Friday, November 11, 2005

I'VE MOVED......

Hi all. I've moved to a new location. Since my move in September from Minnesota to Tennessee I decided to clean up my blog digs too. It's still a work in progress but I'll be getting the photo's hung and furniture rearranged in the next few days. I'm a bit disoriented so Bear (heheh) with me.

New Address: Bear Creek Ledger

Please bookmark.

Help Our Heroes Stay In Touch-Project Valour-IT

This is my Salute to All Veterans. Thank you for your service!

Project Valour-IT(Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops) in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. This allows voice to text for emails, surf the internet and operate a laptop without having to use the mouse. The inspiration for this came from CPT Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss who was injured in Iraq.

The contest to raise funds runs through November 11th. This is a contest between military branches. I confess I chose the Air Force since it's lagging way behind in this contest. I've got no affiliation with any particular branch so I went for the underdog.

Go to Soldiers Angels Project Valour IT to learn more and to donate go here and be sure to look towards the bottom of the page to the Air Force box and click to donate.

What Valour-IT Needs From You:
Blog and email regularly about Valour-IT and the competition
Tell your friends, family and neighbors about Valour-IT
Put up these flyers around your community

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Congressional HiJINKS!

Don't you just want to scream "Stop The InSanity!"?
Hows this one?
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) proposed an amendment that would effectively allow the Senate to dictate the programming our troops listen to on their Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). Harkin’s amendment would create an Ombudsman for the AFRTS who would identify circumstances under which the AFRTS "has not adhered to the standards and practices of the Network in its programming, including circumstances in which the programming of the Network lacked integrity, fairness, or balance."
Then there's this:
On Thursday, the House of Representatives will hold a vote on a bill that would trim back government spending by $54 billion.
You might say, oh this is so bad. But here's the truth:
But in claiming the bill cuts too much spending, they fail to acknowledge that in reality, the cuts are only in the rate government will grow. Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Pence explained this on the House floor, “Where else but in Washington, DC could a Deficit Reduction Act that actually increases entitlements by 6.3 percent instead of the planned 6.4 percent be called a cut?” :: Columns :: Liberal Talk for the Troops: Whether They Want it or Not by Tim Chapman

It's Your Party.......

Happy Birthday USMC!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dedication is visible among new soldiers

This is an uplifting tribute to our Military Members today. This is probably one of the first non-milblogger commentary I've read which isn't negative about recruiting goals. There's an interesting distinction made between WWII/Vietnam Veterans and how today's Veterans have been shaped due to the voluntary aspect of todays military. In fact, for a refreshing change there's not really anything negative in this commentary.
That war should be a life-changing experience is hardly a surprising thought. But in his interviews with troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Morten Ender of the United States Military Academy notes that three-quarters of them describe their deployment as a "turning point" - a number that strikes him as high.

"In World War II, soldiers knew what they had to do, and they wanted to do it and come home to get on with life," he says. "In Vietnam, [the war] became a turning point, because there was a sense [among the conscripted soldiers] that they had no control."

Since the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are all volunteers, the war was very much part of a conscious career choice, and the intensity of the experience is focusing their lives. For some, it is a desire to get out and move on to anything else. Yet the reenlistment rates also suggest that many are finding a deeper love for service and a connection to something greater than themselves.

Dedication is visible among new soldiers

Slouching Toward Pampering the Enemy

Mark Levine (author of the best-selling Men In Black, president of Landmark Legal Foundation) has this to say about the current case about the holding of unlawful combatants going to SCOTUS and John McCain's SA 1977 on torture:
snip.....In 1950, in Johnson v. Eisentrager, the Supreme Court held it did not have the authority to take up a challenge by 21 German nationals held in China, who were tried and convicted by U.S. military tribunals. In 2004, in Rasul v. Bush, the Court reversed course and held that U.S. civilian courts would be open to foreign enemy combatants held overseas.

snip....The judiciary's increasing involvement in an area where it has historically understood the limitations of its competence and reach is extremely troublesome.

