Thursday, June 30, 2005

Blogging is to be light.

Marcus Aurelius Wise & Benevolent Emperor of the Blogosphere is to have four wisdom teeth removed tomorrow! First half I will be trying to get a bunch of errands ran, then the start of the second half will be in a state of unconsciousness and then it will be in a state of an unknown amount of misery.

Perhaps this will be the start of my return to a closer to normal weight!

Read Wretchard's Latest!

Wretchard notes a very interesting development about the Italian arrest warrant issued against 13 CIA agents.

CIA officials are claiming the op was done with the knowledge and approval of the equivalent agency in Italy. The guy that was snatched was not guilty of robbing the rich but was recruiting jihadis. Wretchard likens the situation to the Canadian fellow of Syrian who was detained in New York City on his way back from Syria to Canada and sent to Syria for some very un-Gitmo like questioning. The dude in Italy was kidnapped and then sent to Egypt again, his treatment was un-Gitmo like.

Wretchard states:
The World War 2 generation now being criticized for dropping the atomic bomb on Japan at least had the sand to do it under its own name. Twenty first century men have another slogan: Not In My Name. It's an organization which wants the annihilation of Israel without the taint of anti-Semitism. It is separate and distinct from Not In Our Name, though one can hardly see why, because its "mission is to build, strengthen and expand resistance to stop the U.S. government's entire course of war and repression being waged in the name of 'fighting terrorism.'" Not that it is for terrorism, lest anyone misunderstand, just that whatever must be done to stop it should not be done in "our name". So to keep everybody happy what's necessary will be done in the name of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morroco and the CIA. This is called moral behavior. But what's in a name?

Yet acquiescence to this cynical game of political correctness represents the greatest debasement of all. Not only is it cowardly and irresponsible, it allows polite society to evade, for however long it wishes, substantive debate on moral choices which should concern us all. A society which wants to wage war without seeming to shed blood is one which has no intention of confronting the ethical issues. Then we are blind in heart as we are in sight. Nothing to see here, just Move On.
Source The Belmont Club - Nowhere Man

Italy has been a fair ally. Of course they would probably go the way of Spain shortly. Appease appease%2

Self Protection.

Over at the Badger Blog Alliance I set off a discussion on self-protection. The SCOTUS ruled people do not have a constitutional right to police protection when a restraining order has been issued to someone acting violently towards you.

There are a few things we all need to keep in mind here about this. First police protection, like any other resource is scarce. There is only so much of it to be had.

Even if there was unlimited police protection what can they do before a crime is committed? The hands of the police are restrained quite a bit by fears over civil rights violations. So, even if the police were there they are often times prevented from getting involved until it is too late. I like to say their main purpose is to secure a crime scene, take statements, and apprehend suspects.

We are primarily responsible for our protection. What does this mean? Learn about self-defense, get a gun and learn how to use it. Make sure your state allows concealed carry if it does perhaps consider strongly applying for a concealed carry permit, if it doesn't urge your state to allow concealed carry.

Yes, you can not say concealed carry (or a gun in general) automatically guarantees ones safety, but what is a 130 lb woman to do when a 220 lb man intent on killing her going to do at 9:42pm? Wave a restraining order in his face?

Iran's New President.

Is a recognizable figure to the US Embassy ex-hostages.

If anyone thinks things will change because of this new president they are ignorant. Nothing will change for the Iranian people.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sistani Speaks

And wants fuller Sunni incorporation into the Iraqi Government. Him and his fellow Shia may have been dumped upon real hard by Saddam but he is determined to let it be in the past.

Differing Views?

Recently it was noted VP Cheney said the insurgency is in its death throes. General Abizaid said it was as strong as ever. As one would expect the MSM has been highlighting all of this with a subcontext that the VP is not being honest or is misinformed.

Well, there is more to a war than simple fighting. Diplomacy and politics play just as big a role in all of this as the men on the ground killing the bad guys. General Abizaid is not going to be up on the diplomacy and politics as much as the VP.

Remember Muqtada al-Sadr? What ever happened to him? It was a combination of politics, diplomacy and some plain old firepower that marginalized him. All are needed. General Abizaid is a key figure in one of those ingredients. I am sure he is aware of what is happening on the other two fronts but I am also sure he is not 100% aware.

Team Sports.

Yesterday I made a comment that politics is a team sport. It is, no one person can create a law, no one person stop a law or undo a law. It takes a team to do so.

Often times people say when it comes to voting "I look at each candidate and vote for the best one." To myself, this is like going to the Packers-Bears game and cheering for Brett Favre and Brian Urlacher. Why not? They are both the best players out there. No, the smart person cheers for the Packers (If you do not cheer for the Packers note closely that last comment) all the time. Politics is the same way.

Of course the problem most people will bring up is there are only two teams and neither team exactly matches my beliefs. We could put fifty teams onto the field and none of them will exactly match your beliefs. Yes, you will probably find one closer to your beliefs but this is not
the reality. The reality is there are two competitive political parties in our system of government. The only political party that could satisfy that demand would be a political party made up of one person, yourself.

This most conspiratorial types would have you believe is because the two dominant parties have rigged the system in their favor. This is something I believe to be totally at odds with history and it is the nature of our system that molds two dominant parties out of many. Remember our motto Epluibus Enum. The idea is to pick the party that is most closely aligned to your beliefs and support that party and if you do not like a position in your party of choice then work to affect change or accept the difference, you may not like a colleague on a project team you are on at work, but you accept you have live and work with that person.

The next usual objection is "I like some of the ideas from the Republicans and some from the Democrats." This admittedly withstands criticism a little better than the previous ones mentioned. Though, I find people generally when confronted with more than a surface
understanding of the ideas behind the party's stands on issues will generally come to a more consistent viewpoint. There are ideological strings that connect even what seem to be the most unrelated issues and ideas, and when people start to see what those strings are, they usually prefer one string over the other.

A Muslim in the Whitehouse?

Little Green Footballs features and interesting MEMRI translation here is snippet of that:

Dwidar: It will not happen unless the Muslims abandon their slogans and become a role model. If a Muslim doctor who invents a cure in the hospital or performs an important operation successfully - all the media will broadcast it live and announce it worldwide. The Muslim who makes do with breaking the wooden podium, with screaming, and with patronizing, condescending rhetoric that "Islam is coming, and it will change the face of the earth," while at the same time he cannot even change the face of the Islamic capitals, which overflow with garbage - this path will lead to no good.
Source: Little Green Footballs - "The White House Will Become the Muslim House"

Very interesting and thought like this is promising. No, the "Whitehouse will become the Muslim House" is nothing but shoe-pounding and I am not worried about that. Mr. Dwidar does not blame the West for the problems in the lands of Islam, he says there is lack of just leadership.

What he is calling for is for Muslims to work hard and show the truth of their faith (which I do not buy into but never mind that) by example and not by beheading and shoe-banging (though Mr.Dwidar does some of that himself).

Our system of government is set up so people who respect it enough by running for office are incapable of trashing it. Many Muslims consider it a sin to hold elections, see what happened to George Galloway when campaigning in his home district? He got mobbed and probably would have been beaten severely by his constituents for the sin of engaging in an election.

I fear a Muslim president no more, no less than a Catholic or Jewish president.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Bono's Stand!


How 'bout that! Bono giving President Bush kudos for his attention to Africa. Yes, Bono, I am with you we need to help out in Africa. Land reform and not just taking land from private non-productive monopolizers and giving to the government monopoly but to individuals.

Bono is taking a pretty lonely stand there and is to be congratulated for it. Him and Bob Geldoff are to be commended for recognizing the President and the missions he is leading us on.

Governor Tommy Thompson spoke at our Lincoln Day Dinner in cool February and talked about visiting with a family whose sole surviving breadwinner was on anti-AIDS drugs due to our generosity. It was touching.

What's that you say? Yes, we can do more, the message of Christ is just that to always try to do a little more, to strive for perfection; but I find people who are thanked and recognized for their contributions (no matter how small or large) are usually encouraged to try to do a little more. Slap at them, tell them their gift is too small, etc and they usually stop giving all together.

Ignatz & Brave.

Guess which is which?


There were times when I felt, I wish I wasn't on the jury, because I want to say things. You know? I mean, I think that is the nature of this tribunal, that, in a way, one wants to be everything. You want to be on the jury, you want to be on the other side, you want to say things. And I particularly wanted to talk a lot about - which I won't do now, so don't worry, but I wanted to talk a lot about my own, you know, now several years of experience with issues of resistance, strategies of resistance, the fact that we actually tend to reach for easy justifications of violence and non-violence, easy and not really very accurate historical examples. These are things we should worry about.

