Monday, November 28, 2005


Daily I read negative news reports from all of the major news services regarding the on-going war on terrorism. I read the negative and unfavorable statements on Iraq and President Bush for sending and keeping a military presence in that impoverished country. I read the cries from the anti war liberals and watched in sorrow as Cindy Sheehan camped out at the Bush ranch stating at first America was not worth dying for then changing her tune to Iraq is not worth dying for. I read it all and inside I wonder when the media will ever change.

I wonder why in their continuous quest to provide news they slant it towards what they want us to hear, not what is the truth. I wonder when, as a country, we the citizens, which comprise it, will stand up and say, “Enough is Enough!” I wonder when someone, somewhere has the guts to utter those famous words from the movie, Broadcast News and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” I wonder all of this and watch our brave men and women of the military fight for something they believe in, Freedom.

We all watched in awe as William Wallace, as played by, Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart screamed “FREEDOM” as the executioner’s axe fell onto his head. Some of us actually had tears on our face from that scene. It was powerful and it affected us deeply because we, as American citizens enjoy this word. We are born with it, live with it and die with it. Freedom, one wonderful, yet powerful word which instills a sense of pride within each and every American.

Freedom one word, the quality of being and living free. Free of the threat of coercion, or constraint in our choice and actions. We decide the course of our lives. We elect, choose, who governs us. If we are unhappy with that choice, we have the freedom to change it. Freedom. The choice of our religious beliefs, to attend the college of our choosing, to work in the field we desire.

We as American’s can do this because in 1176 a group of men were tired, disgusted, with the relentless persecution of another country. They made the choice that freedom above all was a given right that cannot be ruled by a king, country or person. They made that choice and wrote one letter, a document and they called it, The Declaration of Independence and it truly did shape the course of human events. Then as newly anointed citizens of a country they called, America they gave their all, their lives, their souls to insure that dream was fulfilled.

Freedom. This is what our military stands for, fights for and yes, gives their lives for. It is what every veteran of every branch of service knows and understands. Free the oppressed is the motto our U.S. Army Special Forces live by. Freedom. Think of this word sometimes. The people in Iraq could not. Not until we gave them that right.

Letter to America

A quick note to all, I have permission from CPT who runs 2Slicks Forum to republish the letter from Sgt. Rausch. Here it is in its entirety without comment. And a salute to the Cpt from an old warhorse Sgt with forever respect for chopper pilots.

SGT Rausch's email follows:

Mom Be my voice. I want this message heard. It is mine and my platoon's to the country. A man I know lost his legs the other night. He is in another company in our batallion. I can no longer be silent after watching the sacrifices made by Iraqis and Americans everyday. Send it to a congressman if you have to. Send it to FOX news if you have to. Let this message be heard please.

My fellow Americans,

I have a task for those with the courage and fortitude to take it. I have a message that needs not fall on deaf ears. A vision the blind need to see. I am not a political man nor one with great wisdom. I am just a soldier who finds himself helping rebuild a country that he helped liberate a couple years ago.

I have watched on television how the American public questions why their mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters are fighting and dying in a country 9000 miles away from their own soil. Take the word of a soldier, for that is all I am, that our cause is a noble one. The reason we are here is one worth fighting for. A cause that has been the most costly and sought after cause in our small span of existence on our little planet. Bought in blood and paid for by those brave enough to give the ultimate sacrifice to obtain it. A right that is given to every man, woman, and child I believe by God. I am talking of freedom.

Freedom. One word but yet countless words could never capture it's true meaning or power. "For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know." I read that once and it couldn't be more true. It's not the average American's fault that he or she is "blind and deaf" to the taste of freedom. Most American's are born into their God given right so it is all they ever know. I was once one of them. I would even dare to say that it isn't surprising that they take for granted what they have had all their life. My experiences in the military however opened my eyes to the truth.

Ironically you will find the biggest outcries of opposition to our cause from those who have had no military experience and haven't had to fight for freedom. I challenge all of those who are daring enough to question such a noble cause to come here for just a month and see it first hand. I have a feeling that many voices would be silenced.

I watched Cindy Sheehan sit on the President's lawn and say that America isn't worth dying for. Later she corrected herself and said Iraq isn't worth dying for. She badmouthed all that her son had fought and died for. I bet he is rolling over in his grave.

