American Inaction

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ISIS

Maybe our incompetent, indecisive president would finally take revenge on ISIS if some African-American citizens/reporters were beheaded. Just being American  doesn’t appear to be enough of an incentive,

And you want a strategy Mr. President? Here’s one. Send the United States Military, in force, to Iraq and kill every one of those low-life radical-Muslim bastards. We have the justification but we still seem to be lacking the guts — lacking an an administration with guts that is.

We need to RE-TEACH the world that the United States will never lie down and sit back while cowardly terrorists are killing Americans OR our allies while hiding behind masks.  

Rep. Rangel’s Draft Proposal: A Seriously Good Idea

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Daily news and commentary by: Whymrhymer at the Blogger News Network

When U.S. Representative Rangel went on Face The Nation on Sunday and dropped his ‘let’s reinstate the draft bombshell,’ I don’t think he expected that so many people would believe he was serious. Rangel, sly old fox that he is, made his proposal to reinstate the draft as a jab at all the legislators who support the Iraq war as well as those who are promoting military options to combat threats by Iran and North Korea. He want’s them to see what he perceives to be the inevitable result of a military stretched to and beyond its limits.

A serious proposal or a political ploy, either way, Rangel has started (or re-started) a National debate on the draft that has both the supporters and detractors of the draft pulling out their best arguments and that’s a healthy thing for America.

“Young people (would) commit themselves to a couple of years in service to this great republic, whether it’s our seaports, our airports, in schools (or) in hospitals. — Rangel on Face The Nation”

I am heartened by the number of Americans who see the benefits of a mandatory period (most say two years) of military service or public service by every American as he or she graduates from High School and before starting college or that first full-time job. No deferments except for serious health concerns!

The concept that the benefits of being an American comes with an obligation has long been removed from our society and we are worse off for it. Too many Americans have grown, in a civic sense, to be fat, lazy and self-important. Too many Americans seem to feel that they owe nothing to America but, just the opposite, that America owes them a good life.

I join those who think that Rangel’s proposal (or ruse) is a seriously good idea. A mandatory period of either military service or service in some position that benefits greater society is one way to start a cycle that will eventually bring America back to the proud society it once was; and with pride comes strength.

To those who would rather leave the country rather than serve it: Bye!

Links:

The Cincinnati Post: Bringing back the draft

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Fewer new members of Congress have military experience

From the blogosphere:

Sgt. Mom at the Blogger News Network: Caught in the Draft?

Robert VerBruggen at the Blogger News Network: Rangel to introduce draft legislation

Dan Rodricks’ Random Rodricks: Broadening patriotism

If you are dedicated to news and to blogging, The Blogger News Network has an offer you may not want to refuse. Go check it out!

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Talk About “Arrogance” and “Stupidity”

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Daily news and commentary by: Whymrhymer at the Blogger News Network

“The occupier has started to search for a face-saving way out. The resistance, with all its factions, is determined to continue fighting until the enemy is brought down to his knees and sits on (sic) the negotiating table or is dealt, with God’s help, a humiliating defeat.”

These are the words of a person who called himself “Abu Mohammed” as he spoke on Al-Jazeera television on Friday. The “occupier” he speaks of is the United States and the “resistance, with all its factions” is a reference to the various insurgent groups operating in Iraq. Abu Mohammed, just previous to that statement, had listed a set of “conditions” for any negotiations; conditions that even an Arab terrorist would not take seriously. According to a Boston Herald article:

“. . . the man, appeared to set near impossible conditions for the start of any talks with the Americans, including the return to service of Saddam’s armed forces, the annulment of every law adopted since Saddam’s ouster, the recognition of insurgent groups as the sole representatives of the Iraqi people and a timetable for a gradual, unconditional withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops in Iraq.”

Alberto Fernandez, the director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near-Eastern Affairs at the U.S. State Department went on Al-Jazeera television on Friday to respond to Abu Mohammed’s statement and conditions. Fernandez spoke like a “true” diplomat (giving some credit and taking some credit) but true diplomacy has long been dead; today’s diplomat is only supposed to speak in officially sanctioned sentences. What Fernandez said (if translated correctly . . . he spoke in Arabic), may cost him his job. This is the translated excerpt of what he said that is being published in the media:

“We tried to do our best, but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq.

“We are open to dialogue because we all know that, at the end of the day, the solution to the hell and the killings in Iraq is linked to an effective Iraqi national reconciliation. The Iraqi government is convinced of this.”

Fernandez’s accusations of “stupidity” and “arrogance” on the part of the U.S. made headlines around the world and earned a quick rebuttal from an “anonymous” senior Bush administration official: “Those comments obviously don’t reflect our position,” he said. The official rebuttal came later from U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack who suggested that Fernandez himself denies that the translation is an “accurate reflection of what he said.” Officially, McCormack denies that history will reflect any stupidity or arrogance on the part of the United States.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave . . .”