But at the end of it, today we do seem to live in a world where the United States of America has defined an enemy combatant, someone whom they can kidnap from any country, from anyplace in the world and take for trial to America. An enemy combatant seems to be anybody who harbors thoughts of resistance. Well, if this is the definition, then I, for one, am an enemy combatant. Thank you.
Little Green Footballs quoting Arundhati Roy


Douglas Wood, 63, also told Channel Ten of his efforts to retain his sanity during his captivity by replaying his life, the BBC reported Sunday.

Wood, who was bound and gagged by his captors, heard two Iraqi captives being shot on successive nights in the same room where he was being held and thought: "When is my turn?"

The low point of his ordeal, however, came when he saw his two Iraqi assistants being led away to their deaths. "I feel absolutely rotten. I was the ultimate cause of it," Wood said. He said he planned to send money to the families of the dead men.

He also said he felt like a traitor when he was forced at gunpoint to make a video plea for the United States and Australia to withdraw their troops from Iraq.
Source: Little Green Footballs quotes Washington Times

Who is the Ignatz & who is the brave man?

Like the Hollywood types making a movie supporting abortion and then congratulating themselves for their bravery. However, ask Ayan Hirsi Ali about real bravery and movie making.

The Bickering Democrats.

One reason the left is in disarray is because their they are made up of so many conflicting special interest groups.

We saw a shining example of this in the last election. When talking to the unions John Kerry is proudly claiming ownership of his Detroit built SUVs. When talking to environmentalists they belong to his family.

This is a serious problem for the left as most of these groups hold goals very mutually exclusive and usually disregard other objectives. My experience shows conservatives are more willing to be team players and are not so disappointed when they come away with a half loaf instead of the whole loaf (at least when having a family fight, when squabbling with the left we are hungrier for that loaf).

I view many of the leftist special interest groups as I view Randy Moss, only one person on the field counts for Randy Moss and that is Randy Moss, only one interest counts for the bulk of leftist special interest groups and that is theirs.

Gas Prices on the Rise.

This weekend while at a party we got into a discussion on the rising price of gasoline.

As is usual, the usual economically ignorant statements were being made. One fellow held an amazing number of contradictory views on the subject. First off rising gas prices are bad and there is no explanation for a rise in the price of gas but oil company gouging. Evidence: oil futures rise and before that oil is turned into gas and delivered to our pumps, the price of gas goes up.

Product pricing is not as straight forward as one thinks. Let us say you go your hardware store. You buy some big lag-bolts for 25 cents each. Do you think the hardware shop paid the same for each and every lag? Perhaps they did but maybe they didn't. What happens when they buy the bolts again and the price goes up? Does the shop then individually price each lag? My experience with retailing shows me that cost averaging is used. The vendor buys 100 lags at 20 cents apiece, then their next order is 100 lags at .25 each. So the hardware store has 200 lags and paid a total of $45.00 for those 200 or 22.5 cents per lag. They do not consider the price of each and every lag individually. Remember here in WI we have a minimum markup law, so the change in the average price of a commodity item like gasoline will be transmitted very quickly to the consumer.

Also, this market is influenced by futures buying. If I buy a commodity at the exact time I need it , I will be held to a more volatile and unpredictable situation. So, most traders and buyers (probably all) use future buying. This does a few things, this helps to keep their supply steady and helps them be ready for future price increases. Yes, the gas they are buying nowadays is not actually going to be delivered until some future date, (speculation on how futures are dealt with) but that future delivery goes into inventory and affects the average cost now.

This fellow then decried the large car American mindset. He darned near stumbles onto the truth and remembered during the 70s how the Japanese took advantage of the gas market to bring fuel efficient vehicles to the market place and how slow Detroit was to respond. He also recalled the gas lines and had very little problem accepting the notion gas price controls were to blame for the long lines and rationing that went on.

Yes, I too think it silly a guy who never (or rarely) leaves the city environs is driving a Ford Excursion. I also think it wasteful (not just gas-wise either). I also think those spinning hubcabs are beyond silly and stupid, but we have this notion here in America. It is called ", liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" I may think someone's idea of happiness is actually slavery and stupidity but we have to at least tolerate it. Mind you, this last point is speaking on economic matters.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Citizenship Party.

My wife and I attended a citizenship party today! One of our friends was just granted full citizenship by the USCIS! She said she is done driving to Milwaukee and dealing with USCIS! Good for her and with the possibility of holding dual nationalities she doesn't lose out on the benefits of being a Filipino in the Filipines. Congratulations Eliza!

We finally got to sit down with one of our dear friends the one who was key in putting that benefit for Ruby Kumbalek together. Her husband and son have been called up and will be going to....Iraq shortly. They are both members of the Second Battalion of the 32cnd Brigade whose activation I noted at the Badger Blog Alliance.

She seems to be handling it well, though it will be a long year for her. She was telling us about how the training her son is going through includes getting used to the idea he may have to kill another person on purpose. This confirms something my wife's Godson was telling us. My wife's Godson is a member of the Third Infantry Division and is on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Last summer at this time we were visiting his mother and he was home on leave and told us the National Guardsmen are taking it harder than the regular army types. He said something along the lines of "I know it sounds brutal, but when an Iraqi gets in our way we run them over, when the Iraqi gets in the way of the Guardsmen they stop." Indeed it is brutal but the terrorists are not playing patty-cake and a stopped convoy is a targeted convoy.

Our friend then related the story about a colleague. This colleague is in inactive reserves and was ordered to report for screening (to determine if his skills are needed or not) and he said he is going to fight the order. Our friend said she wanted to scream at him: "WIMP! Honor your commitments!".

Testing Bloggers Image Poster!

Doesn't work!

I hit the post image icon, a dialog came up and then when I hit "upload image" it asked me to select a photo to upload. Problem being there was no select image dialog anywhere. BTW I use Netscape 7.+ something or another. Sometimes I post with Konqueror. I have a fairly stock linux slack 9.0 setup as my system.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Site Matters.

Sometime ago I announced the formation of wi-ski a site for the Wisconsin & upper midwest skier. That site had some problems unknown and is in the process of being rebuilt. I have learned much about the framework I am using for this site and can get the technical parts of it back but it is always the artwork that takes time.

Site is going to go away temporarily as it is sitting in a hosting slot I need for an important customer who wants to get a website for her Sheboygan based business. Oh yeah, this customer also is going to pay (this customer is my Mother's business so not only is she going to be a paying customer but she IS my mother!) So, maurelius is going into the can until I can get another customer up & running (and paying) and then can justify expanding the service I have so I can get more domains.

Site: just made a major leap forward. Go visit this one and we hope you can pitch in and help with the concerts. The organization I am looking at putting together (for our area) if fully staffed will consist of 20 people or so (exact count escapes me at the moment). We are looking for people all over Northeastern Wisconsin to help promote, I am looking at running this outfit like a campaign, with a grassroots style of promotion as well as a more traditional promotion program. Don't want to work at it? That's okay, become a sponsor!

Remember, if you don't work to make your community a better place then a bureaucrat will take your money and do it for you and then probably in their image! That is what the concert is about!

Welcome OCRP Members!

I just noticed traffic to this site from the The Outagamie County Republican Party's website.. WELCOME TO BLOGGER BEER! Some of you I know have been reading this for a while.

The website is in good hands and Mr. John has taught me quite a bit, and he is able to dedicate more time to it than I was (in fact check out: The UST-Singers in Wisconsin website to see what I have been spending my time on).

I have not been able to blog on local matters as much as I would have but I find myself blogging on national and global politics. Also, the pictures and the whimsy types of materials.

Guardsmen vs. Regular Army.

Was at a citizenship party today. A friend of ours recently obtained USA citizenship and had a little party. It was nice.

A good friend showed, a good friend we have not seen in sometime. Her husband and son are scheduled to depart for Iraq shortly, they are both members of the Second Battalion of the 32cnd Brigade. She was telling us of a conversation with her son where the trainers are getting them ready for the possibility of killing enemy in action.

My wife has a Godson in the 3rd Infantry Division and we were visiting with him at his home when he was on leave about one year ago. He told us one big difference between the soldiers in Iraq then and before (during & shortly after invasion) were the percentage of guardsmen vs. regular army. He sorta gave us a look and said "sorry to say it, but they are not as brutal as we are." An Iraqi steps in front of our convoys we run them over while the guardsmen stop." Claudia asked what they do when shot at and her Godson in a very matter of the fact way said, we stop, get out and shoot back.

This all really hit home when our friend told of her conversation with her son.

Our friend also talked about a colleague who was ordered to report for pre-service screening (he has a committment to the Guards and is being ordered to see if they need him or not) and he supposedly is going to fight the order. My friend said she wanted to scream "WIMP, honor your committment!" at him but bit her tongue.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Gin Rummysfeld.


Did any of you see Donald Rumsfeld in front of the Senatorial hearing? I am sure you may have heard some of the fireworks from it.