Regarding McCain:
Third, while it is true that the judiciary no longer seems willing to exercise restraint in these cases, codification typically leads to more litigation which leads to more judicial intervention. (I should note that McCain has actually argued that these detainees should be brought to the U.S. and tried in U.S. civilian courts, which would be disastrous for many reasons, including recruitment in our prisons, the further conference of due-process rights on the enemy, and the criminalization of the war on terrorism — where detainees’ rights are emphasized over detention, interrogation, and national security.)

Mark R. Levin on War on Terror on National Review Online

The bolding is mine. Can anyone explain to me how McCain's mind works? I don't GET him at all.
h/t Lucianne

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Powerline Doing The Work of Major Media: Three years of the Condor

Scott at Powerline phoned the CIA and as a followup sent the CIA some pertinent questions regarding Joseph Wilson and Michael Scheuer (who was allowed by the CIA to publish a book while still an analyst at the CIA).

Questions about Wilson:
(1) Why wasn't Wilson's February 2002 trip to Niger made subject to a confidentiality agreement?
(2) Did the Agency contemplate that Wilson would publicly discuss the trip at will upon his return?
(3) Did the agency anticipate that if he did so, it would attract attention to the employment of his wife by the agency?
(4) Why did the Agency select Wilson for the mission to Niger to check out such an important and sensitive matter given his lack of experience in intelligence or investigation?
(5) Was the Agency aware when it selected him for the mission of his hostility to the Bush administration?

Questions about Scheuer:
(1) Has the Agency ever before in its history authorized the publication of a book by a current Agency employee attacking the incumbent administration?
(2) Was Scheuer's employment status classified at any time between 1999 and the time he resigned from the Agency? If so, over what period?
(3) Can you cite any previous instances in the history of the Agency of currently employed Agency analysts attacking the incumbent administration?

Go read the responses to these very pertinent questions by the CIA.
Power Line: Three years of the Condor

Monday, November 07, 2005

Scenario: US Bows to Anti-War Left and Abandons Iraq

The Daily Demarche has posed "What if... we bowed to the anti-war left and pulled out of Iraq tomorrow?".

We've all seen what has been occurring in France over the last 12 days. Doesn't look pretty does it. Did France's anti-war stance help them at all with the Muslim citizens of it's country? I don't think so, pandering to a specific ethnic group accomplishes nothing for a politician.

This is what the anti-war left wants, to pander to Islamic Facists under the the guise of being either anti-war or their other mantra is to support the troops by bringing them home. Knowing that the anti-war left is mostly comprised of Socialist and Communist party members this slogan is absurd. What the anti-war left does support are murdering dictators and totalitarian regimes. The protesting of Code-Pink outside of Walter Reed Hospital demonstrates the shameful behavior of this group. All these groups want to do is use our Troops to advance their own causes.

What happens then if the United States withdraws from Iraq, NOW. Remember South Vietnam? Remember how many South Vietnamese were slaughtered by the North Vietnamese? Iraq as it stands today will lose just as South Vietnam lost. The Islamic Facists have the support of Iran, Syria and many other groups in the Middle East. By cowardly withdrawing the United States will show it truly is a "Paper Tiger" which no longer has the gumption to protect itself. It's a country far away from the United States of WWII. As France has splintered itself into Muslim vs Non-Muslim so will the United States splinter itself into a multicultural divided nation. If anyone thinks that the Islam we see is a peaceful religion then I'd like them to explain the propensity of Muslims to blow up children, to cut off heads all in the name of Allah. Islam is a conquering religion and France, Denmark, Norway, Britain, Belgium, Spain.........are all part of the quest. Why shouldn't the United States be a part of that quest?

The GWOT is a real war with real enemies. To blindly ignore this war will not abate the advances of Islamic Facists and an ocean or sea will not protect us. They are in our midst just waiting for the anti-war left to hand over our country to them.