Ladies and gentleman I ask you this. What if you lived in a country that wasn't free? What if someone told you when you could have heat, electricity, and water? What if you had no sewage systems so human waste flowed into the streets? What if someone would kill you for bad-mouthing your government? What if you weren't allowed to watch TV, connect to the internet, or have cell phones unless under extreme censorship? What if you couldn't put shoes on your child's feet? You need not to have a great understanding of the world but rather common sense to realize that it is our duty as HUMAN BEINGS to free the oppressed. If you lived that way would you not want someone to help you????

The Iraqi's pour into the streets to wave at us and when we liberated the cities during the war they gathered in the thousands to cheer, hug and kiss us. It was what the soldier's in WW2 experienced, yet no one questioned their cause!! Saddam was no better than Hitler! He tortured and killed thousands of innocent people. We are heroes over here, yet American's badmouth our President for having us here.

Every police station here has a dozen or more memorials for officers that were murdered trying to ensure that their people live free. These are husbands, fathers, and sons killed every day. What if it were your country? What would your choice be? Everything we fight for is worth the blood that may be shed. The media never reports the true HEROISM I witness everyday in the Iraqi's. Yes there are bad one's here, but I assure you they are a minuscule percent. Yet they are a number big enough to cause worry in this country's future.

I have watched brave souls give their all and lose their lives and limbs for this cause. I will no longer stand silent and let the "deaf and blind" be the only voice shouting. Stonewall Jackson once said, "All that I have, all that I am is at the service of the country." For these brave souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice, including your son Cindy Sheehan, I will shout till I can no longer. These men and women are heroes. Their spirit lives on in their military and they will never be forgotten. They did not die in vain but rather for a cause that is larger than all of us.

My fellow countrymen and women, we are not overseas for our country alone but also another. We are here to spread democracy and freedom to those who KNOW the true taste of it because they fight for it everyday. You can see the desire in their eyes and I am honored to fight alongside them as an Infantryman in the 101st Airborne.

Freedom is not free, but yet it is everyone's right to have. Ironic isn't it? That is why we are here. Though you will always have the skeptics, I know that most of our military will agree with this message. PLease, at the request of this soldier spread this message to all you know. We are in Operation Iraqi Freedom and that is our goal. It is a cause that I and thousands of others stand ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for because, Cindy Sheehan, freedom is worth dying for, no matter what country it is! And after the world is free only then can we hope to have peace.

SGT Walter J. Rausch and 1st Platoon
Charlie Co. 2/327 Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fighting a War

Fighting a War.

I read a wonderful poem today at A Soldier’s Perspective. I would like to post it here as well. I consider it a warrior’s prayer.

May God bless those in harms way
And may he enlighten those objectors
Who never sacrificed their own personal time or comforts
For the freedoms they enjoy the most


I also read an open letter to America on the blog, 2Slick's Forum. This letter not only made me feel as patriotic as I did in the 60’s when I joined the Army, I urge all to read it. It also tells the world the truth. Everyone should read it, copy it and send it to their congressman. I have asked the blogger if I can post the letter here.

A few notes and updates today. First, I see the Screaming Eagles, 101st Airborne Back in Action in the sand box, Iraq. The world should feel a little safer now. God Bless, and be safe.

This one just caught my eye and brought a lot of anger to me. I read it at the Chicago Tribune site: Attitude shifts on Iraq pullout. White House seems willing to conceive of future drawdown. Folks, it really is a simple matter. If someone is going to dedicate troops, resources, funds to fighting a war, then you must do it 100%. It is simple as that. Why are we always the ones to leave before something is done? As we speak Saddam Hussein, once the hunted bad guy, still claims to be the president of Iraq and immune to prosecution. Interesting is it not? Here is a guy responsible for the outright murder of his own people and wants to be treated as a president. I don’t think so, and neither does most other people.

