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Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Lifting the Veil of Ignorance
I do think gambling is immoral -- though like many immoral things, it can be great fun. As Norm MacDonald likes to say: sure, gambling is a sickness, but it is the only sickness you can get where you can win lots and lots of money. That said, stay away from the online poker tables and get a book on understanding statistics so you can understand why gambling is a losers' game.

As for Jason's response, I am a bit disappointed. It seems more like an ad hominem attack than a response. C'mon, defend your honor!


If you win at the poker table I'll respond, otherwise your theories are obviously flawed and useless.

Re: Energy

My lay reading of the situation is that we need off-shore exploration and drilling. Why not bribe the states and let them keep such and such a percent of all revenues as a royalty -- kind of like Alaska does. Squishes like Collins and Snowe might start changing their tune if it meant more pork for the Communists in their state legislature.

Re. Adam's Response

Adam -

It is only immoral to play poker if you take advantage of people like me and take my money.

Message to Congress: Pass a DECENT Energy Bill NOW!! One that ensures that the American people and industry have an AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, SUPPLY of energy for year's to come!!

Reader Response
My brother Adam, recently took the opportunity to weigh in on the subject of relativism raised by Jason in a recent post. His comments:

Recently, i browsed over your website and i was
interested in the stuff on ethical relativism as i
just finished studying it in one of my philosophy
classes, and now that i'm somewhat of an authority on
the topic (in fact, at this very minute i am working
on a logical sylogism that proves it is morally wrong
to take the last cookie from the cookie jar), i would
like to point a few things out; namely, there is an
important difference between ethical relativism and
subjectivism, or emotivism. the former is a theory
rooted in the notion that no objective ethical
principles exist, and that ethical judgements are
wholly contingent upon the predominant folkways and
traditions of a society or culture, and the latter,
although it also maintains that no objective ethical
principles exist, is differenct because it asserts
that morality is relative to individuals rather than
entire cultures or societies.

Although i don't disagree entirely with Jason, I
don't believe he gave a very good argument in favor of
moral absolutism, nor a very good counter-argument
against ethical relativism.

One of the biggest problems with ethical relativism
(not cultural relativism), as your friend pointed out,
is that it is impossible to make ethical judgements
about another culture or even one's own culture if the
theory is accepted. Furthermore, the notion of
culture itself is somewhat fuzzy. What is a culture?
What does it mean to be a member of a culture? The
ethical relativists have their hands full with this
isssue. One must also be aware of the distinction
between ethical relativism and cultural relativism.
While ethical relativism is philosophical theory,
cultural relativism is fact, amply supported by
empirical data from the social sciences.

Simply stated, culture relativism says that different
cultures do exist and have existed throughout history,
and they do have conflictiing codes of behavior. it
makes no claims about morality, that's ethical
relativism. In fact, cultural relativism and moral
absolutism are compatible, but ethical relativism and
moral absolutism are not.

Finally, i disagree with your notion that ethical
relativism is as ubiquitous a belief as gene hackman
is an actor in movies. Maybe in political science departments,
ethical relativism rules with an iron fist, but i think most
people give little sway to the idea that no objective
moral truths exist, at least nobody in my philosophy
class does. now, cultural relativism is a horse of a
different color and i don't have time to elaborate on
it because i have to go play poker.

p.s. is it immoral to play poker

The Quagmire!

OK. As you've indicated, and as we've seen over the last several months, the one-sided reporting from the press makes it seem like Iraq and Afghanistan are in shambles. We all know the extent to which this has been going, so I won't reiterate it here. However, add the news from these two theatres to the press reports regarding the cost of the war, the 'White House leak' regarding the CIA employee, Bush's numbers sliding (yeah, I know, they were going to anyway), etc, and there's definitely the perception that Bush doesn't have everything under control.

We need some news (in the short run.....the long run good news will take care of itself) that will convince the world that all of this effort, expense, etc, has been worth it. You and I know it, but we unfortunately need to throw it in people's faces that progress is being made and the good progress far outweighs the bad setbacks.

I reiterate my position that we need some dramatic, irrefutable good news from the warfront - which, in my opinion, can only be killing bin Laden and/or Hussein. Thereafter, I believe, the Iraqi people can solidly get behind the rebuilding effort, it will throw Al Queda into more disarray, and the American people can see that we are achieving objectives.

MilitaryMark’s Movie Review: The War Room

“I watched one of the most disturbing movies of my life tonight; it was not Last Exit to Brooklyn, or another Holocaust flash back, it was a documentary about the most malicious man to ever hold our nations top office, Bill Clinton. It is called The War Room, and it should be required watching for any credible ethics course. The film should be called "Lies." It gives one the impression that life is just a game, and it does not matter how you achieve success, or how many you hurt or lie to in the process, and I think the Dean campaign may very well be based on it.

If you have not seen it, watch it, if you have seen it, buy it, and watch it with your kids so they can learn what is right and what is wrong.”

Quagmire, Quagmire, Quagmire!!!!

So how many mentions of those Zogby and Gallop polls have you seen or heard in the National media? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Who cares whether or not Iraqis think things are getting better, that they belive they are and will be better off now than before the liberation, or that despite any recent hardships they feel it has all been well worth it. That’s not really important is it?

Well I suspect you'll see the same riveting coverage of Congressman Jim Marshall’s recent fact-finding mission to Iraq. Congressman Marshall, a Democrat I might add, and six House Armed Service Committee colleagues had this to say about the progress of reconstruction and freedom-building:

"I'm afraid the news media are hurting our chances. They are dwelling upon the mistakes, the ambushes, the soldiers killed, the wounded," Rep. Marshall wrote in an Atlanta newspaper. "Fair enough. But it is not balancing this bad news with ‘the rest of the story,' the progress made daily, the good news."

Congressamn Skelton of Missouri (another Democrat), also on the fact finding mission, said, "The media stresses the wounds, the injuries and the deaths, as they should. But, for instance, in Northern Iraq, Gen. (David) Petraeus has 3,100 projects, from soccer fields to schools to refineries. It's all the good stuff that isn't being reported."

These aren't Bush administration lapdogs, these are Democrats who probably went looking for incriminating evidence but found that things, by a wide margin, aren't as bad as the media indicates.

This heavy handed media bias, coupled with the incessant attacks by Dean, Gephardt, Kennedy, is more than just irritating, I think it can be terribly dangerous, if not deadly, for our troops. I think Congressamn Marshall would agree. Writing for the Macon Telegraph, he said he believes the falsely negative reporting "emboldens our enemies, discourages our potential allies and lessens our resolve. ... I'm afraid it is killing our troops".

Me too.

More Bad Things
Want proof that we don't know that we are at war? We let these guys GO. In this short time, there is no way that we could know for certain that they don't have terror ties and this was just a bad coincidence. We are still fighting this war like it is a law enforcement matter. The WSJ today shows how this didn't serve us well after the 1993 bombing of the WTC.

On another note, is it me, or are a disproportionate number of the "hikers" around our nuclear plants Islamic? And why do they always have camera equipment? Are there lots of good nature shots to be taken with the nuclear plants in the background?

This, coming on the heals of the news that yet another Islamic interpreter has been arrested should be a very clear signal that the war isn't over and our enemies are working ever harder to repeat the horror of September 11th.

SCG Football Update

After week 4:
Jason: 10/16 (0); 10/16 (1); 10/14 (1); 7/14 (1) = 30/46 (2/3)
Sip: 9/16 (1); 9/16 (1); 8/14 (1); 11/14 (1) = 29/46 (3/3)
Mack: 11/16 (0); 0/16 (0); 7/14 (0); 11/14 (1) = 29/44 (1/3)
Tom: 9/16 (0); 9/16 (0); 7/14 (1); 11/14 (1) = 29/46 (1/3)
Mister S: 8/16 (0); 8/16 (1); 9/14 (0); 7/14 (0) = 25/46 (1/3)
"M": 0/16 (0); 10/16 (1); 0/14 (0); 10/14 (1) = 20/44 (2/3)

* The first set of bolded numbers is the week’s scores that would be dropped if the season were to end today. The second set of bolded numbers is the adjusted total, after dropping the first set of bolded numbers. What an awful week.

Monday, September 29, 2003
Re: Stock Tips for MilitaryMark

1. Buy low and sell high.

2. AOL? S.O.L.

3. Enron can only go up.

4. I've got all my cash in money market accounts -- making a cool 2% a year!

MilitaryMark is looking for stock tips…

MilitaryMark writes:

“I know football is fun, I also know that I don't have the time or care to guess what team comprised of socially promoted, over paid, steroid filled, safely clad "gladiators" will bring the 9 oz ball into the end zone. You Six Conservative Guys like it, and that’s great, but how about we start throwing around some money tips... stocks, bonds, indi-comps, contractors, good mutual funds, word around the cooler start of stuff. It would start as fun, but in the days of nervous investors, I think that Six Confident Conservative Guys could stand as a role model, and more then likely end up on CNBC. Yes, I know CNBC is dying quicker then the game cube, but its international, I mean, SCG would mushroom, and then get picked and eaten. Then you can start a new site. It would be sort of like when the guys on M*A*S*H had to move, it seemed like a move while you watched it, but the scenery never changed. I threw that in simply because of my screen name. When I think about it more, it’s probably a bad idea. It could be easily corrupted, could just as easily create tension, and might very well spell the ending to one of the most important web sites on the internet.

With all that said, I like American Home Mortgage, it’s flexible, affordable, and the real estate markets trying to push again, people are getting used to higher rates.”

Friday, September 26, 2003
RE: Maybe There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch...
When Social Services has to advertise to get more people on social services, something is dramatically wrong. While this has probably been ongoing, this type of thing happened about 10 years ago in New York State. Of course, Cuomo was governor then.

This goes to demonstrate that the "War" on poverty is patently false. Too many people are dependent that the poor remain poor. They all "hope" that poor people will get education, jobs, take a business risk, etc, but will impede progress in public schools, welfare-to-work, just about anything that will help someone get either some training or a self-sustaining job.

Ludwig von Mises was a renowned economist whose premise regarding government programs was that they usually hurt, to a larger extent, the problems they were supposed to solve. In this case of advertising for social services, it's not even cloaked in trying to solve a problem. It's recruiting people to a problem. While I don't know if this advertising is paid for by state or federal funds, I can not believe that some GOP guy in charge won't pull the plug. Insane.

This is acutally a good example of why people think conservatives are cynical. (Maybe they just think I'm cynical.) Liberals, Democrats, even Middle-roaders go for symbolism over substance (one of my pet peeves). Let's all hand out some $$$$ to some "poor" people who aren't even looking for it, and we can all feel good about ourselves that we're "helping out." Let's pass more gun control laws. Let's pass more environmental laws before the Republicans "put arsenic back into the water."

The WIC program isn't free. Symbolism over substance isn't free. Freedom isn't free.

Maybe There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch...
If you have been listening to the radio, the WIC program (Women, Infants and Children) is running a series of ads talking about feeding your kids good food and, if you don't think you can afford it, there is always the WIC program there to help. Besides the idea that the WIC program is spending taxpayer money on advertising rather than, say, food, I have a huge problem with the tag line at the end of the commerical: "AND IT'S TOTALLY FREE!"

Um... excuse me. But it ain't free.

The Fifth Column?
One problem, of course, is that you need guys who can speak the language. Most of those guys, are Islamic, right? The result, we turn to guys who spent considerable time (by choice) in places like Syria. Very bad.

One thing we need to do is to move swiftly to bring these guys to justice. Seriously. The President should use whatever powers he has to ensure that these guys are swinging from the gallows by early next year. Failure to do that sends a message that there is no serious price to pay for treason. Do I think that will happen -- unfortunately, no.

The scary thing to think is - - what were they going to do with this information? Are they planning an attack on G-Mo to get their comrades out? What reaction will guys in the military have to this? Will they be less trustful of their Islamic colleagues? I imagine they will. And I can't blame them.