Update Nov. 8: The Daily Demarche has posted his scenario on The New Caliphate . Then from American Future we read about Iraq: Thrill of Victory, Agony of Defeat . This is definitely an omen of what could be in our future. And for those in the Republican Party who think capitulation to the anti-war left is a better option than holding steady on the course in Iraq, think again. American Future hits the nail on the head on what the election outcome would be for these Republicans. From Gallios (who is a frequent contributor at Daily Demarche) writes at My Blog is Your Blog: What would happen?

Convicted Immigrant Felon Released and Why Would That Be?

In October, immigration authorities released Vanian — a convicted felon who served a sentence for carrying a loaded firearm — because they could not get a valid passport to deport him.

snip....Immigration authorities are bound by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibits keeping detainees for more than six months beyond their prison sentences if deportation is unlikely. In some cases, the government finds a third country to accept the immigrants, but more end up back on U.S. streets.

Here's a clue. CHANGE THE LAW! How about we also change the law from the 1990's which requires hospitals to treat anyone who comes into the emergency room and the hospital can't ask if they are citizens of this country. I know the LA Times was writing this as a hard luck good news story cause they think this is so wrong. I think DHS (actually I'm beginning to think maybe DHS is figment of the government's imagination) should audit ALL the employees of the LA Times and then move on to any other publications associated with the corporation.

Deportation to Nowhere - Los Angeles Times

h/t Lucianne

Someone You Should Know - Army SPC Matthew Drake

SPC Matthew Drake was able to finally spend a night at home after being severly injured in a suicide car attack in October 2004.

The Northview High School graduate, who wrestled in school and was a certified personal trainer before joining the Army, said he holds no ill will against the military or the war.

"I would recommend the military to anyone. Yeah, I got hurt. Oh well," he said with a laugh.

- -

h/t Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tributes Through Tattooing

I know tattoos are something many in the different military services use to brand themselves with a particular 'band of brothers' or event. Looking at the tattoos fascinates me although I'd never get a tattoo myself. The tattoo of Capt. Michael Pretus is a work of art on his body.
Commemorating combat experience with a tattoo is a warrior ritual that stretches back centuries, a practice "as old as war itself," said C.W. Eldridge, a historian for the National Tattoo Association and owner of the Tattoo Archive, a Berkeley, Calif., tattoo studio.

Like their counterparts in past wars, Iraq veterans are choosing traditional patriotic symbols -- U.S. flags, eagles, names of units -- for their tattoos. But some images are strikingly personal. Aided by improved pigments and more sophisticated equipment, they reveal in graphic detail the pain and permanence of war.
Indelible Memories For Veterans of Iraq

Beyond The Often Heard Numbers From Iraq

Mudville Gazette shows the charts which enumerate the daily attacks by insurgents and the number of multiple fatality bombings but there are some additional numbers which are not often cited or shown. The attacks by province is certainly telling along with tips received from the Iraqi Population. As Greyhawk points out the success of the Kurds which is starting to be written about could be an example of a future Iraq.

With the number of daily deaths of American Soldiers recently, it's good to read something that points to hope for the future.

Mudville Gazette:Graphic Violence

The UN - Living In A Bubble

According to John Bolton, the UN is ignoring the findings of the Volcker commission. Not a big shocker is it.

He (my insert - John Bolton) accused them of living in a "bubble" as they disregard the damning findings of the Volcker commission established by Kofi Annan, the secretary general. The inquiry criticised the UN and Mr Annan for their failings in running a scheme from which Saddam Hussein skimmed off an estimated $2 billion (£1.2 billion).
Now why in the world should anyone at the UN give a flip what the Volcker Report says? Who's going to do anything about it? Will the US Congress withhold funds? Norm Coleman and his committee?

Did you know?
As an example, he cited the fact that UN staff could accept gifts worth up to $10,000 in a year without any requirement to disclose them.

In a rare breakthrough for American pressure for reform, the UN announced last week that it planned to reduce the $10,000 figure to $250 under rule changes proposed by its new under-secretary for management, Christopher Burnham, a former Bush administration official.

Yup, standard fare for bureaurocrats from the 3rd World and Europe I guess.