Let me say that I too cry inside each time I read of a death or wounding in Iraq or Afghanistan. It tears me up. As a vet it may hit me a little harder, but as a vet I understand. They have a job to do and by God, they are doing it. And yes, I want the troops home, but not until the mission is complete. Why are we playing politics as usual with a war? I know there are many readers who could post multiple checklists why they should be home. But that is not it folks. We have to finish a job. Do you realize what the terrorists think and say each time they read of our petty politics and arguments regarding bring them home? They already know we will leave. To them it is simply a matter of time. Wait us out, create damage, havoc and unknown and they feel we will leave. Why are we playing right into their hands?

Yes, we need a timeline, yes we need an exit strategy, but not until the job is done. Look at our past history of pullouts. Somalia, Mogadishu, the fiasco that went on there. If you did not read the book, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden, then I’m sure you saw the move of the same title. We never finished the job! We lost lives, and that was the ultimate sin in this day of technology. We lost them because they had no means of support or backup except for those brave crews in the Little Bird A/MH-6 gunships that kept them alive through the night. When it was over did we go back and get our man? Did the military get him back? Politics did and then we left. We left a mission that we never completed. If not for the Delta, and Rangers involved and the support they received it could have been worse. But we had our best there and they did their job. If this had been any other military from any other country it could have gone a lot worse. But again, we had our best, they did their best and as vets like to say; all gave some and some gave all.

I recall when this occurred a newsbreak caught my attention of it. The reporter was standing with the battle far behind, I could hear the chatter from the Little Birds as he was saying what had happened. I knew all hell was breaking loose. I knew the Rangers and Delta were in the fight of their life. I was glued to the set, listening to newsbreaks until it was over.

Then we left and today it is still the hellhole we found, starving, death, it is the same. We left and nothing changed. What changed? We lost brave men and did nothing about it that is about all that happened; pure and simple.

The terrorists know our methods of pulling out. Why do you think Usama bin Laden called us paper tigers? We need to complete the mission. We need to allow our troops to do what they were trained to do. We have to be the tiger we are and not a paper tiger.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Xbox 360 Oh My!

Xbox 360 – Oh My!

Day before yesterday I stopped at one of my favorite coffee shops for a double espresso of morning courage. My buddy and I were sitting at a table watching the flow of people congregating around the coffee order desk. They all appeared to be in that half-here look that tends to emanate from individuals not quite with the living, but still in the netherworld of dreamland. All but one man who was so excited and animated while talking on his cell and carrying a large bag. He was pumped! His free hand was gesticulating wildly while he talked, I saw that he was holding the bag close enough to him that he looked like one of the Knights Templar protecting the elusive Holy Grail from advancing Mongol Hords.

He ordered a dark roast and I was seriously thinking the girl at the register was going to suggest decaff to him when I saw what was in the bag; a brand-new Xbox 360 with hard drive! This guy truly did have the Holy Grail! He had done it! He had gone where no man had gone before. He not only conquered lines of salivating people, but Microsoft in their typical games of driving up demand by not releasing enough products. I had to talk to this guy. He was my hero. I wanted this man’s autograph. I wanted that Xbox 360!

Fate prevailed when my buddy told me he knew the guy from work. We invited him to join us. He began weaving a tale of intrigue, sleepless night, attempted theft, greed and eventual success. It was like listening to John Grisham reading his latest novel to us.

At 2:00 am that morning he had joined a line already forming at the retail store. (I am not going to mention the name) He said that by 9:00 am there were a hundred or more people in the parking lot. The front door to the store opened and two people walked out announcing to the crowd they only had a limited supply of Xbox 360’s. Numbered cards were being passed out to the first so many people in line. Each of these cards would entitle the bearer to one Xbox 360. Pandemonium ensued. Pushing, shouting and he related, some even came close to physical violence as tempers flared. The management and security quickly gained control with threats to not sell any of the precious commodities if things did not calm down. Numbered cards were passed among the line and those not receiving one departed with heads bowed in shame, the younger of those were actually in tears he said and seeing what this man held, I was a believer.

Then the true depths to which humanity can sink to began. First, in a move out of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a quest for domination occurs as two men in the middle of the line argue over who will go inside while the other stays by the car. He related these two were really heating things up until a younger male suggest they flip a coin and stop arguing. The store opened a few minutes later and another pushing and shoving contest began as people attempted to all force their way in. Security calmed this situation down by calmly explaining the numbered cards were being served in sequence. Our hero, now calmly sipping coffee and enjoying the looks of passers by starring at the Xbox 360 package now sitting on the table with his arm laying across it. I noted some were actually talking in hushed whispers when passing, their heads nodding to him as if he was the holy man of the coffee shop. I was enjoying this as much as I did The Lord of the Ring’s Trilogy.