At the end of the day, the underlying problem facing the Muslim community is not American bigotry - - but the continued failure on the part of their community to speak out and act out against our enemies. For months, the Muslim community in Western New York stood together to decry the arrest of the Lackawanna Six... it was all false, they said. These guys love America! They love the Bills. They even Love Pizza! (That was my personal favorite bit of propaganda). That was the message we heard. Now, all six have pled guilty to going to Afghanistan to train with Osama to be a terrorist.

This reflects very poorly on the Muslim community in Buffalo. You have to figure that if these six guys had serious enough grievences with the US that they would try to fly Air Osama, that somebody - - hell, dozens of somebodies - - in the Muslim community were aware of their hatred of our country and their sympathy for terrorism.

Though many in the Muslim community surely knew about their hateful views, they said nothing. Instead, the leaders, who surely knew or suspected that the accusations were true, held protests calling the arrests racist and calling it a witch-hunt. Maybe that is the new patriotism that Clark is talking about - - the courage to turn your back on your country in favor of terrorists who seek to kill Americans and destroy the country you love.

How did Italian and German Americans prove their loyalty? By storming the beaches and killing our mutual enemies, despite the fact they shared the same blood lines. The question is, how will Islamic Americans prove their loyalty?

So far, the images that come to mind are: countless protests calling our President and his administration racist, shooting random Americans in Maryland and Virginia, rolling grenades into tents and now, passing along secrets to America's enemies.

I don't think it is good to mistrust someone just because of their religious beliefs. But the Muslim community has failed to articulate their opposition to terror. By their words and their deeds (and their lack of words and deeds in some instances) the community as a whole has been a hindrence rather than a help to the war on terror.

Re: Very Disturbing

MilitaryMark writes (and asks):

"So it seems we have a problem in GTMO, but the question is how did they get through the "screen", as DR put it. The focus should be shining directly on the security clearance process. It is a safe assumption that anyone involved in direct communication with the prisoners has a middle to high-level clearance. I have held a top secret, need to know clearance and understand the cost (about 15,000) and process (long) that one goes through to achieve this trust. I think the process has failed us, and we need to fix it. The chaplain was careless, and the CIA was on him from the get go, but his bust furthered the probe and resulted in more arrests or confinements. If we were still under Clinton the whole thing would have gone unnoticed. These guys should not have passed through the screen, and we need to patch the holes.

Then there is the other problem, how many more, who are not at Guantanamo, have passed through. I propose that we begin to profile anyone of the Islamic faith who is applying for a clearance, and dig deeper into the faith of all applicants.

What do you propose?"

SCG Football Picks – Week 4

Jason’s Picks: St. Louis, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New England, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Oakland, NY Jets, Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans, Green Bay

Sip’s Picks: St. Louis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Washington, Houston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Dallas, Carolina, Denver, Indianapolis, Green Bay

Tom’s Picks: St. Louis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Washington, Houston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Dallas, Carolina, Denver, Indianapolis, Green Bay

Mister S: St. Louis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, New England, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Oakland, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans, Green Bay

Mack’s Picks: St. Louis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, New England, Houston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Dallas, Carolina, Denver, Indianapolis, Green Bay

M’s Picks: St. Louis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, New England, Houston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Dallas, Carolina, Denver, Indianapolis, Green Bay

The West Wing Rebuttal

So in my last rebuttal on May 16th, we discussed the brief tutorial of the left’s view of American politics that we received during the season finale. A noble view of the liberal democrats, a stark dismissive view of the repugnant republicans, and a longing view for the way government should be.

We also took a few stabs at what this next season might bring, guessing primarily that there would be some grand GOP gesture of perceived political opportunism. A refusal to abdicate power back to President Bartlet perhaps, the appointment of a republican (or at least republican friendly) Vice President, or perhaps just the indiscriminate bombing of some poor Muslim folk. Well it looks like we’re going to see at least two of those things, and by the time the next show ends, maybe we’ll even hit the trifecta.

So while The West Wing may have already solidified their view of Republicans as fat, old, white male war mongers, and Democrats as the struggling, noble visionary intellectuals just trying to keep it all together, it appears we’ll have to wait until at least next week to see just how bad the GOP is going to muck up Camelot. Until then, I’d like to analyze just a view of the real life comparators to the current Bartlet/Walken administrations:

* The discussion about how our European allies would not appreciate the coming bombing of Qumar (recall Qumar is the mythical Arab nation where all the action on the show can take place without fear of naming anyone in real life) due to their extensive “oil and gas contracts.” This sort of surprised me, the cold reality of this line could not have sat well with the Euros or their aoplogists, good thing we had that fat old Republican to snort out "screw the Europeans" so that we could keep in mind who the real ignorant folk are.

* The argument between President Bartlet and the First Lady upon her hearing that the US, under President Bartlet’s orders, had assassinated a Qumar terrorist leader - the brother of a senior government official of a supposed ally. “I agonized over this” Bartlet said, “and I made my decision.” “But it wasn’t our decision Jeb,” replied the First Lady. I mean, how can you not think to yourself “well they didn’t elect you Hillary.

* How about the noble Democrats not “polling” as to how the President's decision to temporarily step down was being received by the public? “You know the Republicans will,” was the reply – of course they would. Not like those noble Dems, so above the political fray – they would certainly never try to politicize in a time of war or national crisis, would they?

* We saw more sit-room tussles between Defense and State – this is where the show’s writers really portray how they desperately want to believe Colin Powell acts and feels - it’s almost my favorite part of the show.

* And then the Press Secretary disobeys a direct order from the President of the United States – completely undermining his decision, and it’s actually portrayed (once again) as noble. It's quite a little world they live in.

The critics, such as the NY Times, have already decided that the show “has taken a sharp right turn,” in the post-Sorkin era, noting that they even brought John Podhoretz on to consult with the writing team. I don’t buy it. John Goodman may be dropping Republican bombs on the show, but the real political bomb from the show’s writers is right around the corner. Remember, Bartlet stepped down so that he wouldn’t do something irrational like bomb the terrorists in Qumar, but as we all know well, all Republicans are irrational. The point of this storyline is abundantly clear already: the noble Democrat had to step down, so that his emotions wouldn’t usurp his massive intellect and cause him to act irrationally – like a Republican.

If you've never seen this before...

Sorry I didn't post this on the 11th.

I'm no less shocked by these images today.

Re: Moral Clarity vs. Moral Relativism

MilitaryMark writes:

"Everything you wrote was well thought out, intelligently presented, and 100% truth to you. In the same respect, Hamas is as fervently a believer in another technique, as you are in your values. They believe that blowing up a bus or night club is not a sin, and in fact a battle in a very long war. So in some respects, you two are alike. It is important that the base of our society, including the bulk of our soldiers, think as you do, it keeps things in the norm, and makes it very easy for us to pick our fights. The people who fight these battles from the inside out, our Special Forces, Rangers, Seals, Delta Operators, CIA operators, NSA operators, Military intelligence Operators, Civilian intelligence operators, and other important, invaluable people, usually find it easier to deal with their missions by separating themselves from the beliefs of the masses. It’s easier to kill people that way, and to protect our country by performing acts that you would consider immoral, or a sin. There is no room for sin when your only objective is victory. That is why there is no room for your pattern of thought in these missions. I think that there is room for people who believe other then you do, and I, and many others, stand as proof to that, but we understand what side of the fence we belong on. It is those that stand on your side that give the orders, the folks on the opposite side make it happen.

Oh, one more thing. This is a war like none other in our history, and although you lack the uniform and the discipline, you too Jason are a soldier. That is all."

Thursday, September 25, 2003
Moral Relativism....and other stuff
Jason - I read you entire treatise with interest. Good stuff. Part of it reminds me about how people will say, 'The perception is the reality,' which is BS. The reality is the reality.

Mack - Nordlinger gave an excellent speech at Harvard, which was re-published a couple of days ago in NRO. It's theme is conservatives on campus, and is well worth reading.

Jason - I'm dying for your West Wing rebuttal. Let's have it!!!

Re: Moral Relativism...

Yeah, sorry about the sermon. I'll have a nice fluffy The West Wing Rebuttal up in the morning.

Moral Relativism...
Want to know why moral relativism is a problem? National Review goes in depth on the problems in our nation's colleges.

Now, I like a lot of the people I worked with in academia, but the academic world is extraordinarily non-diverse when it comes to politics. American Enterprise's study of party registration and a recent study evaluating patterns of political donations confirms what anyone with a brain knows is true - there are very few Republicans or conservatives on America's campuses.

Many professors delude themselves into thinking that the environment is "non-political" - - but it is non-political only in the sense that they have firm control over everything - - there is no debate or dissent from the right because the right just isn't there. Jonah talks about this same phenomenon in Vermont during the Clinton administration in NRO today.

Right now, we are depending on a handful of college Republicans to hold the line against an army of well paid and influential left wing PhDs. The fact is, in many cases, the power of the arguments made by 19 and 20 year old college republicans is too much for the left wing to deal with, and they resort to vandalism, theft of conservative newspapers, or using the college discipline process to stifle speech (as today's example where college republicans at one college were put into the judicial process at their college because a group of left wingers threatened violence because they didn't like the affirmative action bake sale).

Re: Re. Moral Clarity vs. Moral Relativism

Relax M, just look pretty and smile, you'll be fine.

Re. Moral Clarity vs. Moral Relativism

Did anyone initially read past the first six or eight lines here? Do I have to revisit my college ethics notes or ask Dr. Mack to find someone to give me a refresher course? Does Jason have too much time on his hands?

Moral Clarity vs. Moral Relativism

The prevalence of Moral Relativism in Western Society today just may be the single most challenging, if not outright dangerous, impediment to the safety, security and quality of life not just of the US and the West, but of the world in general. The idea that there is no real standard for right and wrong beyond those established by a specific government or societal structure is inherently dangerous. This says that the concept of right and wrong is culturally based, and in fact is really a matter of personal choice. What’s right to you, is not necessarily what’s right to me. This point of view is dangerous whether it is based upon the naïve notion that the truth is malleable and purely subjective to the way in which it is viewed culturally, philosophically or socio-economically, or when it is based on the equally flawed notion of “might makes right,” the extreme Darwinian view that truth is established by the strong, by the victors. In this point of view, the Nazis were only wrong because they lost.

Make no mistake, I believe that it is vitally important that we are and remain the strongest Nation on the planet, but we should also remain righteous and committed to promoting innate and inherent freedoms, values, and protections to all. This is not a Judeo-Christian notion, nor intended to be a religious argument in any way. This simply gives us our undeniable strength of purpose.

Moral relativism, no matter its theoretical basis, inevitably leads to the conclusion that no side in any given conflict is more “right” than the other. In this way, we view and treat terror and Democracy equivalently. We are asked to “see” the conflict from the terrorists’ point of view. On the left, and not just the extreme left, this leads to chronic and unwarranted self-debasement, self-criticism and self-disgust. A challenge and finally a rejection of our own values – often masked by a gross and tragic re-interpretation of what those values are. And from what I’ll call the extreme Darwinian perspective, Moral Equivalence dictates simply that the stronger side must be victorious regardless of their moral standing. This may even be more dangerous than the leftist viewpoint, because here relativism destroys our core beliefs of truth and justice and the nobility of the country and values that we must support and defend. This will inevitably undermine that country’s ability to persevere through a conflict in which the enemy does not also subscribe to the relativist ideology.

Moral Equivalence once ingrained, and again regardless of its theoretical basis, will eventually usurp our ethical advantage over our enemies. This is true of the US. This is true of our allies (i.e. Israel). Through Moral equivalence – ideological warfare if I may be so bold – our enemies may be able to accomplish what they never could through conventional means – a weakening of our will, an erosion of our own moral clarity, a rift between ourselves and our long-term allies who once shared our antiquated notions of right and wrong, and in the end, our own self destruction.

