the right to defend themselves. Inevitably, the gun crime related to drugs is not impacted at all by stricter gun laws or out-rights bans. The next idea is to legalize the drugs! Wow, the ‘logic’ that is use to explain this one is amazing – we can’t stop criminal so lets just decriminalize what they are doing. If this ‘logic’ is applied to other crimes the only result will be anarchy. Where do you draw the line as a society?

The Sin of Cynicism

Cynicism is killing honest debate and discussion in this country. Read the paper, watch the TV news, go to the movies or just watch a late-night comedy show and you will be bombarded by negative attitudes on almost every possible subject. Almost every current event topic seems to be much more interesting when spun in a negative light. Even human interest stories will frequently contain a negative reference to something. We seem to be very willing as a society to believe the worst in the motivation of people.

Both presidential candidates and their support groups have been slamming each other with negative ads and speeches. The cynicism that is running wild through campaign is staggering. Let’s look at some of the biggest examples:

1. It is very easy for people to believe that George W. Bush got special treatment during his National Guard service. It seems impossible for people to believe that Bush joined the Guard and completed his service as his records indicate. Every small detail of his service is scrutinized for evidence of favoritism. There has been no credible evidence refuting the president’s National Guard record.

2. John Kerry must have had a political agenda going into his Vietnam War service, what else can explain all the quirky little details of that service. It does not seem possible for people to believe that John Kerry served his time in the Navy and was genuinely changed by his experiences there. How could a highly decorated war hero come out against the war when he returned home? He wasn’t the only one to come home against the war, but he was one of the most outspoken.

3. The Iraq War was a war for oil and US Empire. This seems to be such an obvious point that when it comes up in a conversation what more is left to say? Why do the people who throw around the blood for oil garbage ask why we don’t just buy the oil without invading? It seems to me that if the US invades a country to steal the oil, logically, we should actually steal the oil, not help that nation rebuild its oil industry and then buy the oil anyway. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to support France and Germany in lifting UN sanctions than it was to invade?

4. The president is a liar. This is so easy to throw around; it actually takes no thought at all. He said something that was not true, therefore he lied. Simple. Unfortunately, lies are defined as a deliberate misrepresentation and there is NO evidence that the president deliberately misrepresented anything.

The list could go on but I am trying to keep these posts a little shorter. Seriously, I must confess to a cynical streak myself. I think that Saddam moved his WMD stock piles to Syria before the US invasion; it is impossible for me to believe that he would destroy these weapons without getting something in return. Very cynical of me, I know. I also believe that the US government knows that these weapons were moved but for political reasons they cannot publicly accuse Syria of hiding the weapons. Ridiculously cynical on my part, next I will be telling you that bin Laden has already been captured!

I really believe that it is extremely important that we, as a country, not allow cynicism to consume us. It is a good thing to think critically and ask questions but we should allow ourselves to be just as willing to believe the good stories and not just the bad. Don’t let the comedians drag you down!

Monday, October 11, 2004

More Good Stuff on the Web

More stuff to read. This is a neat little article comparing Lincoln to modern presidential candidates. Read “Blair Makes the Case,” third article from the top. I think Tony Blair is one of the greatest, most courageous, leaders in the world today. Great news for Australia, the United States and the world!

Stuff from the Web

Just a few interesting things on the web today.,2933,134814,00.html A nice article about the environmental positions of the presidential candidates. What are your kids being taught in school? This kind of stuff really makes me mad. Teacher need to quit indoctrinating students to their political point of view and teach people how to think for themselves.

I will add more as I find them.

Weekend Wrap-up

Another Monday is upon us. I had a pretty good weekend but as usual it was too short. My football picks were just terrible this week – so far I have lost 7! The Cardinals (Arizona not St. Louis) choked, plain and simple. The Chiefs and the Sun Devils were both off this weekend so no losses there.

I finally finished ‘The Pentagon’s New Map’ this weekend. That may be the most important book about what the US is doing and why. Everyone in the civilized world needs to read and understand this book. Once you do you will begin to see elements of this philosophy in the Bush Administrations actions and John Kerry’s speeches. I am not eloquent enough to adequately describe this world view but it just feels right. A must read if you have any interest in current events or the future (who doesn’t?).

Current reading, listening and watching list:

Today I started ‘The Life of Lenin,’ by Louis Fischer. This is an old book that I picked up at a thrift store. It was published in 1964, hopefully the info is not too out of date. We shall see…

As for listening, I am just listening to the radio. I do have a bunch of new CDs on order from Columbia House so this will be changing.