Next he related that he saw new crowds gathering in the lot. They were told the numbered cards story and the fact all was passed out. None of these poor souls stood a chance. Some departed, but others remained. The reason some stayed became evident when individuals began departing the store, Xbox 360’s held tightly to them. The people in the lot began offering sums of money for their prized possessions; he stated outright bidding wars were going on. Seeing this take place enterprising people would now go in, purchase the Xbox 360 and come out stating their asking price; some in excess of more than double the amount. We now had $400.00 units selling for $900.00 and people were buying them! My hero said, “I don’t know if this is true or not, but one person who paid the $900.00 said the exact unit was on ebay an hour ago, asking price $2700.00.”

The tale continued with the attempted theft of a unit by a person in the crowd; thwarted by two others twice the guy’s size. This same guy also attempted a grab and run of a numbered card before being apprehended by store security who had came out to quiet things down. Our hero gets to the checkout, presents his number and was told this was the last of the units in stock. As he departs he sees store personnel putting a large banner in the window stating this fact, and police now in the street and lot clearing the crowds away.

My friend and I were clearly impressed with what this guy had done. As in Greek tales of old, he had been given a task, overcame impossible odds, vanquished the foe and won the Golden Fleece. We paid for his two coffees and left with the knowledge that we had just had coffee with Jason of Argonaut fame.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Soccer Victories

Soccer Victories

I am going to stray from my normal wit, wisdom and intelligent perspective on the world today to share a wonderful, heart warming story that I read at one of my favorite mental watering holes, A Soldier’s Perspective, written by CJ which offers views and news on the military and the war in Iraq. CJ, in his infinite wisdom has agreed to share this with you. The men and women in our military do a lot more than protect and serve; they care.
I am only quoting part of it; stop by A Soldier’s Perspective for the rest of the story.

“There’s a story that has made its rounds here in Iraq. A Blackhawk helicopter is hovering low, running a mission in the Sunni Triangle. Alone in a field there’s an unkempt child of about twelve. The boy, acting on everything his father has told him, looks up at the chopper with hatred in his eyes, picks up a rock and cocks his arm, ready to throw. But the gunner in the Blackhawk has something in his hand too, and he’s a bit quicker.

Whoosh! A soccer ball flies out of the door of the chopper. The boy stands in disbelief for a moment, and then collects himself enough to run after the ball. Once he retrieves it, he looks up and with a smile from ear to ear, and excitedly waves to the American soldiers in the Blackhawk.

Another friend is made; another member of the next generation is converted.
National Review Online is focusing on good news out of Iraq, and that includes inspiring examples of the Iraqi spirit. It’s too often forgotten, though, that this war has rekindled the spirit of people in America as well. That soccer ball found its way into the Blackhawk gunner’s hands because of the generosity of an American citizen back home. Someone who wanted to help out, who wanted to do what he could to improve things in Iraq, one person at a time. So he filled a few boxes with soccer balls, and spent the money to ship them over here for soldiers to hand out.

Soccer balls aren’t the only things being distributed. Candy and stuffed animals are tossed overboard from choppers and trucks. On patrols, soldiers deliver school supplies, clothes, and toys. On bases throughout the country, much-needed supplies are being given to Iraqi soldiers and policemen. All of this is courtesy of American civilians back home. “

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Battle on the home front

Battle on the home front, or how not to pick a fight.

It fascinates me to see what is going on in the media today; reminiscent of a war long ago, but with a new twist. Many Democrats are calling on Bush to present a plan to end the war and provide an estimate of when U.S. forces can start to be withdrawn based on conditions on the ground. Not a bad suggestion, but untimely. Let’s face the facts. We are there, pure and simple. How we got there, why we got there and if we need to be there is not the question. Old news. As far as pulling out right now, without an effective standing army to protect itself, Iraq would be cannon fodder to all those waiting in the dunes the moment the last chopper lifted off. Vietnam Redux.