Talk about arrogance and stupidity, here we have three examples of different degrees of arrogance and stupidity:

  • A terrorist on television who is arrogant and stupid enough to claim that terrorist tactics could ever bring the U.S. to its knees.
  • A diplomat on television who is arrogant enough to tell what he sees as the truth rather than reflect the “official position” of his government.
  • A U.S. State Department official who is arrogant enough to deny the truth of the situation and who believed that the American public is stupid enough to believe his denial.

In spite of the “official” U.S. response, I believe even a casual observer of U.S. actions in Iraq would agree with Fernandez. Yes we were arrogant to assume that we could turn a Muslim nation into any kind of democracy in less than ten to twenty years and yes we were stupid to assume that there would just be an anemic resistance to our presence in the region, a resistance that could easily be dealt with. That may not be a “diplomatic” assessment by todays definition of the word but it is honest.

Links:

The Boston Herald: U.S. diplomat says America showed ’arrogance’ and ’stupidity’ in Iraq

From the blogosphere: US Envoy: ‘Arrogance,’ ‘Stupidity’ In Iraq; al Jazeera’s pet State Department mouthpiece

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New Agreement on Rules for Interrogating Terrorists: Merely Theatrics
by Whymrhymer

The President and those Senators whom many Conservatives call RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) have reached an agreement that leaves the Geneva Convention intact and sets down the rules for U.S. interrogation of terrorists in detainment — once again stressing the RINOs apparent point that appearances are more important than results.

It’s easy to see why there was opposition to the President’s proposal to revise our interpretation of the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention certainly needs revision, just to clarify it’s too vague language but the opposition is concerned primarily because unilaterally revising the language of the Geneva Convention, in effect, breaks a treaty that has been agreed to and signed by many (approx. 194) nations. Our tampering with the Geneva Convention may also effect the treatment our soldiers are given if they are captured by a nation that has signed the Geneva Convention.

All that, as interesting and important as it is, is really quite beside the point. If we were to go to war with a nation that has not signed on to the Geneva Convention or against fighters that do not recognize the Geneva Convention, they would not follow it’s rules and, of course, we would not be bound by it’s rules. Such was the case in Viet Nam against the Vietcong, such is the case in the current Middle-East conflicts against terrorists.

The Geneva Convention is actually a set of four separate Geneva Conventions, the Third Geneva Convention is the one that governs the treatment of Prisoners of War. Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention defines Prisoners of War as:

1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict and members of militias of such armed forces.
2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, “provided that they fulfill all of the following conditions” (emphasis mine):
a) They must be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates.
b) They must have a “fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance”
c) They must carry their weapons openly.
d) They must conduct their operations “in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”

As anyone can see, terrorists wearing the clothes of the common man of the region, using car bombs and roadside bombs as their weapons of choice, who target non-military (civilian) buildings and situations and who are well known to brutally behead their detainees with dull knives (and video tape it for release to the media), can hardly be considered prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. These people can, IMO, hardly be considered worth of the title: human beings.

Very clearly, you can ignore all references to the Geneva Convention in the press accounts and the Congressional banter — the Geneva Convention does not apply to detained terrorists. The machinations that the President and Congress are going through have, in fact, nothing to do with the Geneva Convention.

What is going on in Washington is partly the continuation of a 5-1/2-year power struggle between Conservatives and Liberals and partly a show put on for the world to see how much we “care” about our imprisoned terrorists. The net result of the show is, at least on the surface, the weakening of our ability to effectively interrogate captured terrorists.

In my opinion, this discussion between the President and the Senate, that the public has been so intimately involved in, should have been conducted in closed sessions — not in the public arena. The public has no pressing need to know about our policies governing our government’s interrogation of terrorists. No private citizen is involved, and no private citizen will benefit or be harmed by those interrogation techniques.

News Links:

Deal set covering rights of terror suspects

Deal on detainees quells GOP infighting

You can find this article and a treasure trove of other timely and thought-provoking articles at the The Blogger News Network. Go now and visit!!

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Is the Senate Finally Getting Serious on Immigration?
by Whymrhymer

The Associated Press Story that leads the U.S. news front today declares that Congress is hard at work addressing border security and immigration.

To say ‘it’s about time’ would be an understatement.

The debate underway in the Senate concerns proposed legislation to build a 700-mile fence along the U.S./Mexican border, which would go a long way to securing the most porous one-third of that border. The House, this week, is working on three bills that will 1) criminalize the building of unauthorized tunnels between the U.S. and Mexico, 2) make it easier to deport illegals who belong to gangs or commit crimes and 3) clear up the gray areas that will allow state and local authorities to assist U.S. Customs and Immigration officials with the capture and detention of illegal immigrants.