We can never allow ourselves to view those who would teach generation after generation that any group of people are less than human – infidels – unworthy of equal standing in the eyes of God or humanity; people who would allow their children to be used as pawns to seek out murder other children for the specific intention of striking fear, inciting hatred and preventing peace; we can never allow ourselves to view those people as just another entity protecting it’s own self-interests – no more right or wrong than ourselves. This is the notion that allows us to view our leaders and Al Quaeda, or Israel and Hamas, with an equivalent eye, and allows us to view a murdered five year old girl or a six month old infant as a “soldier” simply because someone with an opposing point of view wanted to advance their cause.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Re: Trail Restoration

M, not trail restoration, "helping install Sip's generator." Did you forget to read today's SCG talking points memo???

If you start writing things like that our several readers might start to doubt that the President is actually hanging out with us.


Great photo! Looks like trail restoration.....


Thank you Tom.

Hmmm, General Shelton Says He Won't Support Clark For President

This article from the Los Altos Town Crier recaps comments made by Retired General H. Hugh Shelton at a "celebrity" forum at Foothill College. I still don’t know what to make of General Clark.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Retired General H. Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11, shared his recollection of that day and his views of the war against terrorism with the Foothill College Celebrity Forum audience at Flint Center, Sept. 11 and 12.

His review of that historic event and his 38 years in the military kept the audience's rapt attention throughout. But it was his answer to a question from the audience at the end that shocked his listeners.

"What do you think of General Wesley Clark and would you support him as a presidential candidate," was the question put to him by moderator Dick Henning, assuming that all military men stood in support of each other. General Shelton took a drink of water and Henning said, "I noticed you took a drink on that one!"

"That question makes me wish it were vodka," said Shelton. "I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote." …

The events of 9/11 were not a surprise to Shelton. He had been concerned because the United States offers a vulnerable target-rich environment. …the use of weapons of mass destruction, even small amounts of sarin gas, anthrax germs, bio-attacks, continues to be a dangerous threat. Their deployment had been planned for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, but al-Qaeda ordered the attack before they were in place.

In order to deal with the ongoing danger, the United States must "continue to go after terrorists," he said. "Bush has maintained the pressure and earned kudos in spite of the criticism."

MilitaryMark on the President’s Address to The United Nations

”I just got to view the whole speech by our George on C-Span. God I love that guy. Just when you think he's going to give the French a tissue to wipe their frustrated tears, he pulls down his zipper and puts it on the table. He (Bush) implied, that we (USA) are responsible for the integrity of the UN remaining intact; this guys balls are huge (excuse the genital references, but this is kind of a guy site), and he drives with them on the dashboard. He may not be the brightest, may not have gone to Yale if it was not for legacy, might not have owned a ball team if it were not for dad, but hell, he turned out alright, and is the perfect leader for our times.”

Mark, I couldn’t agree more, he nailed it again. If you haven’t heard or read his address to the UN yesterday, you can find it linked in the Bush/Cheney ’04 box on the left-hand side of the SCG site. "Those who incite murder and celebrate suicide," he said, "have no place in any religious faith, they have no claim on the world’s sympathy, and they should have no friend in this chamber.” Damn right. That was nice slap at the UN for the recent (and disgusting) anti-Israel/pro-Arafat resolution.

When so many were expecting a somber, timid and conciliatory tone, it was so nice to hear "the regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder, and refused to account for them when confronted by the world. The Security Council was right to be alarmed...The Security Council was right to demand that Iraq destroy its illegal weapons and prove that it had done so ... The Security Council was right to vow serious consequences if Iraq refused to comply. And because there were consequences — because a coalition of nations acted to defend the peace and the credibility of the United Nations — Iraq is free, and today we are joined by representatives of a liberated country."

He may as well have said “You’re Welcome.” Awesome.

And on the 7th Day.....

....God said, "Let there be light." (It originally was on the first day, but he's showing me who's boss.) Anyhow, as of 11:15 am EST, the Sip's have power. And this is good, especially since my daughter has to make up for a solid week's worth of Wiggles. I'll be humming those tunes for a while, now. So onward to my responses to recent posts (with names called out)...

1. Hurricane - schmurricane. From this point forward, there is never an excuse for missing football pics. If you can't get ahold of Jason - call someone else, or leave it on one of our answering machines. With the dropping of the worst week, we're all back in it. C'mon, I know you're all dreaming of a weekend's worth of swirlees!

2. Jason - this info on the Iraqi polls needs to be front and center before the American people. The terrible reports coming out of Iraq on a daily basis needs to be tempered by good news, and a constant reiteration that we are there for ethical, moral, and just means. Bush should deliver this news and be a little more visible, since the constant 'quagmire' message may eventually have people believing it. The good news in Iraq should be on the front page below the fold, because above the fold should be...

3. ...the Guantanamo Bay people (Mack). American people can disagree about a lot of topics, but where someone stands on treason is pivotal to defining your values. The question should not be if they hang (if found guilty) but whether it should be done publicly.

4. Military Mark - I'm going to have to mull over your post a little more. For disclosure, I used to work for the criminal division of the Justice Department. It's the prosecutor's job to push for the max, the defense's job to push for the min, a jury's job to determine guilt, and a judge's job to keep it fair and impose a sentence within the guidelines. Prosecutors should definitely have some leeway, but crimes are treated inconsistently among federal districts (ex: narcotics crimes are treated differently in the Southern District of Florida than they are in the Western District of New York).

If you commit a crime, you're guilty. It is as simple as that. We can debate about how a person's circumstances while committing the crime should weigh in favor of leniency, but pushing for the max every time will ensure Equal Protection Under the Law for the public and the defendant.

MilitaryMark says he isn’t fond of “Asscroft”

”I have never been a huge fan of Attorney General Ashcroft, in fact I think he’s a bit of a sadist actually; but who the hell am I, just a citizen. Now comes the order to clog the courts, "shop lifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law", well hell, I always thought it was up to Wal-Mart or what ever store the thief prefers to steal from, but it turns out, its Papa Ashcroft who decides. I can't imagine how this public announcement of "lack of confidence" makes the local prosecutor feel about his or her job. It is a direct, unearned insult from Washington, like Ashcroft leaning down from his cage like Louie DePalma. Will it effect us, probably not, but don't have two many swirlies at the convention and accidentally bump a union police officer in a bad mood, it could end up as assaulting an officer (is it possible to bump a non-union cop?).

This country does not need 30 something’s smoking a joint in the parking lot of a Dave Matthews show ending up in the can; its not a productive way to correct citizens, the maximum penalties are meant for repeat offenders, the prosecutor used to be trusted to judge the level that he or she would pursue, now it seems to be up to papa. I'm sorry to sway, but everyone makes mistakes, and its unfortunate that this one is going so overlooked.”

Re: But what do the Iraqis think?

There’s a new Gallup Poll out this morning that corroborates the findings of the Zogby Poll I posted about yesterday. An excerpt from the article in today’s Washington Times:

“Nearly two-thirds of Baghdad residents say the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships they have endured, a report said Wednesday.

Despite the collapse of government and civic institutions, looting and violence and shortages of water and electricity, 67 percent of 1,178 Iraqis told a Gallup survey team within five years, their lives will be better than before the U.S.-led invasion.

Only 8 percent of those queried said they believed their lives would be worse off as a result of the military campaign to remove Saddam and his Baath Party leadership, the New York Times reported.”


Very Disturbing
What the heck is going on with Guantanamo Bay? By my count, we now have 3 of our guys down there who are either under arrest for or under suspicion of working with the enemy, espionage and other treasonous acts. Combine this with the guy who rolled the grenades into the tents on the first day of the war and it appears there is a real problem and not just an isolated incident. I think this should be story #1 - - period. It should wipe everything else off the page. We are at war and these guys should all be hanged - - and quickly.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003
But what do the Iraqis think?

We certainly know the press thinks this is a "quagmire," and we're told daily about how unhappy the Iraqis are with their "occupiers." Combine that with the seemingly daily reports of the dead and injured, including US soldiers, and we're really led to believe that there is a massive popular revolt taking place.

But what do the Iraqis think? Well I think a lot of people missed the results of the first Zogby International survey of a random cross section of Iraqis. It was reported first by Karl Zinmeister in the Wall Street Journal on September 10th (a good reason why this hasn't gotten a lot of play). Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Zinsmeister said Zogby found:

* Seven of 10 Iraqis think their country and personal lives will be better in five years with Saddam is out of power. One in three think things will be "much better."
* Three of four said politics, not the economy, will be the toughest part of reconstruction, but more than six in 10 specifically said no to a radical Islamic government.
* The most popular government model is the U.S. republic, which got more support than the despotic regimes in Syria, Iran and Egypt combined.
* Nearly 60 percent have unfavorable opinions of Osama bin Laden, and three of four said Hussein and his henchmen should be punished for their despotism and depravity.
* Two-thirds said coalition forces should stick around for at least another year to make sure Iraq doesn't revert to totalitarianism.

That's quite a different picture isn't it? The survey reveals that 69.7% of Iraqis feel that their country will be better off five years from now and 70.9% feel that they will personally be better off five years from now. Why do you think that is?

M responds:

My considerable weight has nothing to do with politics - it comes from a happy, comfortable, American lifestyle, where I have benefitted from a safe and plentiful food supply (a subject for another post). MMark is right - aging infrastructure in this area is a problem. The impact of Isabel - with ONLY 56 mph winds - in the mid-Atlantic region has been amazing. There are lessons to be learned. For the most part, many people's eyes have been opened to the importance of energy to our communitites (health, safety, industry, independence etc.). I have heard some news radio folks resorting to complaining about the energy companies lack of response and failure to plan for the storm and calling for punitive actions or more publicly owned energy cooperatives - without considering that 99.9% of the time American homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, farms, etc. are being provided energy SAFELY and RELIABLY. Most people have little to know knowledge of what it takes to create and supply electricity, natural gas, gasoline, fuel oil, etc. They just want to turn on the TV, start the SUV, heat up the oven, etc. and don't want to be inconvenienced.

On football: Sip committment is commendable. My decision to not go into the office was not my own. With the group's decision to allow everyone to drop their worse week, and considering the way everyone else is picking, I am certain that my present standing will have little to no bearing on the final outcome.

On another issue, I am looking forward to providing more posts on important domestic issues (seriously lacking on this site). Of course some of my favorites - the energy debate, bold moves by the Bush Administration on the environment in recent weeks (and over the last few years), and others.

M’s Power…


“One thing I noticed when living in northern Maine was that there were few if any traditional power lines. I asked around and found out that they had a network of tunnel systems for the lines, that way the juice would keep flowing regardless of weather. It’s a good idea, and much more pleasing to the eye. Look around in Maryland, or D.C. and you'll notice a complicated yet ancient system of stoplights dangling from thin wires, and miles of road with leaning electrical and telephone setups. The transformers they use are placed in great lighting strike areas, and because of basic meteorological principals they almost always get hit. The grid is run by under funded old-school idiots. The whole country could use some new blood behind the switchboard.”

A few comments:

First, when you titled your message “M,s Power” I immediately thought of his massive political weight – he could have any of us killed (for National security reasons) at any time – but that’s not what you meant.

Second, it’s all about commitment (and a strong desire to not have to buy me drinks). Sip is still without power, but he managed to get his picks in.

Finally, as you can see from the scoring update below, we’re allowing all players to drop one week’s score at the end of the season. We’ve decided that no one should be overly penalized for the effects of a hurricane or other act of God. Call it compassionate conservatism.

