Tuesday, October 2

Book Review: SUPREME DISCOMFORT

SUPREME DISCOMFORT, The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas
by Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher
Doubleday NY

This is a difficult book to rate. It's easy reading -- obviously written more to entertain than to inform -- and it's highly biased against the subject yet presented in such a way as to pretend to be balanced. It is character assassination in print.

The subtitle, "The divided soul of Clarence Thomas" is not proven by the discourse. It is obvious that Thomas has a very clear idea of who he is and what the law should be. He is staunch in his beliefs and true to his conscience. There is nothing divided about him.

Justice Thomas seems to have figured out what most of his peers (and definitely the authors)haven't: That affirmative action has proved to be a double-edged sword, as harmful to blacks as it has been useful. It is obvious that Thomas simply considers himself a man, neither black nor white, as he gazes at life and law through clear glasses. To many blacks (and obviously to the authors) this is the Unforgivable Sin.

Thus they portray Justice Thomas as almost manically introspective, weak and flawed. They emphasize the pain he endured over the years from racial slurs and imply that he is almost useless on the court because he can't forget Anita Hill's attacks during his confirmation trial before Congress. I use the word trial intentionally here.

I had wondered why Justice Thomas was publishing a memoir at this time since it would necessarily bring Hill to the forefront again. This book must be the reason. He knew this would be what it is when he refused the authors access to himself and his memorabilia. He was right. The prejudice against him here is almost hysterical.

One of the points the authors belabor again and again is their contention (and yes, it has been said by others) that Thomas is a lackey to or clone of Justice Scalia because they vote the same way. I believe it was Jan Crawford Greenburg (author of the newly published "Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court”), who said in an interview on Book TV just last weekend that she had gone through all the records specifically to determine whether there was truth in that particular assumption. She says in most cases Thomas voted first and that it might be more accurate to say that it was Scalia who followed in Thomas's footsteps. The material she found in her research was available to these authors had they cared to check their facts.

Since their prejudice against Justice Thomas is so pronounced and their indictments of his character so repetitious I can't help but wonder what material they left out from their massive second-source research. It would not be presumptuous to assume that they were highly selective in order to prove their thesis that Thomas is so flawed that he is ineffective on the Court (something that isn't said but is strongly implied in these pages).

One of the things they object to most about him is the fact that he seldom asks questions during court sessions. They don't seem to realize that when one is talking, s/he isn't learning. Justice Thomas says someone always asks the questions he would, so he just listens until the answer surfaces. That is wisdom.

What they object to most, however, seems to be that Thomas is a Constitutional originalist. That is, he believes in the Constitution as written and is suspicious of re-creating it "to fit" contemporary times. He is less inclined to use stare decisis (respect for precedent) when considering cases and he believes strongly in the rights of states to handle most social issues. That conservatism truly irks the authors and I believe these are the reasons they have chosen to emphasize the negative and present such a biased smear.

Almost every page and certainly every chapter belabors the anger and pain that Justice Thomas presumably harbors from his growing up years (in addition to the Hill episode). He would be have to be insane if he wasn't hurt and the fact that he has risen above the destiny presumed by his birth and has served so honorably at various levels of government, including the highest court in the land, shows the mettle of the man.

Justice Clarence Thomas is a great American and a noble jurist who is doing his best. We can ask no more of anyone.

Sunday, August 5

Repeat A Lie Until Everyone Believes It

It's been a long time since I "blogged" here. We've bought a new house, made a long distance move and I've had knee-replacement surgery -- all since the last post. So now I'm back.

Thoughts: I'm deeply saddened and utterly horrified at the turn political discourse has taken in this country. I blame the National Education Association for a good deal of it. For the past thirty+ years we have not taught children to think for themselves. We have allowed -- even encouraged -- them to believe the first thing they read; to take the media at face value and not to question what they're told by so-called "experts." We haven't taught them the most rudimentary facts about government -- the statistics on what the average "man.woman in the street" knows about current events, American history and politics in general are frightening. Frightening because these people vote!

The past few years I've been a poll worker at elections -- primaries (very sparsely attended) and national as well as local elections. Too many voters say they haven't had time to read about more than one or two issues or candidates so they just guess at the rest.

I like to watch The View on television -- it's a rather shallow program that ABC touts as serious discussion. I say shallow because it's mainly a forum for espousing the political stands of the Democratic Party. They have a token Republican to give the impression that they're "fair and balanced" but the guest list leans heavily to the left politically and most of the opinions offered by the hosts simply spout the Democratic line.