Wow, Rumsfeld is a really cool guy. Most people would probably blow up when confronted with what Teddy "Chappaquiddick" Kennedy and Robert "KKK" Byrd threw at him. At least TK offered substantive (though very wrong-headed) criticism while Byrd's major accomplishment was to complain about DR's "sneer".

The most interesting part was when TK asked Secretary Rumsfeld when he was going to resign. Sec. Rumsfeld informed the senator that he [Sec. Rumsfeld] offered his resignation twice but President Bush declined to accept it both times. I do not recall hearing of a retort from the senator on this.

Senator Kennedy's central contention is that Iraq is a huge Vietnamish mess. It would be interesting to figure out how he comes to this conclusion. I get the feeling that many on the left think Afghanistan and Iraq are both terrible failures at this point since the Vagina Monologues are not yet playing in Kabul and Baghdad. After all it was late 2001since we ousted those who kept Afghanistan in the Seventh Century plenty of time to have things corrected, right?

More Roving.

You need to check out this article by National Review's Byron York.

MoveOn is trying to tell us they did not oppose the action in Afghanistan. Byron's research for his recent book and other interviews clearly paint a different picture. His research is not based on hearsay but very public information and interviews with MoveOn principles.

As they staked out their own anti-war position, Blades and Boyd were also following the progress of In a September 2004 interview for The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, I asked Blades how she had come to know Pariser. "It was after 9/11," she told me. "He put out a message similar in results to the one we had, basically an e-mail petition asking for restraint. It went viral on an international scale. . . . Eli's petition grew to half a million in half a week. Peter [Schurman, the executive director of MoveOn] contacted him because he figured he probably needed some help. We did provide him with some assistance, and we started working together on other issues and eventually merged." In the end, their shared opposition to U.S.-military retaliation for the September 11 attacks brought Pariser and MoveOn together. (For his part, David Pickering moved to Paris to attend film school.)
Source: Byron York (National Review Online) - Rove Was Right about MoveOn

So if a MoveOn type complains to you about how dishonest Karl Rove's comments were there is plenty in this article to support the accuracy of those comments.

FWIW, I think the comments are spot on (as blogged previously). Unfortunately many on the left are blind to the reality here. President Clinton's reason for not bringing OBL to the US when The Sudan offered him was there was no charges he could be pressed with. When the embassies in East Africa were bombed we lobbed a few cruise missles and indicted him. When the Cole was attacked I think it was more indictments.

A legal system such as ours works great for criminal situations, works so-so for organized criminal situations, and pathetically for war situations. OBL is making war on the West not trying to shakedown street shops for protection or robbing randomly to feed a junk jones. He wants to reclaim Andalusia (aka Spain) among other such goals.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Keep Pushing.

My blog the other day about the Iraqi Terrorists being on the ropes was not clear enough. A regular reader JPE stated
You've just described rope-a-dope.

I do think the terrorists will continue to make headlines but they are on the way to insignificance. The only that will not happen is if we quit pushing.

In the movie Patton (which my reading indicates to me for the most part it is a very faithful depiction of the man) when the Germans mount the offensive known as the Battle of the Bulge, Patton states the war was not yet decided. My guess is most high level commanders were fairly confident of the outcome, but it was just a favorable probability and not a certainity.

Many people will tell you very seriously the USSR was going to fall it was just a matter of when. I say rubbish to that, it took pushing for the keeper of the real gulags to collapse.

Burning Schools Not Bras

Quick Take on the SCOTUS Emminent Domain Ruling.

It is BAD!

It gives one more spur to the ever increasing cost of getting into politics. One comment I saw on NRO was while people were guarding their library records their homes were stolen.


IF(Karl Rove == Turban Durbin) {This never happens;} else {This always happens;}

Karl Rove States thusly:

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.
Source: NY Times via href="">Michelle Malkin - Dems Want To Play Rove=Durbin

Well of the course the Democrats are not going to see any difference. If the Democrats can not tell the difference between Gitmo and Auschwitz why does anyone think they can tell the difference between Turban Durbin's quote and Rove's?

The fact of the matter is Karl is pointing out the chasm that separates the left from the right in the WOT. The public has chosen one side's approach over the other and the left doesn't like it.

Folly, Folly, It Is All Folly!

No, this is (I hope) not going to be a blog in the style of Eclisiasticus.

The other night I saw the movie Blackhawk Down for the first time (the later 2/3rds of it). After it was done I then started to compose a blog on the movie. I did some googling and found my blog was headed down a well worn path. I found a website that lauded the bravery of the soldiers in that fight and condemned the commanders (from mid level field commanders to the CinC) of that action for not being prepared and making blunders that led to the disaster it was. The main theme was the commanders did not learn from Vietnam and were repeating many of the same mistakes made in Vietnam. Those mistakes range from becoming predictable, a bad choice of initial battle plan, overestimation of their capabilities, underestimation of the enemy's capability, not having backup plans ready, not going in with adequate armor etc. He said the movie adequately portrayed the efforts of the soldiers but painted over bad command decisions.

The most disturbing thing about the article was the basic tenet underlying the whole thing: the perfectibility of man. Since someone made similar mistakes in the not too distant past then no one else should ever repeat those mistakes again. This is a sad misunderstanding of human nature. How many of us learn all of the lessons we should (let alone apply those lessons) learn from things that happened to us yesterday?

Even when we know from prior experience or book learning the best courses of action, even when there are plenty of "disciplinary channels" that surround people, people will find a way to do things wrong.

Man is flawed this is what the concept of original sin is about.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Keep the Pressure On!

HT to Blackfive's "Red on Red - Is the Insurgency Changing? post.

Read this article by Bill Roggio at Winds of Change. The article details our forces are noticing the terrorists are starting to fight amongst each other. He refers to articles from the NYT and other similar sources, so you really have to stretch to say it is just more right-wing delusion.

We have the insurgency on the ropes. They may not be falling soon, but we certainly are dealing the blows to them rather than the other way around we must not lose heart and we must keep the pressure on. After the Blackhawk Down incident the Somali warlords were very worried they were going to get hit hard and they were doubly concerned since their supplies were low and probably would have suffered huge losses, but what happened? We ran away.

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Apparently a white band was wrapped around the European Union headquarters. The purpose? To show their commitment to end world-wide poverty.

I fully expect everyone to have a Mercedes by the end of next week.

HT goes to NRO's Andrew Stuttaford.

The Friends of Code Pink Do Things Like...

Code Pink is an organization that essentially opposes President Bush on everything. If President Bush runs away from a cliff Code Pink activists would charge headlong over the cliff. As it turns out Code Pink believes what happened in Afghanistan was a bad thing (i.e. the ouster of the Taliban).

Well, Little Green Footballs publishes a horrible story from Pakistan. The bad-guys in the story are Taliban types engaging in "honor killings".

He rushed back from his workplace in the southern city of Karachi and with the help of his brother tied the 20-year-old girl, named as Shomaila, and her mother to wooden beds as they slept, local police officer Arif Nawaz said.

They then set light to the two women - the girl for having an affair and the 40-year-old mother Azeem Mai for "not discouraging her daughter", the police officer said.
Little Green Footballs - Pakistan Honor Killing Watch

Will we hear this via Al-Pazeera (The AP)? I don't think so. It was London's The Daily Telegraph that published this story.

Will Code Pink condemn such activities? I doubt it, to do so would lend credence to President Bush's efforts.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Offending Cartoon!

AfghaniSpiceGirls, originally uploaded by maurelius.

This is the offending cartoon I was asked to comment on. See Why Soft Peddle The War on Terror.

Good Night!

Why Soft Peddle The War on Terror.

Over at the Belmont Club a certain commentator is upset (and he is not the only one) that President Bush is not telling us who the enemy in this war against terror is. They are upset the President and his advisors are not pointing out Radical Islam as the enemy, I hear them because in truth it is radical utopian Islam we are fighting.

Why isn't the president and his advisors being plain spoken about it? Plain and simple: diplomacy. If the President came out and said we are fighting "radical Islam" about 99.9% of Muslims good and bad would hear Islam very plain and radical would be completely missed.

In 1998 I was finishing up six years at the UAE University. I was in my office and two girls approached me and asked my opinion about a cartoon. They were doing a survey for a class. They presented me with an editorial cartoon that featured about six women clad in black from head to toe. Each one was labeled thusly: "shame spice", "modest spice", "abused spice" etc the caption read: "The Afghan Spice Girls". I laughed because it struck me that way but I could tell one girl was not at all amused by this cartoon. They asked me what I thought about it and why I laughed. I backpedaled a bit and stated the visual effect was humorous.

Then it struck me, they (or at least one of them was) were taking the cartoon as an attack on Islam not the Taliban as intended. I stated this to them and quickly added, if they were in Afghanistan they would not be attending ANY SCHOOL let alone a fine university. This hit home, as the one girl immediately started explaining in Arabic to her compatriot I was right (I heard her say "true" in Arabic twice).

