Thursday, November 29, 2007

Send in the Marines

Alright, so I know I am going Christian Science Monitor crazy lately but an article today made me very happy. It seems that the United States Marine Corps wants to go into Afghanistan. It's about fucking time.

Gen. James Conway (left, standing) has decided that the situation in Afghanistan is unacceptable, with the Taliban now successfully defending it's strongholds. He has pushing hard for troops to be re-deployed from Iraq to Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he is meeting resistance in the Pentagon.

Most of the reason for the resistance is political--the Pentagon does not want to admit that we haven't secured the country--so I hope some of these morons pull their heads out of their collective asses and realize that THIS IS WHERE THE PEOPLE WHO ATTACKED US ON 9-11 ARE HANGING OUT!!!


Anyway, it does my heart proud to know that people like General Conway are on the case. If the plan is approved, they could be re-deployed early next year. Here's hoping that it happens.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Simply Spectacular

This article from yesterday's Christian Science Monitor was stunning. I would love to see this show.

Here is my favorite quote, from the series director:

....what is endangering peace is extremist thinking, and political hard-liners that separate people from each other. God created people to love each other, regardless of religion.... Unfortunately [when it comes to] religion the current of extremism is always on, creating misunderstanding between cultures.

Kinda sums up the leaders of the United States and Iran in the year 2007, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Proving Me Wrong

You know what I love? When President Bush proves me wrong. I always chuckle heartily when conservatives say things to me like:

"You just hate being wrong" or

"You're the one who is stubborn" or

"You're narrow minded."

"No, that's you" is usually my response because it is, in fact, the truth.

I spend a lot of time ripping President Bush for his lack of a fine touch, particularly when it comes to diplomacy. And yet, today he has brought together Ehud Ohmert, Prime Minister of Israel (right), and Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian people (left) for a peace conference.

I suppose I could be skeptical and say that nothing will come from it but didn't they say the same thing about Ireland? Look at how that turned out. At least President Bush is trying.

To be perfectly honest, he has done more than that. I recall in 2002, he made history by being the first sitting US president to mention the words "Palestinian" and "state" in the same sentence. Not even the most popular president in the history of our country (and in the world), Bill Clinton, can lay claim to that fame. Pretty wild, coming from a guy who has failed in just about every other area.

And, I have to say, that I do skip with glee when my hard core conservative friends stew about stuff like this. It really is fun to see their pea brains completely unable to comprehend why their commander guy isn't blowing things up like a good ol' boy should be doing!

So, really, either way, I see it as a victory for myself. If I am right that Bush is a political incompetent, then I have the satisfaction of winning the debate and hopefully encouraging people to look for a better alternative. If I am wrong, that means that President Bush is doing what he should be doing--what I know he NEEDS to do--to win the peace and, ultimately, the war of ideas that is truly the center of our struggle with Islam.

I'm WRONG and I love it!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

On Politics and War

Sometimes there is a person that quite eloquently expresses certain thoughts or feelings in a much better way than you every could do so. I read this opinion piece by James R. Pinkerton (Newsday) and was quite struck by it's summative simplicity in describing our difficulties in Iraq and the Middle East in general. He does a wonderful job of engaging in theater, taking on the persona of one Carl von Clausewitz (left), author of the book On War

Some choice quotes.

Smart strategists know - because they read it in my book - that politics and war are a continuum. They are not separate. If you win a war and then lose the politics, well, you have lost the war.

From your point of view, it's great that the Americans and Israelis can defeat the Arabs. But until you have altered Arab/Muslim political thinking - by breaking or otherwise changing their political will - then peace conferences are mere mirage-castles in the air.

I couldn't agree more. There has been a lot of talk lately about how well the war is going in Iraq. Violence is down, people are out on the streets more, and the American military is doing a better job of keeping the peace. These things are all true.

It is also true that, by Clausewitz's standards, we are losing. And not just Iraq but the wider war of ideology with Islamic extremists. I submit that we are losing because the current administration and its lapdogs in pundit land have a third grade understanding of diplomacy and politics.

Perhaps it is because they are single minded in their approach for control over the world's oil reserves and the profit therein. Or perhaps they are just morons who haven't the first clue on Middle Eastern politics. (Side rant: I am still trying to figure out why "elitist" scholars and diplomats in this situation are bad and would doom our nation to darkness. Could someone help me out, please?) Regardless, no matter how many conservatives you see skipping on the streets singing about how things are "better" in Iraq, please don't let their little song and dance fool you.