The shallowness of so much of the discussion is typified by Joy Behar, who recently criticized Michael Chertoff (US Secretary of Homeland Security) because she didn't like his looks. Behar states her opinions as if they were facts, i.e. "Everyone knows the war in Iraq is a mistake." No, Joy. EVERYONE includes me and many of my friends and we do NOT believe the war in Iraq is or was a mistake. I believe it was a necessity. But I remember how Saddam Hussein defied the UN for decades, shot at American planes and used weapons of mass destruction against the Kurds in his own country.

“A lie told often enough becomes truth” said Vladimir Lenin. Actually it doesn't become truth, but people begin to believe it. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister not only believed that, he acted on it and proved it to be true. That's the theory Behar operates under whether she realizes it or not. I suspect she's not bright enough to understand what she's doing. She certainly has not come up with an original thought when I've been watching the show.

Barbara Walters, whose opinions also seem to favor leftist politics, at least gives the impression that she has the ability to listen and evaluate. Elizabeth Hasselbeck defends conservative positions with vigor and enthusiasm but she, too, seems limited to the same old conservative arguments.

The most alarming thing about political discussion, however, is the hate talk.

It comes from both sides. although the strongest and loudest seems to be from Democrats who hate the President. They feed rumors and outright lies to each other, repeating them again and again until they are convinced that the President is the problem when, in reality, they are. No one dares say that on the dailykos.com, for example, or to Behar.

The question is, will we destroy our American republic because we insist on believing rumors and half-truths?

Friday, May 11

Father's Day and Global Warming

I can hardly wait for Father's Day!

My husband, who was a NASA scientist back during the Apollo and Gemini days (he pioneered the photography of earth from space) will adore what I plan to get for him. It's a feature-length documentary plus additional interview material with some of the world’s leading climate scientists.(You can find some of them and their factual information at www.sepp.org.)

Seems a Canadian TV producer has come out with the "definitive response to Gore's Inconvenient Truth" with the true facts about global warming. Now lest you, Dear Reader, are not familiar with my position on that stance suffice it to say that, as the wife of a conscientious scientist who does careful research into things like this I can simply say that blaming human "carbon footprints" is, to put it politely, hooey, nonsense and baloney.

If you're not afraid of hearing another side to the GW (Global Warming) story, here's more info on the DVD: "A DVD of the film, The Great Global Warming Swindle, will be available in the next few weeks (despite the strenuous efforts of those who support the theory of global warming to prevent its release). The DVD version will be an expanded and improved version of the film broadcast in the UK on Channel Four. A great deal more interview material has been added, covering a broader range of subjects than was possible in the broadcast film..

However, we urge those interested in hearing the case against the theory of man made global warming to dig deeper. The main purpose of this site is to point people towards key scientific papers, books and other relevant material.

We have received literally thousands of emails scientists and others expressing their support and encouragement. These emails are also often very useful, steering us towards new studies in many different areas. Please keep sending them.

The email address is: gw@wagtv.com."

If we could cease and desist all carbon producing activity by human beings all over the world we would only reduce earth's emissions by 14%. That simply doesn't touch it. What we need to do is cap the volcanos and eliminate forest fires to begin to make an impact.

But now let's approach the issue really simplisticly. First, global warming does occur -- yes, it's been going on (and off) since the end of the last Ice Age. Things that truly do affect it are volcano eruptions, forest fires, etc. C'est, as the French like to say, la vie!

Anyone who has studied earth science knows that it's cyclical. In fact, much of life is cyclical from seasons to women's periods to a 24-hour day -- even diseases. ABC News Science Editor Michael Guillen has pointed out the absurdity of "scary headlines" about the hottest weather in 120 years of record-keeping. "It would be like this," Guillen said, "If I watched you for 70 seconds, monitored your body for 70 seconds, and used that information to determine what your body's going to do for the rest of your life, that's pretty much what we're doing right now with [temperature] records." And anyone who watches ABC news knows they're one of the greatest supporters of the global warming panic hype.

I think the worst thing about it all, however, is the name calling the Democrats and pseudoscientist do about those who disagree with them. They accuse dissenting scientist of supporting the oil companies for profit -- another inaccurate generalization unsupported by anything as mundane as fact.