While the brother’s and sister’s of this old warhorse are in harm’s way dodging a bullet or two and worried about IED’s while protecting Iraq in Humvees that need to be armor plated enough to withstand an attack, their congressmen are standing in line attempting to outdo one another in name-calling. Yesterday tempers flared over the withdrawal demand by Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha. Which lead to One Republican calling Murtha a coward. I confess, I am not a Democrat, but I was hoping Murtha would throw down and pound the potatoes out of him for that comment.

I was not in the corps, I was a Hooah guy, but in my opinion the corps is comprised with the bravest men and women I have ever had the honor of knowing. As well as a few major hangovers I have yet to get over from drinking with. Although I do not agree with the comments made by Murtha, calling him a coward is low. With that in mind I checked Murtha’s war record, which proudly shows that John Murtha spent 37 years in the Marine Corps, earned the Bronze Star, two purple hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Coward? Go ahead John show him what the corps taught you to do in close quarters combat.

Another one that blew my mind recently was when the White House made threats to veto the Senate's anti-torture measure. They took on the anti-torture measures’ biggest supporter, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain. Real Smart! In case anyone in the free world is still not aware of this, in 1967 McCain was shot down over Vietnam, and was held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi for five-and-a-half years, mostly in the infamous Hanoi Hilton where he was tortured constantly. This is not a man to go toe-to-toe over a measure on anti-torture with. By the way, just to show you what McCain is made of, beyond withstanding torture, When the North Vietnamese discovered he was the son and grandson of admirals, he was offered a chance to go home, but he refused to break the military code that POWs be released in the order that they are captured. Hero? You’re damn right! The White House needs to pick their fights better.

I can’t wait to see what happens next week. Reality TV? This beats them all hands down.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The 1960s Redux

The 1960’s Redux, but this time we have a reason.

The 1960’s were a specific moment in history that brought about the winds of change to wipe the world clean and bring forth a new beginning. Time was sitting on a cusp of a rudimentary stage in history that was evolving, and it was going to evolve with or without input from humans. It was an infant and like all children born onto the world it required direction. The change was there, hidden, lying dormant, in a state of semiconsciousness waiting to usher in a new way of thinking, a new way of life. Technically that is called a hypnopompic state, and like it or not, it was about to be heard with a vengeance.

We had gone from Camelot to waking up and seeing the truth of our times. As young, impressionable individuals we grew up during an undeclared cold war. Our home activities filled to capacity with back yard bomb shelters and discussions of the Berlin Wall. Our minds overflowed with visions of bombs falling from the sky. All the while African Americans in the south were banned from sitting at the front of the bus, had to use their own drinking fountains and public restrooms. The news media plied our organized conscious thoughts with the Soviet menace and filled our unconscious adaptive mental activity with attending weekly air-raid drills in school, kneeling against the wall, hands over the back of our heads.

We saw Gary Powers, the U2 spy plane incident paraded on Soviet television. The Bay of Pigs debacle as America underwrites a coup then changes their mind leaving those brave freedom fighters to the whims of Castro. We watched Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the UN podium, screaming, “We will bury you!” We sat together as a family, filled with trepidation and fear of the unknown as we watched the Cuban missile crises unfold before us. We all cried one brief moment as history stopped, our very lives stopped as we saw the assassination of John F. Kennedy. We watched with wonder and doubt as Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office. Jackie Kennedy, our beloved first lady standing next to him.

Our generation was different. We too had evolved. We thought differently than our parents and grandparents. We worried about civil rights, and we wanted change. We wanted all men and woman, no distinction between races, living together as one. We watched in awe as Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream.” Speech. It moved us, awakened some and yet in the south, enraged others; it was definitely time for a change.

The anger of Malcolm X, and then his acceptance of brotherhood brought about his death by those who disagreed. The peaceful attempt to march on Selma, songs of “We Shall Overcome”, got them as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back. The Vietnam conflict, The Watts riots, The assassination of Robert Kennedy, the presidency of Richard Nixon, The White House Plumbers, Watergate, The resignation of a president. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Civil unrest, Civil rights, Political upheaval, Cultural divergence. The wrath of injustice was swinging its arm and laying devastation to all it touched. Something was destined to stop it. We had grown up and were tired of the injustice, tired of the lies, deceit, tired and determined to do something about it.