That all of this is being so vigorously pursued in the run-up to the November mid-term elections, in an attempt to schmooze voters, is irritating — but that it is being done at last is gratifying.

The House seems to have had the best grasp of the problem for some time now. Last December they passed bills that were intended to tighten the border to stem the flow of illegals across our borders and to implement rules that would more effectively prevent U.S. employers from hiring illegals — both critically important items — but the legislation was ‘debated to death’ in the Senate. The Senate was, at the time, under the influence of President Bush’s pie-in-the-sky guest worker program. Since then, the Senators have apparently become better informed about the realities of the immigration problem and have been ignoring the President’s still continuing pleas for a program that he refuses to admit is just another amnesty program. The fencing bill being worked in the Senate was approved last week and sent up to the Senate this week.

200 miles of the 700-mile fence under debate would be built in Texas, from Laredo to Brownsville. The two Republican Senators from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, are in favor of the fencing bill but have a quarrel with the fact that the U.S. government is telling the states where the fencing should be built; they feel that that decision would be better made by local and state officials. There are, no doubt, many other issues to be cleared up and one can only hope that, when the debate is over and the bill has passed, the final product will not be as porous as the border it is meant to protect.

News Links:

Border lawmakers, officials resist fence proposal

Enforcement is focus of immigration bills

You can find this article and a treasure trove of other timely and thought-provoking articles at the The Blogger News Network. Go now and visit!!

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The Human Element

A June 26th article in Scientific American titled “The Political Brain” suggests that all people in all fields of endeavor, when making decisions, should emulate the scientific method.

The scientific method, as it appears it would have to apply to non-scientific endeavors, simply means that before making a decision on things like which business policies to adopt, which side of a social or political issue to support or even which candidate for office to choose, only facts should be considered; emotions or preconceived notions should be ignored and, most importantly, all personal biases should be removed from the decision making process.

Making a well informed, unbiased, unemotional decision appears to be the perfect way to make a decision but is this possible . . . or even desirable?

The article describes a scientific test that took place before the 2004 Presidential elections:

“During the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, while undergoing an fMRI bran scan, 30 men–half self-described as “strong” Republicans and half as “strong” Democrats–were tasked with assessing statements by both George W. Bush and John Kerry in which the candidates clearly contradicted themselves. Not surprisingly, in their assessments Republican subjects were as critical of Kerry as Democratic subjects were of Bush, yet both let their own candidate off the hook.”

Why did the Republicans find justification for Bush’s self-contradictions and the Democrats for Kerry’s? Its because of how the brain works when it runs into a decision. In less scientific terms than the original article used: the brain scan results showed that the part of the brain that is most associated with analyzing information was not even used but the parts of the brain that fuel the emotions, resolve conflicts and make moral decisions were very active.

The bottom line is: most decisions are made based on emotion and existing beliefs — not on facts. The article’s author calls this “confirmation bias” and describes it as our ability to “. . . seek and find confirmatory evidence in support of already existing beliefs and ignore or reinterpret disconfirmatory evidence.”

Call me crazy but . . .

. . . I have this Pollyanna side of me that realizes that it may be an irrational hope, but I none-the-less maintain a hope that someday all of us human animals will evolve. Evolve into “ideal humans” who consistantly make rational, well-informed, unbiased decisions while, at the same time, applying societal rules and norms (what religious types would call morals) to the equation.

Why apply societal rules and norms to perfect logic and reason? Because science is cold, hard and unemotional and, in the human arena, we call that ‘sociopathic.’

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Government vs. Science . . .

. . . is the title of a press release from the Ayn Rand Institute and, as usual, their point-of-view is right on. The press release criticizes the President’s veto of the embryonic stem cell research bill passed by Congress. Following is the “money quote” from that press release:

"The government should get out of the business of funding science. But so long as it is involved, it must scrupulously respect the separation of Church and State. Its funding decisions must be made on rationally demonstrable, not faith-based, grounds. Bush's veto clearly violates this principle."
Two points: Why should the government get out of the business of funding science? Because their funding (or should i say OUR funding -- since we are paying the bill)dilutes scientific research and makes scientists answerable to politicians. Aside from the ridiculous concept of putting lawyers in charge of scientific progress, you're putting people in charge who's decisions will be tainted by a never-ending quest for votes, not the never-ending quest for knowledge. Before anyone 'reminds me' that the phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution; I know that! But the Constitution clearly forbids the government from "establishing" a national religion and Bush's veto of legislation on "moral grounds" (his words) speaks loudly for itself and states, in no uncertain terms, that the President is governing as a religious leader, not as a secular head-of-state. President Bush's personal religious beliefs are, obviously, steering the 'ship of state.'