I have not watched a movie since the spotless mind last week. So far I haven’t found any new releases that really interest me.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Iraq War - Good Idea or Bad

The question of the validity, justification and motivation for the US invasion of Iraq has taken center stage in the current presidential race. It has also been front page news since the invasion as each new report is released covering everything from WMD to linking 9/11 with Iraq. The story from yesterday of the WMD report from the Iraq Survey Group is the latest ammo in this ongoing debate. Here is CNN’s coverage:

Before we can answer the question of whether Iraq War was good or bad we need to review the facts leading up to the war. We need to go back in time before 9/11, before even Gulf War, back to the Iran-Iraq War. During this war the Iraqis first developed and used chemical weapons. Saddam became convinced after the successful use of these weapons against Iran that they were the key to his power in the region. In 1988 Saddam authorized a chemical attack against Iraqi Kurds. By the end of the Iran-Iraq War Saddam’s development and use of chemical weapons was a matter of historical record and not open to dispute.

One of the common points that repeatedly come up from the fringes is the notion that the US ‘supported’ Saddam. This is a very important point that needs to be clarified because the implication is that the US ‘created’ Saddam and we are somehow responsible for all the evil he has done. During the Iran-Iraq War the US provided very limited material support to the Iraqis and we provided ‘moral’ support. The Soviet Union and France provided much more material support to Iraq than did the United States. US support for Saddam was based almost solely on the fact that they were the enemy of Iran and we considered Iran to be our enemy. Remember the Iran Hostage Crisis that cost President Carter his job? In the early 1980s anyone who was killing Iranians was bound to get some support from the US. As the war progressed the US was more concerned with the growing Soviet influence in the region and it was believed that an Iraq loss in the war would be destabilizing for the region. During the latter period of the war both sides began unlimited attacks on oil tankers. This led to Kuwaiti tankers being re-flagged as US tankers. This marks the beginning of close US-Kuwaiti relations.

Fast forward to 1990 and the Iraq invasion of Kuwait. As mentioned above, Kuwait and the US had become very close during the latter part of the Iran-Iraq War and their invasion by Iraq was a big deal. An even bigger deal was Iraq’s intentions towards Saudi Arabia, another close US ally. The United States perused the proper course by going to the UN and obtaining a series of resolutions calling for the removal of Iraqi forces and the restoration of Kuwaiti sovereignty. Dozens of nations joined with the US in the liberation of Kuwait. The results of the war are well known, Iraq was driven from Kuwait and forced to sign a peace treaty. Part of the agreement to end the Gulf War was a requirement that Iraq destroys all WMD, end all development programs and submit to UN verification.

During the 1990s the Clinton administration maintained a relatively hands-off policy towards Iraq. The US and Britain enforced the UN sanctions and the no-fly zones. All during this period the Iraqis regularly violated the terms of the peace by firing on US/UK aircraft and no-fly zone violations. Iraq, during this period continued a cat and mouse game with UN weapons inspectors which would occasionally result in a US air strike or threats of increased sanctions. Basically, the Gulf War never ended because the Iraqis never completed their responsibilities. In 1998 Saddam decided that the weapons inspections no longer served his purposes and made a calculated decision that the world would not act if he expelled the inspectors. With the exception of a few days of missile strikes he was right.

During the same period that Saddam was playing games with the weapons inspection process the US was interested in spending the ‘peace dividend.’ The intelligence and military budgets were cut. The US ability to collect information on the state of the Iraqi weapons programs was severely hampered by these cuts. To the administration this did not matter because EVERYONE knew that Iraq had WMD and was trying to make more. Why else would they have failed to comply with the UN resolutions?

The 1990s were a period of increasing Iraqi support to terrorist groups. Many of these contacts have not been fully investigated bit it is clear that Saddam supported the families of suicide bombers in Israel and he supported terrorist groups fighting the Kurds in his own country. These efforts were a new development for Saddam who is very much a ‘conventional’ war thinker not an ‘asymmetrical’ warfare thinker. Frankly terrorism was not his normal mode of thought.

Along comes the attacks of 9/11 and the US is turned upside down. September 11 happened because the US had not fully appreciated how dangerous a terrorist organization could be to national security. If Osama bin Laden could cause so much damage without the material support of a country what could Saddam do with the resources of Iraq? An Iraq that every Western intelligence agency and the Russian intelligence believed still had stockpiles of chemical weapons. The threat was clear and undeniable – Saddam had to go before the unthinkable happened.