This is why the President and his advisors are less than candid about the war on terror. President Bush trying to explain to Muslims the points between true Islam and radical terror Islam is not going to work. He is viewed as a crusade by way many Muslims as it is and many here in this nation are of that same view.

Do we need to do something about the likes of Saudia Arabia, you bet but the one thing about President Bush and his team is they are not a one size fits all group.

(6/20/2005 10:32 pm) Update:
See For the offending cartoon!.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Site Notes.

Blogger Beer is in the process of moving to a new site. You can go to Blogger Beer at to see the new site, it is just in its beginning stages of development so most of my blogging will be done here until I have the site more complete and formatted more personally.

FYI, WI-SKI had a hiccup and had to be reset, am working on that site on my local system and will update it all at once.

Hope to see you at!


Yes, Yet Another Gitmo Blog!

If the FBI memo read thusly:

Medical experiments are regularly performed on the inmates and are often subjected to surgery without anesthesia. The use of showers to gas the inmates to death is widespread and the crematoriums never stop burning the bodies of the dead. The inmates who do not get sent to the gas showers or used for medical experiments are worked 20 hours a day with barely any food.

Now if the memo read like above then I would think of Nazi concentration camp.

The inmates are showing signs of malnourishment diseases such as beri-beri and are placed into crates on a regular basis. They are mercilessly beaten for minor infractions (such as speaking out of turn, or insulting the guards) and often come down with dysentery or cholera.

Now if the memo read like above then I would think of Cambodian or Vietnamese POW camp.

The inmates are worked 20 hours a day in temperatures as low as 50 degrees below zero. They are only fed a thin soup once a day. They are beaten for the most minor of offenses such as insulting the revolution or the project.

Now if the memo read like above then I would think of a Soviet Gulag camp.

Now the actual memo reveals the men in Gitmo are not being treated in a respectable fashion (as I would treat my neighbor, or as I treated my students in the UAE) but why should they? However they are being treated it falls short of torture and way short of a Soviet gulag, Nazi concentration camp, or Cambodian or Vietnamese POW camp.

Happy Father's Day!

The Father of myself along with all other father's is celebrating fathers day, and us their children celebrate with them.


You have been patient with me and I amazed the faith you had that I wouldn't end up a complete bum. You helped when I needed it and refrained from the kick I was practically screaming for (though this doesn't mean I didn't learn). You seemed to get it about right with the hands on hands off thing. I can not possibly repay what you have done for me over the years.

With much love, respect, and admiration
Happy Fathers Day Dad!

It is my father's 38th father's day (to the very day) as a father! ;-)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hey Whoever You Are!

Hey, whoever you are that yahooed here on "beer is evil" begone! BEER IS NOT EVIL!

Lincoln said that the abuse of alchohol is not the use of a bad thing but the abuse of a good thing. Here here!

A Quick Bleg.

Apparently (Wretchard at the Belmont Club reports on it) the tape recording with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) has been turned into a ring tone for cell phones. According to the report, it has the
part at the beginning with GMA saying "Hello..hello, hello? Garci?"

Does anyone reading this Blog know where I can get that ring tone?

I Love Gitmo!

GitmoLoveII, originally uploaded by maurelius.

Don't you? It keeps some real bad guys from being even badder. What? You say Shakir Al-Calamansi claims to be just a merchant? Yeah yeah yeah. Just like those "merchants" on the bus from Syria to Iraq?

Today's Day By Day Cartoon!

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Last Bit.

salad, originally uploaded by maurelius.

A green salad we chowed down on when up North last Memorial Day weekend. The wine is a petite syrah from Bogle the dressing is a good seasons with olive oil and balsmaic vinegar.

The main course was barbecued ribs and for desert we had fresh fruit.

Ahhh summer!

Is There Any Doubt?

The Democrats can not be trusted with National Security.

They thought they could fool the voters with John Kerry but voters saw through the disguise (admittedly a very thin one). Now we have Turban Durbin whining about three square halal meals per day is akin to the gas showers and crematoriums. Do you think the electorate sees this as being serious when it comes to national security?

A guy who would happily saw the head off a kaffir (ala Daniel Pearl or Nick Berg) piddles over himself and we have the leadership of the Democrat party likening this (the jihadi piddling on himself) to the deaths of countless millions of people.

HowDea I would like you to meet Senator Turban Durbin. Senator Turban Durbin meet HowDea.

Senator Turban Durbin

HT to Scott at Powerline for coining Turban Durbin (or at least making me aware of it).

Turban Durbin is trying to squirm out of the fan-spray he created with his statements from the floor of the Senate the other day.

Senator Turbin claims he was not likening the troops to Nazis. Let us look at what he said: .

On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees.

...If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human being.
Source: Dilley Blog - The truth on Durbin & Gitmo

Senator Turban Durbin whether or not you were criticizing the troops is completely irrelevant in this matter since where does it come up in your idiotic statement? I will not even credit you for trying that dodge. You are not being attacked for attacking the troops. A reflex leftists have acquired I guess.

No, Senator Turban Durbin I don't think of Nazi concentration camps when hearing of three halal squares per day. I don't think of Nazi interrogators stopped at turning the air con way up, they [The Nazis] certainly did not stop at making it uncomfortably hot, IIRC Nazi guards ran crematoriums that burned people like so many piles of coal.

Senator Turban Durbin your idiocy can not be explained away by saying you were not blaming the troops. It perhaps can be explained away be an appalling lack of knowledge of history or such a blind hatred for our President you have lost sanity.

Oh Sayang.

Quite a few Americans think it was a good thing Ferdinand Marcos was deposed. Quite a number of my Filipino friends think otherwise. I am coming around to their point of view with one exception. Marcos may have been corrupt but it seems there was a lot more faith in his government
being able to accomplish things.

Currently there is little faith in the Filipino Government. It matters little if the tapes with GMA supposedly rigging the election with the COMELEC chair are real or not, it matters little if her son really took money from illegal gambling interests (well, it does matter as far as right and wrong go, but it matters little in terms of confidence in the government). What matters is such accusations are not dismissed out of hand and are readily believable to large numbers. It shows exactly what that government has become.

The one exception in recent Filipino government history was the Ramos administration. Ramos seemed competent and sincere and while some think he too was on the take I don't believe it [that Ramos was on the take] for a second. Aquino was incompetent and way over her head, Ramos was
good, Estrada corrupt and if the evidence being presented is on the up and up then GMA is not any better than Estrada.

It seems everyone everywhere in the Filipines is on the take. A buddy of mine talks about receiving better treatment from airport guards in exchange for a bribe of chocolate bar or soap. An author of a book I recently read describes being shook down by a policeman for a bribe
(which he did not pay, the policeman did not bother with issuing a proper ticket or fine for the offense committed). Abu Sayyf brags about how its most reliable arms supplier is the Filipino Military (thereby making leftist conspiracy theories that Abu Sayyf is a Govt invention all the more believable). Top Generals skim the payroll and privates go without their salary. Wonder why they sell their weapons or police officers shake down criminals (of varying degrees) for money without bothering to punish the offense?

I am at a complete loss on how to fix the situation. In some places when the civilian government becomes corrupt the military steps in and takes over (e.g. Pakistan) but when both the Government and Military are corrupt a military takeover is not the answer.

One older Filipino I know thinks the Japanese with their beheading (this is WWII era stuff here) for even the slightest offense would be better than what they have now.

Oh Sayang.

Gitmo Alternative.

What should be done with those currently in the Gitmo camp?

What would the Democrats and their fellow travelers on the left do with those in Gitmo? What would they do with future people who belong in Gitmo?

Here are the options as I see them.

Kill them. Well, for some terrorists this is probably the best option but others have valuable information our armed forces would do much better to know. Also, one of the drawbacks to this approach is it makes the enemy fight harder, why surrender? If you fight you have a chance to
live but to surrender is to surely die. Not a set of choices to encourage surrender, even if our enemy glorify death.

Send them to another camp. What real difference would this make? Substitute the name of the new camp for Gitmo and we are right back in the same spot and surely nothing will change.

Don't capture them in the first place is another option. That is bring the WOT to an end and revert back to old way of dealing with terrorism. This is what the screaming about Gitmo is really about.

Place the Gitmo detainees into our routine criminal justice system. This would result in the release of most of these creeps and for those that found themselves committed to a federal penitentiary it would probably be a death sentence at the hands of the inmates.

The logic behind the Geneva conventions is to protect civilians from becoming caught up in the fighting of wars. The creeps in Gitmo fought our troops in ways that are proscribed by the Geneva conventions and hence do not deserve its protections. Thus has it been in warfare forever.

