Wednesday, November 24

Tuesday, November 23

To Senator Kerry

We'll be visiting family for Thanksgiving so I want to get this off my chest, then I'm going to go celebrate until the weekend. And we're getting snow, too! What could be more fun. It's almost as good as winning the election.

So they're saying that signs point toward Kerry running again in 2008. "Many Democratic lawmakers are interpreting Sen. John Kerry’s active participation in selecting the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as the strongest signal yet that the defeated presidential candidate is keeping his options open for a bid in 2008."

Well, Mr. Kerry, I want you to answer some questions first and I will spend the next four years trying to get them out of you.
1. Did you or did you not meet with Viet Namese and Viet Cong leaders in Paris in 1971 and/or 1972?
2. Were you at the Kansas City VVAW meeting in 1971 where they planned the assassination of sitting US Senators?
3. Will you release ALL of your war records to prove that you did not receive a dishonorable discharge when the Navy learned of your meetings in Paris? I want to know why you did not obtain an honorable discharge until Mar. 12, 2001 even though your service obligation should have ended July 1, 1972. And why it had to come through the Executive branch rather than from the Navy.
Comprehensive but not ALL Military Service Records, FBI and CIA records on Kerry are available on CD at http://www.paperlessarchives.com/john_kerry.html and http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1104702/posts.

The trouble with asking these questions is that I wouldn't believe the answers anyway. Therefore, Senator, I would want to see original source proof of any position you would take.

Frankly, Sir -- I think you should be removed from your post in the United States Senate for treason. Nothing you have done in the Senate has demonstrated the kind of dedication to the good of the country, the personal character, the command of ethical behavior or the sense of honor that I want to see in the office of President of the United States. The burden is on you to prove your worthiness for the Presidency. You haven't done that.

1676 - The First Thanksgiving Proclamation

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, held a meeting to determine how best to express thanks for the good fortune that had seen their community securely established. By unamimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving. That proclamation is reproduced here in the same language and spelling as the original.


"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."

The text of this proclamation prepared by Gerald Murphy (The Cleveland Free-Net - aa300). Distributed by the Cybercasting Services Division of the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN). Permission is hereby granted to download, reprint, and/or otherwise redistribute the text of the proclamation, provided appropriate point of origin credit is given to Gerald Murphy and the National Public Telecomputing Network.

Take on the ACLU; Defend the Boy Scouts of America

On Saturday, November 20, Sen. Bill Frist (R TN) introduced a bill in the US Senate (S.3026). The Save Our Scouts bill says that no federal law, rule, regulation, or order shall limit any Federal agency from providing support to the Boy Scouts of America (or the Girl Scouts of America) -- including meetings, jamborees, camporees, or other scouting activities on federal property.

This bill is in response to a lawsuit recently filed by the ACLU in which that organization charges that the U.S. government improperly supports the BSA because "God" is mentioned in the oath. In response to the lawsuit, the Pentagon sent out a worldwide direction to the military telling them to stop officially supporting the Boy Scouts of America.

Senator Frist says, "This is merely the first salvo by the ACLU to end all federal support for the Boy Scouts of America. In their view, where there is government there cannot be faith.

"I was a Boy Scout. Harrison, Jonathon, and Bryan were Scouts. The BSA is congressionally chartered. It serves a patriotic, charitable, and educational purpose, and the federal government's support to the Boy Scouts is embodied in law. The Save Our Scouts bill reaffirms our longstanding commitment to the tradition of scouting by stating that no federal law, rule, regulation, or order shall limit any Federal agency from providing support to the Boy Scouts of America (or the Girl Scouts of America) -- including meetings, jamborees, camporees, or other scouting activities on federal property.

"I encourage each and every one of you that believes in Scouting or takes offense at the actions of the ACLU, to write your Senator or Representative urging them to support S. 3026, the Frist "Save Our Scouts" bill."

May I add that letters to the Pentagon would be in order, too -- to Secy Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense and to Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The more the better. Email might be best because most government offices don't receive postal mail promptly since it all has to be checked before delivery.

The Boy Scout organization has been a spectacular force in the formation of faith,ethics and morals in boys and young men in this country for decades. Someone should make a study of how many Boy Scouts worked their way from Cubs to Eagle Scout, then went on to study at a service academy, graduate and go on to honorably serve their country. I suspect the number would be astounding.

This is just another step in the ACLU's continuing campaign to de-Christianize America. If you haven't taken a stand, this would be a good place to start; if you have, here's another battle in the war. We've proved we can win some big ones; let's go after this one, too.

Editorial Commentary by Karyn Cantees Stagg

Educated People Can Be Bush Supporters is the headline the Charleston (West Virginia)Gazette put on this marvelous response to an editorial in which they called supporters of President Bush "uneducated." -- Sunnye

In response to your editorial titled "Puzzle," in which you questioned why half the voters support a president whose ability you question and challenge at every level, I ask, who the heck do you think you are? The editorial section of the paper has become offensive, with its condescending and arrogant tone, which is perplexing. Do you think that by talking down to Bush supporters you'll somehow shame them/me into voting for an elitist like Kerry, who has more interchangeable policy positions than a yoga instructor has poses?

Take for example this statement: "Educated, progressive people we know are unanimously disgusted by Bush." Surely this doesn't mean you don't know ONE educated, progressive person who supports Bush. Are you suggesting that NO educated, progressive people support Bush? It is actually laughable and is the kind of overstatement that makes it hard to take anything stated in the editorial seriously. Tell me, does this all-inclusive group include your counterparts at the Daily Mail?

The president took office in January, 2000. It is commonly accepted that the recession stated in February of that year. If you don't agree with that statement, surely you remember that the recession was looming before Clinton left office. Now having said that, will someone explain how President Bush could cause a recession in one month? Try pointing your waggy little fingers at the previous administration.

Then there was this statement: "They (referring to all those educated, progressive people you know) can't imagine how anyone could vote for such a militaristic servant of the privileged class." Okay, let's get this straight. I am not of the privileged class, but the tax benefits that you feel make him the servant of the privileged certainly helped me. People do give back to society when they reap and many religious organizations reach out to those in need. Reaching out and giving back is not entirely a religious concept. I'm assuming you understand it given the Christmas fund for the needy you sponsor every year.

Your remarks concerning the war were particularly disturbing and condescending and I won't bother repeating what I consider nonsense. But I will try to explain why so many "Calvinist religious righteousness and my-country-right-or-wrong patriotism" thugs like me support the war.

You probably aren't aware of this, but this war didn't start with the president. (Sorry that sounds condescending.) It likely started back in 1979 when Iranian students attacked the American Embassy in Tehran. Remember President Carter's ill-fated mission in the aftermath that made America the laughing stock of the world? Then there was the attack on the US Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. Six months later 241 US Marines were killed in Beirut, compliments of 2,500 pounds of terrorists' TNT. In 1983 and 1984, respectively, explosives were driven into the US Embassies in Kuwait and Beirut. In 1985, bombs exploded in a Madrid restaurant frequented by US soldiers, and in August of that year explosives killed 22 at a US Air Base at Rhein-Main, Germany. But we didn't actually witness those things, so I guess you think it's not so bad. Well, maybe except for the poor wheelchair-bound passenger, Mr. Klinghoffer, on the cruise ship The Achille-Lauro, who we watched terrorists execute! Oh, and we can't forget the bombings of TWA Flight 840, killing four and Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 259.