Because the question needs to be this: how DO you break their political will? I think the military is only one small party of the solution. Many conservatives will have you believe that any option other than force is a sign of weakness. This is a lie. They say this because they being paid off by the people in corporate American who stand to lose the most money in what is without a doubt the largest amount of war time profiteering in the history of our country (Harry Truman is rolling in his grave).

Conservatives also say this because they are covering for the fact that they don't know what they are doing. They are simply not competent nor intelligent enough to win this war--in the classic Clauswitzian sense--and are dooming us to complete failure. They obviously haven't read Clauswitz, which is odd because it has been required reading at all of the major military academies in our country. I shouldn't be surprised, I guess.

As usual, conservatives are lashing out at liberals who point out that there is still much to be done and many problems unresolved, not to mention the fact that we are partially responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands innocent civilians over the past four and a half years. I guess it's pretty typical of the collective short man syndrome they all seem to suffer from and the complete lack of depth and understanding for what it means to truly win this struggle.

They will continue, at least for the next 14 months anyway, to bluster, whine, and stomp their feet--full of sound and fury, signifying nothing--while the people that are preparing to run this government in 2009 make plans to actually win.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thank You, Kevin Baker

I have to give credit where it's due...even if it is at the opposite end of the political spectrum. A recent picture I put up on this blog generated double the amount of hits I normally get per day and, thus, we set a new record at Notes From the Front: a whopping 600 unique page loads in one day!! Kevin Baker, proprietor of The Smallest Minority, put up the link on his blog, whose daily page loads far exceed mine, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

I would pay attention to his blog over the course of the next few months, especially if you are a gun rights advocate. There is a big case to be heard in the Supreme Court regarding gun rights in our nation's capital and, as always, Mr. Baker will be all over this one like white on rice.

Thanks again, KB!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thank You, America

Well, apparently the rest of the world should bow down in supplication and give thanks, this holiday season, to America. According to Mark Steyn, the rest of the world, particularly Europe, need to follow America's shining example of the last seven years and use us a model for a "functioning nation state."

In addition to throwing up in my mouth a little bit, I wonder in which America Mr. Steyn resides. Because the one I live in currently looks like its completely broken, filled with blind ideologues who refuse to see the forest for the trees and, ironically, think the same of me. I think Our Girl Friday summed it up best recently in comments:

i happen to think (the tiny minority but hugely influential) US ideological extremists (secular and political) are possibly THE most dangerous type on earth (the A-team of heightened alert) and greatest threat to homeland security, not to mention global, in perpetuating policies that actively search out or create new enemies and fault lines of confrontation ('creative chaos') in parts of the world that have already been ravaged by our foreign policies and other extremists, when the key to security at home & beyond is dialogue, powerful pro-active diplomacy and genuine democracy protection or promotion. None of which have been pursued on the international scene or encouraged, beyond hypocritical rhetoric and utterly opposing actions.

The Big Lie (aka appeal to fear) is that these IEs (ideological extremists) have successfully convinced around 30 million people in this country that if we don't handle our foreign affairs EXACTLY the way they tell us we have to, then we are haters of America, naive, weak, and will doom ourselves to years of oppressive totalitarianism.

What it really means is that they will have less control and make less money, which is what this really all about....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Indoctrinate U Trailer

Crabmaster Scracth just sent me this video and I think it really illustrates two things.

First, this is how the right manages the message and appeals to fear, manufacturing a controversy and flat out lying.

Second, it is a shining example of how the right is now hilariously portraying themselves as victims. I thought they hated that?

Ah well, anything to move one step closer to all of us thinking the same....

The Wrong Friend

I got this piece from the LA Times earlier in the week from Our Girl Friday, Joanne Tucker. I think it rings true, in light of the fact that Pakistan's previous prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and our previous president, Bill Clinton, actually had a plan to take out Al Qaeda.

Is Musharraf blocking the US on purpose? Why would he do that?

I guess I really don't have the answers...only speculation.