If a soldier fights within the bounds of such understandings they are accorded the humane treatment when captured. If not, woe be to them. Were the captured prisoners in the Gulf War I subjected to extraordinary treatment? No.

Watch any old war movie, what happens to the man in plain clothes in enemy territory trying to conduct clandestine operations? They are usually executed after interrogation (if not shot on the spot). To be sure there have been exceptions (German's shot uniformed US soldiers captured in the Battle of the Bulge because they couldn't be bothered with POWs and did not want to leave them in their rear areas, our soldiers would do that same thing in similar circumstances as well) but they are....exceptions.

A Bad Resolution.

Is being put forth by two GOP and two Democrat congressmen.

First troop levels are on the wane. As more and more Iraqi soldiers are trained and prove themselves our troops are withdrawn and replaced by those Iraqi troops. Ever since the January elections troop levels across the international presence have been falling. So they are attempting to legislate a process that is in motion on its own.

The big problem though is it sends a message to the terrorists and former Baathists (is there a difference?) all they need to do is to lay low and hold on until the date of withdrawal comes and then really go at it. In fact this is a mistake the terrorists are making, they should be
holding their fire until our troops leave, the more problem they cause the more excuse they give our forces to stay on.

Some of the terrorists may realize this and start to lay in wait and conserve their cash, arms, and soldiers. The law is passed they terrorists realize what is happening then would really scale back on attacks. The left then sees this as sign the terrorists are now happy hence their policy works. Well of course, our forces leave and then the terrorists strike at the government in place.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Lakeshore Laments is now at: Check out the new site!

A Welcoming Fanfare Please...

For the Bucky Report!

Looks like Scrappleface with an emphasis on stories relevant to Wisconsin!

Check it out!

One American Export.

That serves to shape opinion and impressions about America more than any other export is our TV shows and movies. Let me tell you it is not a great one either.

A colleague of mine in the UAE once related to me the story about one of his students who wanted to come to the USA real bad. He asked the student why and the student told him oh, it is the land of plenty and "easy lay". My colleague pointed out to him the soap operas that pass them off as life in America are not reflective of reality and are just fantasy.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

In All Seriousness.

One clichè we hear often when talking about Gitmo is how information obtained by "torture" is unreliable. Information obtained from these fellows is unreliable period! This information is unreliable for many reasons, first of course is they could very well be saying what they think the interrogators want to hear (I'll sign, I'll sign now get that gorgeous woman out of the room!), purposeful misleading of the captors is another (I'm Spartacus!), and the last one is the man has outdated (We are going to launch an attack on New York City by hijacking airliners and flying them into the Trade Centers on June 19, 2005) or out and out false information (my boss told me Osama Bin Laden is hiding in Shiocton Wisconsin).

When Shakir says X the intelligence officers do not dismiss X as false nor accept X as true. They file it away and see how X fits in with other interrogations and other evidence. Only then do they come to judge if X is true or false or somewhere in between. At the most X (until confirmed) will serve to shape future investigations or interrogation sessions with Shakir and others. Rarely will they immediately run out and act on X without other evidence.

A Star Trek - Next Generation episode demonstrates the perils of diving head first based into action based on inadequate interrogations. The Enterprise is patrolling near the Romulan-Federation neutral zone when a Romulan ship comes charging through the neutral zone being chased and fired upon by other Romulan ships, the Enterprise turns away the pursuing Romulan ships and captures the Romulan in the first ship. It turns out the Romulan on the fleeing ship is a high ranking Romulan commander defecting with vital information. He tells his interrogators the Romulan Empire is starting to implement a plan to attack the Federation and if a nearby base is not destroyed soon it will be too late to stop the invasion.

The Captain is not convinced by the defectors story because the defector will not give up tactical information about the Romulan fleet but eventually, Picard talks the defector into giving up that information. The Enterprise goes into the neutral zone and when they arrive at the scene of the supposed base there is nothing but Romulan ships waiting to attack the Enterprise. The Romulan defector was fed bad information by his superiors (who suspected him disloyal) who then went to the Federation. The Romulans were going to use the Enterprise's incursion as an excuse to start a real war but as it turns out the Enterprise summoned some backup with saved the day. The drama played out in t he episode is a situation where everyone believes (or is brought to believe) they are in a do or die situation, if the Enterprise crew would have had the luxury of having other Romulans to interrogate then they may have uncovered the ruse or at least have had more doubt cast on the story of the defector.

Sometime ago on the Discovery Channel (or History Channel or similar) had a show about modern interrogation techniques. They had a gang of people who were given a story they were not supposed to reveal to anyone. Then at a time and place unknown to them they were captured and brought to an interrogation facility. The goal of the interrogators was to discover the story they were told.

The techniques used by the interrogators were good-cop/bad-cop, discomfort (most often high AC with little or no clothes), stress positions, and sleep deprivation. All but one of the interogatees talked to one extent or another, some a little bit some a lot. No one person told the whole story. I can not recall if anyone tried to lie to the interrogators (I think some did and if they did, it did not work). In the end the interrogators were able to piece the entire story together.

The press and some out there keep talking about the unreliability of "tortured testimony" while they keep ratcheting down the definition of torture. Pretty soon they will want us to read terrorists their Miranda rights and from there the mere reading of Miranda rights will come to mean torture.

The press though has its own problems. From the reporting last year it appears no matter how dubious the source as long as the source confirms their prejudices the story must be true. For example the Koran story was essentially based on a single source, but it confirmed what Newsweak wanted to believe and so they ran with it. Dan Rather's memo story same thing happened, they wanted to believe it so bad they ignored warnings from document experts and went ahead with it. One is tempted to say physician heal thyself.

UNS News Flash!

UNS June 15, 2005 Guantanomo Bay Cuba
Jose Hindi Totoo

In a horrific session former Guantanomo Bay inmate Shakir Salim Ali Ahmed Al-Calamansi revealed to the UNS some more atrocities committed by the Americans at Camp X-Ray in Guantanomo Bay Cuba. It was a long, grueling session for Shakir Salim Ali Ahmed Al-Calamansi and at times he would break down and cry.

The truly horrifying part was Shakir was only talking about one session with Guantanomo Bay interrogators, we can only imagine what the rest of the sessions were like. Shakir can not recall the exact day they all seemed to blur together all he can say is it was a sunny and warm day with blue skies. "How can anyone endure those sorts of day without Jimmy Buffet music?"

It all began with the morning prayer call. "I woke up, as usual with the morning call to prayer. After prayers I was contemplating the joys of skinning one of the infidels alive and I was summoned. As is usual they hooded me, bound me hand and foot and removed me from the cell. I was then chained to a wall in a chamber." Shakir breaks down and cries as he recalls the horror of that lonely anonymous day. "The interrogators came into the room and demanded I talk. I refused of course, and when I refused more men came in. They had soft cushions and began to prod me with the soft cushions!" Shakir's eyes begin to burn. "Bismillah, I steeled myself and continued to refuse, they continued to prod me with the soft cushions but I resisted and after about a minute of prodding they gave up." The worst is yet to come.

The merciless interrogators then outdid themselves in cruelty. They brought out a TV, a Lazy Boy, and a remote control. The then forced Shakir into the Lazy Boy and made him watch TV! Not only did he have to watch TV, but there was only one show he could watch and that was "The Reverters" a show about those who convert to Islam from other religions. Shakir said he had watched the show in Terrorist Basic Training and was fed up with it, he wanted the new show, showing the executions of those who convert from Islam to other religions titled "Fate of the Apostate" but his cries fell on deaf ears.

Think this story is over? No, it is not. After being forced to watch The Reverters for two hours they forced a coffee service upon him. As far as Shakir could tell it was a dark French roast coffee but it did not include cream or sugar, yes folks, Shakir was not given the choice of cream and sugar with his coffee. Amnesty International's Geoffrey Gago says this lack of choice shows just how terrible Guantanomo Bay really is. "They didn't have to provide cream, simple milk would have done, heck maybe even an artificial creamer would have sufficed. Stalin could not have been more cruel than this! Oh and please send your AI membership forms and contributions to us ASAP so we can fight this gulag!" Finally Shakir was taken back to his cell and his halal meal was served.

When General Malaise spokesman for the camp was confronted with this shocking tale of abuse defended it saying: "Our troops in the field have to do with Folgers coffee, sometimes they have to settle for instant coffee! These guys get the finest coffee taxpayer money can buy and then whine about not getting cream and sugar?" When asked about the appalling lack of TV choice General Malaise stated "We tried to obtain "Fate of the Apostate" for the viewing pleasure of the inmates but the production company that owns the series was unreasonable in their demand that we provide apostates for the inmates to practice what the shows demonstrated, it was an unreasonable security hazard. Remember these are bad guys, they will stop at nothing to kill one of the guards, how many of those we have released have been killed fighting our troops? There was that one who was killed in a fight in a rescue of Chinese kidnap victims."

