Day by Day

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Government Health Care

Talk to anyone who is a vict..., er um... user, of the government's free health care, be it VA, military, local clinic... what have you.

You'll hear all kinds of stories - usually about how long the wait is, or you can't get seen, or you have schedule appointments months later just to be seen (frequent occurance to me).

And it occurs to me.

All Pro-Life advocates (aka, anti-abortion) should immediately contact their representatives to enact national socialized medicine.


Because, in that world, the waiting list for an abortion will be at least 10-12 months.

Passing thought.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pointless Maneuvering

I would be negligent if I didn't comment (again) on the Iraq Supplemental vote.

Both the House and the Senate have now passed, albeit just barely, their own versions of the bill. Two notable qualities of the bills - they both set a deadline for our surrender and they fund more than the military needs, although Popeye does love his spinach.

What stood out today was the Honorable Rep. Pelosi's comments to the President (side-note: some of you may notice that one of the features of my posts is that I will ALWAYS use respect to those in their various positions, personal feelings aside. I feel it's lacking in today's discourse, and that lack is hindering debate. Compare with other blogs - you know where...).

"On this very important matter, I would extend a hand of friendship to the president, just say to him, 'Calm down with the threats, there's a new Congress in town. We respect your constitutional role. We want you to respect ours.' This war must end. The American people have lost faith in the president's conduct of the war. Let's see how we can work together."

"I just wish the president would take a deep breath, recognize again that we each have our constitutional role and we should respect that in terms of each other."

Oh really. She wants respect. And, she wants the Commander-in-Chief to respect Congress' Constitutional role (please, show me where, Madame Speaker) in restricting the military conduct of our military.



The Democrats are insisting on pursuing a piece of legislation that is doomed to a veto, and is not veto-proof. For what purpose?

Why is the Democrat leadership going to the mat for this?

The naive view would be that the House would do two bills, one to fund the military, and then one bill, perhaps a very short one, saying that the Congress is curtailing the Commander-in-Chief's authority to deploy troops to Iraq. That way, the troops get their funding (see: "We Support the Troops") AND they get a very clean, no manipulation, vote.

But, that's not happening here. There's all kinds of bait, bribes, pork laden into this bill. If the principle were so clear, and from what I read in the MSM, and hear from the Democrats, there is a loud hue and cry from the American people demanding the Democrats take action (and to think, it's almost April... I'm glad it's something important.)

So, with 18 days remaining before the military starts running out of funds, according to a projection by the Defense chiefs... the money is tied up in political game-playing.

And Rep. Pelosi wants respect.

Madame Speaker, will that respect come when the military must begin curtailing training flying hours for its pilots? Or, will it be when deploying units can't practice live fire ranges because there's an ammunition shortage, and the troops downrange need the bullets? Maybe we'll respect you more when the fitness centers, family centers, Yellow Ribbon Rooms, and other MWR facilities are forced to reduce their hours due to lack of funds?

Speaker Pelosi does have a response to the concern about the military running out of money:
"The fact is the president of United States as the Commander-In-Chief has weakened our military. Why would he be saying to us we're running out of money when it's only a few weeks. Leadership would have required for him to have anticipated these needs."

'It's only a few weeks.' (For a Congress that historically has never been known for it's speed.) My favorite: 'Leadership would have required for him to have anticipated these needs.' Madame Speaker, earlier you were quoted referring to your Constitutional roles. In the quote, you mistakenly alluded to a role governing the military. Here, you again make a Constitutional mistake. You say the President had the Leadership responsibility to authorize the funding. How? In the Constitution, Article 1, Section 7, paragraph 1, "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives...".

Madame Speaker, the President has no Constitutional role to introduce a spending bill in the US House. Exactly how would you have preferred he demonstrate the leadership you felt he lacked?

In short, today Congress failed the troops. They announced our willingness to surrender, or run away within a set period of time, to our enemy. They announced that the Congress no longer supports the mission. And, I'm sure that message was not lost upon the enemy - either our known enemy now, or future enemies we haven't met yet.

Finally, I'd like to share where some other folks have posted their views.
  • Tanker Brothers
  • Social Commentary by SGT Hub

    SGT Hub has an interesting piece of social commentary.