I do know this: with each passing day, Pakistan becomes more and more of a danger to homeland security and I really don't think, given the track record, that Bush Co. has much concern.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Heightened UnAlert Volume 1

After careful consideration, I have come to the unmistakable conclusion that most conservatives are afraid of the wrong things. So this week, I am starting a new series, to be continued from time to time similar to Grab Bag and Profiles in Courage, that highlight this silliness.

Strike up a conversation with a conservative friend and you will find him or her principally worried about terrorism, immigration, and poor people thieving from their wallets. Notice that the subtext here is "the other" or the strange, different person from the far away land of....wherever...taking something from them or invading their space.

Liberals, however, seemed concerned mostly about health care, education, and the environment...all things that will help people live better lives and ultimately improve our country.

Even within each category that conservatives value as being top concerns they are way off base. Poor people thieving from your wallet? This is actually known as belief perseverance or confirmation bias. The same could be said for their views on immigration, which are so unrealistic and child-like that it's hard for me to listen to them seriously. Nothing, however, is more silly than a conservative's view on terrorism and national security.

At this point, I think it's obvious to most people that Iraq was never really a serious threat and that we probably should have kept our focus on Afghanistan. I admit that, back in the fall of 2001, we really looked we were going to head in the right direction, policy wise. Then Tora Bora happened, the administration turned almost immediately to Iraq, and I realized, to my horror, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney honestly do not give a rat's ass about the people that attacked us on 9-11. If they did, we would not have the situation we currently have in Pakistan.

To put it bluntly, Pakistan is a powder keg with a quarter of a centimeter long fuse. Large portions of the country have been taken over by radicals. President Musharaf, leader of Pakistan, has more or less suspended democracy in favor of a dictatorship. According to all of the latest National Intelligence Assessments, Al Qaeda has reconstituted itself in the various tribal areas of Pakistan and is at pre-9/11 strength.

Oh, and Pakistan has somewhere in the neighborhood of three dozen nuclear warheads.


And people in this country are worried about Iraq falling into the wrong hands?

Folks, Pakistan IS in the wrong hands and it's getting worse everyday. Don't believe me? Check out the Oct 29, 2007 edition of Newsweek. Here is the money quote:

Today no other country on earth is arguably more dangerous than Pakistan. It has everything Osama bin Laden could ask for: political instability, a trusted network of radical Islamists, an abundance of angry young anti-Western recruits, secluded training areas, access to state-of-the-art electronic technology, regular air service to the West and security services that don't always do what they're supposed to do. Then there's the country's large and growing nuclear program. "If you were to look around the world for where Al Qaeda is going to find its bomb, it's right in their backyard," says Bruce Riedel, the former senior director for South Asia on the National Security Council.

The whole article is stunning and yet another shining example of how sub moronic the Bush Administration's policy on terrorism is devoid of priorities. One would think that the man who once said, "bin Laden, Dead or Alive" would actually live up to his word and do something about Pakistan, other than what he is currently doing which is offering a bunch of lip service to the media and sending low level diplomats to talk to Musharaf.

Mention Pakistan to a conservative (please do's really a hoot) and you will get a surprisingly laissez faire response. Here are some that I have heard recently.

"Bomb Pakistan? Aren't they are allies. To do so would be colossally stupid."

"Musharaf is doing the best he can. Those folks over there can't handle democracy. They need to be ruled with an iron hand."

"Things are just fine over there. We need to stay focused on Iraq, building democracy there so it will spread to Pakistan and other countries in the region at a later date."


Talk about hypocrisy. So....what....they are the only ones allowed to be tough and if anyone else, like say...Barack Obama talks about military action in Pakistan then it's time to stomp their feet and throw an eight year old temper tantrum, yelling, "No! No! You can't do that! No!"

Or they will revert to the old "It's all Bill Clinton's fault" mantra. Perhaps they haven't read this article, recently sent to me be a loyal reader, which details how it was Musharraf, after seizing power in 1999, who refused to complete a joint US-Pakistani operation (started with ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) that would've possibly taken out bin Laden. It was President Clinton and his staff that had been working on this operation since the failed 1998 bombing.

We need to get serious about Pakistan now. I would suggest an operation in Pakistan that cleans out the tribal regions once and for all. Right now, the Bush Administration, in a shit eatingly stupid maneuver, is sending around 15o million dollars to the region to "win hearts and minds."