To sum this up, in the summer of 2002 the US government decided that Saddam was too dangerous to remain in power and here are a few of the reasons why:

* Iraq had a history of using chemical weapons
* Iraq had a history of attacking its neighbors, some of whom are our friends.
* Saddam had publicly supported terrorists attacking Israel and Kurds in his own country.
* The UN had never certified the destruction of weapons stockpiles or production facilities.
* Iraq was in violation of 17 UN resolutions and in violation of the peace treaty that ended the Gulf War.

These points really were not in dispute, what was in dispute was whether or not this was sufficient justification for an invasion. As far as the US government was concerned it was more than enough. Support was bipartisan and nearly unanimous. Wesley Clark testified before congress in support o he war:
John Kerry voted in favor of the use of force against Iraq. George Tenet, director of the CIA, said the issue of Iraq’s WMD programs was a “slam dunk.” So began the nearly 8 month process of preparing for the Iraq invasion. During this 8 month period the US made it very clear to the Iraqi government that we were coming and nothing was going to stop use short of our state goal – regime change.

Once the invasion was over and the occupation and recovery effort was begun inspectors and intelligence agents were able to do a thorough inspection of Iraq, without interference, for the first time. What we found was a shock – some things we expected to find did not materialize and other things were more horrifying than we imagined. Here are some highlights:

* No stockpiles of chemical weapons were found, only a few old shells.
* No active production facilities, but several places that could be easily converted for production.
* Very few ballistic missiles were found but there was evidence that Iraq was actively developing new missile types during the period of the sanctions.
* Numerous mass graves and torture chambers were discovered.
* No strong evidence of connection to global terror groups but we found no evidence discounting these connections.
* Evidence of corruption in the UN oil for food program in which Saddam was able to divert billions of dollars to his personal use and for the purchase of banned military equipment from several different sources around the world.

You can also read the text of the president’s speech to the UN on this issue:

What happened to the stockpiles of chemical weapons that the UN required to be destroyed? If Saddam destroyed these weapons why did he not do it in front of the inspectors thereby ending the sanctions years ago? Did the leaders of his weapons programs lie to him about how much had been created and the inventory? Did Saddam transfer these weapons out of Iraq in the months leading up to the war? The issue of WMD in Iraq is more confused now than it was before the invasion, but the issue is still extremely important and it alone does not invalidate the invasion. These questions must be answered.

What we have discovered about Saddam’s treatment of his own people has greatly out paced our expectations. We knew he was a typical tyrant but we did not expect to find the level or torture and murder that we found. This puts Saddam ahead of Milosevic, kind of a mini-Stalin. Clearly an evil, dangerous man.

What about Saddam’s support for international terrorism? The evidence so far shows no strong ties to any international terrorist groups, but there is little documentation to work with. This issue actually ties in with the corruption in the UN Oil for Food program, namely what happened to all the money Saddam skimmed from this program. Much of it went to support his lifestyle but billions of dollars cannot be account for. Did this money get diverted to terrorist groups? We may never know but the possibility exists.

In the end, the question of whether the Iraq War was good or bad will have to be answered by history. Each person and nation will need to evaluate the reasons for the war and the results of the war. I think that Saddam was a bad guy and deserved to be removed from power. If some of the reasons turned out to be weak then that just means that the US needs to improve its intelligence capabilities. What we found in Iraq reaffirms that Saddam had to go. Now it is up to the US and the rest of the world to ensure that the Iraq War is good for Iraqis as well.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Terrorist, Militant, Insurgent

The unrest in Iraq has been front page news for months, as it should be. We have seen a series of horrific stories about bombing, beheadings and general mayhem. I have read many of these and I have noticed something interesting. Mainstream news organizations will use the terms militant and insurgent freely when talking about the violence in Iraq. They rarely use the term terrorist. This seems very strange to me and perhaps I do not understand the differences between these terms.

We should look at the definitions of these terms and figure out if the media is using them properly. Thanks to for the definitions.