The 60’s not only represented the hippy movement, but a fresh outlook on humanity. The flower power generation was born out of the frustration of the Vietnam War. It provided the perfect catalyst for an imperfect time. If the war had not existed it would have been something else. We had so many injustices to choose from. But we had our banner to wave. The war was so misreported by the biased media that it was made for us. For every one truthful, good reporter wanting to write what was really happening, there were five more who wanted to write their view; slanted, biased, untruthful. For every Joe Galloway writing about the hell the 7th Calvary commanded by Lt. Colonel Hal Moore went through when in November 1965, 450 U.S. soldiers were dropped into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They quickly discovered 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers surrounded them. It did not matter that these actions at landing zones X-Ray and Albany constituted one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War. What mattered to America were the dozen reporters willing to show the death and devastation we caused in winning that battle.

If U.S. forces took a village, fighting courageously, loosing lives, the media did not cover that. The media covered the people hurt, misplaced, out of a home. Never mind those three days before our attack a Viet Cong commander had tied the village mayor to a pole, cut his stomach open while he was still alive letting the intestines fall to the ground where the pigs could eat them. Then his entire detachment raped and killed the small girls and women in the village. See, that was not the news. The news was the military burning the village so the Viet Cong would not return. Wide-angle shots of homeless Vietnamese families standing there watching their huts burn. Never mind the fact that we moved them to a new village. Or even that the times we built them a new one. No, can’t report that. Not news, only tears were news, our demeaning, dehumanizing methods were news. The radical arm of the movement loved it. They reveled in it. They rolled over the news like a happy puppy marking its territory. It was custom made for them.

I was never a hippy in the visceral sense of the term. But I was a part of it, I was a retuning vet disgruntled and disturbed over the way the war was going. Like my brothers in arms, I had seen first hand that we really had no plan. We really had no idea what to do. This was a different kind of war; it took a different kind of tactics and the military refused to acknowledge this. This was not a war of attrition, we were trained to win a battle sending the enemy home and this enemy was already home. After much thought my voice was with them and like so many others my age; we changed the course of a few moments in history.

There are those today who think they can do the same as we did then. It will never happen, not in this time and generation. The people are gone, the profits, the songwriters, the singers, the feeling, the times they were a changing and they will not change again.

This is a different war; it is not a war on a given enemy, fought with fronts and tactics. It is a war on terrorism and as long as one person is willing to strap a bomb to their chest, walk into a crowd and blow everyone up, our way of life is at risk. As most people, I feel something needs to be done about Iraq. But the fact of the matter terrorism will continue. And as Americans we tend to forget things. We tend to forget our losses. But, I will let you in on a little secret. The military men and women never forget. Each man and woman can tell you with perfect clarity what happened. Perhaps that’s the distinction between us. They remember and fight to insure it is never repeated. We put it in the back of our mind and think it will never happen again.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A moment in my mind.

Just a Thought.

I love the Internet. The World Wide Web is my playground; servers and routers are my classroom. The modem is my ship to the stars. The void of cyberspace is my new frontier. I speak many languages and understand many cultures as I converse with my keyboard. My eyes are the monitors of space and time, its pixels challenging the imagination of my mind.

I don’t have to worry about my frequent flyer miles, passport or immunizations. I simply sit down and travel through the electronics of today into the concepts of tomorrow. I can visit as many countries as I wish. I can be in Japan in the morning, New Zealand in the afternoon, and spend the night in Scotland, England and Ireland. If I wanted to, I could drop by China, Russia, Canada and Australia on the way there. I could do that in an hour or less while I am having a morning cup of coffee.

I can read the news, watch a movie, laugh at a comic, wonder about the strange and weird and be in awe watching a shuttle take off. I can peek into people’s daily lives, laugh with their families and shed a tear with their misfortune. I can be with the brave men and woman fighting against terrorism, saluting their courage and crying with their loss. I can discover the latest trends in electronics and shop for the right price I want to spend. I can read the movie reviews, see what is on television that evening and schedule my flight to New York next week. I can operate my business in Chicago while I am vacationing in Hawaii. Run my spreadsheets, check into my customers and make sure the staff is on time.