SCG Football Update

After week 3:
Jason: 10/16 (0); 10/16 (1); 10/14 (1) = 30/46 (2/3)
Sip: 9/16 (1); 9/16 (1); 8/14 (1) = 26/46 (3/3)
Tom: 9/16 (0); 9/16 (0); 7/14 (1) = 25/46 (1/3)
Mister S: 8/16 (0); 8/16 (1); 9/14 (0) = 25/46 (1/3)
Mack: 11/16 (0); 0/16 (0); 7/14 (0) = 18/46 (0/3)
"M": 0/16 (0); 10/16 (1); 0/14 (0) = 10/46 (1/3)

* Each player's lowest single week score will be dropped at the end of the season
* Sip is perfect in his "lock picks" (Mack is not)
* I'm kicking your sorry buts

Monday, September 22, 2003
J - Sorry I couldn't make my picks this week. Was without power from early Thursday evening until 1:30am Monday. Love living in the Mid-Atlantic region - but can't understand why we lose power way more often than when I lived up North.....? When I figure out the mystery, I am sure I will also learn why county gov't workers don't know how to run snowplows....
- M

Sunday, September 21, 2003
Maybe it's me, but I don't think that Clark would be considered a serious contender if it wasn't for the fact that the other candidates were so weak. The Democratic base's decision to view Bush as a more serious enemy than Al Queda has made their task of winning in 2004 much more difficult. The most electable candidate (in my view) is Lieberman, and his comparatively reasonable position on the war on terror has deflated his campaign thus far.

Being a general is not necessarily good experience when it comes to running an effective presidential campaign. The most recent elected Presidents have all been either Governors (George W., Willie, Reagan, Carter) or Vice Presidents (Bush, Nixon). Clark's inexperience hurt him already. It took him one day to put his foot in his mouth on the war in Iraq (I would have voted for it, I mean, no, I would never support it...). Not a good start. Apparently he is on top of the polls, though. That may be a sign that the Democrats are desperate. Really - - what does he stand for? What does he offer other than the fact that he isn't Dean, et. al...?

I also don't think he will get a huge electoral boost just because he is a general. Clark deserves credit for b eing a war hero, but that isn't enough. Ask McCain. Or Stockdale. The only Generals who have won the presidency (Washington, Jackson, Grant, Ike) all transcended politics. Ike could have won either party's nomination in a walk. Being a general is a huge advantage if you, say, save the union or defeat Hitler, but Kosovo doesn't quite make that level.

That isn't to disparage the service. I just don't see it translating into votes. Which will force Clark to talk about issues. Being a lifelong general and not a politician puts him at a disadvantage. I think he will have a hard time staying on message and avoiding controversy. This is especially hard for Democratic candidates, who have to avoid saying anything that will hurt the feelings of a myriad of racial, ethnic and interest groups.

Saturday, September 20, 2003
Two Years Ago...

Well, last Thursday we reviewed a dark day in our nations recent history. Two years ago today, President Bush gave what was quite possibly his greatest speech since taking office - the September 20th, 2001 address to congress. The entire text of the speech can be found here, but here's a relevant excerpt:

Americans are asking:  How will we fight and win this war?   We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion.  It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes.  Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.  It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.  We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest.  And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.  Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.  (Applause.)  From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Lets hope that the President, congress and the American people all continue to have the courage to live up to those convictions.

Friday, September 19, 2003
SCG Football Picks – Week 3

Jason’s Picks: Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Baltimore, Buffalo, Kansas City, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, St. Louis, San Francisco, Denver

Sip’s Picks: Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, Atlanta, Washington, San Diego, Buffalo, Kansas City, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver

Tom’s Picks: Indianapolis, Detroit, New England, Tampa Bay, Washington, San Diego, Buffalo, Kansas City, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver

Mister S: Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, San Diego, Buffalo, Kansas City, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver

Mack’s Picks: Indianapolis, Detroit, New England, Tampa Bay, Washington, San Diego, Buffalo, Kansas City, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver

M’s Picks:

M, where are you??????

Our War With France

From yesterday's New York Times, Thomas Friedman (that's right, Thomas Friedman):

"It's time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally. It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy.

If you add up how France behaved in the run-up to the Iraq war (making it impossible for the Security Council to put a real ultimatum to Saddam Hussein that might have avoided a war), and if you look at how France behaved during the war (when its foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, refused to answer the question of whether he wanted Saddam or America to win in Iraq), and if you watch how France is behaving today (demanding some kind of loopy symbolic transfer of Iraqi sovereignty to some kind of hastily thrown together Iraqi provisional government, with the rest of Iraq's transition to democracy to be overseen more by a divided U.N. than by America), then there is only one conclusion one can draw: France wants America to fail in Iraq.

France wants America to sink in a quagmire there in the crazy hope that a weakened U.S. will pave the way for France to assume its "rightful" place as America's equal, if not superior, in shaping world affairs."

Clearly, the Vast Right Wing Comspiracy has finally killed Friedman and replaced him with a necon doppelganger. Here's the link to the whole column.

Re: Conventiongate

I'm a businessman, Tom. I don't like violence. Blood is a big expense.

By the way, I notice you are 0 for 2 in the “lock pick” category. Upon which team did you place the “Tom kiss-o-death” this week?

Re: Question for Military Mark...


"Well that’s a great question. It’s hard to answer, but I will do my best. Clark has been prepared for General by [serving] under several presidents, both democratic and Republican. I will note that he was born in Little Rock, and it makes me feel a little creepy. It’s important to note that his career was a very impressive one; He was first in his class at West Point, a Rhodes Scholar ( like Clinton), fought in Vietnam ( unlike Clinton), has been awarded three Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars and a purple heart, he's a licensed investment banker, he has been the staff officer responsible for "world wide politico-military affairs and U.S. military strategic planning"(that's no joke job), he's commanded three Infantry companies( most people are lucky to get one), as well as graduating from the National War College, Ranger School, Command and General Staff college, he even served as a special assistant to the director of the Office of Management and Budget back in the mid seventies.

So is there favoritism and prejudice? Oh yes. It works in your favor if you are an excellent soldier and know how to deal with people, if your an excellent soldier who does not deal well with people (especially civies), then it will keep you in the lower ranks. The promotion of officers requires senate approval, so it might be corrupted, but I believe that to overlook Clark in promotion would itself have been wrong.

I also believe that if the Republican Party needed a strong candidate he would have stepped up, I don't think there is much liberalism in his blood, but people will do strange things for power."

Thursday, September 18, 2003
Re: Mack picking w/ Jason

Ummm, does this mean that Mack knows Jason has fixed the contest and will definitely win?

I demand an investigation into Conventiongate!

Well, I screwed up my strategy to win the football pool. My plan was to start week 1 with the same picks as Jason, with one exception: pick the Bills to beat the Pats. If things went well, and they did, I would just pick the same picks as Jason the rest of the way and I would be all set. Well, I forgot to send in my picks last week and as a result I will be paying for drinks. I suppose that is only fair, since making you guys pay for my drinks would be wasteful (how much can you spend on pop (soda for you New Englanders), even in New York City?

Couldn't help but notice that even with missing a week, I am still in striking distance of Mr. S.

Question for Military Mark

Military Mark - A criticism I've read in a couple of different places is that officers have been promoted to generals during the Clinton years - moreso to their support of Clinton policies and how they can be politically supportive of Clinton - and not solely on their leadership/warrior skills. I don't know when Clark made general, but does he specifically fit this pattern, and more broadly, is there truth to this allegation?

I know you have allegiance to your fellow military personnel, but please be candid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003
MilitaryMark on General Clark...

"I want it to be clear that Gen. Clark is a good man, but apparently he is not happy with retirement; and that I can understand. There is talk that Bill Clinton's wife will co-chair the campaign, I just wish he (Clark) would remember that who you keep company with says much about you. Keeping it short, I have never met a high-ranking officer who I would guess is a Democrat, and I doubt Clark truly is but in name. If Bush and Cheney suddenly die and he has the chance to win, well the libs will all still have lost another battle. Damn you Clark for putting me in this situation."

Not just Hillary, Mark. He does appear to be supported by virtually the entire Clinton political machine. Among those rushing in to join his campaign are Clinton operatives and mouthpieces Mark Fabiani, Bruce Lindsey, Bill Oldaker, Vanessa Weaver, George Bruno, Skip Rutherford, Peter Knight, Ron Klain and perhaps even former Clinton deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, among others.

And what exactly will be the Generals domestic agenda? I realize this is a National security election, but the domestic issues can't be completely ignored. Will we see the Clinton domestic scheme installed to balance the perceived foreign policy/wartime strength of General Clark? Are we witnessing the beginnings of a Clark-Clinton ticket? Or even a Clinton-Clark ticket?

Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Another Great One by Charles Krauthammer

Courtesy of BLOGS FOR BUSH, is this article from the new issue of Time Magazine.
Monday, Sep. 22, 2003
What Makes The Bush Haters So Mad?
First, it was how he got the job. Now it's how much he's doing with it.

Bill Moyers may have his politics, but his deferential demeanor and almost avuncular television style made him the Mr. Rogers of American politics. So when he leaves his neighborhood to go to a "Take Back America" rally and denounces George W. Bush's "government of, by and for the ruling corporate class," leading a "right-wing wrecking crew" engaged in "a deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States way of governing," you know that something is going on.

That something is the unhinging of the Democratic Party. Democrats are seized with a loathing for President Bush — a contempt and disdain giving way to a hatred that is near pathological — unlike any since they had Richard Nixon to kick around. An otherwise reasonable man, Julian Bond of the N.A.A.C.P., speaks of Bush's staffing his Administration with "the Taliban wing of American politics." Harold Meyerson, editor at large of The American Prospect, devotes a 3,000-word article to explaining why Bush is the most dangerous President in all of American history — his only rival being Jefferson Davis.

The puzzle is where this depth of feeling comes from. Bush's manner is not particularly aggressive. He has been involved in no great scandals, Watergate or otherwise. He is, indeed, not the kind of politician who radiates heat. Yet his every word and gesture generate heat — a fury and bitterness that animate the Democratic primary electorate and explain precisely why Howard Dean has had such an explosive rise. More than any other candidate, Dean has understood the depth of this primal anti-Bush feeling and has tapped into it.

Whence the anger? It begins of course with the "stolen" election of 2000 and the perception of Bush's illegitimacy. But that is only half the story. An illegitimate President winning a stolen election would be tolerable if he were just a figurehead, a placeholder, the kind of weak, moderate Republican that Democrats (and indeed many Republicans) thought George Bush would be, judging from his undistinguished record and tepid 2000 campaign. Bush's great crime is that he is the illegitimate President who became consequential — revolutionizing American foreign policy, reshaping economic policy and dominating the political scene ever since his emergence as the post-9/11 war President.

Before that, Bush could be written off as an accident, a transitional figure, a kind of four-year Gerald Ford. And then came 9/11. Bush took charge, declared war, and sent the country into battle twice, each time bringing down enemy regimes with stunning swiftness. In Afghanistan, Bush rode a popular tide; Iraq, however, was a singular act of presidential will.

That will, like it or not, has remade American foreign policy. The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy is the subtitle of a new book by two not very sympathetic scholars, Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay. The book is titled America Unbound. The story of the past two years could just as well be titled Bush Unbound. The President's unilateral assertion of U.S. power has redefined America's role in the world. Here was Bush breaking every liberal idol: the ABM Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, deference to the U.N., subservience to the "international community." It was an astonishing performance that left the world reeling and the Democrats seething. The pretender had not just seized the throne. He was acting like a king. Nay, an emperor.

On the domestic front, more shock. Democrats understand that the Bush tax cuts make structural changes that will long outlive him. Like the Reagan cuts, they will starve the government of revenue for years to come. Add to that the Patriot Act and its (perceived) assault on fundamental American civil liberties, and Bush the Usurper becomes more than just consequential. He becomes demonic.

The current complaint is that Bush is a deceiver, misleading the country into a war, after which there turned out to be no weapons of mass destruction. But it is hard to credit the deception charge when every intelligence agency on the planet thought Iraq had these weapons and, indeed, when the weapons there still remain unaccounted for. Moreover, this is a post-facto rationale. Sure, the aftermath of the Iraq war has made it easier to frontally attack Bush. But the loathing long predates it. It started in Florida and has been deepening ever since Bush seized the post-9/11 moment to change the direction of the country and make himself a President of note.

Which is why the Democratic candidates are scrambling desperately to out-Dean Dean. Their constituency is seized with a fever, and will nominate whichever candidate feeds it best. Political fevers are a dangerous thing, however. The Democrats last came down with one in 1972--and lost 49 states.