I'll give all of you one guess as to where that money is really going.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Weekend Fun

I just found this while surfing. My stomach still hurts.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Alright, I Need Help

I hate to say this but I am panicked. The Writer's Guild Strike is making me nervous. In another two weeks or so, no new shows. I don't watch all that much TV but I do enjoy a few and the prospect of digging into my old Star Treks isn't all that appealing.

Am I that shallow that I can't just watch a movie or read a book?

Perhaps I am.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who Me? Responsible?

Well, that evil liberal Nick Coleman is at it again. His recent column about the 35W Bridge collapse has firmly cemented him as a degenerate, political crier who refuses to see the great things that government can accomplish when it is gutted.

What an asshole. How dare he question the commitment and individual responsibility of our state Republican leadership? Doesn't he know that you aren't allowed to do that? Because when you question whether or not conservatives actually can be personally responsible, an angel dies.

This is so typical of the times and, as usual, liberals have got it all wrong. They let conservatives dictate the playing field when they should just go make their own. They whine, piss, moan, and run like frightened mice when a conservative accuses them of being "mean" or "playing politics."
I would suggest that they go after the issue of responsibility. Most conservatives talk a good game about responsibility but shirk it on every issue. The party that constantly touts taking responsibility strangely has been taking none of it, never so true as we have seen with the 35W bridge collapse.

How about some illuminating examples?

Health Care? Fuck you, get you hands out of my wallet. I don't give a shit about you. Just work hard and you'll be rewarded by the free market.

Environment? Any problems are not my fault.

Education? Also not my problem.

National Security? Everyone who has attacked us is completely at fault and we are not because we are all about freedom.

Disaster Preparedness? Not my problem. Also not the governments. Fuck you, you're on your own. At the end of the day, you will be better for it. This is pretty much the attitude of Carol Molnau, Tim Pawlenty, and the other laughably irresponsible members of the Minnesota State Republican party. As Coleman says, it's almost as if the bridge never fell.

Because the government can't possibly be held responsible for bridges. That's up to us and the free market. We just need to put our faith in private industry because they have proven to be so much more competent and trustworthy than the government, right? Competition breeds better service, unlike the government, correct?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Matter of Ideology

In the post below this one, the comments section produced this gem from John Waxy

What a crock of shit...the free market, run by people who by definition want and need to make a profit will solve the societal needs of this country. We have done this already people, it was called the Middle Ages and our figurative ancestors came here to get away from it because it no longer worked!

Well played, sir. Well played. But I think it goes deeper than that. I read this a while back, during Katrina, and it really sums up why things are so fucked up in this country.

While condemnation of the government response to Katrina has centered on specific failures...., significant criticism has also identified political conservatism as the overriding cause of problems in the way the disaster was handled. These critics argue that the alleged unreadiness of the United States National Guard, negligence of federal authorities, and haplessness of officials such as Michael Brown did not represent inherent incompetence on the part of the federal authorities.

Instead, these failures are seen as natural and deliberate consequences of the conservative ruling philosophy embraced by the George W. Bush administration, especially conservative policies to force reductions in government expenditure, privatize key government responsibilities such as disaster preparedness, and prioritize military spending over spending at home.

These critics also target what is perceived as the failed reconstruction effort in New Orleans, claiming that it represents another political success for "sink or swim" ideology: a "government-subsidized gentrification plan" intended to eliminate what the neoconservative news magazine The Weekly Standard has called "the community that appalled the rest of America when wall-to-wall television coverage of Katrina showed us just what it looked like: poor, black, with astonishingly high unemployment and welfare dependency rates.

Arguments targeting the role of conservatism in these aspects of the Katrina response cite examples such as the systematic dismantling of FEMA by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the more than US$150 million Homeland Security awarded in contracts to Halliburton and Blackwater USA for services in the disaster, and statements such as those by U.S. Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson that “only the best residents should return" to the reconstructed city of New Orleans.

Welcome to the United Corporations of America in 2007. Remember, you have free will so all is well!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Point of Origin

I hope that everyone realizes that I was being sarcastic in the post yesterday. Some didn't and I got some shocked emails and worried phone calls that I slipped off the deep end. The truth is that I really wanted a summation, from the conservative side, of why we have problems in this country. At one time or another, this is what I have been told by the right and when you look at the list, don't you just start laughing? I do....