I can make sure my child’s grades are up to their standard and chat with their teacher. I can read the latest ways to insure their safety and health. I can read about parenting and being a dad, as well as find out the latest baseball score. Watch the game, listen to music, talk radio, get down and funky, be in the groove and I can do all of this from the comforts of home while sitting in my chair.

I love the Internet.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Scattered musing, or guy gets glued to toilet?

Scattered musing, or battle it right, stop torture and a guy gets glued to a toilet!

President Bush unveiled his long awaited Bird Flu Battle Plan. The President will ask Congress for $7.1 billion in emergency funding to prepare the country for a possible flu pandemic. The plan also calls for spending $1 billion to stockpile antiviral drugs -- such as Tamiflu and Relenza.

An interesting side note to Tamiflu is its derived from an ancient Chinese spice star anise. It is an ingredient of the mixture known as “Chinese Five Spices.”

The plan was just released November 2nd and already it has become controversial. Such as the lack of health care coverage, and a health care system is too limited in capacity to provide it.

Here is a fantasy scenario; all the worlds’ leaders join forces to combat this ever-increasing health threat. The Senate agrees to provide any funding necessary to stop the flu in its tracks. The world health organizations join with the scientific and pharmaceutical community to develop a new and effective means of stopping the possibility of mutation and the present infection among the world’s birds.

Now that is a Bird Flu battle plan.

I have been trying to understand the White House on opposing a congressional drive to outlaw torture. President Bush was quoted as saying, “We do not torture.” Okay, if this is true, why is the White House against the establishment of an act prohibiting it?

Personally I feel torture is a reprehensible act that should not be condoned by any government. Of course this is not the case in some other parts of the world, but have we not set ourselves above these people? Another point that bothers me is Vice President Dick Cheney wants the CIA excluded from any law passed. Excuse me? In the past the CIA has been the agency accused of it. And we want to exclude them? We have all read the stories from those in Iraq who were tortured under Saddam’s regime.

This is just one of those instances that I scratch my head and wonder.

Just when I’m down in the dumps reading news stories with death and devastation I see this and my sense of humor is validated.

Man glued to toilet seat, sues store - Yahoo! News
Retired electrical engineer Bob Dougherty, 57, said on Thursday he was stuck in the stall with his pants down for about 20 minutes and that two years after the 2003 incident he was suffering from post-traumatic stress, which has triggered diabetes and heart complications.

"I have these nightmares every night where I am locked in this dark room, with no windows, no doors, no fresh air, no route for escape. I wake up in these cold sweats," Dougherty said

I realize that poor Mr. Dougherty may never be the same again. But damn this is funny!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Internet Pornography - Out of Control

The Porn Industry is spying on you and nobody cares

The World Wide Web is turning into a major porn industry and it sickens me. Pornography has taking control it can be found everywhere. There was a time porn sites were a closely guarded secret. People would have to know someone who had information on where the sites were, subscribe to an x-rated news group, or search for hours trying to find the “Debbie does everyone but you” sites. Back then finding a porn site was harder then finding both socks after getting them out of the dryer. No longer.

I am an adult male, over 21, healthy sexual appetite. Perhaps I’m one of a kind, or the last of a dying breed, because I don’t bother with pornography; could care less. Of course I find it sexually stimulating. My mate always said to turn me on, all she had to do was show up naked. See, typical male. The wind blows, I’m ready! I just don’t care about porn. I like the look and feel of the real thing. I also find it a lot more satisfying than a photo staring back at me. That’s just me though. Here is the kicker. I support the right of any adult female or male to view whatever they wish as long as it’s legal. As long as the Supreme Court says adults can look at staged love lunches on the web, then I support it. I told you I am the last of a dying breed.

It has been demonstrated through the courts that the display of pornography on the Internet are protected constitutional rights as governed under the First Amendment of the Constitution. This very fact went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Basically they have stated that under the First Amendment the Internet can display pornography and as Americans we can look at all we want. As the comic, Yakov Smirnoff used to say, “What a country!”