These few events I've outlined are only the tip of the iceberg both here and abroad and don't even include the attempt to bomb the World Trade Center, where six were killed and thousands injured -- or the attacks of September 11. This war DIDN'T just start. It was escalated by terrorists because they saw that all Americans and Europeans have done in the past is suck their collective thumbs and glorify people like Michael Moore, a coward hiding behind an opinion piece of lies and half-truths. I'd bet you'd never find him in a soldier's uniform for any reason. And, for the record, many Europeans are still sucking their thumbs or, in the case of the French, have placed them in another cavity.

So, no, weapons of mass destruction were not found. I guess that suggests there never were any. Or, more likely, perhaps it suggests they got rid of them because the president never let up on Saddam. (There he goes with that attitude again!) I can't understand what is wrong with liberating a people while at the same time fighting the war on terror in Iraq rather than at home. Do you honestly think September 11 is the end of their jihad? Do you think they've learned their lesson and will leave, licking their wounds, because we've initiated a few safeguards and put suspected terrorists in holding cells?

I am every bit as horrified as the average American when a person is killed, whether that person is a service person or an innocent Iraq citizen. But there are two sides to this story and that's why this country is divided. Unfortunately both sides do NOT receive equal treatment by the media, which is why I'm spending a Sunday evening writing this. Every service person I've spoken with, without exception, has nothing but praise for the war and the reconstruction effort. They talk about schools being built, friends being made, and a people being transformed. Even the two Iraqi female representatives who visited Charleston this past week had nothing but praise for the reconstruction.

So please don't moralize with me or your readers about the candidates or about the war. We all get deflated enough in this world. And don't try to categorize me as part of the extreme right-wing. I'm not that either. I respect your opinion to disagree but I don't appreciate your trying to make me and others who support the President look like idiots by doing so.

Monday, November 22

Would Jesus Support the War in Iraq by Karyn Cantees Stagg

The following is a response to the question "Would Jesus Christ approve of the present war in Iraq posed by the editorial staff at The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette. It's the best answer I've seen to that question. -- Sunnye

Would Jesus support the war in Iraq? This topic has been the subject of several editorials and both the Gazette editors and contributing writer Bill Mehle assert that Jesus would not endorse the war. Although I would never propose to know what Jesus would or would not do regarding this subject, I believe our Lord is anything but a pacifist. As Christians, we believe in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. In the Bible's Old Testament God the Father destroyed more humanity than any human ever could. People's cruel and disobedient behavior so incensed Him that once He even destroyed all humanity with a flood.

God's son Jesus came to earth, borne of a woman, and flesh though he was, remained sinless. Jesus speakes of those who belonged to Him as not belonging to the world. He prays for His disciples in John 17:9: "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours." Jesus clearly separates those who love Him from those who love the world. Jesus saya in Matthew 10:21, 22: "Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake."

In the Book of Revelation, we witness the greatest and last war the world will ever know. It's clearly a war where our good God is pitted against the evil Satan. If we search the Bible, God is clearly shown as being capable of destruction -- not only by committing it, but also by allowing it.

Mr. Mehle quotes Pope John Paul II as saying war, "is always a defeat for humanity." I respectfully say that perhaps war, while being a defeat for humanity, may be a triumph for good. Statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke stated, "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Whom do we stand with and more directly, what do we stand for, if we leave a dictator to destroy his own people? Mr. Mehle states that Catholic bishops remind Catholics that among other things, "a fundamental measure of our society is how we stand with and care for the poor and vulnerable." Mr. Mehle's quote refers to alms giving, but aren't we also standing with the poor and vulnerable in Iraq by relieving them of a brutal regime that destroyed the most vulnerable and defenseless of its society? We are giving people a chance. A chance they never dreamed of having.

Make no mistake that Iraq, not America, is now the venue for the war on terror and Americans are safer because our armed forces are stationed there. Thank God for every man and woman who is willing to fight so Americans don't daily live in fear. Thank God for a President who isn't afraid to "carry a big stick," as Theodore Roosevelt said we must do. There have been many miscalculations made throughout our brief history as a country, but the biggest miscalculation was avoided by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in World War II, when he courageously led America into the other guy's war. Yes, Pearl Harbor was attacked! Well, so was the World Trade Center, where more people were killed than at Pearl Harbor.

Yes, Jesus is most certainly the originator of the Beatitudes, including the one quoted recently by Gazette editors: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God." But I propose that many of our armed forces personnel, many average Americans, many Iraqis and perhaps even Jesus consider our service men and women and the leaders who sent them off to Iraq, peacemakers. They stand courageous in and for a land that has rarely known peace.

Let us not forget that while Jesus Christ is the embodiment of what we are to become spiritually, he knows humanness. He also knows and understands evil. And, if Armageddon is the last great war, He knows what it takes to overcome evil.

Friday, November 19

Public Hypocrisy? I don't think so.

Columnists can come up with some of the funniest stuff -- often without realizing what they're doing.

Look at this one by Froma Harrop in the Seattle Times. Here Ms. Harrop bemoans the fact that conservatives have objected so strenuously to the new TV show "'Desperate Housewives' that Lowe's and the Tyson (Chicken) Corporation have dropped sponsorships. About the content of the show she writes, ""Desperate Housewives" is a dark comedy about pampered women living on a cul-de-sac of baby mansions. In material terms, they have the whole enchilada. Emotionally, they are miserable. Theirs is a world of adultery, rude children, mothers who lie and husbands who leave. One character is the voice of a dead housewife who put a gun to her head, for reasons we'll learn someday." To her credit she admits that the show really isn't worth watching because she finds it boring.

Then she proceeds to tell us that the show isn't immoral because it doesn't have cursing or nudity.

But, hold on .... here comes the good part: She adds, "The American public, we are told, is fed up with this trash. Indecent television has become the main villain in the 'values issue.' But one thing needs noting: The very week that the people propelled President Bush to a second term — partly on his promise of cultural cleanup — 22 million Americans voted with their remotes for "Desperate Housewives." That must be worth a good 50 electoral votes." She calls that public hypocrisy.

Let's look at the stats. Kerry won 252 electoral votes (57,453,966 popular votes). 51% (29,301,523)of his total votes were from women. Bet those are the people who were watching "Desperate Housewives." I think you can probably rest assured that most of the 22 million who enjoyed "Desperate Housewives" were probably not conservatives. If you're going to make dumb assumptions, that one's as good as any.

"By the way, conservatives are totally wrong that a show about messed-up families is necessarily bad for the institution of marriage. Real marriages and real children create conflict and anger. Mothers who'll watch 'Desperate Housewives' can't help but feel good about their home lives, at least by comparison. And if they labor under the illusion that lack of money causes marital stress, this portrait of well-heeled misery will cure them," she writes. This woman is full of ill-conceived assumptions and gross generalizations. A show about messed-up families isn't necessarily good for the institution of marriage, either. And guess what -- psychologists are wrong when they say people are comforted by knowing the problems of others. That's not at all true for some of us. Also, the lack of money does cause marital stress; the problems attendant with having money are just different than those with not having money.