And one of the more ironic stories came out in the last couple days:
U.N. audit: U.S. should repay Iraq $208.5M The UN can't keep track of over $2Billion with the Oil for Food Scam but supposedly they can audit funds in Iraq.

Telegraph News UN ignored corruption findings, claims Bolton

h/t Lucianne

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Hypocrisy of CIA Leaks: Plame-gate vs Able Danger

Vox Taciturn (a former member of the intelligence community) does a guest post on CQ about how the CIA works in regards to the Plame/Wilson hoax. As Vox says we should all be very concerned about how this story transpired with the duplicity of the CIA.

I find this interesting:
Still think rogue Bush-haters in the CIA aren’t getting reporters who cover the national security beat to carry their water? Let’s go to an impartial source. I don’t have a LexisNexis account so we’ll use Google News to search for the non-issue that is “Valarie Plame”: 21,800 hits. Now a search for the real intelligence related controversy that is “Able Danger”: 72 hits. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that what is known as a blow-out?

It's difficult to believe those reporting in the MSM don't know that Plame/Wilson is a hoax perpetrated on the American public with the complicit hand of the MSM. What is shameful is that the real story of Able Danger has been left blowing in the wind because the story doesn't fit the picture of the MSM which is to demonize Karl Rove and President George Bush.

What a tragedy that Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer has been abandoned by everyone except for Rep. Curt Weldon. This past week Shaffer lost his appeal for his security clearance which means he will lose his job probably within 30 days.
Captain's Quarters

More Disturbing Chinese Espionage in The U.S.

Looks like the stealing of Military secrets never stopped by the Chinese. Not that this is any big surprise. But this is reminicent of the Soviet Spy Machine where you have naturalized citizens who have lived in the country for 20 years stealing secrets.
Federal authorities in Los Angeles have quietly charged four people in an alleged conspiracy to steal U.S. military secrets — including a quiet propulsion system for Navy warships — and turn over the intelligence to the People's Republic of China, it was learned late Thursday.

Though U.S. officials declined to comment, an FBI agent's 42-page affidavit unsealed earlier this week identifies the four suspects as Chi Mak and his wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu of Downey, and Chi's brother, Tai Wang Mak, and his wife, Fuk Heung Li, of Alhambra. Chi and his wife are originally from China and became naturalized U.S. citizens 20 years ago. Tai and his wife both entered the United States from China in May 2001 and are lawful permanent residents.

Four Accused of Stealing U.S. Secrets - Los Angeles Times

Friday, November 04, 2005

"The Look" for SPF

Katy's theme for SPF is "I am exhausted, Leave Me Alone" look. Since I moved and currently am not working the level of stress in my life is pretty much nil. Life is good! But I had a couple photo's from the time during my move which probably fit the theme. I confess, these were used for another SPF so I'm stealing from myself.

New treatment for multiple sclerosis tested

This sounds extremely promising for those who suffer from MS.

The therapy targets immune system cells called T-cells. These malfunction in MS patients, producing inflammatory molecules that destroy the myelin sheath. The new treatment, which uses a class of molecules called kynurenines, works by inhibiting the T-cells’ production of inflammatory molecules and prompting them to produce agents that “mop up” the molecules.

snip......But Brophy cautions that the mouse model of MS, while the best animal model available, does show differences to the human disease and drugs that have worked on mice in the past, have not had the same success in humans.

Another advantage kynurenine has over other candidate treatments is that it is has already proved its safety. Not only is it a derivative of an amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body, but it has passed phase I clinical trials in Japan as a
potential treatment for allergy sufferers.

“I expect we will be able to proceed directly to phase II clinical trials in patients in 2006 and start helping people with MS,” Steinman says.

New Scientist Breaking News - New treatment for multiple sclerosis tested

h/t Lucianne

Finally! GOP Looking At Permanent Illegal Immigration Solutions

House Republicans are looking closely at ending birthright citizenship and building a barrier along the entire U.S.-Mexico border as they search for solutions to illegal immigration.

snip.....two ideas have floated to the top of the list of possibilities to be included either in an immigration-enforcement bill later this year or in a later comprehensive immigration overhaul.
They want to go after the "anchor" babies abuse by illegals. Most lawmakers had avoided the issue, fearing that change would require a constitutional amendment -- the 14th Amendment reads in part: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."