So please don't panic. Do "go green" but not because you believe you can affect the atmosphere. Do it because it's healthy and it's better for the earth. But don't do it to stop something you can't stop.

Saturday, March 17

SPANISH NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

This belongs in the "ain't it da troof" category:

Just one man's opinion, but it seems to have some
validity in today's world.

SPANISH NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

KEEP IT FOREMOST IN YOUR THINKING THAT THIS WAS
WRITTEN BY A SPANISH WRITER ABOUT SPAIN AND EUROPE .

"ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ"
By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez(*)

I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth - Europe died in Auschwitz.

We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world -- these are the
people we burned.

And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million
Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime.

Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.

We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.


And yet, in spite of all this, Europeans and Americans insist on being politically correct and tolerant while our culture collapses all around us. It's sad, truly sad.

Sunday, February 11

One Mystery Writer's Take on Anna Nicole Smith's Death

Consider this:

A man notes that a certain ex-model/playgirl is worth a half a billion dollars. She's also promiscuous so bedding her is no problem. He devises a plan to get the money.

All he has to do is get her pregnant and wait for the baby to be born. When that happens he poisons first her son (legal heir) and then her. Maybe even the poisoning of the son was an accident -- a poisoned chocolate he expected her to eat but that her son ate instead, for example. (There are several poisons that are not able to be detected after a very short time in the human body.)

He whisks the baby away and all he needs now is a DNA test that proves he's the father. Voila. . .1/2 billion dollars.

Easy.

If anyone's interested in poisons and their effects. Writer's Digest has a book for writers that covers the subject pretty thoroughly. Even ground up potato sprouts would do it.

Rambo

This from a friend of mine who knows the soldier in question personally, so
I take it that it's probably quite accurate. We need more of this
perspective in media. (The soldier's name was removed for security
reasons.)
MS

Hi everyone.

I'm still alive but freezing my tail off. We got 8 inches of snow last week
and it reached 5 degrees below zero that night. That's not why I'm e-mailing though.

You may have heard about a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul last Thursday. It was at one of our FOB's (Forward Observation Bases) about 27 miles from here. But the real story -- the story you won't read in the American media -- is why no one was killed.

We employ several thousand Afghans on our various bases. Not to mention the economy that is fed by the money these locals are making. Some are laborers and builders, but some are skilled workers. We even have one Afghan that just became OSHA qualified, the first ever. Some are skilled HVAC workers.

Anyway, there is this one Afghan that we call Rambo. We have actually given him a couple of sets of the new ACU uniforms (the new Army digital camouflage) with the name tag RAMBO on it. His entire family was killed by the Taliban and his home was where our base currently resides. So this guy really had nowhere else to go.

He has reached such a level of trust with US Forces that his job is to stand at the front gate and basically be the first security screening. Since he can't have a weapon, he found a big red pipe. So he stands there at the front gate in his US Army ACU uniform with his red pipe. If a vehicle approaches the gate too fast or fails to stop he slams his pipe down on their hood. Then once the gate is lifted the vehicle moves on the 2nd gate where the US Army MPs are. So he's like the first line of defense.

Last Thursday at 0930 hrs a Toyota Corolla packed with explosives and some Jackass that thinks he has 72 Virgins waiting for him approached the gate. When he saw Rambo he must have recognized him and known the gig was up. But he needed to get to that 2nd gate to detonate and take American lives. So he slams his foot on the gas which almost causes the metal gate to go up but mostly catches on the now broken windshield. Rambo fearlessly ran to the vehicle, reached thru the window and jerked the suicide bomber out of the vehicle before he could detonate and commenced to putting some red pipe to his heathen ass. He detained the guy until the MP got there. The vehicle only exploded when they tried to push it off base with a robot but no one was hurt.

I'm still waiting for someone to give this guy a medal or something. Nothing less than instant US citizenship or something. A hat was passed around and a lot of money was given to him in thanks by both soldiers and civilians that are working over here.

I just wanted to share this because I want people to know that it's
working over here. They have tasted freedom. This makes it worth it to me.

Sunday, February 4

A U.S. soldier's view of Iraq

Since everything that follows jibes 100% with what I've heard from others either in Iraq or returning from Iraq, I'm passing this little piece along. It is so true that we, "the people" including the US media do not know enough about what is really going on in Iraq to voice an informed opinion on it, especially if our opinions aid the enemy.