SCG's Number One E-mailer

Here's a picture of "MilitaryMark" looking for the bad guys.

SCG Football Update...

After week 2:

Jason: 20/32, 1/2
Sip: 18/32, 2/2
Tom: 18/32, 0/2
Mister S: 16/32, 1/2
Mack: 11/32, 0/2
M: 10/32, 1/2

This contest was an excellent idea. Whose idea was it anyway? I'd also like to thank "M" and Mack for spotting the rest of us a weeks worth of points. It seems to me if you can just manage to get your picks in every week, you stand a decent chance of winning this thing.

SCG picks for week number 3 will be posted by Saturday.

MilitaryMark is a True American

Mark –

Sorry, but I have to address your comment from earlier on, “If we must never forget these images then why are they down now?”

Those images were posted in honor of the victims of 9/11 and as a warning to America’s enemies. Keep in mind that SCG is not a 9/11 memorial site, nor is it a Pearl Harbor site or a pro-tax cut page. It’s not a single-issue or single-event web page. It’s just a bunch of guys who love their country and like to mix it up on occasion. Our views, by and large, are conservative and libertarian. On occasion a rogue member will support something socially liberal. We will be posting many images throughout the year to address or symbolize different events or causes.

No one is trying to dishonor the poor souls who were victimized. We’re on the same side here. In fact, you and I can take turns holding the bad guy while the other pounds him!

Monday, September 15, 2003
Dear Sip,

MilitaryMark writes:

”I respect your ability to look around at what’s going on around you; many seem to have lost that ability. All your points were valid, but few should really concern you. If another attack comes upon our great nation we will be at least 50% more prepared then we were for the last one. This situation is not going away any time soon, and slow progress in homeland defense is better then none.

I feel that Bush will benefit from another attack more then he would if we have none, and that irony sickens me. Our local law enforcement and fire persons have been upgrading their equipment and training regularly for the most un-common of events. I have great trust that their response will be prompt and effective. If there are no attacks (the right situation) then Our George should be hailed, but that is up to the people to do, all they need is to be heard. We can trust that the fair and unbalanced Fox Network will let the polls be seen, but the rest, well, we know where they stand; to hell with standards, we hate Bush, Bill threw us such great parties!

The war situation has become a fiscal one, and many people point out that The President might stand to learn something from a "getting along better with other national leaders course." I have checked the fall calendar at my local community college and see no such courses. I think it might be that the leaders of these other nations might need to take a course in "kissing the ass of a much needed super power and world activist.” There is a lot of room in the United Nations building, I am sure they could build a lecture hall. To make everyone happy, the instructor could be a paraplegic, HIV positive, minority female, gay of course, who has adopted crack babies from D.C. and is starting a wildlife sanctuary outside of Baltimore (on land that was once planned to be a great golf course). They would need wine and Fois Gras of course, I mean to give the French something to eat and drink.

How many times has Dick Gephardt run for the nomination? I feel like every four years or so I see this guy out there trying to fulfill his self-ordered destiny, when will he give up? He seems to be making ground this time though, his plan is simple, try to lie better then Dean, and try to make people believe that his smile is sincere. Dean and he are holding hands on a bridge that will fall without any help from the Republican Party; its poor construction will bring it down by itself.”

Sunday, September 14, 2003
Re: One Man Focus Group

Tom - you have time on your hands for a Sunday night. I guess I do too.

I agree that W will be great on the campaign trail and that he will have the most incredible campaign team behind him ever assembled. I also believe that he will be re-elected, but that presently the Dems (moreso their issues) are getting traction.

I fear that if American soldiers are killed every day in Iraq for the next year, it can have an affect. If fear that if there's another terrorist attack, it will definitely have an affect.

There's no upshot. Zero. None of this 'bad' news from Iraq, nor if another terrorist event occurs, will have positive effects for Bush. My point is that we need a dose of dramatic positive news on the foreign policy front to keep American's confidence that the Bush doctrine is moving forward. I think the best news would be that we got Saddam or Bin Laden.

The last time I followed my gut and wrote my One Man Focus Group election concerns (when we were all sending emails) was in the waning days of Election 2000. Conventional thought was that Bush would definitely win, yet I was highly concerned about Gore. I was called a fraidy cat, yet my instincts prevailed.

Oh, and I don't care what anyone says - swirlees are good, and they are strong!! Go Bills!!!

Re: Sip's Nervous Breakdown

Dude, have you been drinking swirlees again?

Quick, Mr. S., drive over to Sip's house and burn all of the copies of the NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, and USNews that he has apparently been reading this weekend.

Sip, you "sense" a growing level of dissatisfaction with the Administration? What have you happen to catch the Today show, CBS Evening News or Nightline in the last few days? They are very powerful programs and have the ability to plant doubt into viewers' minds -- even into a good conservative mind like yours -- about any number of things.

This may explain your sudden uneasiness.

But rest assured my friend, when the campaign really gets underway you'll see those "negative" numbers turn. Saint Reagan and Monica's boyfriend were masters at using the bully pulpit. But the dirty little secret is that our boy dubya is too. He did it on taxes, he did it on Homeland Security, he did it again on taxes, he did it on the Iraq resolution, and he did it during the 2002 election.

It's coming....

Put your mind at ease.

Maybe you should subscribe to NRD!

In the meantime, bask in the glow of yet another Bills blowout.

On to Miami! Squish the Fish!

One Man Focus Group

While the election is about 14 months away, I’m getting nervous about current events, and what effect they may ultimately have on Bush’s re-election. Let me get the disclaimers out of the way first, so we don’t have to revisit these points: I fully agree with everything that was posted last week regarding the recovering economy and Bush as a leader, his foreign policy, etc. And I don’t think that any of the Democratic candidates can compare with Bush on either front. And I realize the Democratic candidates beat up on Bush every day, which grabs headlines, and keeps today’s negative aspects in the forefront of the news. And Bush’s numbers were not sustainable over the long-term. And, Reagan’s and Clinton’s numbers were worse at this point in their presidencies than Bush’s. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

However, even without the current headlines and poll numbers, I sense a growing level of dissatisfaction with the Administration on the economy and Iraq. The economy I’m not particularly worried about. It is primarily self-correcting, resilient, and we are making steady progress, which I expect to continue.

The Bush camp is already saying the focus of the campaign will be terrorism. When asked the question “Who will keep you safer? President Bush or any one of the other candidates,” I firmly believe most thoughtful Americans will say President Bush. The Administration displayed a level of control with Afghanistan after 9/11 and going into Iraq – particularly because we did military things deliberately and saw solid results.

Now, things are random in Iraq and Afghanistan, the deficit is large and growing, and the $87 billion Bush asked for is a huge sum that most people are uncomfortable with. I think people used to consider the economy, the deficit, terrorism, and Iraq separately. Lately, I think it’s become apparent that they’re all interrelated, and while no Democratic candidates are getting solid traction (maybe because it’s too early??? (And I don't think Dean has solid traction)), these issues are.

While incremental (meaning non-newsworthy) advances are being made every day in Iraq, we need some dramatic good news on the foreign policy front to show the Bush doctrine is working (and if there’s another remarkable terrorist act in the U.S. anytime soon, I think Bush could be in serious trouble – the Dems will definitely get a foothold).

In conclusion, Bush’s strength, which could become a vulnerability, is in the foreign policy arena. I firmly believe we need good news on the foreign policy front, and we need it fast. The only way to get this, that I can see, is to quickly find and kill (I don’t want them taken into custody) Bin Laden and/or Saddam Hussein.

Saturday, September 13, 2003
SCG Football - Week 2

Mack's Picks:

Jason's Picks: Buffalo, Green Bay, Miami, San Fransisco, Washington, Arizona, Denver, Minnesota, Cleveland, New Orleans, Kansas City, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Oakland, New england, NY Giants

Tom's Picks: Buffalo, Green Bay, Jets, St. Louis, Washington, Arizona, San Diego, Minnesota, Baltimore, New Orleans, KC, Tennessee, Tampa, Oakland, Philly, Giants

Sip's Picks: Saints, Bills, Titans, Browns, Redskins, Lions, Dolphins, Rams, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Raiders, Eagles, Broncos, Vikings, Giants

Mister S: Buffalo, Green Bay, Miami, San Fransisco, Atlanta, Seattle, San Diego, Minnesota, Cleveland, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Oakland, New england, NY Giants

M's Picks: Falcons, Packers, Colts, Chiefs, Rams, Saints, Dolphins, Bills, Browns, Seahawks, Buccs, Chargers, Eagles, Raiders, Vikings, Giants 

The leaders picks are still pending. Anyone else wanting to send theirs in to try and beat the SCG boys (shouldn't be hard), can send their picks to

MilitaryMark responds...

I'm glad you discussed it. It is not impossible to change my opinion and beliefs, in fact I do it quite often, as to not become stagnent. I will not sway from my beliefs that any citizen becomes a soldier once attacked. We grew up pledging our alligence to this great nation, and when she is attacked, sucker punched in such a fashion, it is every americans duty, young, old or unborn to represent our nation. Sometimes it is not as glamourous as carrying a handicapped woman down 56 flights of stairs, sometimes we jump to escape the pain of skin melting, and the smell of burning bodies. They were soldiers that day. The PA plane gang were not soldiers? I respect Jason's overly emotional argument, but he is as wrong as two boys playing under the covers. You don't have to wear a uniform and have rank to represent your country, and sometimes its just not your choice. If we must never forget these images then why are they down now? Do we only bring them out on holidays? I forgive your inappropriate behavior on such a important day, but to try to justify it is simply tabloid. Hey Johnny Cash died, maybe you should try to get a mourgue photo so we never forget him. Fess up and move on. I'm going to.

Mark, they were not soldiers. A soldier (I believe) has the knoweledge and understanding that they are potential targets, and they accept this risk. A civilian has no such knowledge and understanding, and has made no agreement to accept such risk. The point of terrorism is to make civilians feel like targets - indeed, that is why terrorists intentionally try to harm civilians.

I doubt anyone will forget Johnny Cash, and I suspect that humanity will continue trying to rid the world of the disease that killed him. I hope humanity continues trying to rid the world of the disease that killed 3000 people just over two years ago as well. We can agree to disagree on this one.

Friday, September 12, 2003

I understand your point, Military Mark. I believe Jason said some good things, so I won’t echo his points. However, your point that “you do not allow your fellow soldiers to be depicted unfavorably in death” is a good one, and I believe, broadly understood.

This photo is not on the same level as dead Rangers being dragged through the streets of Somalia. It is the “uncomfortable” images that are not displayed anymore, yet exhibit the true horror and evil of the day. These images should never be forgotten. And while they should never be glorified, they should in no manner be swept under the carpet.

I have to strongly second Jason’s reply that these were victims of terrorism, not soldiers. The distinction is important and deliberate. The children who are targeted in Israel are not soldiers, they are helpless children who are also the victims of terrorism.

Apparently when he asked us to change the photo, this wasn't what he had in mind...


"Very Tacky. It is an unwritten rule in combat that you do not allow your fellow soldiers to be depicted unfavorably in death; it is clear to me that whoever posted the dozen or so pics of the half dead, burning, lungs filled with jet fuel people who were in such a dire situation that they threw themselves from the tallest building in the world to get air, well that person apparently had no idea how you treat a fallen soldier. When the first plane became part of the towers the people inside became soldiers, they may have not known it, but none the less, wartime sometime spreads beyond the well kept battlefields. That is all.

We certainly respect your opinion Mark, but we also respectfully disagree. We dicussed this at length, and we all agreed that that there has been far too little graphic displays of the horrific nature of the attacks upon us that day. And again, with all due respect, these weren't soldiers. These were sectretaries and janitors and stock brokers and line cooks - and firefighters and police officers. These were innocent civilians who just happend to go to work that day. These "half dead, burning, lungs filled with jet fuel people who were in such a dire situation that they threw themselves from the tallest building in the world to get air" did nothing to deserve the fates that came to them, and the horror of their deaths shouldn't be pushed off into the far reaches of a hazy distant memory. These were not soldiers. Our enemy today doesn't distinguish between soldiers and civilians, and that is the point of the photo. Offended? Too bad, me too.