But several Republicans said recent studies suggest otherwise. "There's been recent scholarship that says we can do it by statute, and we ought to try," said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, who usually finds himself on the opposite side of immigration issues from Mr. Tancredo. "How in the world can you explain that's a good policy to have? It simply doesn't promote respect for the rule of law," Mr. Flake said.

Bout freakin time!

The next or second solution would be a fence. I know too many people poo poo this solution but considering the billions spent on manpower to patrol the borders I think the fence is the most economical solution. That is if the fence erected is more than just wire but a hard concrete fence of a suitable height.
At this week's "unity dinner," House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, said he supports a barrier system of fences in some places and electronic surveillance or vehicle barriers in others, one participant said. "The fence works," Mr. Hunter said. He led the fight earlier in this Congress to complete a 14-mile section of fence near San Diego, and he and other members said the success there gives the idea momentum.
"Those who say the fence won't work, frankly, don't have experience with fences," said Rep. Geoff Davis, a Kentucky Republican who is supporting Mr. Hunter's bill.

GOP mulls ending birthright citizenship-Nation/Politics-The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

I hope this is a trend for the GOP leadership. A long term solution which could significantly slow the invasion of illegal aliens into our country. I don't believe in rewarding unlawful behavior but the writing is on the board that the Administration and many in the House and Senate want to set up a Guest Worker Program. Personally, I think this will be impossible to track and enforce and ultimately will only encourage the rush of illegal aliens into our country. But at least if we eliminate anchor babies and erect a fence the rush could be dampened.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

McCain is At It Again

How'd you like that little McCain-Feingold Election bill that became law? President Bush said he would veto that bill and he didn't. Now we have McCain adding an anti-torture amendment to the military spending bill. What could possibly be wrong with that? It's wording is vague, vague and vague again!!

The McCain Amendment -- SA 1977 -- Says The Following...

“No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

So, you tell me what constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment? Do you think just maybe this is manna from heaven for the murderers of children like the Islamic terrorists in Iraq? Do you think Amnesty International looks at degrading treatment the same as you or I does? A GOP controlled Senate approved this amendment to be added to the spending bill. President Bush has said he'll veto this but remember it's attached to the military spending bill. This sounds like something from the Clinton era (remember Somalia?).

You can send a FAX BLAST through the Center for Individual Freedom to:
President George W. Bush

The Hon. Ted Stevens, The Hon. Thad Cochran, The Hon. Pete Domenici, The Hon. Christopher Bond, The Hon. Mitch McConnell, The Hon. Richard Shelby, The Hon. Judd Gregg, The Hon. Kay Bailey-Hutchison, The Hon. Conrad Burns, The Hon. Patrick Leahy, The Hon. Robert Byrd, The Hon. Tom Harkin, The Hon. Byron Dorgan, The Hon. Dick Durbin, The Hon. Harry Reid, The Hon. Dianne Feinstein, The Hon. Barbara Mikulski, The Hon. Arlen Specter, The Hon. Daniel Inouye.

Take the time to inundate these legislators with your dismay with this amendment. Our Troops deserve better than this!

Noah Shachtman - Inside the "Baghdad Bomb Squad"

Noah spent 3 weeks with Team Mayhem (US Army bomb squad). He's got lots of pics but needs to correct a usage problem before you will be able to view any. There's a great little piece Noah wrote called "Captain American In The Forever War"
Over three weeks in and around Baghdad this July, I spoke to dozens and dozens of soldiers about their views on the conflict. For the most part, morale among these infantrymen and engineers and bomb-disposers was high. Shockingly high, given the fact that they didn’t buy the Bush administration’s rationales for the war.