\Ter"ror*ist\, n. [F. terroriste.] One who governs by terrorism or intimidation; specifically, an agent or partisan of the revolutionary tribunal during the Reign of Terror in France. --Burke.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

adj : characteristic of someone who employs terrorism (especially as a political weapon); "terrorist activity"; "terrorist state" n : a radical who employs terror as a political weapon; usually organizes with other terrorists in small cells; often uses religion as a cover for terrorist activities

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

\Mil"i*tant\, a. [L. militans, -antis, p. pr. of militare to be soldier: cf. F. militant. See Militate.] Engaged in warfare; fighting; combating; serving as a soldier. -- Mil\"i*tant*ly, adv.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

adj 1: engaged in war; "belligerent (or warring) nations"; "a fighting war" [syn: belligerent, fighting, war-ridden, warring] 2: showing a fighting disposition without self-seeking; "highly competitive sales representative"; "militant in fighting for better wages for workers"; "his self-assertive and ubiquitous energy" [syn: competitive] n : a militant reformer [syn: activist]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

\In*sur"gent\, a. [L. insurgens, p. pr. of insurgere to rise up; pref. in- in + surgere to rise. See Surge.] Rising in opposition to civil or political authority, or against an established government; insubordinate; rebellious.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

\In*sur"gent\, n. [Cf. F. insurgent.] A person who rises in revolt against civil authority or an established government; one who openly and actively resists the execution of laws; a rebel.

Syn: See Rebel.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

adj : in opposition to a civil authority or government [syn: seditious, subversive] n 1: a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority (especially in the hope of improving conditions) [syn: insurrectionist, freedom fighter, rebel] 2: a member of an irregular armed force that fights a stronger force by sabotage and harassment [syn: guerrilla, guerilla, irregular]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

Wow! That was a lot of information. So we have the dictionary definitions, what are the more common usages of these words – what type of mental image do they inspire? This is how I define these words:

Terrorist – A person or group of people who engages in criminal activity for the purpose of terrorizing a society or community. The activities are primarily, but not limited to, murder, arson, bombings, kidnapping and high-jacking. The purpose of these crimes is to inspire a political change rather than financial gain.

Militant – Militants are guerrilla fighters or military personnel engaged in combat primarily against other military forces. They typically lack the organization of a national military. They are not typically engaged in killing of civilians as their primary targets.

Insurgent – Insurgents are very closely related to militants but they are more specifically engaged in a rebellion. These are people of the same nationality engaged in combat against their government and its representatives.

Some of my definitions match OK with the “official” ones, so how do these match with their usage in news reports?

This story is a headline on CNN today: This story actually covers several events but the main event at the top of the story relates to a car-bombing of an Iraqi National Guard compound that killed 12 Guardsmen. This seems to be an attack by insurgents, but since we do not know who carried out the attack, only the target, we cannot say with certainty that it is in fact insurgents. I would not define this as a terrorist attack because the target was military in nature. In order for this to be an attack by insurgents it must be known if the attackers are Iraqis or foreign fighters.

The next story is an AP article from Fox News that covers the same attack:,2933,134598,00.html Again, the source of the attack is blamed on ‘insurgents” but it is not clear from the story exactly who is doing the attacking.

Both of these articles attempt to link this attack to “insurgents” by changing the focus of the store to the Iraqi Government’s battle against the forces of Al-Sadr, a true insurgent group. Unfortunately neither story can link the attack to Al-Sadr or any other group.

This article from the weekend talks about another beheading in Iraq: In the article the author uses the term ‘terrorist’ to refer to the perpetrators of this crime. This seems to me to be the proper label for these people. Contrast the CNN story with this AP story from Fox News:,2933,134293,00.html The AP story never uses the term ‘terrorist’ and refers to the perpetrators as ‘militants.” I feel this is absolutely incorrect! People who kidnap and murder are not militants and should never be honored as soldiers. They are terrorists and criminals - and should be referred to as such.

This is a small sample and I could go on and on. So what is my point? The point of this is that terrorist, militant and insurgent are not synonyms. Each of these terms refers to a very specific thing and the use of these terms in news stories is very important to understanding what is going on in Iraq. It is not just an exercise in semantics, it has real meaning to the story. When you read a story pay attention to the terms that are used, then ask yourself if the facts in the story support the terms that are used. If the terms seem wrong then you may begin to see the bias of the reporting, or the ignorance of the writer.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Slow day

It has been a really slow day, not physically but mentally. I was going to comment on all kinds of news items but I just couldn't get things together.

I really enjoyed last nights MNF game. It helps that the Chiefs pulled out the win. There is still hope for a decent season, but if they had lost last night it would have been as good as done.