September 11
Whoever posted the September 11 e-mail chain, thanks. I received all of Sip's e-mails but am having computer problems at work and was unable to print out or copy and paste them without my system crashing. What amazes me is how prescient (sp?) our discussions were about what would follow:

1. Bush did follow through on the war on terror. It isn't over yet. He knows it. He is willing to take political risks to do what is right to keep this country safe, long term. Iraq was a huge political risk. He is still taking his lumps for it. But he is in it for the long haul and he knows who our enemies are. Along the way, he even became a pretty darn good orator, when he needed to be, at least.

2. The Left has gone soft. Tim's worries about bombing brown people were early indications that the left couldn't move beyond the blame America phase of this. We see it today with the article in the New York Times about how America has "squandered" the support of other nations since September 11th. This is exactly what is wrong with the left - - America can only be respected when we play the role of victim. Now that we are back on our feet and taking the fight to the terrorists in their backyard, we are the bully in their eyes. They would prefer an America that is pitied and powerless to one that is powerful but resented by the kleptocrats in the UN and socialists who run Europe.

Those e-mails really bring me back. That was a horrible day. But it was a wake up call and, thankfully, our nation has not sat around waiting for the next shoe to drop. When you sit back and think about what we have accomplished (as VDH points out), it is awe-inspiring.

The only one who can defeat us is ourselves. Let's not let that happen.

Thursday, September 11, 2003
The NY Times OP/ED Page marks September 11th…

So what’s on the Op/Ed pages of the paper of record this September 11th?

Maureen Dowd pens “We’re Not Happy Campers – Our incursion into Iraq is turning into a spun-out, scary lesson in the dangers of hubris.”

That’s right, “hubris.” She’s a peach isn’t she? “I've actually gotten to the point where I hope Dick Cheney is embroiled in a Clancyesque conspiracy to benefit Halliburton,” she writes. “Because if it's not a conspiracy, it's naïveté and ideology.” And there you have your Maureen Dowd view of the right, a difficult choice between greedy corporate war-monger, or naïve simplistic ideologue.

Then Thomas Friedman writes “Breaking Death’s Grip – Strong, resilient Israel is in a good position to try something new: investing in the Palestinians.”

This is a disgusting piece, as snide and disingenuous as you would expect. You know he’s setting you up when he writes: “Israelis' ability to adapt to, and defy, these bombings demonstrates the amazing strength of this society. When bus bombings first started, for a week after an explosion few people would ride the buses. Now they're right back on them after an hour. The radios used to stop playing upbeat music after a bombing; now they don't hesitate.”

It doesn’t take long though before he gets to the crux of his column: “message to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: Palestinians are not leaving either, and your iron fist will not make them accept Israeli settlements or a truncated Palestinian state. If you think Oslo was a failure, look at your alternative. In three years, some 850 Israelis have been killed under your strategy. Yours and Hamas's are two failed strategies that add up to a human meat grinder.” Sharon and Hamas, two morally equivalent strategic failures in Friedman’s mind – except I don’t for a second believe that Mr. Friedman holds Ariel Sharon in as high esteem as Hamas. Friedman talks about how Israel will need to “invest heavily” in the Palestinians, without any guarantee of success.” This he argues will force the Palestinians to respond in kind to Israel. Sure it will, like it has so many times over the preceding decades.

It boggles the mind that people can be so blind to blatant fact, to the repeating history playing out in front of them – but then I guess it shouldn’t.

And the NY Times Editors? Try these on:

“Two Years On – An outpouring of patriotism by Americans was one of the natural effects of Sept. 11, but the purity of our first reactions has been eroded by time.”

Now at first glance, I agree with this headline. The purity of our first reactions has eroded - faded – and we seem to have unfortunately returned to that cocoon we lived in before the gratuitous nature of the attacks was “alive” on our television screens. That was not, however, the point the editors were trying to make. No, the Times’ point, again as you would expect, was:

“It is worth reminding ourselves, on this day particularly, that we come no closer to understanding the significance of 9/11, at home and abroad, if we use the memory of what happened that morning falsely and vainly. It seemed as if two great tides emanated in response to the tragedy of that Tuesday. One was a sense of generosity, a deep compassion that expressed itself in immediate acts of cooperation and support. The other was a sense of patriotism, a strong consciousness of our American identity. When those two tides overlapped, as they often did in the months after 9/11, the result was impressive and profoundly moving. But we have also seen, in the past two years, a regrettable narrowing of our idea of patriotism. It has become, for some people in some ways, a more brittle expression of national sentiment — a blind statement of faith that does more to divide Americans from one another than to join them together.”

The editorial goes on to say that we need to understand that this was really “a local and particular, rather than universal, event.” That’s right, an aberration. Not at all indicative of an ongoing campaign of terror which included the first attack on the WTC, the Khobar towers, the US embassy bombings, the USS Cole, etc. No we must not look at this tragedy as part of any larger problem that requires a larger response. “Those buildings did not fall or their occupants die to become symbols in an incoherent argument. That outpouring of strength and consideration was never meant to serve as the pretext for false conclusions.” Are they really talking about Iraq here? Those “false connections?” Or are they saying something else to those knuckle-draggers amongst us that insist that those responsible pay, that they be addressed in such a way that they are never capable of doing this to us again? Aren’t really just asking us to “move on?”

And finally, no self respecting, morally equivalent and socially responsible editorial page would be complete with out reminding the US that while this was indeed a tragedy, that we’ve got some blood on our hands as well:

“The Other Sept.11 – Thirty years ago today in Chile, Gen. Augusto Pinochet staged a bloody U.S.-supported coup that led to the deaths of 3,000 people.”

“In the United States, Sept. 11 will forever be a day to remember our victims of terrorism. Yet our nation's hands have not always been clean, and it is important to recall Chile's Sept. 11, too.”

Can you imagine? Is this an American newspaper? (no need to answer that)

Domestic Issue

I agree that Bush gets good marks on the economy. Considering he inherited a declining economy, 9/11 occurred, tech bubble burst, etc., I think he's done a very solid job. And yes, I'll pay any price for our freedom and security. However, I think he (and Congress) is still on the hook for the spending. The "GOP is increasing spending at a slower rate than Democrats would" just doesn't sit well with me.

Spending has had some direct and indirect benefits to assisting with the economic turnaround. I'm all for outlaying what is needed on the war, security, and our safety. But the rampant pork, increase in social programs (Ex: prescription drug plan), etc, needs to get clamped down.

One of the reasons I champion having a deficit is that it makes it harder to increase spending. Supposedly.

Re: Tom (and VDH)

Jason, I didn't mean to imply that I wouldn't vote for Bush based on his domestic record, which includes the economy. Clearly I would, since he's done remarkable things in getting the economy growing after the Clinton recession and the attacks.

All that I meant was that his record as Commander-in-Chief was enough to earn my vote, since that is what really matters in war time. He'd have that vote even if the economy were tanking and my taxes were higher, etc., etc.

For my money (ha, ha), the fact that the economy is growing and my taxes are lower are bonus reasons to vote for GWB in 2004.

(But this doesn't mean that he shouldn't have to fight to put conservatives on the bench, get rid of cap gains, give us a flat or consumption tax, shrink governement, and all that.)

Tom (and VDH)...

Tom, I whole-heartedly agree that "this election is about our security," and that "George Bush has earned my vote and support for his prosecution of this war alone." Quite right. As Victor Davis Hanson points out again today on NRO, "in just 24 months we have liberated 50 million people, destroyed the odious Taliban and Saddam Hussein, and routed 60% of the al Qaeda leadership — all at the cost of less than 300 American dead."

But let me also say, that I give the President a passing grade on the post-September 11th economy as well. Yes, spending is way higher than it should be, and unfortunately job growth continues to lag the overall recovery. However, the country was already mired in a pretty deep recession prior to September 11th (one that started well before the President took office), and the quarter in which September 11th occured was the last quarter of that recession. The US economy has expanded in every quarter since. That is simply remarkable. Think about that as you listen to the Democrits harp about the President's "tax breaks for the wealthy." Two tax cuts, an expanding economy, a stock market rebound, a total lack of inflation, and nearly the highest level of productivity growth in history. All this while fighting (at least) two major battles in the war on terrorrism and shoring up the home front as well. Maybe not an A+, but higher than some of his grades at Yale I imagine.

Six Conservative Guys' First Blog - September 11, 2001

September 11
Mack 9:55am: Good Lord, I think we are going to have to go to war over this. This is only comparable to Pearl Harbor. Maybe worse, because it isn't a military installation. Given the source of previous attacks, I think we can guess it isn't home-grown terrorism.

Jason 9:59am: Hey for those of us with no TV, give me the summary: Two planes? People on board? Pentagon? Bush's comments?

Mack 10:01am: We have to respond to this. This is an act of war and we must respond as such. Two planes. Apparently full. One of the towers just collapsed. Pentagon has also been hit. Word is there is gunfire on the mall.

Scott 11:40am: Mack‚s right about this being worse than Pearl Harbor. Jason - I have not seen the TV but the run-down so far is two planes into the world trade centers. After these crashes, the buildings (both of them) were apparently imploded. The World Trade Centers are gone, rubble. A plane crashed outside the Pentagon. A bomb or a fire has occurred at the Capitol Building. A car bomb blew up outside the State Department in DC. One plane crashed in or around Camp David. Another plane crashed into the mountains in Somerset Country PA – there’s nothing there except it’s close to the Pittsburgh airport. These were all commercial airliners that had passengers that were hijacked. Also, I hear that there are still some planes in the air that are unaccounted for.
The World Trade Center was terrible. It was orchestrated. A smaller plane crashed into one of the buildings. Followed by a larger jetliner about 10 minutes later. The first plane was obviously used as bait for news cameras so that the bigger crash could be recorded for all Americans to see.
They’re not only attacking us, they’re rubbing it in our faces. They’re not hitting military sites - they are killing office workers, firemen and ambulance personnel.
Of course, gov’t buildings are being evacuated nationwide and bridges in many major cities are being shut down.
We need to assess/identify and strike back with no holding back. The rest of the world can kiss our ass. This is the WORST act of terrorism worldwide - nothing compares to these spectacular sites we’re seeing in pictures.

Jason 12:58pm: Are there five planes down?

Tom 1:40pm: This act of war deserves a response that should possibly include the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

Tom 7:04pm: We must remember who are friends are and who are enemies are. Clearly the PLO is an enemy. Add Egypt to the list. Sick bastards.