Coming Soon: photos from a reenactment of the torture!

A very generous hat tip to Monty Python's The Spanish Inquisition skit.

Land Reform.

A fellow by the name of Hernando DeSoto has been advocating radical land reform in the developing world for some time. Essentially he is pushing developing nations give title to the land on which people are squatting on. Needless to say this idea is unpopular with those who currently hold
title to the land.

Some may see this as a leftist redistribution plan and in a sense it is redistribution. Does this automatically mean it is bad? We need to think of one US act when making this judgment and IMO seriously think about the impact of that act upon our current economic situation.

That act is the Homestead Act. This is the original ownership society act and if one buys DeSoto's arguments one has to believe the Homestead Act more than any other single act is responsible for putting the USA onto its path to prosperity.

DeSoto argues land more than any other possession is convertible into capital. Give people land and you open up the capital vault to them. That land can then be used as collateral for capital used to start a business, expand a current business, purchase equipment to automate a
business, buy another business etc. A bank may be willing to give Midas a loan without collateral but most other people need a truly precious item to lay down as collateral and that is most often land.

Now, in the developing world many people live as squatters, that is on land owned by another person who does not enforce their property rights to the land (for whatever reason). So usually what happens is you have a collection of poor people living in squalid conditions in flimsy shacks. Now, these people are very poor but they are not without means.

Now, in the West (or at least in the USA) we have the concept of adverse possession. Adverse possession is when someone else camps out on a piece of land and takes care of it for a given amount of time and the owner does not take any steps to protect their property rights then after a set amount of time the squatter earns title to the land. It is not as simple as that as I do believe property taxation adds some twists and turns to it all.

Now, these squatter villages are in a position of adversely possessing the land they are living on and governments should enforce that adverse possession. It would give these people access to capital to take the businesses they do run to new levels of productivity. Of course, this
would be politically unpopular in the nations that take this idea up.

The wealthy landowners would resist. They want to have their cake and eat it too, so getting a government to pass such a program would be difficult. Another problem would be these landowners would probably start spending much more time and effort to enforce their property rights. The problem would be as the deadline looms property owners would start enforcing their property rights probably up to and past the point of brutality.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Personal Note.

Today (Tuesday June 14, 2005) is the fifth wedding anniversary of Claudia and myself. We just visited with friends today, nothing big.

Five years! Wow! It has been easier than I thought it would be. While it isn't perfect all of the time I think we have developed sound techniques for dealing with our spats (later on). We make sure we say good night and I love you before going to sleep. While neither of us keeps books we make sure the give and take is close to being balanced. I go out of my way to learn and respect the culture she was brought up in and she returns this. We still play silly games with each other and while routine has settled into parts of our common life it is sincerely practiced routine.

We have known each other seriously for ten years now, longer if you count our relationship from our first having met (which was quite inconsequential). Being around her makes life easier. Some of my life choices I have come to regret, but now I see how they have led to Claudia and that I DO NOT REGRET!

To our friends who have been with us on this thanks for your support and help.

Claudia, happy anniversary and "gihigugma ko ikaw!"

My Encounter with HowDea.

I had a brief personal encounter (prior to the Wisconsin Primary) with HowDea. He was in the Fox Valley and consented to take calls from listeners of our local talk radio station WHBY. I was tasked with asking HowDea why the Wisconsin farmer should support him when he supported the Northeastern Dairy compact which was detrimental to the Wisconsin farmer.

I was polite and did not want to discredit the question or myself. He answered the question by denying it was detrimental to the Wisconsin Dairy farmer and how the whole nation should have such a similar program. I offered no rebuttal or challenge to it, it was my guess getting the question out there was enough.

A buddy of mine called me up later and asked if that was myself and asked if I had become a HowDea supporter or was just messing with the "poor man". The later! :-)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Missing The Boat so Badly

The Nation's Deborah Scroggins missed its invention!

HT to Little Green Footballs on this.

The backlash against Hirsi Ali has astonished and disappointed many Dutch feminists, who continue to count themselves among her biggest fans. Margreet Fogteloo, editor of the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, said flatly that Mak is crazy. "People like him feel guilty because they were closing their eyes for such a long time to what was going on," she said. In what appears to be a Europe-wide pattern, some feminists are aligning themselves with the anti-immigrant right against their former multiculturalist allies on the left. Joining them in this exodus to the right are gay activists, who blame Muslim immigrants for the rising number of attacks on gay couples.

The piece I quote though is only after two large paragraphs of the viewpoint that Ayan Hirsi Ali deserves exactly what she is getting and by extension Theo Van Gogh. Of course the article refers to Dutch intellectuals "Since the murder [of Theo Van Gogh], a surprising number of native-born Dutch intellectuals have come around to the Muslim point of view". Of course, they refuse to defend their culture in lieu of surrender.

Well Dutch intellectuals here is an intellectual idea for you. It is called the bloody fringes of Islam. Where Islam is solidly in the majority or minority peace reigns. Where it is a small majority or large minority it isn't peace that reigns. The Netherlands is nearing that bloody edge. I suppose these intellectuals look forward to the days when there will be more Anne Franks.

Chi Town.

MilBall, originally uploaded by maurelius.

In reflection from Millenium Park's reflecting ball. It was not all done as one half was not yet polished.

Filipino Administration in Trouble.

The administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) is caught up in a series of scandals. One is a vote rigging scandal and another involves illegal gambling. Supposedly GMA's opponents have a tape with her plotting with the head of the COMELEC (Elections Commission). Now, there have many charges and counter charges thrown about. It is all quite disturbing if you are concerned about the state of affairs in the Filipines.

It remains to see what happens to GMA in this scandal. It was through scandal GMA came to the presidency and it could very well be the manner in which she falls. While, my regular readers know I supported GMA's reelection (since I am not of Filipino nationality or ancestry, my
support was limited to supportive speech) I have come to detest GMA for her wishy-washy leadership. I find myself back in her corner with all of this scandal business.

Why? First and foremost who else? The only person to mount a serious challenge against GMA in the last election was a Fernando Poe Jr (a former action film actor). GMA, replaced another actor turned politician who is also up on charges of plunder and is rumored to be directing the scandal-storm.

Two, I am skeptical of the tape. There are a significant number of those who believe Fernando Po Jr. actually won (IIRC the final result was not close) and are highly disappointed and with the track record of governance in the Filipines charges of vote fraud backed up with evidence (flimsy or otherwise) can not be dismissed out of hand. I suspect the accusations of vote fraud are in fact themselves fraud.

Not only are there accusations of vote rigging against GMA herself her son is accused of taking money from illegal gambling interests. According to reports I have seen, illegal gambling is on the rise and hence the charge of people in high position being on the take makes all the much more sense. It seems to be a perfect storm of controversy and I am not buying it. GMA being a politician at the top of her game has made many enemies, and she made enemies by ousting Joseph Estrada based on corruption charges. Estrada was also close to Ferdinand Marcos and reportedly was going to ease up on Imelda. So add in the Marcos gang.

This raging storm has caused people to call for her resignation and failing that for someone to overthrow the GMA government. One good thing going on with the government at present is the prosecution of a top level general on plunder charges (though admittedly this case has dropped from view). I suspect too many top level military leaders are not comfortable with the possibility their books are going to be opened next. That is, I suspect the top levels of leaders in the military are skimming and do not want to be cashiered, perhaps cashiered "with extreme prejudice." Add in another gang set against the GMA government.

What is going to happen? With all the rumors of coup, destabilization plots, and calls to resign the peso is falling in value after it was beginning to gain value. The uncertain future adds to what is already a tough business climate. Certainly foreign investors have even less reason to steer their capital into the Filipino economy (or sit on it until better conditions arise, but that is unlikely), and those with capital in the Filipines have more incentive to pull their capital out.

A poor economy is just going to keep stagnating.

I spoke with one of my sisters-in-law the other night about this. She runs a successful business and is not at all happy with the situation. She was keen to know what our Administration thinks about this deal. Reports I have read seem to indicate the Administration is neutral on it, as it is an internal affair. That is of course the official line. I would have to guess the Administration would want to see GMA survive if for no other reason than stability. The GMA administration has come under criticism for its handling of a hostage situation in Iraq and for a premature bolt from Iraq but that was not that big of a deal (at least the departure, the ransom paid is a bigger problem). I do not see anyone winning in a coup, least of all the Filipino people.

If anyone thinks a GMA usurper will clean out the corruption then as the old saying goes, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale, want to buy? It will take much longer than any one presidential term and it will take a growing economy and Filipino coup plotters make it certain to keep the Filipino economy in stagnation. KNOCK IT OFF!

Back to the Routine.