    I won't add much except to say that I hope I can raise our little rays of sunshine to do better.

    Equal Rights Amendment

    There has been increasing chatter about Washington circles (one example of the reporting of it is here in the Washington Times and another here at Cybercast News Service) regarding reviving the Equal Rights Amendment now that there's a Democrat controlled Congress. Michelle Malkin, to whom I owe so much and hold much admiration, has some nice commentary as well.

    For those of you who don't recall the ERA, it's very short (unusual in its own right in DC) - one sentence: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.".

    My question is this. When did advocates of the ERA stop considering women to be persons?

    "Huh?" you ask.

    Well, perhaps it's been awhile since you've read your US Constitution and accompanying amendments (not everyone carries a copy around in their pocket).

    So, let's go down memory lane and review the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified back in 1868 (nearly 140 years ago, for government school graduates).
    "Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Yes, it's wordy. But, let's look. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens..." And "... nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".

    So, back to my question. When did women become unpersons (Give yourself 10 bonus points if you catch the reference)? The only way we NEED the ERA is if the women persons of this country aren't protected. But, they are. And have been for some time now.

    Instead of going through a lot of time and effort to enact a redundant amendment, why don't we put that effort into enforcing current laws, hmmm?

    Or... is the ERA an opportunity to make noise and show how much you're doing for the women of your constituency without them realizing that they don't need you to do it in the first place?

    Newt Agrees With Me

    Well, I'm sure I wasn't on his mind when he wrote his article. However, it's nice to see him saying the same points I was making in my post about the terrorist killing children. Also a scenario worth considering here.

    Mr. Gingrich reminds us of these difficulties in an article he wrote, featured at HumanEvents.Com.

    It's good reading, and I encourage you to take a peek.

    Leadership 101

    Heard about this from my Colonel... and he's right. An excellent exmaple of leadership.

    Just in case you didn't see it on the evening news...

    2/9/2007 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An injured Marine received an
    unexpected upgrade in his flight home from Iraq here Feb. 8.

    Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Eastburn from the Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe,
    Hawaii, was on his way home to be with his family during his recovery. One
    of his stops along the way was at the David Grant USAF Medical Center's
    Aeromedical Staging Facility.

    Unbeknownst to him, at the same time he was awaiting his flight, Gen. Peter
    Pace, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, was landing at Travis for a quick
    "gas and go" en route to Hawaii.

    When General Pace learned a fellow Marine was on his way home after being
    injured in Iraq, he didn't hesitate.

    "When I greeted General Pace and Mrs. Pace on the flight line one of the
    things I mentioned was that we currently had a Marine that was wounded in
    Iraq waiting transportation in our aeromedical staging facility," said Col
    Steve Arquiette, 60th Air Mobility Wing Commander. "The next words out of
    his mouth were 'let's go' and we were off."

    Arriving at the DGMC, the general went straight for the Marine's room and
    knocked on the door.

    "Hey, Marine! Are you up for a visitor?" he shouted. When the Marine
    responded with a hearty, "Yes, Sir," he didn't have a clue who he was
    responding to.

    "Corporal Eastburn was in shock to say the least," said Col. Arquiette.
    "General Pace found out the corporal was going to Hawaii as well and said,
    'You're coming with me, we'll go home together.'"

    The general's flight was delayed for a short period of time as medical
    personnel gathered Corporal Eastburn's belongings, checked him out of the
    hospital and prepared him for the flight home, but the general didn't mind
    one bit.

    "Delaying the flight to take a wounded warrior home was the right thing to
    do," the general said. "If I can get him home five or six hours earlier to
    see his family, I'm going to do it."

    The general's generous offer was not lost on the staff at the DGMC.

    "While it was amazing experience for me to meet the Chairman of the Joint
    Chiefs of Staff, I think it was more of a highlight for the patient," said
    Staff Sgt. Darwin Diaz, 60th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Aeromedical
    operations technician. "Not everyone gets offered a ride home by the
    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."