Wednesday, September 12 2:50 AM SGT
"Bullseye," say Egyptians as they celebrate anti-US attacks
CAIRO, Sept 11 (AFP) -

Egyptian students, taxi drivers and shopkeepers crowded round television sets stacked up in electrical store windows in downtown Cairo Tuesday evening, celebrating a string of elaborate attacks on New York and Washington.
"Bullseye," commented two taxi drivers as they watched footage of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York shrouded in plumes of smoke after two presumably hijacked planes slammed into them earlier in the day.
Another Egyptian man, Gawish Abdel Karim, told AFP he was pleased with the wave of violence in which another plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, the heart of the US defence establishment.
"Nice work," said Abdel Karim, who drives a car for an Asian embassy.
"The Americans have forgotten that God exists. They have us by the throat and now they find themselves in a science fiction film scenario, but this time Rambo's not there to save the White House."
Anti-US sentiment has mushroomed on the streets of Egypt and other Arab countries over its widely-perceived support for Israel over the Palestinians in the past 11 months of violence in the Middle East.
As with other US facilities around the world, workers at US government offices and Egyptian citizens were taking security precautions, with only "non-essential" operations set to be covered on Wednesday.
However, US officials said there had been no credible or specific threat against US citizens or interests here.
Abdel Karim hailed the attacks as "the best thing that's happened since the October War," referring to the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war when Egyptian forces made a surprise attack on the Israeli army across the Suez Canal.
"Mabruk! Mabruk! (congratulations)", shouted a crowd of people huddled round the shop window.
Egypt, considered one of the "moderate" countries in the Middle East, is one of the United States' strongest allies in the region, being the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
But people on the streets do not necessarily see themselves as US allies.
"The Americans are cowards. They use other countries to hit us. They don't have the courage to meet us face to face," said Khalil Matar, 43, who works in a state-run soap factory. "The myth of the indestructible United States has gone up in smoke."
Polytechnic student Amira Ryad also vented her anger.
"We saw the tower crash down," she said, referring to one of the two towers of the World Trade Center, both of which were razed by the attack.
"I only wish (US President) George Bush and his dear little baby (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon had been buried in there too," she added.
Fellow student Murad went as far as speculating that the United States was behind the attacks, "to find an excuse for the National Missile Defence system" that Bush wants to deploy to protect the United States from so-called rogue states, despite widespread global opposition.
"Those people are capable of killing their own people to prove they're right," he said.
Egyptian President Hosni "Mubarak should know that the people can no longer be humiliated, but of course he'll never declare war" on Israel, the student said.
Another taxi driver said he was going to make special prayers to thank him for the attacks against the US.

Tom 9:40pm: I thought that the President was very, very weak tonight. We needed a strong leader tonight, instead we got a "compassionate conservative". Were was the "day that will live in infamy speech"? Where was Reagan's Challenger speech? I wanted to see a President who was hurt, but strong and mad as hell. A very disappointing night from my perspective. And what was that bullshit about "law enforcement"? This isn't about law enforcement, it's about war. Law enforcement shouldn't be dealing with this, the United States military should. No more diplomacy. No more trials. It's time to open a can of red, white and blue whoop-ass. [N.B. Tom thought the President's subsequent speeches were inspiring and dead-on. It was the first one that night that he was criticizing. Although given the hectic events of the day one can understand...]

September 12
Mack 8:06am: That would certainly get their attention. Personally, I prefer the strategy of not only attacking these training camps with missiles, but sending in ground troops to round up/kill every terrorist on their way out. No bombed out asprin factories here. Big time operation.
Also, what is all this crap about needing the moderate Arab nation's support. The reality is, there are terrorists hiding in/training in all the Arab countries. We need to attack and kill them all. Anything less is a partial response and we shouldn't go to war with one hand behind our back. If the "moderate" Arab countries don't like us attacking terrorists on their soil, I say tell them what Baker told Jordan in the Gulf War... something to the effect that if you put your planes in the air you won't have an air force in the morning.
Definition of extreme Arab nation: tells us they hate us that we are the devils. "Moderate” Arab nation: believes we are devils and they hate us but won't tell us to our face.
The fact is, the Arab nations have been waging war against us for two decades. How many airplanes have been destroyed? How many bombings? How many hijackings and murders? If we don't have this war now, this will happen again.
Some people will be afraid that we will create new enemies - the sons and nephews of the people who die in this war. The reality is, they already hate us. We are already their enemies and they are socialized to hate us. That is OK. Let them hate us. But let them fear us even more.

Scott 8:56am: I agree that a strong military response is need sooner rather than later. And by strong, I mean the likes of which we have not yet but are very capable of delivering. We should unleash the fury of hell on the radical states; destroy any and all camps. I disagree with lumping in the moderate Arab states with the radical ones. If for nothing else, they have the oil. And we do benefit from our relationships with the moderate governments: landing strips, ports and some intelligence (probably not much but that is all we have there). As far as Bush goes, we all knew he wasn’t very good at speeches. So let’s focus on what went right. He landed at the White House and spoke from the White House. That’s a big deal and a moral victory (we should take anything we can get right now). It was also good that Rumsfeld held a press conference from the Pentagon. Send the message that it’s still open for business. A crushing military response (actually several of them) is what we need for the short-term. For the long-term, we as Americans will lose some of our civil liberties with searches and surveillance (which I can live with because I’m not a doper or a pedophile or terrorist). Also, we need to increase the capabilities of the intelligence community. We have much more in the way of resources than these camel jockeys do - why did we not see this coming? And if we did, why didn’t we do enough to prevent it?

Jason 10:10am: I got the following E-mail very late last night from my brother-in-law’s older brother, a good friend.

“I was in class at One Penn Plaza at 34th street on the 14th floor at 8:00am. Yes, my office was in the north tower, 1 World Trade Center, along with 1800 other tech people for Lehman, we had floors 38, 39 and 40. We have heard from almost everyone and we are all OK. The classroom I was in had large windows facing south, and we could see both towers, all but maybe 10-20 of the bottom floors. My teacher looked out the window and said there was a fire in the World Trade Center, I went to the window and I could see a gaping hole 10 stories tall, with orange flames, and I was trying to convince my fellow students that there was a giant hole in the building. I paged some friends who were in the building and they thought it was a bomb. So they went down the stairwell, which took an hour, but was orderly. Then I was looking at the towers and I saw an orange fireball, maybe 15-20 stories blast out of the Brooklyn side of the south tower, and we knew that wasn't an accident. I paced around and went back to the window, someone asked me how much time elapsed between the explosions and I said an hour, but it had only been 15 minutes! Then I saw what looked like a giant white waterfall of cement come down like a wave from the top of the south tower, and I freaked out. There were 20 people at the school and we were all so stunned we were speechless for 5 minutes, I physically couldn't say anything. I left for the ferry before the north tower fell, and I couldn't look anymore. I took the Circle Line to Lincoln Harbor, walked to Hoboken to decompress, got on a train which had a bomb scare-false alarm, got home, had a beer, went over to my boss' house and started to get a handle on the damage. My mood has swung from being grateful I wasn't there, to realizing that my time could come as a big surprise, and then I got mad when I realized, hey, these assholes tried to kill me! My guess is that as many as 5,000 to 10,000 people did not get out, each floor housed 600 people. If you were above the impact site, I don't know how you would use the stairwell. Morgan Stanley took it the hardest. Their executives had many floors in the 70-80th floor area in the north tower. As many as 3,000 could have died at impact. The city is shocked, I don't know what to say. I am sure there are many people from our neighborhood who passed away. I am going to take some time to smell the roses. Damn, I was having so much fun at work. Lehman is seriously wounded, it all depends on how bad off 3 World Financial Center is, which is across the street from the Trade Center. We might have lost 2 data centers and many trading floors, at least I don't know of any fatalities, yet.”

I thought about Paul last night. How his office didn’t exist anymore, along with the pictures I imagined he had on his desk of his wife Katie and his son Dean. I thought about how frantic Katie must have been in the moments that followed the attacks and watching the events unfold on live TV. Paul’s mother must have had a similar sinking pain when she woke up to this news in Northern California. And Paul, thank God, is fine. How many other wives and mothers had the same sinking feelings and were not so fortunate? How many still don’t know if there loved ones are dead, or worse buried alive helplessly breathing their last breaths. We live in very different world this morning than just 24 hours ago. The effects of these events will last for decades if not forever. As we all pound our fists and talk about retribution and unleashing the dogs of war, I too seethe with a desire for vengeance on those that would take so many innocent lives for sadistic purposes. I however, will not be comforted by any words spoken by our President or any other leader. No speech will sooth me. I will only be satisfied when the cancer that these cowardly thugs represent is surgically removed from the world. And even then, the world will still be a different place.

Tim 10:33am: I miss Bill - he felt my pain.

Mack 10:38 am: With all due respect in this time of national turmoil, and without destroying the unity of lefty pinkos and red meat conservatives in this time of crisis, let me say that the one thing we didn't need yesterday was Bill Clinton at the helm. Sure Bill is a good speaker, but he lacks moral authority that you need in the time off crisis. Besides being a congenital liar, I think it would be tough to keep a straight face listening to a rapist talk about moral retribution, justice and the despicable acts of cowardly men. This is all notwithstanding the fact that it was his weakness in the face of earlier acts of terrorism and his glad-handing capitulation to the murderous Arafat that helped create this problem.
Ok, that is off my chest. Back to the unity. God Bless America, Land That I Love (sing it Tim).

Tim 11:00am: In my humble opinion, no one was better at bringing the nation together in times of national crises than Bill Clinton. What we needed last night was someone who could deliver a speech like Clinton's after the Oklahoma bombing. What we did not need was some obvious moron saying absolutely nothing of any importance and not even with a convincing delivery. Bush's stupidity and poor grasp of international relations will get us into a terrible war. Clinton's response to the attacks on our embassies was swift and measured (yes he missed Bin Laden, but then again, we've been trying to kill the fucker for eight years and no one has found him yet). I'm afraid that Bush, on the other hand, will just unleash holy hell on any country he thinks is harboring Bin Laden. Not only would such a blanket response be untargeted, it would be immoral. Is our killing innocent citizens of another nation any more justified than the murders that occurred yesterday? Should we kill people just because they are Arabs? Keep in mind that the Koran preaches against violence as much as your Bible. We're dealing with religious nuts here, not entire nations of innocent God (or Allah) fearing people. You talk about Clinton's lack of morality, yet you yourselves advocate the slaughter of innocents. Let he without sin cast the first stone. Let's just hope Bush's desire for revenge (and desire not to look like the idiot he is) cloud his moral responsibilities as a human being.
By the way, I want to see Bin Laden's head as well as the heads of all his followers displayed on the fence outside the White House.

Scott 11:39am: Tim you ignorant Slut. First of all, does anyone besides Tim even remember the Clinton speech? I sure don’t, but I can at least tell you that it was during his "drawn-in-puss-sad-look-phase". Have you been on another e-mail thread, because I don’t remember reading anyone advocating killing Arabs because they are Arabs. I don’t remember anyone saying that the Judeo-Christian Bible was morally superior to the Koran. And I don’t remember Bush raping anyone. And as far as your criticism of a STRONG military response - you see how well Clinton‚s surgical strikes worked. I know you are smarter than your e-mail represents. Of course you know that Presidents do not make authoritarian decisions like Kings of the middle ages. Clinton and Bush alike drew upon the advice of military, intelligence and diplomatic experts. "Bush's stupidity and poor grasp of international relations will get us into a terrible war." This statement is way off the mark. I got news for you Tim, yesterday’s attack has already gotten us into a terrible war. If there’s fault to be found with US foreign policy, I would suggest that it dates back to before 8 months. This attack could have been years in the making. And how can you blame Bush for this? Was it Clinton’s fault that the embassies in Africa were bombed? Was it his fault that the USS Cole was bombed? Was it his fault that the federal building in Oklahoma was bombed? Have a nice day.

Jason 11:47am: George Bush is the President. It's senseless, at this point, to ponder about what Slick Willie (or even Regan) would do in response. I'm not concerned with how well Bush delivered a speech that would be of little comfort to those who lost everything yesterday anyway. Frankly, I don't want a rallying speech that would make everyone feel good for a couple of weeks and let us slide back into our comfortable cocoon until the next disaster. These bastards were supported. If not directly through funding and intelligence, than certainly through aide and protection. As stated by our President, let there be no distinction between the perpetrators of these acts and those that gave them aide and comfort. I say remove them with all due cold and calculated brutality. And FORMER president Clinton, by the way, was quoted as saying that this not the time to second guess President Bush, but to rally around him. A rare kudos to him from me.

