November 23, 2005

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Nov. 22 - Martin hit target?

An accused drug dealer alleges he was offered a meagre $300,000 in 2003 to assassinate Paul Martin (then Finance Minister.) A bit more to the story, of course, but still, only $300,000 ...


A very Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!


Everyone seems to be having entirely too much fun around here -- except for me: I'm in the midst of a killer work schedule (for those who don't know, I work in the retail sector.) But keep up that shopping folks! You pay my salary.

I actually got some sleep today, though, so should be more alert tomorrow morning.

The real news is that we expect snow in Toronto overnight. Driving will be such fun.

Posted by Debbye at 08:46 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

November 19, 2005

"Cowards cut and run, and Marines never do."

Nov. 19 - Add another phrase to our growing list of notable quotes! I might also add that the cowards blathered on and on but when it came to a vote, that being in favour of the immediate pullout from Iraq, it was rejected 403-3 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Just for the record,

Those voting for it were Democrats Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia, Robert Wexler of Florida and Jose E. Serrano of New York.
How inept are the Democrats? Their catcalls and a near fistfight resulted in such an uproar that the remarks that occasioned the response got more coverage than they might have otherwise:
At one point during the debate, Rep. Jean Schmidt, Ohio Republican and the newest member of the House, said she had received a call from a veteran and member of Ohio's state legislature , who said to send a message to Mr. Murtha: "Cowards cut and run, and Marines never do." [Damned straight I added the emphasis.]

Instantly, two dozen Democrats shot to their feet and demanded her words be "taken down," a precursor to House punishment, because she insulted Mr. Murtha. Rep. Vic Snyder, Arkansas Democrat, said the use of Mr. Murtha's name and "coward" were in "too close a proximity" to let the matter go.

Ms. Schmidt withdrew her words, but not before Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., Tennessee Democrat, seemed to be headed for a fight with Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican. Mr. Tancredo afterward said he had been arguing with another Democrat over some of the charges Democrats had hurled at Republicans during yesterday morning's budget vote, and said Mr. Ford must have thought the argument was about Mr. Murtha.

"Say it to Murtha," Mr. Ford repeatedly shouted at Mr. Tancredo while he was being restrained by other members. Mr. Tancredo said he replied he wasn't talking about Mr. Murtha and told Mr. Ford to go sit down.

"You guys are pathetic. Pathetic," Rep. Martin T. Meehan, Massachusetts Democrat, shouted.

Hmm, who's pathetic: the one who's bluffing and or the guy who the temerity to raise and call? If you don't even have a pair ...

Great move by the GOP. Putting withdrawal from Iraq to a vote before the Fall recess is similar to last year's move to force the question on re-instating the draft to a vote and, as with the draft, the overwhelming numbers opposing such a measure damaged the Democrats. I find it humourous that Rep. Pelosi complained there was no time for a debate -- what else has she and other Democrats been doing these past years? The biggest mistake any political party can make is to continually underestimate the intelligence of the electorate, and the dislike many believe the Democrats harbour for the U.S.A. is turning on itself and I doubt I'm the only one wondering if the Dems have so pervasive a death wish that they're determined to destroy themselves.

Yes, I am in a major "Take off the farking gloves already" mood today (and this is from someone who doesn't like voting Republican any more than she likes voting Democrat.) I want to extend my personal gratitude to Democrats [sarcasm alert] for doing their utmost to reduce the U.S.A. to a one-party state. I've witnessed first-hand up here how that turns out, and I really don't recommend it. But as long as the Democrats are determined to be irrelevant and limit themselves to posturing I'll be voting GOP. Damn you donkeys! What part of "elephants never forget" don't you understand? Yes, some stayed locked in a 60's mindset, but others grew up and a new generation is grimly aware that their future and lives depend on how Iraq plays out. They are chosing kick-ass over a chorus of Kumbaya, and they will be voting in coming elections.

Grr. The one number that eludes the angst-driven "2000 service personnel killed" folks (led by most of the MSM) are the number of Iraqis who have been killed, and that far outnumbers U.S. deaths. We are not the prime target and we are not enduring the largest number of deaths. The courageous Iraqis who volunteered to join the police, army and security forces (plus those who simply go to mosques and markets) are the primary targets and have the larger number of casualties.

Are there really those who wish to cut and run, leaving those valiant Iraqis at the mercy of the vengeful? I hope I speak for more than myself when I say that there is no way on this earth that I can allow us to betray them - and the people of our military and those of our coalition allies - by cutting and running.