"Following the article I sent about Bush's national address and troop increase, I thought it was a good idea to let you all know what the perspective is over here. I'm tired of hearing the media's skewed version, the politicians squabbling over what they read in a report, and the average ill-informed American ranting about things he knows NOTHING about.

I've been over here a couple of months now, and I've learned more about this country than a year's worth of watching CNN. I've sat in mission briefs with Colonels, talked with village elders, had tea with Sheiks, played with the kids. And I agree with the President. We need more troops and we need to take greater action.

There are 3 major factions here. The Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. The Shiites are in the majority, but Sad dam was a Sunni, so he kept the Shiites in check. Everyone hates the Kurds, who are Christian and in the vast minority. The Kurds received the brunt of Saddam's murderous tyranny. Now that Saddam is gone, the Shiites have taken control of Baghdad. The largely peaceful Sunnis are now the victims of radical Shiite terrorism. So the young Sunni men, who can no longer go to work and support their families, do what all young men would do. They join the Sunni militia and battle the Shiites. And thus the country sits on the brink of civil war.

But this war is between them. They largely do not concern themselves with the U.S. troops. The insurgents who battle the Coalition Forces are from outside the country. And the biggest problem down here isn't the insurgents. Its the politicians. The local politicians. Even though the country is controlled by Prime Minister Nourial-Maliki, downtown Baghdad is controlled by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr. The Shiites follow Al-Sadr and thus the Prime Minister does what Al-Sadr says. Think of it as if a warlord controlled New York and blackmailed the President into diplomatic immunity.

When 1st Cav (mainly 2/5 Cav) came here in 2004, they took downtown Baghdad (known as Sadr City) by force. It cost many lives, but after a year, we held an iron grip on the largest insurgent breeding ground in Iraq. The insurgents were afraid of the Horse People, and rightfully so. But when 1st Cav left, al-Sadr influenced the Prime Minister to kick out the Coalition forces from that area of Baghdad. He said the Iraqi military forces could hold the city. But all that happened was al-Sadr regained control of his city, and it is now a heavily guarded fortress. A place where insurgents and terrorists can train and stockpile arms. And we cannot go back in because the Prime Minister won't let us. Our hands are tied.

So where does al-Sadr get his backing? From Iran and Syria. Iran supplies him with money and Syria supplies the terrorists. The insurgents that battle the Coalition Forces are from Syria, Somalia and dozens of other places outside of Iraq. Iraq is literally a terrorist breeding ground. They have terrorist and sniper schools here. Why not? They train by teaching them to attack the military forces here. And they have an endless supply of these training tools. They have factories in Sadr City to build bombs. Both Iran and Syria have openly proclaimed their number one goal in life is to destroy the great Western Devil and the little Western Devil (America and Britain). Iran wants to control Iraq to further this purpose. Al-Sadr will get to "run" the country and live like a king, but in reality Iran will pull the puppet strings. Iran will have access to thousands of radical Shiites who will do whatever Al-Sadr tells them to. And Iraq will be used as a breeding ground for terrorism. Terrorism that will be targeted directly at America and Britain. The Iraq Study Group advised we should let Iran and Syria help with rebuilding? Bravo to President Bush for striking that idea down and vowing to keep those two countries out of Iraq.

So how do the Iraqi people feel about everything? Of course they don't want the Americans here. But they would far rather have us here than the Iranians. My platoon visited an average Sunni village on a patrol a few days ago. Their only source of income was to farm, as they could not go to the city to work for fear of violence. Many of the young men had already run off to join the militia for no other reason than to feed their families. They had no school or hospital near them and the community was dying. The village elder's granddaughter was very sick and I was able to treat her. Afterwards he invited me and my Platoon Leader to sit in his house and have tea with him, and we talked about the situation.

The people want peace. The Shiites kill the Sunnis because Al-Sadr tells them to do so. The Sunnis fight back because they have no choice. They are glad Saddam is dead (Sunni or not), but do not want to replace him with another dictator in a politician's clothes (which is what Al-Sadr will become). And they especially don't want Iran in charge. Many innocent Iraqis will die if this happens. These are the words that came out of the elder's mouth:

"We do not want America here, and America does not want to be here. But you cannot leave because the militias control the country. America must use the might of its giant army and sweep through, root out and destroy the militias. Then Iraq can be free and you can leave."