I made some minor adjustments to the template for the blog. I have added a links section on the bottom of the side bar. I will be adding in cool links from times to time. I added a link to a friend’s blog. Enjoy!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Celebrities and Politics

This is a growing issue in this year’s election. More and more stars and near-stars are throwing in their 2 cents towards the presidential race. This has led to a large backlash against some of these celebs. Who can forget the Dixie Chicks chic - Natalie Maines – Bush bashing comments? How about Sean Pean’s trip to Iraq and meeting with Saddam Hussein? What about the Bruce Springstein’s anti-Bush concert series? This could go on and it seems that this is so much more of an issue this year than ever before.I must admit that many of these stories annoyed me much more than the same political opinions expressed on a news talk program. Why is that? I have been thinking a great deal about this question. I hesitate to bash back at these people because I am a firm believer in free speech and it just didn’t seem right to say “those people should shut-up.” At the same time I was really offended by some of the things these people said and did. Why does this bug me so much? I don’t have this reaction to Rush Limbaugh (ok, I like Rush so that is not a good example) or even Bill Maher.

I think that problem I have with most “entertainers” making political statements is the context. They seem to be willing to use their position in front of the audience as a bully pulpit and ambush their fans. In this regard Natalie Maines made me much angrier than Sean Pean because Mr. Pean made is comments and his actions not in the context of an entertainer but rather as a citizen (I still don’t like what he did but so what). Natalie Maines ambushed her audience who came to the Dixie Chicks concert to hear music not political commentary. She did choose her location carefully to make her comments, people in London are much more open to this point of view than, say, Houston. Contrast Maines with Linda Ronstadt and her incident in Las Vegas. She chose the wrong audience to ambush.

People like Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh do not cause this kind of a reaction in me because, even though they are entertainers, they use there political views as the product. If you tune in one of these shows you are prepared, to a degree, for what you get. I know that Bill Maher will say a lot of things that I will not like and Rush will say stuff that I will like. This, to me, is in stark contrast to going to a concert and having a political speech break out. Now, if the Dixie Chicks recorded a series of political songs and expressed their views within the context of their product then more power to them. Bob Dylan made a career of this.

Another difference between political entertainers and other celebs is the understanding of the issues and the preparation. I believe that both Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher are much more versed on the issues than most, if not all, singers and movie stars. This is true regardless of if you agree with them or not.I guess if I put this in perspective with my own like it might make a little more sense. I get paid to answer the phone and help people with their computer problems. This is my job. If I were to corner one of my customers with a political conversation I have a 50-50 chance that the person might agree with me but it is still very unprofessional for me to talk about this with my customers. It is, however, entirely appropriate for me to write a blog expressing my views, but I probably shouldn’t be writing it at work…

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The weekend is over

Another weekend has come to an end. I really love the weekend and not just for the obvious reasons. One of the main things that I like is that I almost never read anything related to politics and I don't watch the news. For me this is a real change from the work week routine. I spend a lot of time at work reading about politics and current events. Not as a part of my job but as a distraction from it. By Friday I am ready for a break!

It was a good weekend for Arizona football, both ASU and the Cardinals won! This is not surprising for the Sun Devils but for the Cardinals it is amazing. Actually the Cartdinals have been playing pretty good this year. Now, if the Chiefs can pull out a win tomorrow it will be a perfect weekend.

Maybe I will write something with teeth tomorrow...

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This was my movie of the evening. My wife watched this the other day and I only saw small pieces but it looked interesting so I went back tonight and got it again. This is an incredible movie! This is just the type of movie I love - weird. This is the best Jim Carey movie since The Truman Show.

Avondale Bloggers and other things...

I spent a little time this evening checking out blogs from other Avondale residents - it didn't take long. There seems to be about 10 of us and I am the newest member of the club. None of them seems to be very prolific. I should go post some comments later.

I spent slightly more time updating my profile. It turned out the be harder than I thought. The whole issue of favorite items can be a problem as I generally have too many to choose from. I bet I will be changing those sections after each new CD, movie or book.

Current reading, listening and watching list:

I am currently reading The Pentagon's New Map: Warfare and Peace in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas P. M. Barnett. I am about half way through this book and I really like it! I saw him give a breif on warfare in the 21st centry on CSPAN an few weeks ago. After about 10 minutes I was totally hooked. This seems to be a must read for anyone interested in what the US is doing right now and what they should be doing for the forseeable future.

In my CD player is Heathen by David Bowie. This is only the second time I have listened to this one and I must say it is better the second time around. It is very mellow.

As for watching, I don't really have any plans. Maybe I will head to Blockbuster later and see what is out.

Still learning

I am still working out how to use all of the tools. I must thank Dan Rather to enlightening me to the power of a blog.

Friday, October 01, 2004

First post

This is the first post... More will follow!