Saturday, December 30, 2006

Execution of Saddam Hussein

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Due to my decreased vision stemming from recent eye surgeries and having new stitches three days ago, it is a bit difficult for me to write in the blog. I will attempt to correct any typos and some may get through, but I feel I must comment on the execution of Saddam Hussein.

The news services are reporting that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging before dawn Saturday in Iraq, which was just before 10 p.m. Friday EST. As we all know, Saddam was convicted of murder in the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims from an Iraqi town where assassins tried to kill Saddam in 1982.

I was reading through many of the news service announcements of the death of Saddam and one thing that struck me was the amount of quotes from various Iraqi citizens who had lost loved ones under the rule of Saddam. Here is one that I gleaned from a CBS News article.

"Now, he is in the garbage of history," said Jawad Abdul-Aziz, who lost his father, three brothers and 22 cousins in the reprisal killings that followed a botched 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the Shiite town of Dujail.

Many of the Iraqi citizens are openly celebrating the death of the former dictator, while insurgents, loyal to Saddam are still determined to show they have weapons and are not afraid to use them. Of course, our military is on high alert, ready to deal with any problems which may arise as a result of the execution, but the fact still remains, Iraq is in a state of chaos.

Personally, I do not feel any headway into reform will be made while the present Iraqi government is in control, it is evident they do not want our troops anywhere near their soil. Someone needs to remind these people that they are a conquered nation, the only rights they have is what we give them, nothing more. .

We sent our brave men and women into harm’s way and told them we are not a conquering force, but a force of liberation and this is biting us in the butt every day that we are standing on their soil. When the truth to the matter is, we have our military protecting the very government wanting us to back off. This is a huge pile of bovine excrement and we need to make changes or nothing will ever be accomplished.

History will be the judge of our invasion into Iraq and we can only hope it is not too cruel in the portrayal of our country’s mistakes. Whatever the outcome, we need to make changes now, this very moment, or we will lose the opportunity to do so.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


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I wanted to update everyone on what has transpired and when I will be returning to the world of blogging.

The surgery last December 14th, went well, the recovery process is rougher and longer than I anticipated. My vision is very blurred and yesterday during a follow up visit, the eye Doctor said I had an area that had not healed and was leaking fluid into the eye, requiring a few stitches.

Suffice to say I can now honestly state that I know exactly how it feels to sick a needle in your eye, reinforcing each of my childhood dares of, “hope to die and stick a needle in my eye” I will never again mutter that phrase without thinking of yesterday.

I am hoping that I will be able to rejoin the ranks of my fellow bloggers trying to educate the masses with our daily rants shortly. Writing this was a tasking experience, requiring reading glasses, a magnifying glass and someone to recheck before posting.

I would like to extend my sincerest of wishes for a Happy New Year to all.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday

I wanted to take this opportunity to extend the warmest of wishes to all of my web-friends and hope the holidays bring joy and happiness.

This is a difficult time in the world, with our military in various war zones serving their country in harm’s way, placing their precious lives on the line for our country. Our collective prayers need to be with them during this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and a warm and Happy New Year

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Power of Prayer

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I received this from a friend and feel this is a powerful message, one that needs to be shared. I am sure many of you have already seen the photo, if so, I am sorry for the duplication.

I should be back and ranting late next week. In all honesty, I am accomplishing this through the use of reading glasses and a magnifying glass. Where there is a will, there is a way.

A side note, should anyone wish to send email, please use a larger font, at least 14 point. I am unable to see standard point.

Thanks, Ranter

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Still Kicking

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I wanted to take a brief moment to update all on my surgery. It went well, more painful than I expected, but worth it. I am only at about ten percent vision for another week or so. This is due to the trauma of the surgery and the drops which dialiate the eyes. Unfortunately, I will be out of the loop until the vision is up to par.

The lack of vision is a very humbling experience and one must learn to have family members do things for them that we normally take for granted watching the news, reading it and other things, which have become a part of our normal routine, is another learning experience as well. Overall, I have gained a greater respect for the blessing of vision we all take for granted every day of our lives.

For example, I am using powerful reading glasses and a magnifying glass to kick this small post out and although difficult, it is worth it. Another thing we all take for granted is e-mail. I was upset that those I normally exchange words with on a daily basis was now history. Then I came upon the idea of them using a larger font, an 18 or 20 point and it is still difficult, but not impossible to read.

I will hopefully be back in the saddle shortly, until then I want to say thank you for the kind thoughts and words of encouragement.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Out for a week or more

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Just wanted to remind everyone that I will be undergoing eye surgery tomorrow and may be down for a week or more, I will post the moment I am able.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

We honor those who have fallen

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Spc. Nathaniel A. Aguirre

Combat Medic, Spc. Nathaniel A. Aguirre, 21, of Carrollton, Texas died Oct. 22 in Baghdad of injuries suffered when his patrol came in contact with enemy forces. Aguirre was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Spc. Aguirre gave his life while trying to save the life of a comrade. Under fire, he had run to the aid of a fellow soldier when his life was taken by enemy sniper fire.