This silly column is just another conservative bashing that contributes to the division liberals fret over so much! It's also a "I came to bury Caesar not to praise him" kind of promoting a TV show that many have called really bad. As for me, I'm going to have to see it for myself. At least until the first commercial.

NBC Photographer in Fallujah

The photographer pictured below, Kevin Sites (with a t, not a k), shot a video film showing a Marine executing a (seemingly) wounded insurgent. You know, like Kerry claimed he did back in the Viet Name war -- only in this case the soldier didn't shoot the enemy in the back.

Kevin Sites, "the NBC cameraman who shot video of the controversial shooting of a Fallujah insurgent by a U.S. Marine, is an anti-war activist whose photographs of Iraqi prisoners are featured on at least one anti-war website. . . Images Against War is one website where Sites' photography appears, giving two separate pages to his work. One of the pages, labeled 'Kevin Sites 2,' features photos of captured Iraqis with one caption saying detainees on a truck were enduring 'a long ride into uncertainty.' Most of the photos featured on the site engender sympathy toward U.S. enemy fighters and antipathy toward American military personnel."

(A side note of interest: Images Against War is a German website. The posters on the website have called Sites a traitor and a terrorist sympathizer.)

But back to the war. The Marines on the video tape had entered a room where several insurgents seemed dead. One moved. This particular Marine had seen a buddy die when a corpse exploded the day before and had, himself, been shot in the face. Furthermore these soldiers knew that wounded insurgents had been known to lob hand grenades at US soldiers when they came near. So the Lieutenant did what anyone with half an ounce of self-preservation (and sense) would do. When it moved, he shot it.

So now the media is howling for the soldier's head...and career....and retirement and disgrace and any other pound of flesh they can exact. That's totally wrong. In the first place, this is a war without rules. We mustn't hamper our soldiers by insisting they obey "rules of war" when the enemy doesn't. Rules of war are silly anyway. War is not a moral activity but it's a necessary one.

But look what Sites wrote about what the Marines are experiencing: "Despite the constant weapons fire and explosion that have accompanied our advance -- this one is different -- it's directed at the Marines. As a squad from India Company passes by a way with a spray painted rocket propelled grenade launcher -- a real RPG round explodes against it. One Marines' face is burned by the powder and hot gas -- another has caught shrapnel in the leg, a third has been shot in the finger by the small arms fire that followed. The Marines are outraged. They turn their M-16's on the building to the west where they believe the shooter is hiding."

That pretty well explains the mindset of the Marines, doesn't it?

Sites, a freelance reporter with a HUGE ego, was formerly with CNN and presumably left that organization after they asked him not to blog about the war any more. So you can judge for yourself, he blogs here.
This is the original report Sites filed.

This is a report that should never have been filed. And the investigation of the soldier is an investigation that should never happen -- except that there is a good side to it. It gets that soldier out of "harm's way" for a while.


NBC Photographer

Thursday, November 18

Library of Lies and Propaganda

Kansas City Star
The BIG News (I guess nothing really important happened today). . .
. . . was opening of the William Clinton Presidential Library. "Like all presidential libraries, it's a permanent collection that presents political spin for the ages," writes Jeff Zeleny of the Chicago Tribune. I don't know that's true -- the Truman Library seems pretty balanced to me. It presents President Truman as a human being in a great office who did his imperfect best. Now that is a man I can honor.

It was a wet, rainy day in Little Rock (down on the "wrong side of the tracks"). I suppose even the clouds wept at the thought of the spin in the concrete -- and talk about spin! Clinton still can't face the fact that he and he alone was responsible for his conduct with Monica Lewinski and the fact that he lied to a Grand Jury. He has to blame the Republicans and Ken Starr (who, by the way, did a spectacular job in his investigation according to legal observors). Looks like what WJC needs more than anything is a psychiatrist!

Maybe what Congress should do is to pass a law saying that presidential libraries can't be planned (much less begun) until a certain number of years after the president dies. With the major ego gone, misinformation might not prevail. It is, after all, in the interest of future generations that the unvarnished truth be told.

"The impeachment exhibit, titled 'The Fight for Power,' depicts the entire scandal as Republican retaliation rooted out of jealously for Democratic success. There is no air of remorse for a despicable moral lapse or mention of responsibility for lying under oath to cover up an affair. The captions etched in glass, written by former White House speechwriters under Clinton's direction, declare: 'Politics of Persecution,' and 'A New Culture of Confrontation.'" So those are the names for lying to a Grand Jury and getting away with it (which he did, because "impeachment" meant nothing to him --conviction may have hurt).

So we have a library now honoring the President who did more to bring shame and disgust to the office than any other, including Richard Nixon. Nixon only protected his friends; Clinton proved himself to be a man without honor, truth or integrity.
Perhaps, though, there wouldn't have been a Clinton library if we'd waited until history judged his presidency. That is, I suppose, the best argument for going ahead with it.

Creating a library of lies, half-truths and propaganda because he wants to be remembered as a better man than he was puts him right up there with Lenin who said "A lie told often enough becomes the truth" and Goebbels, who acted on that premise.

Wednesday, November 17

Don't Change the Rules in the Middle of the Game

NOT a good idea, Republicans.

Tom DeLay may be great in his job; he may be one of the party's favorite sons -- but you can't have the rules both ways.

It's been only a few years since Republicans grabbed power in the house by changing that very rule. The original House fight went on for several years and ended in 1997, when Republicans and Democrats agreed to an truce to end a long series of ethics charges and countercharges throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The ethics war helped topple two speakers -- Democrat Jim Wright and Republican Newt Gingrich -- and helped the GOP take control of the House in 1994. The rule that resolved all that was the one requiring leadership to step down in case of a Federal indictment.

Also, changing the rule "violates the spirit of the Congressional Accountability Act a GOP-inspired law that forces Congress to follow federal laws that apply to the private sector," according to a report by ABC news.

Remember the old warning about not changing horses in midstream? Remember in 2002 when Democrats tried to change election rules while the Florida votes were being counted and the Supreme Court shot them down? If it's not good for the goose it shouldn't work for the gander.

"It really looks like the Republican house members have made a serious mistake this time," according to the Washington Post. I think so, too. The reason I've been a Republican (when I wasn't a Democrat!) is I like who they are. For the most part, they tell the truth even when it hurts, they do what's best for the country without considering their careers and I can trust them to do the ethical thing -- at least the Republicans I've voted for were that way.

But you can't go changing the rules in the middle of the game. If DeLay is innocent the court will say so; then he can go back to work as leader of the House. In the meantime, he should step down. If the Democrats are playing nasty games, charge them with ethics violations.