Sip 12:20pm: Been in meetings all day - always at the times I don't want to be.
The Oklahoma bombing speech by Clinton was unmemorable. I don't remember it, and I believe most Americans don't look back on it fondly. Compare that to Reagan's speeches at the Berlin Wall, 40th Anniversary of D-day, and after the Challenger disaster. Ronald Reagan - bar none - was the best at bringing the nation together, and Clinton knew it. Remember, Clinton used to study Reagan speeches.....
Yes, Clinton's response was measured....that's the point. We don't need a proportional response - we need a disproportional response against those responsible. I'm not talking about randomly killing innocents - I'm talking about surgical disproportionate strikes - where all persons and anything in those areas will meet a violent ending. We don't need to wipe out an entire country if we can locate the areas of those responsible and wipe that out. Sure, innocents will be killed...but the countries that train and harbor these terrorists haven't seemed to care about innocent people. Nobody wants to kill innocents, however, sometimes it saves lives in the end. Although many innocent people died during the two atom bomb drops in Japan, I'm proud we dropped them. The lives lost pale in comparison to the number of people who would have been killed if the allied forces had an all-out occupation war in the Pacific and on the Japan Island. Those bomb drops bought the US many years of freedom. But the rules of the game has changed. Now we're going after sick, crazy religious fanatics. There will be collateral damage - we can't feel too bad about it.

Tim 12:23pm: I am not criticizing anything Bush has done so far (except for maybe a weak speech). And I do believe that our military response must be strong. If Bin Laden is in Afghanistan, then destroy not only all training camps in the country, but all military installations and military-related government buildings as well. I'm just worried that our long history of blowing up lots of brown people will rear its ugly head once again. I wholeheartedly agree with my pal Bill that we must stand by our current president and not second-guess his actions. I just hope that those who are standing closer to him than we are talking sense. And sorry about making it sound like you guys are a bunch of religious supremacists and racist pigs. I just had to write an e-mail from our president urging tolerance on our campus after a student at a neighboring community college was beaten up yesterday for being an Arab. I'm a little sensitive right now, as I'm sure we all are.

Mack 12:25pm: I always wonder, what would Don Regan do in a situation like this?

Tim 12:25pm: This is exactly what I'm worried about. Atom bombs, Sip? Have you lost your mind?

Jason 12:31pm: Actually, I meant Linda Blairs's character in the Exorcist.

Mack 12:33pm: The reality is we are in a war. There will be innocent people who lose their lives - of course, we won't be aiming for them or intending to inflict harm on them. The pro-Palestinian, anti-military, blame America first wing in the Democratic party may have been outside on the Capitol Steps preaching unity. But as you can see from Tim's e-mail, they don't have the stomach to actually follow through on the idea of war. Remember, the liberals idea of a "war" is to hand out government welfare checks to fight poverty or send the marines in to hand out box lunches to migrants. During our bombing raids on Iraq back in 1998, the liberal left at my former church spent many hours preaching about how wrong US policies were and encouraging people to attend rallies protesting US action. They were shouting "No Attack! On Iraq!” over and over again in the church. That is why it is my former church. These people will not be on our side because they will never put the interests of the US ahead of their vision of a world government/socialist utopia. I don't think Tim is quite as extreme as they are and I do believe you are a good American Tim, but you have clearly been so indoctrinated with the rhetoric of the left that you reflexively oppose the one sensible course of action in a case like this: all out war (not the limited engagement stuff that has gotten us into trouble time and time again).
To everything there is a season. A time for love; a time for hate. A time for peace; a time for war. Etc... Take a guess which season began yesterday.
By the way, the leadership of my former church was defrocked by the Bishop for allowing women to say mass and for performing gay marriages.

Mack 12:34pm: That was a cheap shot at an obvious spelling error. Sorry, but I can't help but think Don Regan whenever I see that mistake.

Sip 12:36pm: No, I haven't lost my mind. I'm not advocating dropping atom bombs anywhere....just pointing out that collateral damage (innocents) will occur, and while it should be considered, eliminating the objective should get the most attention. We can do this in this day and time with surgical precision. While innocent people may be killed, it may save more lives in the end. I used the two atom bomb drops as an e-x-a-m-p-l-e of when innocent people get killed, but where it is generally accepted that more lives were saved. As I've learned, it's generally accepted that more people would have been killed in the war if it kept going on - than were killed with the two atom bombs. As I said, an example.

Tom 12:40pm: We don't use atomic bombs anymore, we now have thermonuclear ones. They're much better. A tactical nuclear strike should not be ruled out at this point. I'm not saying definitely drop a bomb (we wouldn't use a strategic one like Hiroshima, but rather a much smaller, cleaner one). If the decision to use one is made (and I don't think it will), the country should be prepared for a continued vigilance against these thugs. Remember, they declared war on us.
Tim, please educate me on the long history we have of blowing up brown people....

Tim 12:53pm: I agree we are now at war with terrorism. Unless I missed something, however, we are not at war with another country (yet). Comparisons to the war with Iraq don't make sense here (except that they're also Muslim – is that what you mean? Are we at war with the Muslim countries?) Let's make sure we are on the same page here. When Congress declares war, as is their right, who will we be at war with? We're looking to exact justice and revenge on those who caused us harm and the nations that harbor them. I'm all for that, and I understand that collateral damage is bound to occur (especially with Sip's atom bomb). I just don't want blood thirst to get in the way of reason.
By the way, if two people love each other, why shouldn't they get married?

Scott 12:59pm: What's up with the phantom linking that you're trying to pull? Sip never said to use "atom" bombs. There is NO history of blowing up brown people. Now we're at war with all Muslims??? I'll ask again, are you on another e-mail thread that the rest of us aren't?

Mack 1:09pm: I agree we shouldn't attack countries just because they are "Muslim". If those countries happen to be the countries that harbor terrorists, they have two choices: round up the terrorists and send them here for justice or stand by and watch while the US military wipes them off the face of the planet. The first way would dramatically limit the number of civilian casualties...but I don't think it is very likely that any of the nations harboring terrorists will actually follow through on it. Unleash the dogs of war.
By the way, I don't necessarily care one way about woman priests or gay marriage. However, if you want to be a part of the Catholic church, those things aren't currently part of the rulebook. If you want to do that, become an Episcopalian or some other phony-baloney heretical religion, go right ahead. Unless the Catholic church changes things (by God's order, I guess), you have to live by the rules of the church (very Burkean, eh?). In the meantime, it is like being an NFL referee and ignoring the rules that exist. You may think that field goals should be worth 4 points, but you don't get to make the rules.
This is meant in good humor of course, but it is also a discussion for another time. That is not to say that the Catholic Church is doing everything right. I would rather see the Bishop kick them out for being treasonous and cowardly than for marrying two nancy boys who are too lazy to drive to Vermont. Unfortunately, the policy of the church is if you hate your country, we look the other way. Allow a woman to touch the host - Holy crap - you are out of the church.

Tim 1:25pm: Are we looking for Justice or Revenge? If as Mack said, the host countries round up those responsible and hand them over to us for "justice" will we really be happy? What happens if we have a long, expensive trial with the same caliber of jury that let OJ off and the perpetrators get off? Are we willing to take that risk. Do we trust the American justice system that much? I think what most people really want is revenge. They don't care if these bastards ever see a courtroom. If that means killing innocent people, so be it. I want revenge too, but at what cost?

Mack 3:18pm: Absolutely right. That is very important. Organized terrorism is not a "crime". It is an act of war. Killing civilians in wartime is certainly a hangable offense.
By the way, for those of us (Tim) who think that we should try to avoid a war and that Bush is going to act rashly and push us into a huge, terrible conflict, I can't help but wonder that if this atrocity against US civilians on US soil doesn't justify an all out war, what in God's name does? This is exactly the type of action that calls for a huge, terrible conflict. Otherwise, we will face huge, terrible disasters like this again and again. Their success here (and with the Cole before it) only makes it more likely that they will do this again, and again and again if we don't eradicate the terrorists and those who aid and harbor them. If you don't think it justifies the human cost, think about whether or not you will feel safe bringing your kids to the Empire State Building, or the rebuilt World Trade Center, or the Smithsonian. It is them or us. Their way of life - oppressive governments, no freedom, the slaughter of innocents – versus ours.
By the way, I am all for free trade and lots and lots of immigration. But we need to secure our borders. Both our Mexico and Canada borders need to be defended (these guys came in at Maine).

Jason 3:40pm: "Both our Mexico and Canada borders need to be defended (these guys came in at Maine)." They got by Fort Mead?

Tom 3:48pm: Yes, I was asleep at the wheel. I was too busy re-counting my tax refund, which I received in nickels and dimes.

Mack 4:00pm: Unfortunately, most of you New Englanders have disarmed yourself. So they had nothing to fear.

Mack 4:00pm: Don't worry Tim. They won't be tried by Democrats. They will be tried for war crimes. Remember, Bin Laden has already declared "war" on us. The idiots in NYC who didn't give the earlier bombers death should hang their heads in shame. I have a feeling I know who they voted for (or tried to vote for but botched their ballots).
By the way, revenge is fine with me. Doesn't justice carry a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. Also a blindfold. I say drop the scale and make it some good old blind revenge.

September 13
Scott 7:15am: I have truly felt the roller coaster of emotion these past 48 hours. After seeing these images I am still brought to the brink of tears for the victims, their families and for my country. I'm going to be 34 years old in a couple of weeks and I'm so used to being angry about politics and sports and outrageousness in our society. I'm not used to coming to tears. It's been close about 10 times now. I tell myself that I have to be strong (especially for the pregnant, overly-emotional wife). But godammit, I'm so mad and feel so helpless it's driving me crazy. I know that the US will recover from this. And I know that we will retaliate against those responsible and their allies. But right now, the country is just in a state of shock, as am I. May God bless America and all of us!

Jason 2:08pm: I certainly have been angry since Tuesday morning. Angry, stunned, saddened, horrified. But they've all been very general, surreal emotions, aimed at no one, other than the faceless evil bastards who did this and those who support them. We're all just going about our business, we have to. But while picking up my take-out lunch this afternoon I overheard a conversation, between what I assume was two Yale Grad students, that had me shaking with anger. The one girl was explaining to the other about how "Americans didn’t understand the world, and it is only because this had never happened on American soil before that the volume of outrage was so high." She further explained that "it just wasn’t as simple as Bush wants it to be, to strike out with vengeance against those perceived to be responsible." The last thing that I allowed her to say before I turned and start berating a total stranger in public for maybe the first time in my life was that "an escalation of violence was not what was called for," she said, "this is a time for America to step back and say what is it about us that would make these people want to do that to us." The only thing that kept at least my tone civil was that it wasn’t the fault of the guy who owns the restaurant that this thoughtless callous bitch happened to like good Japanese food. The apologists never have a place after these types of events, but certainly not while they’re still pulling bodies out of the wreckage.

Sip 2:19pm: Super busy - - can't respond in length.......but Good Job!

Scott 3:08pm: I can at least understand ignorant idealists (sorry for the redundant) who are common Americans expressing their opinions no matter how warped they perceive the situation. My major problem today is some of the talking heads and columnists being critical of Bush’s route from Florida to DC. It has been suggested (in the Post by Broder) that the president appeared weak-kneed and hesitant to return to Washington in the aftermath of the attack. What a crock of shit! How dare these gutless, intellectual midgets in expensive suits criticize the movements of Air Force One during a terrorist strike. How do these jack-asses sleep at night? On another note, yesterday, Ari Fleischer said that there was credible evidence that Air Force One was a target. This morning, I heard on the radio that they received this threat in the Secret Service’s own code. The terrorists cracked the presidential protection detail code and used it to send a threat about AF1. Can anyone tell me if this morning’s latest report is true?

September 14

Sip 8:30am: I have very little info, but my cousin, MS (from Kenmore, NY), works for Morgan Stanley in the WTC. He was in the building when it got hit, and called his father. He was not heard from after the buildings collapsed, and we all feared that he was gone. Last night his family found out that he is OK. It turns out that he did get out of the building and, after witnessing all the decay, people falling to their deaths, and the buildings coming down, he walked 50 blocks to his place. He was so shell-shocked that he's been in his room ever since and couldn't contact anyone...won't come to the phone, etc. Can you imagine that - - being so affected that you can't contact your folks or answer the phone? Pretty powerful stuff.
Also, for you Buffalo guys, my parents ran into VR mother. V worked in the WTC for an investment bank for the last several years. He lost his job two weeks ago in a layoff. A blessing in disguise.