Shiites were a target under Saddam's rule (as were Kurds and other ehnic minorities in Iraq) and they are a target now as Sunni insurgents - aided by al Qaeda - attempt to re-establish rule. The difference now is that Shiites and Kurds have a chance to live and prosper because we took Saddam down and - this is truly wondrous as well as being the best hope for the Mid-east as a whole - they are willing to share power with the Sunnis, something the Sunnis never contemplated when they - the minority in Iraq - enjoyed privileged status under Saddam.

Yet the doom-sayers may be having a victory of sorts. A recent poll may indicate that Americans are becoming more isolationist, and despite CNN's analysis, I think the poll may more reflect a truth contained in Victor Davis Hanson's analysis of the recent rioting in France:

Practically, such pacifism results in a weakening of NATO, with the expectation that the United States will continue to assume an ever-greater share of its costs and manpower. Few over here realize that they have finally lost American good will and with it the public's desire ever again to bail them out from another Milosevic or an ascendant Russia or nuclear Iran on the horizon.
To put it bluntly, when Old Europe erupts in flames (again) we just might respond by buying marshmallows.

A similar disillusion after WWI led to renewed isolationist sentiments in the U.S. and kept us out of WWII until the bombing of Pearl Harbour (and the breakdown of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, which reversed the position of the U.S. Communist Party and saw them agitating for a pro-war sentiment.) "Don't count us out" has a grim corollary: "Don't assume you can count us in." I don't see Americans rallying to defend Old Europe unless the United Kingdom exerts considerable pressure on us (and they alone have any credibility) but what I can't predict is how much Americans are connecting Canada to Old Europe. Certainly Chretien's membership in the Axis of Weasels is something that Americans will long remember, and hopes that Paul Martin might be able to remove that stigma have faded.

Canadians who assume that the U.S.A. will rush to defend Canada might do well to wonder how long it will take us to rush. The debate in the Senate and the House of Representatives may well be extensive and thorough, and the temptation to refer the issue to the U.N. will certainly be popular among some people.

Americans have had four years to assess who are our friends, enemies, and opportunist allies. People who fret about the CIA and conspiracy agendas are missing the real power: We, the People, of these United States. We expect considerably less from our politicans than we do from ourselves, and we can be formidable indeed when angered. We pay our diplomats to be diplomatic so that we simple folk need not be so, but when we decide that "enough is enough" our politicans listen or are replaced. Thus far most Americans are dismissive of much of the Old European and Canadian silliness, but that can turn into fury on a dime and believe me when I say that you won't like us when we're angry.

That brings us to the real question that has been looming larger and larger: why we would expend the blood of America's sons and daughters when some, i.e., Old Europeans and Canadians, won't let their little darlings be placed in harm's way. The answer is pure Darwinism and only Christian compassion can counter it. But then we Americans do have a reputation for being practical, you know?

Posted by Debbye at 11:43 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

November 18, 2005

Another "mistake?"

Nov. 18 - Task Force Soldiers Respond to Khanaqin Bombings:

TIKRIT, Iraq, Nov. 18, 2005 More than 150 Iraqi civilians were reported killed or wounded in terrorist attacks that destroyed two Shiite mosques in Khanaqin during prayer services today, military officials here said.
These attacks had nothing to do with our presence in Iraq and everything to do with ongoing efforts to destroy the religious freedoms now enjoyed by Shiites.

Zarqawi now claims that the bombings in Jordan were not meant to target civilians. It is impossible to believe that the bombers in Amman didn't know they were at wedding receptions so this disavowal is little more than damage control, but, sadly, there are probably many who will accept the notion that the attack was a "mistake."

For more critical analysts, though, when this disavowal is taken within the context of today's bombings it must cause one to wonder exactly who Zarqawi considers to be civilians. Judging by these latest murderous attacks by so-called insurgents, one must conclude that worshippers in a Shiite mosque are not considered civilians.

This highlights a central issue which those who call for immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq need to address within their own ranks: is their reluctance to support a U.S.-lead coalition more important than defending innocent people against a monster that would strangle not only political but religious freedoms as well? Aren't religious freedoms an integral part of that which we call human rights and therefore worth defending?

In ways which many did not foresee, bringing down Saddam has exposed a previously little-known facet of Islamic extremism, which is to murder Muslims who do not fall within their narrow definitions of "true believers." I am not one who will support this latest variety of an "Inquisition."

Posted by Debbye at 08:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Rooting out the corrupt

Nov. 18 - Background checks didn't work in this instance: Issuing Contracts, Ex-Convict Took Bribes in Iraq, U.S. Says:

A North Carolina man who was charged yesterday with accepting kickbacks and bribes as a comptroller and financial officer for the American occupation authority in Iraq was hired despite having served prison time for felony fraud in the 1990's.