I like to think DeLay is innocent and simply a victim of Democratic games-playing. But he's been tarnished by other mud as well. According to another Post article, "The ethics committee on Wednesday faulted DeLay's actions in involving a federal agency in a Texas partisan dispute. It also admonished him for his dealings with officers of a Kansas energy company who gave his political committees $25,000 and claimed they received legislative help in return. Last week, the ethics panel publicly admonished DeLay for offering to endorse the political campaign of a Michigan lawmaker's son if the legislator would give a crucially needed vote on the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill. And in 1999, the committee privately chastised him for threatening to retaliate against a Washington trade group for hiring a Democrat as its president."

Ouch.
But wait.

There's another side to the story:
It seems that Rep. DeLay has been increasingly successful in passing a more conservative agenda than previous Republicans. According to the Washington Times"In recent years, the U.S. House has pushed a bold reform agenda — especially on economic matters. Even those who have not been pleased with this turn of political events agree that a crucial factor in this ideological shift to the right in the House has been House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and his whip system, which has been operating with increasing efficiency since 1995. Both sides of the national debate agree that Mr. DeLay, who has earned the nickname "the Hammer," has run the strongest whip operation in the House in decades.
You now know all you have to know about why Tom DeLay is under increasing fire for trumped-up ethics violations. Mr. DeLay is despised by the left, not because his actions have been illegal, but because they've been completely effective at neutering the left."

Well, now. That puts a new dawg in the fight!

As someone who has, just in the past few weeks, been accused of being a "white supremacist," "stupid," "uneducated," "racist," and a whole bunch of other epithets that really don't apply to me at all, coming from Democrats who have never met me or talked to me -- well. That experience colors the way I see Mr. DeLay's situation.

So. I will wait and let the courts decide DeLay's situation. In the meantime, though, I'll stick by my original contention: Republicans: Don't change the rules for one person. There are better ways to use power.

Tuesday, November 16

It's Alma's Turn

As an American citizen I deplore it but as a wife, mother and grandmother I can't help but cheer Secretary Powell's decision to quit the State Department. I remember four years ago that Mrs. Powell held her head up and soldiered on but it was well known that she really felt it was time the General returned to family life. A soldier's wife, however, smiles over an empty heart and does her best to give her soldier the support he needs.

I could swear I heard her cheer when that announcement was made yesterday. And I don't blame her. I've seen the sacrifices a career soldier's wife makes -- my daughter married an Army officer who, like General Powell, is a patriot and continues to serve his country after retirement. I don't know what West Point does to these guys, but whatever it is, the rest of us are the better for it.

So I'll just say "thank you, Mr. Secretary" and point out some of the things he's done. The past four years, as Secretary of State, Colin Powell has made team out of the State Department. He paid attention to the employees there, visited them in their offices, and cared about their work. The rank and file say he was a pleasure to work for. On the international scene he:
Brought NATO in and brokered Afghanistan’s transition to democracy.
Defused a disagreement between Spain and Morocco over Parsley Island in 2002.
Neutralized Libya and at the same time revealed a global threat of nuclear proliferation that implicated Pakistan, North Korea and Iran.
Helped promote the roadmap for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
Engaged nuclear powers India and Pakistan in peace talks rather than confrontation.
Brought attention to the UN about genocide in the Darfar region in South Africa.
Brought relative stability to Liberia in his support of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Liberia.
Helped set up the Global Health Fund to establish a $15 billion dollar emergency fund to fight HIV/AIDS.

That's a grand record for four years. Thank you, Mr. Powell. If you ever wanted to run for President (and Alma would make a lovely First Lady), you'll have my support.

But now it's Alma's turn.





Sunday, November 14

American Muslims -- A Conundrum?

The Dutch, reacting to the murder on November 2 of Theo van Gogh, have turned against the Muslims in their country, Reuters reports. van Gogh was a filmmaker who had recently produced a film critical of Islamic practices. He was, predictably, killed by a Muslim.

Really, it's not hard understand such a violent reaction from Dutch extremists. Many Americans felt/feel the same way after 9/11. It's hard to have respect for and to trust a religion, many of whose practitioners call the rest of the world "infidels" and loudly promise to murder us, each and every one. That's not the way to make friends, folks. On the other hand, burning Mosques and schools isn’t a good idea, either.

"There is criticism of the government, including Jozias van Aartsen, parliamentary leader of the power-sharing VVD liberals, who said in a parliamentary debate on Thursday seizing militants was task No. 1 and dialogue with mainstream Muslims was second," according to the Reuters report. That reminds me of the criticism of the US government for rounding up suspicious Muslims as our war on terror continues and for coming up with the Patriot Act as a means of protecting us. But the US government has a problem the Dutch government doesn't share: The US Constitution and Bill of Rights that guarantees certain rights to its citizens.

It's especially sad because practice of the Muslim religion by the average follower has nothing to do with that kind of extremism any more than my practice of the Christian religion has to do with extremist fundamentalism. However, I'm tainted (sometimes painfully so) by the same brush. So are Muslims.

So the ball is in the Muslims' court if they truly wish to participate in the life of the free. They MUST take responsibility for educating the rest of the US citizenry on who they are and how they stand against their minority of militants.

German Muslims seem to be taking action. "One of Germany's largest Muslim community groups this week announced plans for an massive protest against militancy and terrorism. The march, to be held in Cologne later this month, is expected to attract upwards of 30,000 participants, said organizers at Ditib, an umbrella organization compromised of some 800 groups representing Turkish Muslims," according to German Information Services. "It is our way," said an organizer, "of showing that the vast majority of Muslims oppose radicalism and terrorism." Not a bad idea. But American Muslims might be better served by hiring one of the top PR firms in the country.

The point is, it's up to the American Muslim community to take a very public stand against the extremists and to show the rest of us who among them we can trust. But remember, we've been burned once. Our government needs a little slack to be sure it doesn't happen again.

Saturday, November 13

Shamefully poor losers

I find it disgusting when someone speaks for me without my permission. That's what is going on at this website.
"Some of us — hopefully most of us — are trying to understand and appreciate the effect our recent election will have on you, the citizens of the rest of the world. As our so-called leaders redouble their efforts to screw you over, please remember that some of us — hopefully most of us — are truly, truly sorry. And we'll say we're sorry, even on the behalf of the ones who aren't."

DON'T SAY YOU'RE SORRY ON MY BEHALF. I'm relieved, proud and happy that President Bush won the election and I worked even harder than you. Obviously.
When historians look back on this election in 100 years your "apology" and groveling will look sillier than it does today. Your language is as offensive as your lack of manners and I am ashamed that you are called Americans and I am relieved beyond measure that you and your friends have been relegated to irrelevancy.

Crying Wolf

Now that the election is over, it's time to start blaming the Bush administration for everything. A letter in the KC Star this morning accuses the President of crying wolf while earth burns, to mix some metaphors. But Lynn Cheatum has her metaphors mixed worse that I.

In Letters to the Editor, November 13, Cheatum writes about global warming, "Our Asian and European allies believe in scientific research, while the Bush administration cries wolf." If I remember the story about the boy and the wolf correctly, the boy kept calling the warning about a non-existent wolf. That's exactly what the 300 so-called scientists Cheatum refers to are doing. The cry is the infamous Kyoto Treaty, the wolf is global warming.