    "I was very impressed by his attitude toward the wounded Marine," said
    Senior Master Sgt. Scott Williams, 60th AMDS. "He was more concerned about
    the injured Marine than he was about all the prestige his position gives

    General Pace departed the base with Corporal Eastburn commending Team
    Travis' assistance.

    "This was a much more productive stop than I ever would have expected," he
    said. "In a very short amount of time, you all went above and beyond to
    support my request."



    According to statistics compiled by the United States Bureau of the Census, as of 2005, the number of women in America outnumber the number of men in America by 5,828,209 (give or take 20,305 people).

    5.8 million.

    5.8 million more women than men.

    51.01% women vs. 48.98% men.

    So, according to my wee-little mathematical knowledge and a check of a dictionary, that means that men are a minority.

    Oooh. I can see the preferential government contracts rolling in now. And, the Equal Opportunity office will soon have more of us men lining up...

    Just an observation...

    Friday, March 23, 2007

    The Iraq Vote

    Today, as the Democrat leadership has long promised, the US House of Representatives held a vote on the continued funding of the Armed Forces during this war against Islamo-fascism.

    No doubt, you've heard by now the result. You can see how your representative voted here.

    Perhaps, you'd like to exercise a passing familiarity with the representing that your Representatives have been doing. You can read the entire bill.

    I want to let you know that what happened today hurts the troops. It's surprising, but the military needs money. Lots of it. Soon. The bill today had a lot of that money in it (not all of it, mind you, but a good start.)

    Let's take a step here, and remove ourselves from whether or not the House should have voted to give a deadline for withdrawal. There are plenty of columnists, talking heads, and bloggers like myself who will discuss that into the ground. Fact is, whichever way your opinion goes on that, no one is likely to budge it even a smidgen.

    However, everyone - Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, and excepting a few folks who've gotten carried away - says they "Support the Troops".

    This bill, amongst other things (including the Minimum Wage, surprisingly enough), provided funding to Support the Troops. There are no other bills in the House that have that goal.

    This bill is also loaded with enough items, whether it's non-related funding directives (aka "pork"), or the aforementioned mandated timetable for withdrawal, that it faces a guaranteed VETO from the President.

    In other words, no money for the troops at all.

    The Army has already indicated that it will need to extend tours, reduce training, and other cost-cutting measures will be implemented, to weather the funding shortfall.

    The Democrat leadership tried to do it all. Tried to cover the wide base of their party, and ultimately, failed. Even members of their own party voted against the bill because they didn't like what was in it (or rather, what was missing - they wanted it to end the war now). Thus, they guaranteed not having enough votes to survive a VETO threat.

    What should they have done? If they truly take America first, and Support the Troops? Politics aside? Propose, and quickly pass, a bill that is strictly military funding - what the troops asked for - and nothing else.

    Separately, have the vote for the early withdrawal. You campaigned on it, so vote on it. But, don't tie plans for a withdrawal next year to money the troops need right now.

    And, as long as we're talking about doing it right, lets not tie other things into a military appropriations bill that have nothing to do with the military. It's called Pork, and while it IS a time-honored tradition in Congress, we can always hope.

    A friend sent this along to me:

    What Democrats Could Have Funded:

    Listed below are programs and equipment that could be purchased and delivered sooner than planned if they were funded in the Democratic War Supplemental for Fiscal year 2007.

    • $4.75 billion: Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (USMC & Army)
    • $2.6 billion: Aircraft Recapitalization and Modernization (Air Force)
    • $1.84 billion: Medium Tactical Vehicles, such as 5-Ton Trucks (Army)
    • $775.1 million: STRYKER Combat Vehicles and Armor Upgrades (Army)
    • $452.2 million: Upgrade 3 Patriot Anti-Missile Battalions (Army)
    • $324.2 million: Heavy Tactical Trucks, such as 10-Ton Tractor-Trailers (Army)
    • $250 million: Force Protection Equipment (Air Force)
    • $207.4 million: Aircraft/Helicopter Survivability Equipment (Army)
    • $187.2 million: Javelin Portable Anti-Tank Missile (Army)
    • $152.9 million: Counter-IED Systems (Army)
    • $33 million: Night Vision Equipment (Army)
    • $24 million: Combat Search and Rescue Capability Enhancement (Air Force)
    • $10 million: Electronic Attack Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (USMC)
    • $9 million: Joint IED Defeat Sustainment (Navy)

    Additional Cuts:

    • Combating Violent Militias. House Democrats strip $155.5 million from the military effort to disarm and demobilize violent militias. Since no alternative exists to combat violent militias, armed groups will be left to roam the streets of Baghdad and civil unrest will continue. This senseless funding cut would undermine the U.S. military effort in Iraq and endanger U.S. troops.