Aguirre’s decorations include The Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Parachutist Badge, and the Combat Medical Badge.

BLACKFIVE has brought this story to the publics attention as well as CENTCOM, who sent it out in the press releases. Here it is for your reading, true heroes are made, not born, today we honor two of them.

Hero sacrifices himself saving fellow Soldiers

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Hero sacrifices himself saving fellow Soldiers

Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis packed only 136 pounds into his 6-foot frame, but few have ever matched his inner strength.

McGinnis sacrificed himself in an act of supreme bravery on Dec. 4, belying his status as the youngest Soldier in Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

The 19-year-old amateur mechanic from Knox, Pa., who enjoyed poker and loud music, likely saved the lives of four Soldiers riding with him on a mission in Baghdad.

McGinnis was manning the gunner’s hatch when an insurgent tossed a grenade from above. It flew past McGinnis and down through the hatch before lodging near the radio.

His platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Cedric Thomas of Longview, Texas, recalled what happened next.

“Pfc. McGinnis yelled ‘Grenade…It’s in the truck,’” Thomas said. “I looked out of the corner of my eye as I was crouching down and I saw him pin it down.”

McGinnis did so even though he could have escaped.

“He had time to jump out of the truck,” Thomas said. “He chose not to.”

Thomas remembered McGinnis talking about how he would respond in such a situation. McGinnis said then he didn’t know how he would act, but when the time came, he delivered.

“He gave his life to save his crew and his platoon sergeant,” Thomas said. “He’s a hero. He’s a professional. He was just an awesome guy.”

Three of the Soldiers with McGinnis who were wounded that day have returned to duty, while a fourth is recovering in Germany.

For saving the lives of his friends and giving up his own in the process, McGinnis earned the Silver Star, posthumously. His unit paid their final respects in a somber ceremony here Dec. 11.

McGinnis was born June 14, 1987, and joined the Army right after graduating high school in 2005. He had been in the Army 18 months and made his mark even before his heroic deed.

“He was a good kid,” said C Company’s senior enlisted Soldier, 1st Sgt. Kenneth J. Hendrix. “He had just gotten approved for a waiver to be promoted to specialist.”

He also appeared on the Nov. 30 cover of Stars & Stripes, manning his turret.

Besides his military accomplishments, McGinnis leaves his friends and family with memories of a fun-loving, loyal man.

Private First Class Brennan Beck, a 1-26 infantryman from Lodi, Calif., said McGinnis made others feel better.

“He would go into a room and when he left, everyone was laughing,” Beck said. “He did impersonations of others in the company. He was quick-witted, just hilarious. He loved making people laugh. He was a comedian through and through.”

While having a witty side, McGinnis took his job seriously.

“He was not a garrison Soldier. He hated it back in garrison,” Beck said. “He loved it here in Iraq. He loved being a gunner. It was a thrill, he loved everything about it. He was one our best Soldiers. He did a great job.”

Beck has memories of talking all night with McGinnis about where they wanted their lives to go, and said McGinnis always remembered his friends.

“When I had my appendix removed, he was the only one who visited me in the hospital,” Beck said. “That meant a lot.”

Another 1-26 infantryman, Private First ClassMichael Blair of Klamath Falls, Ore., recalled that McGinnis helped him when he arrived at Ledward Barracks in Schweinfurt, Germany.

“When I first came to the unit…he was there and took me in and showed me around,” Blair said. “He was real easy to talk to. You could tell him anything. He was a funny guy. He was always making somebody laugh.”

McGinnis’ final heroic act came as no surprise to Blair.

“He was that kind of person,” Blair said. “He would rather take it himself than have his buddies go down.”

The brigade’s senior noncommissioned officer, Command Sgt. Maj. William Johnson, also had high praise for McGinnis.

“Anytime when you get a Soldier to do something like that - to give his life to protect his fellow Soldiers - that’s what heroes are made of,” Johnson said.

It also demonstrates, Johnson continued, that the ‘MySpace Generation’ has what it takes to carry on the Army’s proud traditions.

“Some think Soldiers who come in today are all about themselves,” Johnson said. “I see it differently.”

The Silver Star has already been approved for McGinnis’ actions Dec.4, and will be awarded posthumously.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The web is danger at every turn

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Article quoted directly from Reuters, Internet criminals to step up "cyberwar" in 2007.

I know a lot of you are aware that in my real life, I am a security consultant and one of the services I specialize in is computer security. With that point made, I was reading through the Reuters news feeds and came across an item that should be of interest to anyone on the web.