Claudia and I returned yesterday afternoon. After unloading the car I took a snooze in the living room. The people we did some shopping for yesterday came by with the first couple stopping by while I was asleep and I barely notice them here. The second couple stopped by later on and we all visited for awhile.

It was a nice weekend and on Saturday we spent mostly downtown Chicago. We went to the Chicago Blues festival and had some overpriced food and I had an overpriced beer. The Army had a recruiting station setup and guess what? The moonbats were there, but only about five or six of them. A couple of fat women in bright pink t-shirts, must have been code pink types (who believe we are oppressing the women of Afghanistan) and one guy had a sign that said "universal healthcare not worldwide warfare", what he needed was haircare! I stayed away from all of that.

The weather was warm and the first night the AC was out at our accommodations. It wasn't too bad we had a fan and I am a pretty good sleeper. Claudia had a harder time of it. The next night though was better as the AC was back in order.

Anyway that is all for now, gotta go!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ignorance on the UN and Zimbabwe.

Wretchard notices some comments at the BBC's website.

The most astonishing one is:
I feel the United Nations should be granted the power to act in a really positive way to bring dictators to heel. Words and oral warnings do nothing to rid an oppressed people of a despot dictator. Any action taken would have to be ordered and directed by the United Nations and not the president of the United States of America and any of his cohorts Edward Seyforth, Halifax, Canada
The Belmont Club - Good questions

That comment, my friends, is nothing but 190 proof willful blindness. How can one not see what the UN really is? The UN is an institution where Robert Mugabe's government is held on equal moral ground to that of the US, the UK, France, Germany etc. To add to the problem, there are more nations willing to look out for a Mugabe thugocracy because they could be the next target than nations willing to stand u for justice.

I would also ask Mr. Seyforth what sort of action other than "Words and oral warnings" would do? Sanctions? As we see again, the UN is being investigated for circumventing its own sanctions. Perhaps, he thinks the "Oil for Food" scandal is a witch hunt, but what did years and years of sanctions do to Saddam? They gave him license to starve his people (while hoarding supplies and building palaces) and blame it on the sanctions.

Shall, the UN make war on such nations? As has been proven time and time again UN forces (without assistance from the US) are unable to even keep rag-tag armies in check, unable to protect the refugee camps they "guard". The other problem with that approach (as far as the UN is concerned, is most nations think Humanity has transcended war that is humanity itself) would never sanction it. Look at Iraq, the only approach the UN was willing to consider was actions that were proven by time NOT to work.

No Mr. Seyforth, the UN is not the answer to Zimbabwe and is unlikely to ever be the answer to such situations unless it is more selective about membership which is highly unlikely.

Sunshine in the Windy City!

Good Morning!

Claudia and I are in the Windy City! We are here visiting one of her nieces and her husband. They lived in the UK prior to moving to Chicago and let me tell you, their UK keyboard is driving me nuts!

Anyway have a good one!

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Eagel1, originally uploaded by maurelius.

Snapped this one Memorial Day weekend while out cruising the lake. I have a ton of mediocre to fair eagle shots. I should work on getting an excellent one.

There is another bird and a nest in the original but I'll blog that one later.

Good Night!

More Internet Al-Qaeda Sites.

Michelle Malkin picks up on a blog at The Bullpen that talks about an Al-Qaeda run website.

Sometime ago I reported on a blog from LGF that talked about how Jihadis use the I'net (it was based on a public document from DHS). I wonder what sort of privateering is going on to take these sites down?

I went to the site in question and it appears it is in Arabic (though my system could not make out the characters). I wonder also, how they figure this site is a Al-Qaeda jihadi site? The name of the name of the site is "alqa3edaah" so it seems like it could be (but lord knows it could be some morons thinking it would be cool to twit us).

The site is at: We can probably drive the bandwidth usage up so they get charged more or booted.

I just did a whois on the site and what a shock! Freehost is based in Vancouver CA! The hosting company's site is at:

Foreign Aid.

Yesterday I blogged about an initiative by Bob Geldoff regarding financial aid to African nations. My opinion on foreign aid is that we are not NOT (an intentional double negative here) going to send foreign aid to nations in need no more than we are not going to aid the mother of six children who does not have a job. Yes in the cold calculation of cause and effect the dire situation both that mother finds herself in and the plight of the African nation are very much brought on by bad choices. This counts for something but the choice is not between nothing or having them sponge off of the productive forever. The key is to make sure foreign aid is contingent upon reforms that will lead them to a productive and independent future.

Now, the biggest problem with foreign aid is too often the aid does not reach the people most in need but go to rich dictators. This is a legitimate concern because no one wants to help a rich dictator build YAP (in this case YAP is Yet Another Palace) or buy another closetful of clothes for his wife. The purpose of giving is to help those who may not know how they will come up with the scratch to pay for their next meal for extended periods. Of course, we hope the need for aid will eventually cease so we try to attach conditions to coax that nation into a more self sufficient economy.

This is why trade barriers are so heinous. Why should we just give handouts when they could work at something that other peoples are willing to pay for? Of course they would do it for less, after all no one works for pieces of paper one works for food, clothing, shelter and so on. In those nations their meager pay is what they need to live on. $10.00 here doesn't get you a case of beer but it gets you two in the Filipines (just as good too).

We are not an island we need to make sure all people have a fair shot at the good life. Not only does it make things better for them it will in the long run be better for us as well.

HowDea's Madness.

The one comment I am seeing regularly in the various opinion sites I visit is that in comparison to HowDea X seems moderate (where X is typically SHrillary Clinton).

Could this be the case? Yes it certainly is but is no motivation to have HowDea as its chair. All records indicate the DNC's fundraising efforts are not paying off, they are raising less cash than under previous Chair. Now, they do say Terry was good at this and raised quite a bit of
cash so the standard may be higher but in comparison to the RNC fundraising is definitely off. I think the rise of HowDea Doody to the DNC chairmanship is an unmitigated disaster for the Democrats.

Now, many people poo-poo that and say HowDea's job is not that important. Perhaps some of the cloak and dagger that went on before he assumed the job has marginalized HowDea somewhat (reports have it, Terry McAuliffe released the DNC mailing lists to Reid and Pelosi) and makes him more of a figurehead than anything. A figurehead to please the MoveOn crowd. But then again we come back to the fact DNC fundraising is down. Perhaps if Democrat fundraising is compared in total (i.e. how are the Congressional and Senatorial committees doing, are they doing better?) we may see that the fundraising has shifted away from the DNC to affiliated committees

I think the support coming from the real leaders of the Democratic Party is nothing but window dressing. MoveOn's (and similar) man may be the head of the DNC but all he does is to keep them from bolting the leftist coalition centered on the Democratic party.

No, HowDea's rise to the DNC chair is not a nefarious plot designed to make what we formerly considered to be leftists as moderate.

Powerline Blogging.

Powerline is a blog I read regularly but usually do not get a whole lot out of it. Yesterday, though they did some terrific blogging.

First they take Nancy Pelosi to task for thinking closing Gitmo is going to create a "clean slate". It is obvious to the somewhat casual observer this is not going to happen as Powerline points out:
And the idea of a clean slate with Muslims, a group with whom the west has clashed for something like ten centuries, is particularly ludicrous. Some of the Muslims from whom Pelosi would like to receive a clean slate are still upset about the reconquest of Spain [this occurred in the 15th century! MA]. And then there's the small matter of the existence of Israel. [emphasis added]
Source: Powerline Blog - Frivolous even by Democratic standards
So closing Gitmo down will have zero effect, because the problem Amnesty, the radical Muslims and the left have is not with Gitmo itself but the WOT.

Then Powerline goes on to discuss an regime we seldom hear about when it comes to torture. This regime practices the real thing. The problem though is if Amnesty International and those groups speak out against this regime, then the regime may fight back with physical violence. Kinda like a schoolyard bully picking fights with only those weaker than themselves. Anyway that regime is Iran. A particular person was furloughed from prison to show what happens to those who oppose Iran's regime. He gave an interview to an online journal and called for a boycott of Iran's upcoming elections. Needless to say, his furlough was called off. Michael Ledeen (whose piece was quoted by Powerline) thinks this is going to be fatal. Read the whole story for yourself. Mr. Ledeen is a vocal advocate for the opposition in Iran and you can hear the frustration very plainly. His frustration arises from the fact no one seems to be paying attention to what is going on to the liberal opposition in Iran.

This is too bad and I brought up Mr. Ledeen's concerns with my congressman Mark Green. Mr. Green essentially stated that he considers Mr. Ledeen a war-monger. I am shocked by this assessment as Mr. Ledeen is only asking for more support of the Iranian opposition and not for the 3rd ID to roll into Tehran.