The same industry that is successfully defending itself from being governed through the defense that their constitutional rights are being violated, are continuously and indiscriminately violating our constitutional rights and federal laws. Their practice of spying on our personal lives through electronic means violates our right to privacy, as protected by the First and Fourth Amendments and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000. Their spamming techniques are a direct violation of the new Can-Spam Act of 2003, which contains a provision for protection against spam containing unmarked sexually oriented or pornographic material. They also violate many federal, state, city and local obscenities laws.

The porn industries invasive use of spyware tactics also violates various laws under the Federal Trade Commission, and the pending Spy Act, which will grant the Federal Trade Commission broad new powers enabling them to police America's software industry. If someone really wanted to push the envelope they could charge violations under the USA Patriot Act. After all, spying into ones computer through electronic means could be construed an act of spying.

They will try any tactic, install any software, and send any e-mail with the ultimate goal of bringing you to their site. The majority of it is unsolicited and unwanted. Some Porn sites will hijack your home page, changing it to their location. They will change your default search engine to theirs. There is the ever popular installing an additional toolbar on your browser, which of course is a porn toolbar. This is such a favorite tactic that you can google porn toolbar and find instructional pages as well as pre-designed porn toolbars to purchase for your company.

They inundate us with adware, pop ups, spyware, anything they can think of to get you to view their sites. Recently a friend of mine was on a commercial porn site, clicked on a link and over forty new windows loaded in his browser. He said, “I really don’t know how many new windows the site loaded, because the system crashed at forty.” “It was so bad I had to reinstall the entire operating system.”

Remember, Spyware is a parasite, which lives in your computer, feeding off you.

Spyware changes system settings, installs other software, monitors where and what you surf. It creates data files on your hard drive of your surfing habits and intermittently sends this data to their servers; that is the nicer versions of spyware. It can be used to assist in identity theft, tracking your personal data, capturing your keystrokes, invading your privacy, searching your computer for credit card data and social security numbers, all with the intended goal of stealing your identity.

Pornographic spam, unsolicited e-mail surreptitiously sent by the porn industry with no-choice-but-to-view inline photos openly displaying nude couples having sex, afternoon delights, love lunches, photos of women’s legs spread wide enough for three Gynecologists to work side by side while a professional team of cinematographers capture video footage, photos of Bambi, Thumper and the entire college football team having sex on a tennis court while the freshman class keeps time with the nude cheerleaders and dancing security staff.

There is a distinct possibility a child could unknowingly be standing next to someone while they are checking their e-mail. “Spam central” as some call it. We often sit at home or in a coffee shop, laptop online, surfing away. A child could be behind you, off to your side and you are not aware of it. You open your e-mail and an unsolicited porn photo opens in the middle of the document. That scenario is not the users fault; they had no idea it contained porn. Why? Because it had a false, contrived from field and the subject had nothing to do with the photo; simply words or a phrase to make the user open the message. We have all received them, we know.

These are in direct violation of the new Can-Spam Act of 2003. Under this act, if the e-mail contains porn, the term “sexually explicit” has to go in the subject line. The porn industry will simply conduct business as usual with their spamming, attempting to throw off the enforcement by engaging in deception, through bouncing emails off proxy servers, or lying in the subject line, or a new concept, spoofing, where the from line is forged to give the impression it is from a friend.

One would assume the government, ever vigilant, would want to protect our children from pornography. Let’s be honest, we are not speaking about an adult wanting to look at porn. We are talking about a child and the possibility they could be subjected to this. The Supreme Court blocked enforcement of a law intended to protect children from pornography on the Internet, They said the law probably violates free-speech guarantees, and by a 5-4 vote, the high court said it "likely violates the First Amendment."

Perhaps the outcome would have been different had the porn industry been brought before the courts on the invasion of privacy issue, first and fourth amendment violations through indiscriminate spyware and spamming. This issue should be seriously considered it might hold the key to achieve the same desired effects. Not to shut them down, I don’t support that in any way. I support holding them accountable for their actions through implementation of a form of protection for those too young to protect themselves.

We can all do something about this. Research it on the net; find out whom to turn to. The new Can-Spam act is enforced by The Department of Justice. If you want to tell someone you are receiving porn e-mail and want something done about it, notify your local Internet Service Provider, they will point you in the right direction.