    • Combatant Commander Initiative Fund. House Democrats cut $25 million from the Combatant Commander Initiative Fund, which will deny military commanders a valuable regional engagement tool for “building partner nation capacity” in the Global War on Terrorism.

    Defense Security Cooperation Agency. House Democrats cut $350 million from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which would harm America’s ability to build foreign capacity to counter instability and security problems.

    • Special Operations Command. House Democrats cut $14 million from the Special Operations Command, limiting one of the most engaged forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as one of the most effective forces outside of Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism and regional stability.

    • IED Counter-Measures. House Democrats cut $13.25 million for Warlock electronic jammers and $27.63 million for the Army’s Soldier Support and Survivability System.

    • Helicopters. House Democrats cut $90 million for three additional CH-47 helicopter airframes, denying the Army three Chinook helicopters. House Democrats also cut $75 million for UH-60’s, denying the Army five Blackhawk helicopters.

    • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. House Democrats cut $31.5 million for unmanned aerial vehicles, which are vital force protection equipment and effective counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism tools.

    What Democrats Chose to Fund Instead:

    • Peanut Storage Subsidies: Provides $74 million to extend peanut storage payments through 2007. The Peanut Subsidy Storage program, which is set to expire this year, pays farmers for the storage, handling, and other costs for peanuts voluntarily placed in the marketing loan program.
    • Spinach: Provides $25 million for payments to spinach producers that were unable to market spinach crops as a result of the FDA Public Health Advisory issued on September 14, 2006.
    • Shrimp: Provides $120 million to the shrimp industry for expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina.
    • Frozen Farmland: Provides $20 million for the cleanup and restoration of farmland damaged by freezing temperatures during a time period beginning on January 1, 2007 through the date of enactment.
    • Hurricane Citrus Program: Provides $100 million to provide assistance to citrus producers (such as orange producers) in the area declared a disaster related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
    • HUD Indian Housing: Provides $80 million in tenant-based rental assistance for public and Indian housing under HUD.
    • Crop Disaster Assistance: Provides roughly $3 billion in agriculture assistance to crop producers and livestock owners experiencing losses in 2005, 2006, or 2007 due to bad weather.
    • Payment to Widow of Rep. Norwood: Provides $165,200 to Gloria W. Norwood, the widow of former Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), an RSC Member, who passed away last month. In the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005 (H.R. 1268), Congress provided $162,100 to Doris Matsui, the widow of former Rep. Robert Matsui.
    • Capitol Power Plant: Provides $50 million to the Capitol Power Plant for asbestos abatement and safety improvements.
    • Liberia: Provides that money appropriated for FY 2007 for the Bilateral Economic Assistance program at the Department of Treasury may be used to assist Liberia in retiring its debt arrearages to the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the African Development Bank.
    • Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program: Provides $283 million for payments under the MILC program, to extend the life of the program for one year, through September 30, 2008. MILC provides payments to dairy farmers when milk prices fall below a certain rate.
    • Aquaculture Operations: Provides $5 million for payments to “aquaculture operations and other persons in the U.S. engaged in the business of breeding, rearing, or transporting live fish” (such as shellfish, oysters and clams) to cover economic losses incurred as a result of an emergency order issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on October 24, 2006.
    • FDA Office of Women’s Health: Provides $4 million for the Office of Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration.
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Provides $60.4 million for fishing communities, Indian tribes, individuals, small businesses, including fishermen, fish processors, and related businesses for assistance related to “the commercial fishery failure.” According to the Committee Report, this funding is to be used to provide disaster relief for those along the California and Oregon coast affected by the “2006 salmon fishery disaster in the Klamath River.”
    • Avian Flu: Provides $969 million for the Department of HHS to continue to prepare and respond to an avian flu pandemic. Of this funding, $870 million is to be used for the development of vaccines.
    • Secure Rural Schools Act (Forest County Payments): Provides $400 million to be used for one-time payments to be allocated to states under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. This program provides a funding stream (known as forest county payments) to counties with large amounts of Bureau of Land Management land, in order to compensate for the loss of receipt-sharing payments on this land caused by decreased revenue from timber sales due to environmental protections for endangered species. The authorization for these forest county payments expired at the end of FY 2006, and counties received their last payment under the Act in December 2006.
    • NASA: Provides $35 million to NASA, under the “exploration capabilities” account, for “expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina.”
    • Corps of Engineers: Provides $1.3 billion to Corps of Engineers for continued repairs on the levee system in New Orleans.
    • FEMA: Provides $4.3 billion for disaster relief at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The bill would eliminate the state and local matching requirements for certain FEMA assistance (in connection with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Dennis) in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida, and provides that the federal portion of these costs will be 100%.
    • LIHEAP: Provides $400 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
    • Vaccine Compensation: Provides $50 million to compensate individuals for injuries caused by the H5N1 vaccine, which is a flu vaccine.
    • SCHIP: Provides $750 million to the Secretary of HHS to provide assistance to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) “shortfall states,”, in the form of an amount “as the Secretary determines will eliminate the estimated shortfall.” This provision is direct spending that is essentially capped at $750 million and designated as an emergency to avoid PAYGO constraints.
    • Minimum Wage Increase: Increases the federal minimum wage from $5.15-per-hour to $7.25-per-hour over two-plus years—a 41% increase. Yields $16.5 billion in private-sector costs over five years.
    • Tax Increases and Shifts: Implements several tax increases and shifts, including: denying the lowest maximum capital gains tax rate for certain minors and adults, extending the suspension of interest payments due to the IRS, and adjusting the deadlines for corporate estimated tax payments. Costs taxpayers $1.380 billion over the FY2007-FY2017 period.