The last Powerline item worth mentioning relates to a loophole in our laws.
"Don't be afraid...we have a legal permit...come and join us...don't be afraid to speak out...This is not like the countries back at home where you raise your voice against the government and they take you in for torture. No...this is one of the loopholes of this government. We have the right to put this flag down and step on it."
Source: Powerline Blog - An Educational Video

Incredible! Sounds like they have spent too much time listening to Senators McCain and Feingold!

Questions for Galloway Supporters.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


p1000693, originally uploaded by maurelius.

Ahhhhh, fishing! It was relaxing as the fish had yet started to bite! When they did it was more work than work!


Has been in the news a lot of late. Tony Blair urging more dollars for Africa, Bob Geldoff working to organize bloggers left and right to push for aid to Africa, and this blog by Wretchard.

I can not recall who said it, but it was once said that foreign aid was the best way imagined to transfer wealth from hard working not so wealthy people to wealthy tyrants. This is what is intriguing about Bob Geldoff's vision. He wants to couple aid with pressures to reform both governments and economies. His vision is not one of socialism but of free market enterprise and popular governments, that is he wants the African nations liberalized (in the classical sense) as a condition for assistance. At least the smattering of reports on this conference that I have read indicate that.

Wretchard has been blogging on Zimbabwe of late and how dire the situation is becoming there. I do not believe Mugabe will be in power for much longer the question is how many innocent people die in his downfall. Quite a few are now, the farmers which used to make Zimbabwe self-sufficient (food-wise) have been killed or driven from their farms, Zimbabwe now must import food. Of course, Mugabe and his cronies decide who gets the food and who doesn't. Wretchard's outlook regarding Zimbabwe is bleak and for good reason. There is no reforming Mugabe and that government, soon Zimbabwe will become a domain for blue helmeted pedophiles. So sad.

If I had...

A dollar for every time HowDea said something stupid, my charitable foundation would be well established. Well, maybe Claudia and I are not getting those dollars but the DNC certainly isn't either and the shortfall in fundraising is forecasted to continue on.


Michael Moore's New Enterprise.

Is agreeable. I heard on the radio this morning Michael Moore is aiming to start up a film festival in Michigan. The film festival is not going to concern itself with partisan politics or movies about such matters but good movies.

Michael, I am with you in this!

I can not remember who it was but they had an interesting observation of Michael Moore. With most people you follow what they say not their example. Michael Moore is a person you do as he does (i.e. hard work and dedication) not as he says.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sometime Ago I Promised...

To blog about hops. You know, an important beer ingredient! Well, I am not going to do it here but will blog it at the Badger Blog Alliance.

Check it out!

Follow Up Commentary.

Yesterday at the Badger Blog Alliance I posted some commentary on the Washington State election fiasco and compared it to our situation and how our fine fine fine Governor Doyle refuses to fix the problems with our voting system. My blog elicited the following comment:

I was an "observer" on election day and I too agree that same day registration needs to be stopped. There were approx. 860 ballots cast where I was and I'm sure over half were new walk ins that day. It was a very messy situation. There was also a "translator" there to help new registrants and a lawyer in case they had problems. We also had a situation in another ward where an observer heard a translator speaking in spanish & hmong helping new registrants and then telling them, in their own language, to vote for kerry. it was reported to the voter fraud hotline and the translator was removed. thank God for that observer who also spoke both those languages.
Source: Badger Blog Alliance comment by Kneenor

I would really be interested in hearing more of these stories (tales of monkey business by both sides). The one time I poll watched (the focus was get out the vote and not fraud) I only saw one thing I did not like and it was attributable to ignorance and not malevolence (but the precinct boss told me he was on top of it and advised this fellow to stop what he was doing).

Same day registration is a big problem. Are there any poll workers reading this? Does the registration team have lists of felons and those otherwise ineligible to vote, or do we go on the word of the registrant?


Monday, June 06, 2005


One of the saddest things in my eyes regarding Western culture is having a sense of beauty is often (when not looking at women) regarded as Our pop culture reinforces this notion on a frequent basis. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for instance. Another I witnessed recently on a Cheers rerun. Norm was doing some interior decorating but while he was good at it, he could not let it get out he was a natural interior decorator for fear of being tagged gay.

Not only does our pop culture reinforce this idea but the arts and croissants crowd is all too happy to peddle the myth as well. After all a fellow who creates good art is ignored while the Mapplethorpes and Serranos of the world who create homoerotic art (taxpayer funded to boot) get all the glory (undeserved).

Listen to music that is occasionally played on public radio and listen with an open mind (though IMO WImP radio often chooses pieces that do not represent classical music well). Take notice of the scenery around you, notice the subtle differences in the greens that surround you, bask in the sparkle of snowflakes, take joy in the flavor of sour and sweet in your mouth, or celebrate the glorious flavor that steak with tears of joy. Feel the rhythm of a cleverly crafted poem. Notice the slightly off-balance design of Lambeau Field. Give yourself to it, life is too short and truly great moments are way too fleeting to reserve joy for just great moments. Search for joy in the small and common instead of the grand (continue to think grand but don't cheat yourself by missing the small).

In the book Shogun there is a scene where Lord Yabu and a lieutenant of his are sitting around a fire listening to the screams of one of Blackthorne's men being boiled in oil (at Yabu's order) and Yabu orders his subordinate to compose a haiku. The subordinate does and themes his haiku on the wretches screams. There are also scenes where these warriors are dancing, singing, and watching the sunrise. The message I took from this is the arts are not just for the "dainty".

Thank God for HowDea!

Howard Dean is once again in the news.

His last appearance was about his problems raising fund for the DNC. He was supposed to be a fundraising superstar but according to reports he is leading the DNC to failure in the money raising race.

His latest winning comment was about how hard working Democratic voters had to work eight hours and then wait in line at the polls for eight hours as compared to Republicans who never have worked a day in their life. Hmmm, I wonder how many Republican voters get election day off as compared to Democratic voters?

I thought I was going to miss Terry McAuliffe but Howard Dean is much better!

Memorial Day Happenings Elsewhere.

What a hoot!

I was away this weekend, "up nort" and so was pretty much out of tune with the world in general. Went fishing, went to a pig roast, barbecued some ribs, had some beers and just generally got away from things. It was well worth it.

However, now I am back things are starting all over again. The most interesting event of the weekend by far was Danica Patrick's appearance in the Indy 500. Not so much for the remarkable day she had (she did have one) but for the fuss it has caused over at the Badger Blog Alliance.

NRO's The Corner took off for the weekend as well. In their absence my co-BBA bloggers plotted to take over NRO's position as the blog of choice for the conservative readers. Lance's plot consisted of mentioning Danica's name a lot. It also consisted of us moving from our
homes here in Wisconsin to the area local to NR and getting on their wireless network (see the blog itself here) and taking over!

This morning KJL noticed and put up a link to that BBA blog Cool! Way to go Lance!

I am getting some spillover traffic here.


Yes, we are experiencing YAF by the Senate Democrats. This time it is over John Bolton's nomination as ambassador to the United Nations.

While I am unable to prove it in this forum I suspected the Dems would filibuster the Bolton nomination before this became apparent.

Yes, we have this agreement about filibustering the President's nominees. No we don't, we have a deal on the filibuster of judicial nominees and John Bolton is not a judicial nominee so the agreement does not hold. Yes yes, I agree the Democrats are behaving like lawyers? Well, yeah! A lawyer's job is to take a broad principle and narrow it down to near insignificance and this is what has happened. If you thought this agreement applied to all filibusters then you did not read
the fine print and Lucipher is coming for your soul in a couple of weeks. Also, I strongly Suspect were our positions reversed our Senators would be taking the same narrow view.

All is not lost. The MSM stooges of the DNC are studiously avoiding the use of the word "filibuster" and we need to understand what that means and how to act. We need to be describing this action in the plain word (who would have thought filibuster would be a plain word) FILIBUSTER. Yes, the Dems are extending debate on John Bolton but what is the word for that? FILIBUSTER! Yes, the Dems are refusing to vote for cloture but what is the word for that? FILIBUSTER! The Dems do not intend to allow a vote for John Bolton and will use the FILIBUSTER tactic yet again.

The Senate leadership should then target the Dem senators who came to agreement with respect to judicial nominees and put them on notice their pet porkies are in danger. Remember one of the senators in the deal on the judicial filibusters is the king of pork.


Back Online!

The tech issues have been resolved! It was a problem with the line coming into the house!

I am back on the blog! Let the blogs rush forth!

Technical Difficulties Diagnosed!

I finally got a hold of the Telco. They ran a test on my line and it is bad!

We all hope to have this situation resolved shortly and I hope the problem is out of the house rather than in the house!

Not too fear Blogger Beer is soon to reappear! :-)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Technical Difficulties

Prevent me from blogging at home and (this one excepted) I do not blog while at work.

I am here and will be blogging again soon (and it will be a flood when the tech issues get resolved).

Thanks for your patience.