“Democracy? Here? Are you fucking kidding me?” one sergeant laughed, as we drove near the Abu Ghraib prison. This was from a guy from helped safeguard the January round of elections. He figures the place will collapse into civil war as soon as U.S. troops leave.

But he’s glad he’s in Iraq, regardless. Mostly, because of the insurgents.

The guerillas in Iraq have been brutal, killing way more innocent bystanders than American occupiers or Iraqi collaborators. While I was in Baghdad, a group of soldiers in a nearby neighborhood were handing out candy to bunch of kids. Until a suicide bomber stepped in, and killed 27.

“It boggles my mind, how someone can go into a crowd of kids, and kill them all."

Defense Tech: Inside the "Baghdad Bomb Squad"

Check out the comments string, there's some interesting points made.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Buck Sargent: A Lesson in Humor & Frustration

Buck has a new posting up which lives up to his previous entries.


Corrupt DHS Official Gets Probation

This is an especially aggregious multiple offender who was allowed to slip slide 'n away in the cavernous monstronsity known as The Department of Homeland Security. Want to guess how this probably happened? Could it be because this person was of a "protected class"? No, that couldn't possibly be!
We've written previously about Caganap, who ran the agency's operation at Detroit Metro Airport--or rather, ran candle selling parties, ran marathons, and looking the other way while questionable illegals were let into the country, while she looked the other way. Sources say there are many like her at DTW (Detroit).

In San Ysidro (near San Diego), as head of the INS' intelligence unit and anti-smuggling operations, Caganap helped cover-up an illegal immigrant and drug smuggling operation, allowing it to continue for years--in exchange for $30,000 in money, services, and gifts (including a new hot tub). She also lied to the FBI about it. Caganap was indicted for all of that.

Debbie Schlussel
Go read the rest of this frustrating story at Debbie Schlussel's blog.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Income Tax Reform

If you've heard any of the headline news today you'll have heard some reporter talking doom and gloom to the "underclass" and reform for the "rich" with the Tax Reform Report released today. I heard Ann Compton a number of times while driving in the car talk about the elimination of mortgage interest credit. The lead to the story was supposedly for her to tell us about the Tax Reform recommendations and all she talks about is mortgage interest.

The Tax Prof has boiled the explanation down to 2 options: Simplified Income Tax Plan and the Growth and Investment Tax Plan. I for one would prefer ( since I've got no choice, I've got to choose one) a tax system which doesn't penalize savings. I'd rather not have a mortgage (and currently don't have one) but it will significantly torque me off if I pay more income taxes because I don't have enough debt from a mortgage to reduce my taxes. How stupid is that?

For some guidance on the upcoming wailing and gnashing of teeth around Federal Income Tax Reform check out what the Tax Prof has to say. I'm trying not to get myself excited about this reform ever seeing the light of day since that probability is about the same as my winning the lotto!

TaxProf Blog: Report of President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform

Naval Officer To Receive Music Award

Here's a cool story:
A junior officer attached to USS Austin has been selected to receive the award for “Country Single of the Year” for his song “Angel” Nov. 9 at the Los Angeles Music Awards.

Lt. j.g. Jared R. LoStracco, 25, from Nacogdoches, Texas, performed for servicemembers in May prior to a USO concert while his ship was moored at the U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay to support Operation New Horizon.

“The head of MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) for the base, Craig Basal, heard me play, thought it was good, and while we were there set up a night at the Officer's Club so I could play,” said LoStracco.

Al Bowman, the executive producer for the Los Angeles Music Awards, was at the ‘Gitmo' Officer's Club that night and heard LoStracco play. “He heard me play and asked me for a CD of my original work,” said LoStracco. Later that evening Bowman invited LoStracco to Hollywood to be presented with an award at the Los Angeles Music Awards.

Defend America - U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Jared R. LoStracco

PorkBusters Update

TLLB has a new state tracking system for a Senator's stand on budget cuts to offset spending for hurricane funding. Go and see whether your Senator has committed themselves pro or con to the offset plan.

'I support the Fiscal Watch Team Offset Package'.

WWW MyView