    Elizabeth Edwards

    My Heart goes out to her and the Edwards family. Mrs. Edwards has not only just been given her death sentence, but she had to receive it in front of the whole world.

    I will never, ever, forget the day that Ellicia and I received our news that the cancer we thought we'd beaten was back... and it was going to kill her.

    We sat in the car and openly bawled, both of us. It was the day they told us about how it'd spread, and there were all the tumors in her brain, and in her lungs. And we'd done enough research to know... that when it comes back, and it spreads like that, it's just a matter of how long, but the outcome is not going to change.

    Mrs. Edwards has been told it's in her bones. That's the surest form to kill you. She has probably been given a time frame... maybe a couple of years, but... it came back, and it came back to her bones. Has it spread elsewhere - maybe somewhere not yet detected? She may not have so long.

    And she's going to fight. Good for her, but I'm sure she's also learning how fighting the first time reduces your weapons to fight with the second time.

    She's learned she's not going to grow old with John (Do you know his middle name?). Should he succeed in his quest for the Presidency, she'll either be too sick or no longer around. She's not going to see her children grow up. She won't see her daughters walk down the aisle, graduate, grandchildren...

    It's Stage IV... metastatic... terminal.

    One of the biggest challenges with that news is to have hope, still. And to balance hope with reality. To face what's coming.

    I am surprised, to be sure, that Mr. Edwards has not suspended his campaign. I won't make it a politcal comment, but I will say that if it were me (wait, it was), he should spend every second with his family. Mrs. Edwards is going to get weaker. It's in her bones. Everything is going to be harder, even looking in the mirror and being reminded that it's not going to get better.

    Taking care of the children.

    Helping her dress.

    Helping her use the bathroom.


    Holding her hand.

    Planning for the future and for the lack of it.



    Being scared together.

    Fighting together.

    Hoping, praying... begging together.

    Mr. and Mrs. Edwards... my Heart goes to you. There are no magic words, no super advice here. What you're facing together is the hardest thing you'll ever face, and hopefully, you're strong enough to help each other through it.