What is very bizarre about the whole situation is that these very conservatives have been running the show for the last seven years. So can someone explain to me how it's the liberals' fault when they don't have the power to do anything and haven't since Bill Clinton was president? And don't give me the "They have Congress now" bullcrap because clearly that hasn't worked out. If they want to bitch, they should start by looking in the mirror.

Every problem has a point of origin. If we have these problems now and the conservatives are driving these policies that cause the problems, then they are the point of origin and, thus, bear the responsibility. What is going on right now reminds of when I hear a crash in my house and run into the room where the noise occurred. I get the louder of my two children pointing at the other saying, "He did it!!!"

Actually, the picture above pretty much sums it up.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pass The Dutchie To The Left Hand Side

As we draw closer to the election year, I thought it would be prudent to take an honest look at the irrevocable harm that liberals have done to this country. I feel that it's important to take stock, as it were, and closely examine who is responsible for the downturn our country has taken and who is not.

Of late, I have been reminded of what exactly is at stake by several friends of mine on the right side of the aisle. Everything from small drips of polite words, here and there, to torrential, raging downpours of fervent ideology have been directed my way in the past few weeks, pointing the finger of blame directly at the left of this country. So, how about all of us here at Notes From The Front tally up the liberals' record thus far? We really need to get a sense of where of our current status. And we really need an honest one.

Bear in mind, I used only the facts, as they are known to conservatives, to produce this assessment so there is no wavering from these points. They are rock solid truth.

In chronological order:

1. September 11th Attacks. Could have been prevented if not for President Clinton's dismantling of the military in the 90s and having his hand on the chicken switch, not taking out bin Laden soon enough. 8 years of soft, liberal rule gave Al Qaeda the opportunity it needed.

2. Anthrax Attacks. The fault of the liberal media. They brought it on themselves for spreading lies. Probably the work of a foreigner, whose multi-culti lies liberals believe on a daily basis.

3. Tora Bora.
bin Laden et al slipped away due to the liberals not supporting the war effort enough, forcing Bush into sending in a proxy force.

4. Iraq. The blame for all problems in Iraq going as badly as it has can be spread out over several groups:
a. Liberal Democrats playing politics with our brave soldiers lives.
b. The liberal media who never gives Bush a chance and over reports all the bad news all the time and never any good news ever.
c. The Hollywood elite, whose anti American hit pieces aid and abet our enemy everyday, costing thousands of lives of our brave soldiers.
d. The people of this country who voted for Al Gore and John Kerry (two traitors who would've sat back and done nothing when were attacked on 9-11) or should I say SHEEPLE of this country who are too blinded by partisanship to see that the real problems here are a, b, and c.

5. War on Terror. Liberals will not do what is necessary to win our struggle. This includes wiretapping to protect our great nation, torture to prevent further attacks, exposing traitors like Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, and preventing brown people from entering our country. Because of this, we are doomed.

6. Hurricane Katrina. The response to this horrible tragedy was poor because of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin. They are the complete bearers of blame and fault. If they had done a better job, they wouldn't have so much blood on their hands.

7. Climate Change is a lie made up by liberals who want to profit from zealotry. By playing into people's fears, a great disservice is done to the backbone of America: our corporations, who exist only to help us and give us comfortable lives. This "threat" is a figment of Al Gore's imagination, a classic re-direct to keep our eyes off the real enemy, who are China, Russia, France, England, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Venezuella, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Vietnam, North Korea, Japan, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Libya, and the Republic of Lesotho.

8. Health Care is in the crapper because the Democrats over regulate the free market, which, if left alone, would sort everything out just fine.

9. The Economy is in dire straits because of the massive amount of spending that the Democratic controlled Congress is pushing for in the new budget. It will destroy our country.

10. Education. Our schools our liberal indoctrination centers whose main purpose is to churn out America haters. Thankfully, No Child Left Behind will fix all of this.

11. Values
are gone in this country because of people like Sally Field, buying their kids liquor, condoms, and hotel rooms on prom night rather than gearing up for battle. Liberals are also responsible for the spread of homosexuality, a behavior problem that can be cured.

Take a look at this list and tell me honestly: can you vote for a liberal now? They have spent the last seven years plotting to destroy this country and have almost been successful. If it weren't for the dutiful, watching eyes of George W. Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney, all would be lost.

I am certain there are more than just these ten items. How about helping me out? This is an organic process, after all, and we really need to get it right.