What appears to have happened within our diplomatic community, is that Prime Minister finally realizes that his days are numbered. If Al-Sadr remains, he will be kicked to the curb. So hopefully he is about to allow us to reenter Sadr City, root out and destroy the enemy. A dramatic troop increase will allow us to do this. And the Horse People are back and ready to finish what they started over 2 years ago.

If leave now, it will be a failure for democracy. Iran will control Iraq and the end result will be more terrorist attacks on America. The American people don't want soldiers dying over here, but its better than American civilians dying over there. Do NOT forget 9/11. They will do it again. The moment we loosen our grip on the noose, they will do it again. And the only way to root out the evil here is to stop beating around the bush, increase troops and destroy the insurgents once and for all. The Iraqi government cannot do this on their own. The Iraqi security forces are inadequate for this task. We are the only ones who can stop Al-Sadr.

Feel free to share this with whomever wants a real soldier's opinion about the war."

Sunday, January 14

The USA As An Idiocratic Nation

In my reading recently -- political blogs, newspapers, political magazines -- I've begun to seriously wonder if the United States has become an idiocracy instead of the republic it was intended or the democracy we claim.

Now, the word "idiocracy" doesn't exist. At least it doesn't exist in Merriam-Webster or the Oxford Dictionary. It's simply a made-up word coined by some Hollywood writer and used as the title of a movie. But one can assume by breaking the word up that it's coined from combining "idiot" and "democracy." That brings us to a definition of a democracy run by idiots. Since the people and the US Congress run our form of "democracy," it follows (in my mind, at least) that in an idiocracy, dumb people run a democratic form of government.

And why do I believe we in America have evolved into an "idiocracy?" How about this, for starters:

Where in the world do we get off believing that we, the people, can possibly know enough about a war to decide what to do about it? And why would we believe that Congress would know better than we? Neither we nor members of Congress are privy to the kind of information we need to make decisions like that -- nor should we be.

The reason we aren't -- and should not be -- given full access to all the necessary information regarding the conduct of war is simple: What we know, the enemy knows. During the Second World War, when the nation went all out to win, there were slogans about that sort of thing. "Loose lips sink ships" was one. Letters home from troops were censored, not because the soldiers would intentionally say something to compromise war plans but because they may not KNOW that something they wrote was aiding the enemy.

Current newspapers like the LA Times and the NY Times have recently demonstrated how irresponsible the media can be when it comes to compromising the war. Demonstrators who attend military funerals to protest the war demonstrate their insensitivity not only to grieving families but show that they will go to any extreme (even to sell out their country) to try to stop the war. They certainly shouldn't have the information they need to make responsible decisions because they've demonstrated by their actions that they are not responsible.

It is sheer idiocy to allow polls to guide the war. And it is idiocy to listen to Congress, who have demonstrated again and again that party loyalties are more important to them than loyalty to our country.

The American voter has plenty to learn about in order to vote responsibly: health issues, social security, education, infrastructure (disaster relief, the US highway system), social issues, environmental issues...the list is long. But NOT war.

Another symptom of idiocracy in America is the fact that the average citizen cannot rely on one (or even two) newspaper or magazine to report the truth about any given issue. Where the media should be striving for balance in reporting and should be offering two sides of any particular issue, we find both blatant and subliminal one-sidedness. The American media seem to have taken a page from Goebbels (Hitler's propagandist) who operated on the belief that if you tell a lie often enough, people will come to believe it.

Today anyone who doesn't watch CNN, Fox News, and a network news show along with reading at least one liberal newspaper or magazine, one conservative paper or magazine and a variety of political bloggers, he or she simply cannot get enough information on any one issue to vote responsibly. In addition to all that, the voter must be aware of assumptions made in seemingly nonpolitical publications -- little comments and jabs at the behavior or reputations of politicians and policy makers that the writer assumes the reader will accept as fact but in reality is simply rumor or, worse, a lie.

When it comes to war, only Generals in the field should be consulted. The President should make the necessary decisions by considering their input and theirs only. If Generals who have not served in this particular conflict want to express opinions, they should go to the war zone and serve with the troops before going before microphones. To do anything else is irresponsible.

As for the American people, we should be supporting the war, our troops and our President until we win this conflict. This is not the time for bleeding hearts -- that must come only when we have won and we can reach out to help heal the people who have suffered.

Arguments about why we are there and how we got there are simply not useful or appropriate. It's time to reject idiocracy and reclaim our right to win as citizens of a free and democratic republic.

If we are a free idiocracy now, we must change or we soon will not be free at all.

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