    Mr. Edwards... John. Hold your wife. Love her. Leave her with no doubt of your love for her. It's ok to be scared. Terrified. Angry... hell, flat out PISSED OFF that the cancer came back! Research, ask your doctors, ask more doctors... as long as you can, don't give up hope.

    Prepare for what's coming, though. Be honest with each other.

    Mrs. Edwards - you're going through one of the greatest tragedies, publicly. (We know what that's like, even if our stage was just a tad bit smaller.) You're going to need and will likely have more courage than most of us can ever conjure. You'll go through each day, trying to make it a normal day, wanting to treasure each moment with your children, with John.

    Each new weakness, each cough, every time something gets harder to do... it will be a slap in the face, a reminder that Death is coming. For you.

    Sooner than we ever planned.

    Don't give up the hope... keep fighting... Draw strength from John, and be amazed that he's drawing strength from your courage.

    Write to your children. Take pictures. Do anything special you've always wanted to do. Do it now.

    We always realized that one of the scariest things was to know that there was a clock counting down, the sands pouring through the glass, and we couldn't see what was left.

    I'm sorry. I wish you luck. I wish you strength, courage, and Love.

    Credit Where Credit Is Due

    One of the common refrains we hear whenever an attack, outrage, or other event is perpetuated by Islamo-fascists is, "Will We Hear Any Muslims Condemn This? Not Likely."

    Well, I'd like to give credit where credit is due. In this Washington Times' article, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy has offered to raise money to cover the legal fees for passengers of the USAir flight which the Imams were kicked off of.

    Good for them.

    Remember, it's important to point out when we do get what we keep asking for.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    Five and a Half Years

    It's becoming a popular thought, and an easy one, to believe that since we've not been attacked in five and a half years, that there are no more attacks to be had.

    You see... the threats are drummed up by an administration that wants to distract the populace with fear to avoid them seeing all the other problems. Or so the thought goes - don't think it works so well... aren't we knee-deep in a Congressional hoo-hah about investigating people for not committing a crime? (Really people... to say that a politician hiring/firing a political appointee for political reasons is just playing politics. What do we expect? It's POLITICS, but that's another post.)

    Some military strategists and cold war historians will remember this tactic: During the Cold War, we would often fly our aircraft right up to the Soviet Union's border, turning at the last possible second, to see what they would do. The Soviets would do the same. Cat and mouse. The objective was to get the enemy to think you were attacking and defend themselves... without anyone actually getting killed. Remember, back then, a small battle could have quickly grown into a history-ending war.

    You always want to know how your enemy will react. What are their defenses? Their plans? Strategies? So you probe... testing their defense, try to have them show you their cards.

    Alright, Kreskin, what's this got to do with not being attacked?

    Do you think... do you REALLY think nothing has happened in the past five and a half years? al-Qaeda, et al, have done nothing?

    No, we've been probed... and watched. Imams flying USAirways, for example. Good test of our reaction. Plenty of dry runs executed. People studying subways, vital assets, etc.

    And due to the nature of our society, we do our best to help by publishing not only the probes that we catch, often letting them know how we caught them, but what our authorities did to respond.

    Somewhere, there are teams of their group doing the same thing we do... game planning, playing "What If?", and coming up with ideas for attacks... and another group is dutifully recording all of our responses, even to incidents not caused by them, but educational just the same.

    An attack will come, fellow Americans... and since they've studied us, I do predict it'll be catastrophic. Be prepared, not surprised, and keep this thought next time you go to a ballot box. Republican, Democrat, Liberarian, Green, Association-of-Purple-Horned-People-Eaters, whatever... make sure you keep this thought in mind for whomever you vote for: 1) How will they work to prevent the next attack, and 2) When it does come, what will they do to react?

    Passing Thought on Slavery Reparations

    With the latest hubbub on states apologizing for slavery, the inevitable topic of slave reparations came up.

    So, a question. Since it's apparently fashionable to debate whether or not people who never owned slaves (or rather the government of the same) shall be required to pay money to people who were never slaves (and having the same government, will thus be paying themselves?)...

    Just how far back are we going to take this?