Now, no one is going to doubt that the globe has warmed since the end of the last ice age. The question is why? And by how much?

Serious scientists who conduct professional experiments differ but don't attract the press that the pseudo-scientists do. Take, for instance, the research of Willie Soon, a mild-mannered Malaysian native teaching at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and his colleague at the center, Sallie Baliunas. With the help of other Harvard researchers, they published a paper saying that the 20th Century was not, after all, the warmest century in the last 1,000 years.

In The Emperor's New Climate: Is Global Warming Real? Duncan Maxwell Anderson writes: "Soon and Baliunas confirmed that from 800 to 1300 a.d., average temperatures in many regions worldwide were 2 to 4 degrees or more higher than the allegedly sweltering 20th century. It’s referred to as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), and the extra warmth made life better, not worse. It is not only the arcane techniques of paleoclimatology, such as testing core samples of glacial ice for radioisotopes, that testify to the MWP, but history — such as people’s contemporary accounts of what they grew in their fields. Decent wine grapes grew in Merrie England. (No more, alas.) Olives grew in 13th-century Germany, where St. Albert the Great also noted abundant fig and pomegranate groves in Cologne and the Rhine valley — places too cold for those crops today. Renaissance culture awakened and flourished throughout Europe.

The MWP also explains why Greenland, now essentially a glacier, could credibly be called Greenland. It was a Danish colony, and things actually grew there.

Following the MWP, the Greenland colony died out as average temperatures plummeted 3 to 5 degrees — about 2 degrees colder than our climate today. This Little Ice Age (LIA) finally moderated but lasted in most places until about 1900. For whatever reason, many regions have warmed up about 1 degree since 1900."

One degree? In a century?

Soon and Baliunas have continued to conduct experiments, trying to disprove their own conclusions. “I am still trying to disprove my theory, to see if it is correct," Soon says. "But from the data, I still cannot rule out the possibility that I am right.”

These aren't the only scientists who disagree with the Kyoto Treaty and the "scientists" who supported it. Dr. Fred Singer keeps a web site documenting progress in global warming science at http://www.sepp.org.
S. Fred Singer is internationally known for his work on energy and environmental issues. A pioneer in the development of rocket and satellite technology, he devised the basic instrument for measuring stratospheric ozone and was principal investigator on a satellite experiment retrieved by the space shuttle in 1990. He was the first scientist to predict that population growth would increase atmospheric methane--an important greenhouse gas.

Now President of The Science & Environmental Policy Project, a non-profit policy research group he founded in 1990, Singer is also Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University and professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. His previous government and academic positions include Chief Scientist, U.S. Department of Transportation (1987- 89); Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1970-71); Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water Quality and Research, U.S. Department of the Interior (1967- 70); founding Dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences, University of Miami (1964-67); first Director of the National Weather Satellite Service (1962-64); and Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Maryland (1953-62).

Singer has received numerous awards for his research, including a Special Commendation from the White House for achievements in artificial earth satellites, a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for the development and management of the U.S. weather satellite program, and the first Science Medal from the British Interplanetary Society. He has served on state and federal advisory panels, including five years as vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmospheres. He frequently testifies before Congress.

Singer did his undergraduate work in electrical engineering at Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books and monographs, including Is There an Optimum Level of Population? (McGraw-Hill, 1971), Free Market Energy (Universe Books, 1984), and Global Climate Change (Paragon House, 1989). Singer has also published more than 400 technical papers in scientific, economic, and public policy journals, as well as numerous editorial essays and articles in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Republic, Newsweek, Journal of Commerce, Washington Times, Washington Post, and other publications. His latest book, "Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate," was published in late 1997 through the Independent Institute.


About the Kyoto Treaty, Dr. Singer writes on his website "Computer models forecast rapidly rising global temperatures, but data from weather satellites and balloon instruments show no warming whatsoever. Nevertheless, these same unreliable computer models underpin the Global Climate Treaty, negotiated at the 1992 Rio de Janeiro "Earth Summit," and are the driving force behind United Nations efforts to force restrictions on the use of oil, gas, and coal. The Third Conference of Parties (COP-3) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) (a.k.a. Global Climate Treaty), meeting in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 agreed to set mandatory limits and timetables. Politicians were told that the science is "settled" and "compelling," when in reality, scientific experts still strongly disagree on the evidence."

But why, you ask, would certains scientists intentionally mislead the politicians and the public about something so important? Anderson has the answer. He asked "Patrick J. Michaels — a climatologist, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, and author of "The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming."
. . .Michaels says: 'No one in Washington gets large grants by saying something isn’t a problem. Meanwhile, the $10 billion thrown at climate modeling research in the last 15 years was wasted.'"

And if that's not enough, Michaels adds, "“Picture this: It’s 1992 and there’s a hearing. Senator Albert Gore says he thinks global warming is a serious issue, and do you think it would be worthwhile to spend $1 billion or so studying it? No one is going to speak up and say it’s an overblown problem. If he did, all his colleagues would take out their knives and throw them into his back before he could leave the hearing room.” The result is a theory of impending doom that’s hard to test, since the proof is 100 years away. In the meantime, you could argue that it has become a form of welfare for liberal scientists."

The story of the Kyoto Treaty is a fascinating one, available at by Candace Crandall and , an interviewwith Dr. Malcolm Ross (recently retired research mineralogist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He holds a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University. Dr. Ross is past president of the Mineralogical Society of America and has published 84 papers and 63 abstracts in peer-reviewed journals. He is currently affiliated with the Science and Environment Policy Project in Fairfax, Virginia and is a research associate with the Environmental Sciences Laboratory, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York.)

Check Dr. Singer's website for a list of more.

Another really serious question is why doesn't the American media publish this side of the issue? Nearly 100% of the articles and TV programs concerning the issue come down on the side of the panic-mongers. Very seldom is even a balanced view presented. Money, I suspect, and the desire to be "politically correct" are the two dominating influences -- never mind that the money could be better and more productively used in other areas of society.

Now, in the interest of "fairness" (although I'm not sure it's fair to lead the reader in a false direction so let's call it opposition instead), check out the people who profit most by the global warming panic at http:www.sierraclub.org/globalwarming.

Thursday, November 11

In The Company of "Dumb"

I've just discovered Christopher Hitchens. He's a writer for Vanity Fair and although I've seen him touted as a Liberal by his admirers and detractors, I find that label hard to believe. He wrote a column titled "Not So Dumb Then" in which the following appeared.

It's quite a few years now since George W Bush took down the Democratic Party's then-favourite daughter, Ann Richards, as governor of Texas.

SINCE then, he has regularly beaten every Democrat who has run against him. But this hasn't prevented many supposedly clever people from continually underestimating him.

And now look what he's done. Won the popular vote, cleaned up the electoral college vote, increased his party's hold on both Houses, while enabling a successful election in Afghanistan and fighting to hold one in Iraq. What an idiot! What a nutcase and bastard as well. He'll evidently stop at nothing.

In the UK, the Queen is the head of the church and head of state, as well as the Armed Forces - a state of affairs that is so ridiculous that many people hardly notice it. In the US, the Constitution states that the government cannot sponsor any church.