The job gave the man, Robert J. Stein, control over $82 million in cash earmarked for Iraqi rebuilding projects.

Along with a web of other conspirators who have not yet been named, Mr. Stein and his wife received "bribes, kickbacks and gratuities amounting to at least $200,000 per month" to steer lucrative construction contracts to companies run by another American, Philip H. Bloom, an affidavit outlining the criminal complaint says. Mr. Stein's wife, who was not named, has not been charged with wrongdoing in the case; Mr. Bloom was charged with a range of crimes on Wednesday.

[...]

The charges against Mr. Stein and Mr. Bloom have emerged from a sweeping probe of rebuilding contracts by a task force led by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, and including investigators from the criminal investigations division of the Internal Revenue Service, the immigration and customs enforcement section of the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department's inspector general.

Posted by Debbye at 08:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 17, 2005

"Nobody was beheaded or killed."

Nov. 17 - Can you imagine another country in the Mid-East (excluding Israel) in which allegations of torture would receive such media attention?

CNN's title is extremely misleading (Iraq official defends 'torture' facility) as Bayan Jabrm, Iraq's interior minister, didn't state there was a 'torture' facility nor was he defending the legitimacy of 'torture.'

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's interior minister has defended a government facility that was found to be holding dozens of prisoners, including some showing signs of torture, saying it held "the most criminal terrorists."

"Nobody was beheaded or killed," a defiant Bayan Jabr told a news conference Thursday, saying that only seven of 170 detainees showed marks of torture.

"Those detainees, those criminal killers inside the bunker were not Indians or Pakistanis or Iranians," he said, waving a stack of passports in the air. "Those are your Arab brothers that came here to kill your sons."

He said one detainee who had been reported as paralyzed was afflicted before his arrival at the facility and had been used "by one of the terrorists" to set off bombs.

"They gave the handicapped $1,000, and he was just a beggar," Jabr said. (Emphasis added.)

The minister said a judge was in charge at the facility and was dealing with each case. Jabr pledged to hold anyone who has tortured a detainee accountable.

"I will punish them if (the investigation) proves they are responsible for any violations," he said.

It is easy to be skeptical of Jabr's account of a handicapped man being used as a homicide bomber, but the revelations that mentally handicaped children were being used to launch terrorist attacks against Israel lends some credibility, no?

However, if the media are really interested in this kind of story there are thousands of mass graves in Iraq and I understand a great many people have stories of torture under the loving gazes of Saddam & Sons. They could investigate the treatment of prisoners in Egypt or Iran. They could even interview Bill Sampson as to the treatment he received from the Saudis.

Please believe that I'm not downplaying how serious these allegations are nor pretending that I am not dismayed by them, but merely pointing out that torture in many prisons (or holding facilities) is sadly common in many non-democratic nations. Zahra Kazemi was tortured in Iran and Bill Sampson was tortured in Saudia Arabia, yet Iraq is the likliest to actually take the allegations seriously, undertake an earnest investigation into the matter, and find out who is responsible.

This is a regrettable but not surprising bump along the road as Iraq attempts to rebuild her nation from one terrorized by a madman into one that respects human rights and is willing to protect those rights. (Heck, European and North American nations are still working on that human rights thing.)

I still have faith in the Iraqi people, and I wonder if future generations will talk about Iraqi "exceptionalism" or regard them as pioneers on uncharted terrain?

Posted by Debbye at 12:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Decaf coffee linked to heart risk

Nov. 17 - Decaf coffee linked to heart risk:

Drinking decaffeinated coffee could increase the risk of heart disease, a study has suggested.

It could lead to a rise in harmful cholesterol levels, the US National Institutes of Health study found.

Heh. I never touch the stuff.

Posted by Debbye at 12:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Able Danger

Nov. 17 - Former FBI director Louis Freeh writes about the dismissive attitude toward Able Danger by the Sept. 11 Commission in An Incomplete Investigation.


We're fully into the Christmas Holiday season at the store (including non-stop playing of the ubiquitous Christmas Holiday carols.) Posting will tend to be light until mid-January.

Posted by Debbye at 08:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

I am seeking an honest journalist

Nov. 14 - A few weeks ago Michelle Malkin noted the doctoring of a photo of Dr. Rice which showed her as a Go'auld (sorry, demon-hunters, everyone knows that demons have yellow eyes.)