    Will Egypt be sending a check to Israel for the enslavement of the Jews during Pharoh's time?

    Will Italy be issuing checks to the bulk of the Western European world for what the Roman Empire did?

    The ancient Chinese empire held slaves...

    The Greeks.

    Various African empires.

    Where shall everone file their paperwork and what forms will be required? Do we just take it to the appropriate embassy?

    Will we be paid in the ancient currency, or current coin... adjusted for inflation, of course?

    Just how far do we extend responsibility for past actions to those currently alive? If we're going to discuss extending responsibility for events over a century ago... why not two centuries? Three? Twenty?

    Or, perhaps... we can focus on taking responsibility for our actions now... and to each our own responsibilities.

    Killing the Children

    In a recent post, I posited a scenario where the terrorists attack our children in a plot to bring this country to a standstill, and to its knees.

    It's a scenario that is counter to our intuitive nature; we do not imagine it possible that people would attack children. However, we need to remember that the enemy in our current struggle is not like us. We would like to believe that we are the same as they, that they live their daily lives as we do, but... it's important to know that the enemy is different.

    How so?

    This enemy does not hold the same values towards life. Don't believe me?

    Let's review some stories.

    Remember the great air terror scare last August (August, 2006)? One of the results is that we tend to mock the resulting security screening efforts -- no liquids of more than a minuscule amount, clear baggies, etc. Yet we seem to have lost one of the most frightening details.

    Of the 20+ suspects arrested, two of the suspects were a man and wife. Part of their plan was to smuggle elements of the explosive in their baby's bottle, to avoid suspicion. Now think - in order to avoid suspicion, the baby would have to be present. That's right. They were going to bring their six month old baby on board the aircraft they planned to obliterate from the sky.

    Remember the hostages at Beslan? Where Islamic terrorists stormed a school, herded the children into a gymnasium, wired with explosives? Perhaps you recall how when some children tried to escape, the terrorists shot them? Many children dead.

    Latest Terror Tactic
    In this article, we learn that the enemy in Iraq is trying something new. In order to more easily slip past checkpoints with a car full of explosives, they will fill a car with a man, a woman, and children in the back seat. Now, the car looks less like a suspicious rolling bomb and more like a nice Arab family out for a drive.

    Of course, should the "family" be stopped and questioned, perhaps asked to consent to a search, they will either protest loudly about how a family shouldn't be searched OR accept the target of opportunity and blow up the checkpoint.

    But, if they're waved through, as happened recently, then they will drive to their target. The adults take off running, and detonate the car bomb - with the children still inside.

    We think our children are safe because who would attack children? Our enemy. They want us dead. Not hurt... dead. They don't want to assimilate us. They wish to eradicate us. Our nation, our culture... is an affront to them. And if they can accomplish that by killing infidel children, so be it.

    Be aware of what we're facing, and of what they're capable.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    What We Should Be Asking

    I was chatting with a good friend tonight, and our topics meandered, as internet chats tend to do.

    One of the questions raise was, naturally, about the next Presidential election. I've always beleived that we ask our candidates the wrong questions. Yes, surely we would like to know where they stand, or would have stood, on recent issues of importance to us. How does Candidate Smith feel about drugs? Stem cells? The ubiquitous abortion question? Crime? Gun Control? Education? Etc., etc., etc.

    But, contrary to what we've been led to believe since a certain scandal (you remember, "... it doesn't matter what he does on his own time, or his character, it's how he does the job..."), character does count.

    We need to have some idea of what the President will do when our next unknown situation comes along.

    For example.

    Today's news story: Extremists Driving School Buses

    It seems that there are people of extremists nature driving our children around. Concerned? No, of course not. Britney may have fallen in love in re-hab.

    Besides, we're told it's not a concern. Of course, the FBI is often in the habit of investigating and chasing down leads of people that shouldn't concern us.

    So, let's imagine a scenario...

    It's not too long after the new President has taken office. The terrorists have listened to seven years about how we took the fight "over there" to keep them from hurting us "over here". And how they haven't been successful.

    In the meantime, they've studied us. They know our weakest areas. Partly due to our freely discussing our weaknesses and doing exposes whenever a weakness comes out. (Always on an anonymous and confidential basis, of course.)

    Their planners have worked hard. They've needed to get people into the country. While they might go through the new passport process, it's more likely that they came through one of our porous borders. Not as a group, but separately... over time.

    So, cells in place? Check. Now, they may be innocuous and not even look Arab OR they may go the route of being blatant and using our political correctness against us (see: USAir imams).

    They will need explosives... hmmm. Given the arms market, and the ease of moving things around... let's give this one a Check.

    Target? Think for a second. In any issue that comes up, what is the number one way of trying to sway the emotions? "What about the children?" If the children aren't safe, no one is. That's our psyche. Nothing will tear at us more than a hurt child.

    Opportunity? Hmmm, how about... school buses?

    Now, how to do it? Well, you need to know where the schools are. Ok, easy. School schedules? Use the local school website. Bus routes? Also easily obtainable, but if nothing else, rent a minivan or two, and follow something big and yellow around town. Good chance it's a school bus.

    School buses aren't inspected when they pull up to the school, are they? Nah.

    So, you have your cells. Spread them around the country. No, not the big cities... random "Heartland" cities... maybe those with large school districts. For good measure, and to account for a possible 25% failure rate, let's plan for maybe 20 different cities.

    Once all is planned, and drivers are hired (several per district, redundancy is good)... you load each bus with 1,000 pounds of TNT or some other handy-dandy explosive.

    Select a morning.

    Coordinate with all the cells.

    And then, on that morning... as the bus in in line, with all of the other buses, also full of children (each bus often holds between 45-60 children), parked in front of the local elementary school... where lots of loving parents have recently dropped off their prides and joys...


    CNN is carrying the news... reports are coming in from around the country. Early estimates are between 1,500 and 2,000 children, most kindergarteners through fourth grade (under 10, folks), are dead. Along with parents and teachers. Helicopters and cell phone videos are showing large craters, and burned out hulks of buses, schools collapsed, a flag pole snapped in two, the burnt, torn flag flapping in the smoky breeze.

    And then, all of the networks carry the image of the day... CNN/MSNBC/FOX/EVERYBODY shows a paremedic, tears streaming down his stoic face, bringing out the body of a young kindergartener. Her hand is still clutching her Strawberry Shortcake doll. The reporter tells us that the blanket covering her is to hide the fact that half her body isn't there anymore.

    Question: When the adviser leans over to tell the President the news, whom do you want the President to be? Whom do you want the President to have for advisers? Because we all know that one of the thoughts that our new President will have is to turn to or call his (or her, Hillary fans) closest advisers and friends and ask, "Oh my God, what do I do now?"

    Scenario continued: Early reports show that the intelligence agencies have been tracking some of those suspected of carrying out the attack. They come from countries such as (hmmm, let's say...) Libya, Syria, and Egypt (one of our allies). Quite a few groups are claiming credit, and there are even images of celebrations in the streets of some nations.

    What do we do? How do we respond?

    What effect will this have? How many parents will send their kids to school the next day?

    Next week?

    If the kids aren't at school... they're at home. Someone has to watch them. There goes the workforce.

    And how long before parents piece it together... if they're not safe at our government schools, what about day care centers? Uh oh.

    If our workforce isn't at work... then what about the economy.

    And where else will people not go? Will parents let their teenagers go to hang out at the mall? Not likely. Expect malls to close.

    Gun ownership will of course go up. There may even be an occasional accidental shooting as some concerned, nervous parent, untrained in their new gun, mistakes ______________ as a terrorist. (I'm not against gun ownership, but it is a potential result.)

    The economy will come to a standstill. Our societal framework will be stressed. For as bad as 9/11 was, most of us didn't work in tall sky-scrapers in New York, and quite a few of us didn't fly. So, after awhile, even though it was a monumental tragedy and touched us deeply, we could still send our children to school in perceived and trusted safety and go to work.

    Past issues are important, but we need to know what our next President is made of at his core. For, when the next scenario comes (and it will), we will want to know what will he do? Is he up to the task?

    Who do you want to be given the news and have to ask, "Oh my God, what do I do now?"