This means, and has meant for some time, that voluntary religious participation is one of the defining things about American life. As an atheist I am sorry to say it, but there it is.

It may seem regrettable to you that these pious church-goers also have the right to vote but so they do. They had it when the British were living under absolute monarchy.

And it was prayer-muttering farm-boys from Tennessee and Vermont who came over to Europe in such large numbers, bringing their various chaplains along, and did us all such a favour a generation ago.

At the time, many of the black members of this great people's army were prevented from voting but they later managed to win that right, led largely by clergymen, and are still quite loyal to their touching Sunday devotions.

Of course, I would prefer that only secular humanists and believers in Darwin had been in the front line against first fascism and then Stalinism and now Islamic nihilism but one can't have everything.


All this after musing if he should be irritated at a headline (The Manchester Guardian?) in which supporters of President Bush are called "dumb." I dunno about you, Mr. Kitchens (well actually I do because I read your article) but I really resent being called dumb by my intellectual inferiors. How do I know they're my intellectual inferiors? Because I have a really high I.Q. and the people who wrote that headline work for a newspaper. Proves it for me. (You can read in a really mischievous grin here.)

Kitchens says what really irritates him is being patronized. I'm surprised he just discovered that. Maybe he hasn't been reading liberal columnists or watching the likes of Al Franken and Michael Moore. I can paraphrase an old saying my Mom taught me: "If you can't say anything substantive, be patronizing." That seems to be the Liberal mantra...and how did the Liberals get the label "intellectual," anyway? Bill Buckley and David Horowitz (and a WHOLE bunch of others) can compete on that turf any day.

But what I really and truly loved about Kitchens' column was the statement he made about the President, "And now look what he's done. Won the popular vote, cleaned up the electoral college vote, increased his party's hold on both Houses, while enabling a successful election in Afghanistan and fighting to hold one in Iraq. What an idiot! What a nutcase and bastard as well. He'll evidently stop at nothing."

Yeah, I say with an even bigger grin. He did that. AND collected the nukes from Libya, protected the US so that instead of bombs we got a mere video tape from Bin Laden trying to affect our election, and fielded a tax cut that put a Clinton-lagging economy back together (330,000 jobs in October would have been infuriating news if we had lost the election). And more -- I can honestly say that my family is much better off today than we were four years ago. For one of our family stories, see http://www.angelfire.com/tn3/tiedemannvols. And thank you again, Mr. President.

And thank you, Mr. Kitchens. It's obvious that being in the company of "dumb" is a fine and noble place to be.

AFTER THE ELECTION - Zell Miller

AFTER THE ELECTION: I tried to tell you . . .
Democrats repel voters, who put faith in freedom
Zell Miller - For the Journal-Constitution
Thursday, November 4, 2004

America's faith in freedom has been reaffirmed. With the re-election of President Bush, America recommitted itself once again to expanding freedom and promoting liberty. Only the 1864 re-election of Abraham Lincoln, the 1944 re-election of Franklin Roosevelt and the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan rival this victory as milestones in the preservation of our security by the advancement of freedom.

This election validated not just freedom, but also the faith our Founding Fathers placed in average folks to navigate the course of this great nation. By weighing the greatest issues at the gravest times and choosing our path, ordinary people have again accomplished extraordinary things. With courage and caution, rather than fear and timidity, the voters chose a path to ensure others would enjoy the same freedom to set their own path.

This election outcome should have been implausible, if not impossible. With a litany of complaints --- bad economy, bad deficit, bad foreign war, bad gas prices --- amplified by a national media that discarded any pretense of neutrality, a national opposition party should have won this election.

But the Democratic Party is no longer a national party. As difficult as the challenges are --- both real and fabricated --- Democrats offered no solution that was either believable or acceptable to vast regions of America.

Tax increases to grow the economy are not a solution that is believable or acceptable. Democratic promises of fiscal responsibility are unbelievable in the face of massive new spending promises. A foreign policy based on the strength of "allies" such as France is unacceptable. A strong national defense policy is just not believable coming from a candidate who built a career as an anti-war veteran, an anti-military candidate and an anti-action senator.

Democratic Party policies haven't sold in large sections of America in decades, and the only success of Democrats in presidential elections for 40 years was when they pitched themselves as pro-growth, low-tax, strong-defense, fiscally responsible, values-oriented candidates.

Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton hummed the tune but never really sang the song, and that's why Democrat prospects have gone south in the South. In 1980, the South had 20 Democrats and just six Republicans in the Senate. As recently as 1994, the Senate had 17 Democrats and nine Republicans from the South.

A decade later, the number had reversed to 17 Republicans and nine Democrats. With this election, it is 22 Republicans and just four Democrats from the South.

When will national Democrats sober up and admit that that dog won't hunt? Secular socialism, heavy taxes, big spending, weak defense, limitless lawsuits and heavy regulation --- that pack of beagles hasn't caught a rabbit in the South or Midwest in years.

The most recent failed nominee for president stands as proof that the national Democratic Party will continue to dwindle. The South has gone from just one-fourth of the Electoral College in 1960 to almost a third today.

To put this in perspective, that gain is equal to all the electoral votes in Ohio. Yet there was not a single Southern state where John Kerry had any real chance. Would anyone like to place bets on the electoral strength of the South by 2012? Maybe they should tax stupidity.

When you write off centrist and conservative policies that reflect the will of people in the South and Midwest, you write off the South and Midwest. Democrats have never learned from the second or third or fifth kick of a mule. They continue to change only the makeup on, rather than makeup of, the Democrat Party.

And so we have a realignment election. For the first time, in an "us vs. them" election and in the toughest of situations, Republicans have been re-elected to the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Confronting an opposition that can win a divided electorate in the worst of times and that has a growing electoral base, the national Democratic Party has a choice: continue down this path toward irrelevance or reverse course. As the last Truman Democrat, I hope my party makes the right choice but know I will not be allowed to be part of it. Such is the price you pay when you love your nation more than your party.

And so while I retire with little hope for the near-term viability of the party I've spent my life building, I retire with a quiet satisfaction that after witnessing the struggle of democracy over communism and fascism, the fear I once held that America might not rise to meet this new challenge of terrorism has vanished like a fog under the radiance of a new dawn. While the threat is still real, the shadow looming across a promising future is gone.

And the credit for that goes to one man. Like the last lion of England, Winston Churchill, George W. Bush has stood alone and risked all to give the world a new, clearer path to the advancement of freedom.

Abraham Lincoln, in his second annual message to Congress, stated: "In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom for the free --- honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last, best hope of earth."

George Bush has injected into a region of enslavement an incurable dose of freedom, and thus nobly saved that "last, best hope of earth" --- free men.

Zell Miller is Georgia's Democratic U.S. senator.


Arafat

Has anyone noticed that there have been no terrorist bombings in Israel since Arafat went into the hospital?

That just about says it all, doesn't it.