Final word on this and attendant issues goes to Doggerel Pundit who cuts to the heart of the matter with a lament that is achingly familiar to those of us who are more interested in truth than propaganda and who have been repeated betrayed by those who call themselves journalists.

Posted by Debbye at 09:33 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Who's in your Front Row?

Nov. 14 - One staple of American philosophy is that "your rights end where the other fellow's nose begins." Implicit in this cliche is the recognition that individuals will inevitably meet people whom they don't like and who don't like them but a person's just gotta shrug it off and let it go.

Easier than it sounds, no? But I think most parents find that the first life lessons their kids learn in school are that (1) not everybody is going to like them and (2) nothing they can do will really change it. That second part is the hardest, and I doubt I'm the only parent who listened to their child's lament that after he did everything they could think of, little Johnny or Jane still despised him. (Gender specific because I had boys.)

On the one hand we teach our children to avoid "peer pressure" because we know their friends can lead them into all kinds of trouble. On the other we (Americans, in particular) are castigated because we defy "peer pressure" and embark upon courses of which "the rest of the world" disapproves. This isn't only about Iraq but also include Kyoto, social programs in which people become increasinlgy dependent on the state and, perhaps most of all, on gun control (or the lack thereof.) (Snark Time: maybe they want us to be like them in order to validate their compromises. Misery loves company, they say.)

The willingness to march to the beat of one's own drummer is one that is sorely and repeatedly tested and, let's be honest: sometimes we keep faith with our inner drummer and sometimes we wimp out.

I've finally been able to review comments left on posts made during my computer's comatose state and can only shake my head at how little people seem to know of recent history.

On my post for Rosa Parks there was an attack on the U.S. due to the "separate but equal" policy which was enshrined by the Supreme Court in Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896). I presume the troll also denounces an activist judiciary as this deplorable decision took nearly 60 years to be overturned because only the SCOTUS could overturn its own rulings. (He might also be expected to applaud Harry S. Truman despite the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he found a work-around to that Supreme Court decision and opened the proverbial roadblock to integration, and if the trolll doesn't I will.)

Then there's the claim that Americans didn't know our presence in Iraq would be lengthy. Actually, a CNN poll right after the fall of Baghdad says differently: a majority of the respondents said we would be there 3 years, and barely in second place was those who chose 5 years. Or, for those who pay attention and connect dots, a recent DoD press release spoke to the number of troops we currently have in Bosnia after 10 years and that situation is by no means stabilized yet despite their recent elections (which only occurred after just under 10 years of occupation.)

If Iraq is a quagmire, what is Bosnia? or, indeed, Cyprus?

What do they teach in schools these days? Evidently not the definition of fascism which includes "stringent socioeconomic conrols" and the "suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship" or Canadians would be more alarmed about their own laws permitting censorship and regulating the economy. Time was that leftists understood that laws intended to suppress their freedom of speech were often disguised as "progressive." (Of course, time was that leftists opposed gun control because they recognized the implicit threat to them. I can only conclude the left has gotten dumber.)

I may at some point address the claims that President Bush misled the nation about the state of Saddam's Iraq weapons research and capability but, as only a real wacko would try to pretend that Bush wasn't relying on intelligence collected by the prior Clinton administration as well as that of other nations, I will pass for today. Those who embark upon re-writing history need to rely so much on invective that I find it hard to respond without scorn (and I'm not in a scornful mood this morning.)

The personal is not the political. Polls that suggest that Canadians "dislike" President Bush always leave me baffled. Who freaking cares if Canadians "like" or "dislike" him? It's not a popularity contest! Clinton was (and is) very likeable but his "law enforcement" policies toward terrorists proved disasterous. One of the most likeable, decent and kindly men I ever had the privelege to meet was Jimmy Carter (when he was still governor of Georgia) but he was utterly inept as the Head of State. I can like him even as I deplore his weakness at a time of national crisis (okay, I don't often attack Carter. Truth is I think he has become unstable but that doesn't make him evil but misguided in his desperate efforts to justify his policies during his brief presidency. Any why blame him alone? Didn't many of us wish that the U.S. would take a closer look at their internal policies toward dissidents before allying herself with men like Marcos of the Phillipines as well as the Shah of Iran? I can't blame Carter for being shortsighted when I myself was so in my younger years.)

Sad Conclusion: liking them on a personal basis isn't a good enough reason to vote for them. We're adults, right? We get to vote in real elections because we are adults, and have presumably developed criteria beyond those necessary for selecting the Head Cheerleader.