You know, for the history books.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cheese Land

Now I'm at the usual point that every Vikings fan has each year: I begin to have hope. And every year, my hopes are dashed, usually by mind numbingly bad coaching.

This weekend, though, I am going to try to remain upbeat. The Vikings have the best running back the game has seen in a long time. Adrian Peterson is in a different stratosphere and a total blast to watch. This simple fact could be the tide turner.

If the Vikings can bring that same pass defense that they brought against San Diego, Favre is going to throw some interceptions. We know Green Bay is not going to run the ball so it's going to be a pass festival.

In addition, we have to keep pounding the ball with the run so we can make them come up in the box to play defense. Then we can start hitting them with passes, assuming of course we have Bollinger start who I think is our best shot at beating the Cheesers.

So, the question becomes...can they execute? Will Childress get to far up his own ass and fuck things up? And will All Day rush for 300?

I'm looking forward to it....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

February 2009: United States and Iran Summit

Day One: President Obama welcomed President Ahmadinejad in the first ever meeting between leaders of the United States and Iran. The meeting took place on US soil.

The United States spent the day formally apologizing for all wrongs done to Iran, focusing specifically on 1953 coup, by the CIA, of the Democratically elected leader Dr Mohammed Mossadegh. All troops are removed from around Iran and re-deployed to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The day concluded with a pledge to cease meddling in Iranian affairs and to support its nuclear energy program.

Day Two: Iran was scheduled to apologize for the wrongs they have done to the United States. President Ahmadinejad was strangely silent.

Day Three: Goodwill tours are taken around the capital, including a visit by both presidents to the Gay Pride Institute. President Ahmadinejad appeared confused and slightly uncomfortable.

Day Four: The United States repeated its apologies at a general session at the UN. A cacophony of applause was heard and howls of "America, Fuck Yeah" are heard from the assembly. Iran did not apologize, instead criticizing the United States, calling it "the devil."

Day Five: As President Ahmadinejad flew back to Tehran, his military told him that the United States had begun operations, along with Pakistani forces, inside of Pakistan to capture or eliminate the remnants of Al Qaeda. A communique was issued directly from President Obama. It was short and simple:

Pay attention to what we are doing today. Step out of line and you're next.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What In.....#$#%#$% Tarnation?

I was watching the news today and saw, with what can only be described as shock and awe, that Pat Robertson has endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president.

Would someone please tell me if I have entered a parallel universe?

I am completely at a loss for words and this news, monumentally stunning as it is, has caused me to not put up the post regarding my plan for Iran.

At this point, I don't know if I like Rudy less or Pat's all so confusing...someone please help!!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I know it's an off year but get out and VOTE. There are plenty of school board and council seats up for elections which could affect your local area.

And it is your civic duty.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Appeal To Fear

Right before the election last year, President Bush said the following about Islamic radicals.

"They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call caliphate, where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology ... This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia."

I thought of this recently because a friend of mine at the gym mentioned this to me in relation to Iran. Many folks I know, of the conservative ilk, have been talking about this quite a bit lately, insisting that if we don't continue to do exactly what Bush-Cheney want us to do in the Middle East, our entire nation will be enslaved in the caliphate. So, when conservatives talk, y'all know I listen!!! After all, they're just as rational as anyone, right? Actually, it's serendipitous because I have actually been thinking a lot lately about Iran, Pakistan, Islamist radicals, and their plan for the future of the world.

I have to say, though, in looking at all of this, I'm pretty underwhelmed and, quite frankly unimpressed. A caliphate? Really?

A caliphate is the only form of governance that has full approval in traditional Islamic
theology. It is the Islamic form of government representing the political unity and leadership of the Muslim world. The simple fact that the word "unity" is included in this definition causes me to seriously wonder if this is possible. I spend a lot of time watching news from the Middle East and, even with taking Israel and the United States out of the equation, folks in that part of the world seem to do a pretty good job being just about as disparate as possible.

To hear some conservatives talk these days, it would seem that legions of angry Islamists are at the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate bridge ready to pounce, forcing into conversion, slavery or death. Now, I don't want to play down the threat from people that use terrorism as a tool but let's really take a look at these folks and tell me, honestly, is it really possible?