Saturday, November 6

To "Cousin" Diane McWhorter

Diane McWhorter, in "Why Americans Hate Democrats," escalates the difference between liberal "values" and conservative "morality" to declared war status in her emotional diatribe declaring that "morality" is the new "racism." If differences were being discussed (and they rarely were), that should raise the ante to such an emotional level that they can't be rationally considered at all. Perhaps that's why the Dems are in trouble -- they are too quick to head toward a reasonless passion and too slow to enter into reasonable discussion.

Diane is a very distant(thank God)cousin of mine. My grandfather, a distant relative of hers, was a "fine Christian gentleman" but NOT a segregationist, as she generalizes the term. And then there's my father, who was also a Southern gentleman (and, my husband says, a saint) and no segregationist. McWhorter writes what the liberal establishment wants to hear and the truth be damned. That's how she won a Pulitzer Prize. I hope she's smart enough to giggle all the way to the bank.

She grew up in the South -- in Birmingham -- and, falling prey to liberal professors during her youthful academic years, she fell hook, line and sinker for the "intellectual liberal" line. She swallowed all the guilt attendant to the anti-South traditional accusations and has been genuflecting wildly to her Northern constituency ever since. Unlike most intellectual Southerners, she sees everything in terms of race. "'Morality' is the new 'race,'" she writes,--as in racism." That is one of the most patronizing put-downs I've ever seen in print. And it looks to me like an intentional flame-thrower.

The first amendment to the Bill of Rights says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." The very basis of religion -- any religion -- is morality. Assuming that the definition of morality is conforming to a set of standards involving right as opposed to wrong, it looks like McWhorter is making a dirty word of morality and thereby denying concepts like truthfulness, honor, nobility or conscience. After all, that's the modernist paradigm, isn't it? Ethical Relativism - there is no such thing as "right" or "wrong." Everything is gray, so if it feels right, it's okay.

Racism is a dirty word in our society. By connecting "morality" to "racism," "morality" becomes a dirty word too. This is McWhorter's intent -- be patronizing to moral values; make fun of them and those who live by them and before you know it "morality" and the attendant concepts are social lepers. Forget that this country was founded on concepts of honor and (heaven forbid) religion -- the Judeo/Christian religion.

McWhorter, whose view of the world is colored by her judgmental and, paradoxically, defensive attitudes concerning segregation in her native Southland, can't see beyond her deeply repressed antagonism to her own genealogical birthright as a Southerner. In the most patronizing tone she claims that Democrats and Republicans are all bigots and accuses Americans of being apathetic unless we can relate "political issues" to sex, vice, race and abortion. McWhorter claims, for example, that abortion is related to fornication (obviously!) and adds that racism is a fear response to "black sexual predators," a statement that is stupid and inflammatory. The opposition to free-wheeling abortion is objection to abortion as birth control -- there are better methods. And opposition to partial birth abortion is simply opposition to gruesome murder.

Then she really jumps off the deep end: She claims that opposition to gay marriage is a "cynical addition to the Southern strategy." We can assume from that statement that marriage vows have no special meaning to her -- they are simply a legality. That's not so to most Christians. Marriage is a special union between a man and a woman; connected in faith to the relationship between Jesus and his Church. It is actually defined as man/woman becoming one in the sight of God.

I have no objection to gays having their own legal union -- but just don't call it marriage, because it isn't. You can have all those benefits you want, just change your semantics.

The crusade against gay marriage, she writes, "is a totally manufactured moral 'crisis' with no effect on anyone other than the marital partners themselves." This statement, the strongest argument for gay marriage, demonstrates a lack of understanding of what marriage is in the Judeo/Christian tradition.

There is no reason why the legal joining of man and man or woman and woman should not be termed something else - "union," "connection," "joining,". . . whatever . . . with all the legal rights and appurtenances attendant to marriage - but leaving the word "marriage" to be defined as between a man and a woman. Using different terminology would clear up any communication problems caused by defining one term in multiple ways. Marriage is sacred and special to the man and woman who take their vows seriously; sharing the term with people who don't share the values demeans the sanctity of the vows.

McWhorter is wrong when she calls for addressing bigotry "masked as 'morality,' and breaking 'the code of the Republicans' fraudulent claims on piety.'" Piety is dutifulness in religion and in the case of homosexuality, that dutifulness calls for total rejection of gays. There is absolutely nothing more to be said on the subject that hasn't already been overstated.

Where we do agree, however, is that the "moral terrain we should all stake and reform is ...MTV-land." But McWhorter overlooks the fact that it is the far right who are on record as objecting to the "outrage of Britney," Paris Hilton, and the Dixie Chicks. And it is the Democrats who encourage and support the likes of Michael Moore and Whoopee Goldberg. McWhorter selects Fox reality shows, of course, ignoring Bravo (NBC's affiliate) with its "Queer Eye" and other offenses. "Trading Spouses" is another network abomination and nearly all the reality shows reek with disgusting and disrespectful behavior in which women, especially, are exploited.

But now we come to the crux of the entire matter and that is this writer's total lack of comprehension of what the war against terror is all about. "Then again," she writes after wondering why Carl Rove hasn't already taken up arms against reality TV, "the President's men may be inhibited by the fact that our grotesque trash culture, along with our freedom, is what the terrorists hate." That's not what they hate. They hate that we are not Muslims. Since we aren't, we are, by definition, infidels. They could care less about our freedom or our culture. They hate us because we are not them. That's pretty basic.

If we were hated because of TV, our moral-less society, or our freedom we could appease the terrorists by giving up those things. But we are hated simply because we exist. There is no way to appease them. The only thing they understand is "eye for an eye." There's a good reason why the Spanish and the Australians suffered terrorist attacks but all we got from Bin Laden was a video tape before our elections.

But Diane's original premise is wrong from the outset. Americans don't hate Democrats. They just don't appreciate the candidates Democrats give us. Kerry was a traitor to his country back in the '70s when he met with the Viet Cong in Paris while the war was still raging. According to Article 14, Section 3 of the Bill of Rights, he has no right to serve in Congress, much less run for President. Kerry was saved from examination of that premise by Richard Nixon, who nixed a suggested investigation of the issue because did not want another inflammatory problem at the time. Too bad, it would have saved us a lot of unnecessary trouble recently.

Al Gore was a dumb opportunist; John Kerry is a liar. The Democrats need to get rid of Terry McAuliffe, James Carville, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons, and all the other shady characters and vow to come clean. Until they do so, they don't deserve the respect -- or the votes -- of the American people.


To Jane Smiley

I'm really getting tired of this. I've been called everything from a "white supremacist" and a "red neck" to "racist," "ignorant," a "cheater" and an "intimidator" by people I respect like Jane Smiley and people I don't have much respect for like Maureen Dowd.

Jane Smiley (who has never asked me what I think or believe) writes, "The error that progressives have consistently committed over the years is to underestimate the vitality of ignorance in America." She's calling me ignorant. I suppose I'm to be flattered that she says I have vitality. She goes on "Listen to what the red state citizens say about themselves, the songs they write, and the sermons they flock to. They know who they are — they are full of original sin and they have a taste for violence. The blue state citizens make the Rousseauvian mistake of thinking humans are essentially good, and so they never realize when they are about to be slugged from behind." The implication here, of course is that I (being a red-stater) haven't read (or if I did, I didn't understand) Rousseau and that the Bible (which is the basis of all the sermons I've ever heard) promotes lying, stealing, and cheating. Maybe we've read different Bibles -- the one I know exorts me to treat everyone else as I would like them to treat me and teaches me to love and help my fellow man.

But let's wait a minute. Question: When did the blue states become Democrats and the red states Republican? The blue states have ALWAYS (until the 2000 election) been Republican. Who changed it? Why? Did the Dems decide red was too close to the old concept of communism and since their liberal faction is socialist, they don't want to be associated with the red=communism assumption?

Frankly I've always preferred red to blue anyway. Red is bright and happy; blue is sad and well, blue as in sad.

As to who got slugged from behind: it wasn't the red campaigners who gave fraudulent documents to Dan Rather at CBS or who backed a candidate who committed treason in the 1970s and thereby doesn't even qualify to hold the Senate seat he has, much less run for the highest office in the land.

It wasn't a ranking member of the winning party who stole (and "lost") secret documents from the National Archives. It wasn't a member of the winning party (in the red states) who registered hundreds of dead people and came up with a plan to disrupt polling places by preempting what they expected to be illegal activities.

The only election workers in Ohio who were charged with fraud in the recount weren't Republicans. In fact, when Democrats stole elections (as in 1960), Republicans took the undeserved loss with quiet dignity and went back to work.

Jane Smiley and her ilk call facing the terrorist war realistically as attempting to "intimidate" the voter. She would rather see a "police action" (like the one we did in Korea where we lost thousands of men a day, I suppose) with France and Germany helping out. But Korea was a major disaster; a war we didn't win. I'd rather be intimidated by painful truth than soothed by blind ignorance.

In her piece, Smiley paints an extremely distasteful (and old-fashioned as well as unknowledgable) picture of a Christian, then adds "American politicians ALWAYS operate by a similar sort of flattery, and so Americans are never induced to question themselves. That's what happened to Jimmy Carter — he asked Americans to take responsibility for their profligate ways, and promptly lost to Ronald Reagan..." But James Carter lost the Presidency not because Americans didn't take responsibility for anything but because he couldn't get our hostages home from Iran, which Ronald Reagan promptly did.

The tone of Smiley's article is downright hysterical. Every word she writes shows her inability to see any point of view besides her pseudo-intellectual one. She can't imagine that someone with education and intelligence might have reasons she can't articulate because she hasn't bothered to find out about them. Like most of the liberals I've known, she probably runs from any statement that doesn't agree with the world as she perceives it. She's probably the first to walk out rather than hear a lecturer speak from a point of view that isn't hers.

No wonder they're losers. They will be until they learn to wake up and listen. And stop insulting their betters.


Thursday, November 4

Goodbye Network Falsehoods; Hello Fair & Balanced

It took a couple of days to rest up after the long election day on my feet but now I'm back and ready to go again, full of gratitude, relief and hope.

The most significant thing about this election (to me, at least) is what has happened to the media, especially network news. For many years -- since 1964 specifically -- I have seen and heard reporting that made me terribly suspicious at first, then nauseatingly certain. My husband, for example, working with the astronauts on Gemini and Apollo flights and I saw first-hand managed news and downright lies, each vehemently denied by the media when attention was called to it. "We stand by our report/reporter" was the mantra.

Comes now the 2004 election and again and again the media were caught in the act of misdirection and lying, actually trapped in their guilt so there was no way out. CBS's "mistakes," for example, were no surprise; the surprise was that they actually got caught.

It's Fox News that we have to thank for freeing us from the oppression of shamelessly lying and opportunist journalists. No wonder the "established media" make fun of Fox and its correspondents. They use humor to attempt undermine the credibility of Fox and the radio pundits. What they don't understand is that the American people are both intelligent and observant. People can also do the research that reporters too often "forget" or neglect to do.

Even the so-called exit polls can't affect an election anymore. Voters are more informed on both sides of the issues and most make their decisions before they go to the polls. We can only hope the media continue to waste their money on those silly polls -- that way they're not spending large sums on something more effective.

Thank You, Fox News.

Wednesday, November 3

My Day As Election Worker

What a relief!
Now if the President will just change his cabinet significantly, especially the Defense Department....

I served as an election worker yesterday and what an experience! There were so many notable instances....we arrived at 5 a.m. and opened at 6 a.m. to a long line and managed to get all of them voted within the hour. Everyone was cheerful and friendly and only twice all day did we find someone who was obviously defensive and suspicious.

One dear lady was terribly intimidated by the voting machine. A friend had told her it was a difficult process that she would never understand, so when she finished her ballot and touched "cast your vote" and the card popped out of the machine, she couldn't realize it was so easy. "I must have done something wrong," she said. "My friend said it was complicated and I heard that on TV, too. Did I do something
wrong?" The machine gave a count of one more vote and when I asked her if she got an x in the little boxes when she touched the one by the candidates she preferred, she said "yes." I assured her that she had voted. She was amazed. "I won't be afraid next time," she said, proudly attaching her "I voted in Johnson County" sticker.

There were SO many young people! Many, many first time voters and to each and every one we thanked them and told them that they must never let anything keep them from voting in elections. They were proud and serious and downright noble.

Several people wanted to vote but they weren't in the right precinct. We told them they could go ahead and vote with a paper ballot but they had heard in the media that those votes might not be counted. (It would be so NICE if media personnel would research before they make incorrect statements.) We directed them to the proper polling places.

Our poll was in an elementary school and around mid-morning a teacher brought in her kindergarten class. She explained what the election workers were doing and showed them how people voted. My husband gave each child and "I voted" sticker when they left.

Later in the day a young mother brought in her small daughter (around 7 or 8 years old). She said she had already voted but her daughter wanted to see what an election was all about. Fortunately we weren't very crowded at that time and it was grand fun to describe and demonstrate the process to the wide-eyed and fascinated child. When I put her "I voted" sticker on her dress, I told her that she must study hard in school so she would know what was important and how to vote when she became 18. Her mother was most grateful and the child and I had a great time.

The most irate voter we had was a gentleman who had been given a royal runaround by someone who originally directed him to the wrong polling place. They sent him to another wrong place and he finally made his way to us -- where he did, indeed, belong. No one told him he could go ahead and vote at either place and by the time he found us he was enraged. He blew off quite a bit of steam, voted, and apologized as he left. I must say, I didn't blame him a bit.

As the day wore on fatigue began to set in and by the time we closed at 7 (we hadn't had a voter for 1/2 hour and we fear that was because there were no lights in the school parking lot)I wasn't sure I was going to make it standing up! I retrieved the signs from outdoors (the chill air awakened me)and helped close down the machines and suddenly the Big Day was over.

Looking at our local tally I thought Kerry had won, although President Bush had carried our district. Kerry did better than I'd thought he would.

After dinner in a local restaurant in which alcohol played an important part (rare for me), I wasn't up to staying up for the returns. So it was a delightful wake-up to the news that the President had won, and had won handily!


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