The only rational measure must be about the policies of a state's leaders, and Bush's approval ratings in the U.S.A. can go up and down yet he still scores higher than the current Prime Minister of Canada. (Paul Martin would do cartwheels if he could garner Bush's approval figures at their lowest.)

There's a point to all this, right? Well, yes. I'm the sort of Christian who doesn't attend church but feels a personal relationship with my deity and my savour but nevertheless the catechism of my early years has left a lasting impression as to the faith and courage of the early Christian martyrs -- and how resolutely they defied peer pressure and refused to burn meaningless incense on the altars of false gods.

My friend Dex has long been a source of strength and kindness. He recently sent me the following which speaks to the difficulty of being true to oneself (and maybe should be sub-titled I Will Not Be A Co-dependent) because, by implication, it poses the question of who needs to approve of you the most: You, or Toxic Others.

THE FRONT ROW

Life is a theater - invite your audience carefully. Not everyone is holy enough and healthy enough to have a front row seat in your life.

There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships, friendships or fellowships.

Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention to: Which ones lift up and which ones tear down? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don't really understand, know and appreciate you and the gift that lies within you?

The more you seek God and the things of God -- the more you seek quality. The more you seek not just the hand of God but the face of God -- the more you seek things honorable -- the more you seek growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the FRONT ROW of your life and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.

You cannot change the people around you...but you can change the people you are around! Ask God for wisdom and discernment and choose wisely the people who sit in the front row of your life. [My bolding.]

(Author Unknown)

Dex added this postscript: I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. Helen Keller

What is your "something that you can do?"

Posted by Debbye at 07:58 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

Stupid, stupid computer

Nov. 11 - Sorry about my sudden absence, folks. Danged computer died and it took awhile to get it back up and running which was complicated by an intense work load.

Best amend that to just "running." There are still some features that disappeared and had to be re-installed and some old features that reappeared - like just how freaking old is Morpheus, anyway? and how many times do I have to uninstall Wild Tangent until goes away and leaves me alone?

At least I no longer need to wrestle over whether to get rid of Kazaa, and in one blazingly cheering revelation I realized that not only was it gone but that all its accompanying adware was also gone yet all my downloads remain. It doesn't seem quite cricket somehow, but I'll take it.


Recent news items have left me shaking my head. Some chickens may have come home to roost but other members of the fowl family cluck cheerfully along. The terror attacks in Jordan showed the futility of trying to fool all of the people all of the time. The latest reports are all about the shock that Palestinians were the victims of the bombings:

SILET AL-THAHER, West Bank -- In this village, the Akhras clan mourned 17 relatives killed by a suicide bomber in Jordan -- the first time Palestinians have been a target in a suicide attack.

"Oh, my God, oh, my God. Is it possible that Arabs are killing Arabs, Muslims killing Muslims?" asked Najah Akhras, 35, who lost two nieces.

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip yesterday, Palestinians expressed outrage over suicide attacks aimed at civilians.

That's from an AP dispatch, by the way, and I am incapable of commenting because my head is spinning as I wonder who the hell was killed in Bali, Jerusalem, Istanbul, London, Madrid, New York City and IRAQ (I know - I left some terror attacks out. Head. Spinning. remember?)

Then there's France, where the rioting of "insurgents" are in part a consequence of a country which has successfully fooled most of its people all of the time.

I don't believe that those who advocated multi-culturalism were actively or knowingly promoting racist policies, but it does seem that one result has been to isolate rather than genuinely embrace non-European immigrants and the events of the past two weeks have perhaps been hardest of all on the parents and grandparents of these young Molotov tossers who moved to France in pursuit of a better future for their children. Their reward was to be denied protection by the law from lawlessness - after all, whose cars, schools and businesses were torched?

Was I the only person yelling "Use tear gas!" every time clips came up on the news? The kind of thinking that dictated that it would be racist to confront and stop the rampaging led to the French government's choice to deny these "other" citizens their indisputable right to be protected by the law from lawlessness. But then it wasn't whitey's car a-burning, you know?

But they did rouse themselves sufficiently to put out full police presence to protect a military parade.

The ease with which people are willing - even desperate - to be fooled was indicated in Canada when the initial Gomery report exonerated Paul Martin from any involvement in much less knowledge of Adscam or, as Doug Fisher put it, "Gomery's whitewash of Martin is both thorough and repetitious" and the report also cruised past what senior government bureaucrats knew or did not know (we already know that they did nothing.)

Mark just called and for some reason emails being sent to him are being bounced back. I need to "fix" it and then tackle my own email. The universe can be so very unkind.

Posted by Debbye at 09:19 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack