Bachmann’s Last Ditch Effort

In the face of falling poll numbers, Bachmann appeals to Christians

God told Bachmann to run for President, apparently because god has a sense of humor.  In the wake of more electable candidates, her once respectable poll numbers are now in the single digits and falling.

Since god has apparently forsaken Mrs. Bachmann, she has now turned to his/her/it/whatever’s followers for salvation while speaking at Liberty University.

“Don’t settle for anything less than what this great and almighty God has planned for you.”

Well Mrs. Bachmann is going to have to settle for being what she is, rather then what the imaginary voice in her head said to her so she could justify her desire to run for the highest office. A politician that focuses on banging the social conservative drum while never authoring any legislation aimed at actually helping the country. A partisan hack when we need bipartisan cooperation.

(source:CNN)

“Liberals Love Dictatorships”

Help! Help! I’m Being Repressed

Tea Part Nation’s President Judson Phillips is again harping on the inherent evils of liberalism and claimed (indirectly, of course) that most if not all of my FTB bloggers want a great dictatorship. Ok, PZ might, but only if our great supreme godless overload of + 9000 hate points was some sort of Lovecraftian Squid Creature. Here is a bit of what Judson said:

 “The desperation to impose socialism on America against the will of the American people is now being seen from members of the Party of Treason. They speak openly of the problems of liberty.”

Liberals love dictatorships. In a dictatorship, they can just push their crackpot ideas and not have to worry about the little people complaining about a few minor details like, the ideas don’t work. The ideas suck. – Judson Phillips, letter to Tea Party Nation members.

The letter goes on to make some sane points about their main imperative of removing democrats from power in 2012 and tosses in some quotes from our founding fathers for good measure before going right back into crazy town with a suggestion that the current administration might react in a way other than the peaceful transition of power that we are accustomed to. It’s worth the read but requires registration, so I would recommend a sock email account unless you want to get their daily spam. [Read more...]

NRA claims Obama is Orchestrating a Massive Conspiracy… by Doing Nothing

They took our jobs…guns…well not yet but maybe someday.

Big governmental conspiracies always make me chuckle. If working in the Army has taught me anything about the government, it’s that we are far too collectively incompetent to keep a massive secret well…secret for long, especially if that secret is tied to controversial idea. Too many strongly held view points and far too many leaks combined with a large government makes such a conspiracy an impossible endeavor in most situations.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA, disagrees with me (From Think Progress),

LAPIERRE: They’ll say gun owners — they’ll say they left them alone…In public, the president will remind us that he’s put off calls from his party to renew the old Clinton ban, that he hasn’t pushed for new gun control laws…The president will offer the Second Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he’s actually been good for the Second Amendment. But it’s a big fat stinking lie!…It’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country…Before the president was even sworn into office, they met and they hatched a conspiracy of public deception to try to guarantee his re-election in 2012.

Now, I am a gun nut in an extended family of gun nuts (read: Texans). My custom Springfield .45 XD is one of my favorite toys, even compared to the 25mm Bushmaster chain gun that the Army lets me play with. My family has assault rifles, a few ranch rifles, and my father has a decent collection of historical weapons (the prize being a still functional Sharps Carbine). However, I still agree with many gun control laws and I am in favor of strengthening the penalties for violations, especially in urban or violence prone areas. My beef being that if you’re planning to commit armed robbery, a dinky gun violation is the least of your concerns. Furthermore, I really dislike how El Paso has become the gun store of choice for the violent cartels in Juarez in their campaign of escalating carnage.

So when I see that gun control has slipped low on Obama’s massive list of priorities, I take that at face value. He probably has more important things to do. I didn’t rush out to the ammo store like so many of my buddies when Obama became President (ok, we were already stocked up) out of baseless fear that he would take away our ammo.

I don’t see shadows in the dark moving to yank my guns out of my warm alive hands. I do see a need for better regulation and control of weapons. Guns should not be impossible to own, but a background check and registration requirements seem logical. And there is still the huge gun show loophole of second hand sales that anyone can exploit if they feel the government is encroaching on their personal freedom.

I don’t see the need for baseless fear mongering.

“Economic Terrorism”

Mike Huckabee’s opinion of a boycott.

Terrorism as a word is thrown around far too often these days. The word has become increasingly muddled in recent history, just take a look at the Wikipedia page devoted to its definition.

Calling anything a form of “terrorism” is a cheap yet effective way of tossing any such labeled idea or action straight into the “anti-America” pigeonhole.

In response to Stuart Wilber’s activism to get companies to cease their relationships with internet marketer Charity Giveback Group over their ties to anti-gay religious organizations. Mr. Huckabee said,

“This is economic terrorism. To try to destroy a business because you don’t like some of the customers is, to me, unbelievably un-American.”

/sigh. Boycotts are as American as apple pie. Many conservatives champion the idea of money equals free speech, at least until that money, or the denial of patronage by consumers, is used against something that they like.

Then again, it could just be that Mr. Huckabee likes his money as he is a consultant for the Charity Giveback Group.

(source: HuffPost)

Today in Iraq – 26 September 2011

Reuters reports (via trust.org):

BAGHDAD – Gunmen using silenced weapons killed Mohammed Ali, office manager of the Minister of Health, in the Yarmouk district of west-central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAGHDAD – Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire at a police checkpoint, killing a policeman and wounding two others in the Shaab district of northern Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK – A roadside bomb killed three people and wounded another in the southwestern outskirts of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen killed an off-duty soldier in the eastern outskirts of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen opened fire at a police checkpoint and wounded a policeman in western Mosul, police said.

pic of the day:

It has been 3,117 days since the Invasion of Iraq.

 

Saber Rattling and the Tangled Web of Pakistan

We are doing it wrong, an LT’s attempt at Strategery.

The American Military and Intelligence services have long known about the trifecta of chaos that is Pakistan, the shadow government of the ISI, and the lawless tribal areas and how that interplay has impacted Afghanistan and American relations in the region for decades.

In response to Adm. Mike Mullen’s recent reiteration of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency’s support for the Haqqani Network, Senator Lindsey Graham appeared on Fox News Sunday and voiced his belief that if the military decided to increase its strikes into Pakistan there would be bilateral support in Congress to support those actions.

The situation in that region is exceedingly complex and has spawned numerous books about the interplay of terrorism, religious extremism, regional politics, and geo political issues that continue to destabilize the region to this day; most notably the Pulitzer prize winner, Ghost Wars, which I consider required reading for anyone who wants to better understand the links between Afghanistan and terrorism after the Soviet Invasion.

Our current beef with the ISI is their aforementioned continued support for the Haqqani Network. While the ISI continues to fund the group and offer safe haven, America has flipped on the group as it has become the single greatest military threat to ISAF personnel in Afghanistan. Led by the aging Maulvi Haqqani, the group was successful at establishing relationships with like minded governments as Maulvi resisted the Soviet Invasion, even visiting the White House during the Reagan administration. The elder Haqqani was only a loose ally of the Taliban after the Soviet retreat and reluctantly established a closer relationship after the Taliban took control of the country, accepting a cabinet level post in the government.

Currently his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani leads the military wing of the group which bases its command and control in Pakistan’s ungoverned tribal region where it plans and supplies operations in Afghanistan, including the recent “Media-Kill” attacks at the International Hotel and American Embassy in Kabul. The Network is not dumb, and has learned that high profile attacks, even if unsuccessful, have a resonating impact on American media. Why attempt to overrun a well defended military outpost in some remote valley? Most attacks like that are not successful and the media story is always reported as just another battle on page 13F in a newspaper. Attack somewhere that has civilians with cameras and you break into the 24 hour news cycle. Images of Apache helicopters blasting insurgents off a hotel are priceless in terms of its effect on the most vital of American military resources, political will. [Read more...]

Fringe Returns!

I just caught the last half of Fringe’s (The X-files that makes sense) fourth season premier. With True Blood, Burn Notice, and Suits done for a while at least we have John Noble’s portrayal of the delightfully insane Walter to grace TV and computer screens everywhere for the next few months.

Good TV is hard to find and I am desperately in need of some good shows to get into for my daily two hours of free time. So, aside from Fringe, what are your favorite current shows? I have a big fat iTunes gift card that is burning a hole in my pocket.

Anyone who suggests Jersey Shore or anything with “Real Housewives” in the title will have an armed drone redirected towards their cable box/dish.

French Militants Increase Tensions at Jewish Settlements

In an previous blog post, I covered what IMHO was a potentially bad idea by Israel to supplement the army enforced protection of Jewish settlements by arming the settlers with ostensibly non-lethal arms in order to counter possible protests by Palestinians in the wake of their soon to fail UN bid for statehood. My main concern is that actions by the armed settlers in an already tense environment could lead to a violent confrontation as the settlers lack the crowd control training of the army. Non-lethal rounds, in my experience, are used more freely than lethal munitions. Shooting a guy throwing rocks at you with a bean bag round is emotionally and legally easier than killing him but, non lethal rounds if used incorrectly can kill. Miss center of mass and strike your target in the head and he is dead, get unlucky and slam the round too close to the heart and you can cause heart failure. I foresee a possible blood bath if one protestor is shot and dies, as angry mobs are not rational actors. Turning a peaceful protest towards violence or giving extremists the opening they need to push the Palestinians closer to another round of armed conflict.

 

Armed French citizens ‘tanning under the sun’ in a West Bank settlement [Photo: Jewish Defense League] – From Al Jazeera English

Now the French chapter of Jewish Defense League has sent 55 armed militants to supplement several settlements and they are reported to carry assault rifles. In the picture above, taken from the linked Al Jazeera English article, I count only one of the seventeen weapons that is capable of less than lethal fire, the M203 grenade launcher, unless of course the assault rifles are heavily modified. I doubt these fighters will heed the words of Israeli military authority. Who do they report to? Who commands their deployment? Who will watch them to ensure that deadly force is used only as a last resort and in self defense? Armed fundamentalists of any type are never a recipe for non violence. They have an agenda, unlike the Israeli Soldiers who, if they are anything like American Soldiers, don’t really want to be there in the first place and are following orders of a Government that is not necessarily spoiling for a fight.

Worse, JDL in France has had numerous members convicted of vandalism and violent crime against French Muslims, notably the assault of 4 university students. Not the people I would want with me to keep a complicated standoff from getting worse. As the UN bid for Palestinian statehood marches towards its inevitable no vote from the Security Council, tensions are rising to a breaking point throughout Israel. What was already a powder keg of potential violence now has a French extremist militant standing close by with a lit match.