As much of a threat as bin Laden is (and I do think he is a threat), he has never really been able to establish unity with any serious country. All of them, save one, have kicked him out over the years. Iran? Well, they're Shiite and we all know how well they get along with Sunnis (see: Iraq). Honestly, even with one or two atomic bombs, is their military really up to the task? They had a defense budget of 6 billion on 2005, lower than any other Persian Gulf country. They haven't fought in any major combat since 1989. I have to say that I am really beginning to question how much of a "threat" they actually are and how much of what we hear coming out of Bush-Cheney's mouth is geo-political maneuvering to get their oil.

To be sure, these "threats" might disrupt our nation with more attacks and many lives could be lost but do you think that we, as well as the rest of Western civilization is going to collapse to a caliphate? I asked this question of my gym friend and he told me that it is already happening in Europe due to the large number of Islamic immigrants living there. "They have set up their bases," he informed me, "and are readying their forces." Readying their forces? Hmm...I think this may come as a shock to the European Union as well as the individual heads of state of each country. After some careful thought, I began to realize that what he, and many others including myself have been a victim of these last six years, is "Appeal To Fear."

Appeal To Fear is a logical fallacy in which a person (in this case President Bush, VP Cheney and minions) attempts to create support for his idea by increasing fear and prejudice toward a competitor. The appeal to fear is extremely common in marketing and politics. It works something like this:

If P, then Q
Q is fearsome
Therefore P is true.

An example would be the following. Hitler never wore a seat belt. Neither does my friend Crabmaster Scratch (true btw). Therefore, Crabmaster is just like Hitler.

This is exactly what certain people are saying now with this whole caliphate business. They are using our fear of the unknown to allow them to pursue their agenda which, in all honesty, has nothing to do with protecting us from a caliphate. Just because Islamists say they want to do it doesn't mean they can do it. Nor does it mean that all Muslims are going to support it. By exaggerating the threat posed by those who would use terror as a tool, Bush etc is completely fucking us over from a strategic standpoint. How do you get a factional Muslim world to unify?

Gang up on the Crusaders. And that's pretty much what is going on now in Iraq.

In the end, what really astounds me is when you call people on their appeal to fear they respond by using.....another appeal to fear. Some of my conservative friends have howled back to me with retorts of "Appeaser!" and "Munich 1938!" My favorite: "Are you a FOO?" (Friend Of Osama). So basically, if I don't believe their paranoid and wildly unsubstantiated fear, then I am naive and foolish. Now I get it!!

For the rest of this week, I am going to post some logical, intelligent, and rational thoughts regarding what I think should be done about the ACTUAL threat of radicals as opposed to the Tinkerbell version. As always, I am interested in your views as well.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Fun

I have received several emails over the last few weeks requesting that I rant about something other than politics. I thought I did sometimes? Anyway, starting on Fridays, I am going to rant/rave about sports and entertainment. They are two topics I am just as passionate about as politics so I figured why not?

I know this sounds very played the Minnesota Vikings absolutely suck or what? Good gravy, I don't think I have ever seen a more harmless offense. Every Sunday I sit in my chair, watching each game, and I can tell what flippin' play they are going to run. Imagine what someone (i.e. professional football coach) who watches 60 hours of film a week is able to do.

And the pass defense? I don't think I have ever seen a more terrible unit. When 3rd and whatever comes up, it's a 15 yard pass play straight up the middle to a wide open player. EVERY SINGLE MICKY FRIKKIN' TIME!!!!!! Argh!!!!!! Charlie Brown's stomach, after Lucy pulls away the football, isn't even as close to as sick as mine. The funny thing is...the coaching staff of the Vikings doesn't seem to notice. They are so trapped in their own hubris, from the little major right on down, they can't see that their "system" doesn't work.

Word of advice to prospective athletes: when you hear the word SYSTEM......


Thursday, November 01, 2007


Last week, I received the following email from one of my uncles.

Hey Mark,

Did you hear that FEMA did a short notice 'mock' press conference with
FEMA employees asking canned questions of the FEMA leadership regarding
their 'most excellent' response to the wildfires v. katrina....they
didn't let the press know until 15 minutes before, so offered a "listen
only" teleconference to the press and then asked their staged
questions..."nice job Brownie!'

Further research turned up the videos below this post. The first is when they broke in live with the "press conference" and the second video is the aftermath.

FEMA's fake press conference

Fake News Reporters from FEMA concerning Calif. Wildfires