I will quote the first few paragraphs of the article and suggest anyone interested click here and read it in its entirety.

The article, titled, “Internet criminals to step up "cyberwar" in 2007” written by, By Peter Griffiths, opens states: “LONDON (Reuters) - Computer hackers will open a new front in the multi-billion pound "cyberwar" in 2007, targeting mobile phones, instant messaging and community Web sites such as MySpace, security experts predict.”

"The attacks are becoming more sophisticated," said Dave Rand of Internet security firm Trend Micro. "It's all about making money. And they're making a lot of it," he told Reuters.

In 2007, hackers will be scouring social networking sites such as MySpace to gather information for more focused attacks on people's computers.

"It is definitely an area that is ripe for more exploitation by malware (malicious software)," said Ed English, Trend Micro's Chief Technology Officer for anti-spyware.

People could find their computers infected with viruses that secretly record all their keystrokes or send out millions of spam email messages.

Identity theft fraudsters will trawl through sites, which allow people to leave their pictures and personal details, finding targets for "phishing" attacks -- fraudulent emails aimed at tricking people into revealing credit card numbers.

Going to be a long winter...

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There are times reading through the news when I want to run out to the nearest mound of dirt, dig a hole and bury my head in it until the fear has passed.

This was my reaction this morning when reading an article on, titled, Incoming House intelligence chief botches easy intel quiz. Well, to be honest with you, I first thought, okay, this is one of the new kids on the block; maybe the intelligence question they threw at him was difficult. We can all agree that just because someone is in Washington does not make them an expert on something.

Newly elected politicians are normally given a period where their constituents give them the chance to learn the ropes. I felt this may be the case here as well, he was new to this specific job and was close to passing the article up, until I read what I will now quote directly from the site.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas “failed a quiz of basic questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah, two of the key terrorist organizations the intelligence community has focused on since the September 11, 2001 attacks.”

“When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam -- Sunni or Shiite -- Reyes answered "they are probably both," then ventured "Predominantly -- probably Shiite."

“That is wrong. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics.”

The next few paragraphs quoted from the article are well worth reading.

“In an interview with CNN, Stein said he was "amazed" by Reyes' lack of what he considers basic information about two of the major terrorists organizations.

"If you're the baseball commissioner and you don't know the difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox, you don't know baseball," Stein said. "You're not going to have the respect of the people you work with."

“While Stein said Reyes is "not a stupid guy," his lack of knowledge said it could hamper Reyes' ability to provide effective oversight of the intelligence community, Stein believes.”

"If you don't have the basics, how do you effectively question the administration?" he asked. "You don't know who is on first."”

This is it folks, the end of the line, the final stop, we are all in for a big world of hurt. One would assume if someone’s selected for a position of authority, they would at least have a working knowledge of what they are going to be doing. A small thought somewhere back in the corner of the mind, you know, that spot that tells our hands we have an itch and we had better scratch it.

It is time to bury our gold, stock up on water and canned goods, because folks, it is going to be a long winter.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Activision crossed the line

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I was having a relatively nice, quiet afternoon that is, until I witnessed one of the games advertised on television actually defacing the Viet Nam War Memorial and then things began to go downhill from there.

My nephews are both gamers, one more so than the other. The one has every gaming platform ever released and if any of his friends needs advice on how to beat something or someone, our phones are ringing off the hook.

Now that I have established the fact of one of them living, eating and breathing gaming, I can get to the meat of the topic.

One of the television channels often blaring in my home is called, Xplay, which can be found on the cable channel, G4TV. When it is on, the Xplay anchors review each new game, which has been released. Their opinions are always honest and direct. One cannot help but respect someone as that, even if it is just a small amount.

The game is Tony Hawks, Project 8, by a company named, Activision. The screen shows a skater, operated by the player of the game; the skater is going up and down just about any and every building imaginable. I was watching the screen for something to do, as I was bored out of my mind at the time.

Then the screen changed, in one of the scenes, or levels, the skater began skating up and down and across the Viet Nam War memorial and I not only came out of my boredom, I began screaming at the television in the vain hope that the company would hear me.

Before anyone says I am nuts, yes, I agree it is just a game and gravity dictates the task of skating up, down, over and across the memorial an impossibility. The fact remains that Activision has created a game for our children that teaches them defacing something that has become a sacred memorial to many of us is a common every day occurrence. Not only common, but, showing them it is a pretty cool to do when skating. Why not set a ramp up and drive your car up and down it while we are at it or have Evil jump his Harley over the top, scratches, all the better, Tony Hawks said it was cool.

I am still eating Tums and frantically searching for an old Prozac I had in the house. (Only joking to make a point) and I am about to come unglued over this. The strange comment to the whole thing was the fact my two nephews were not only taken back when they saw it, they were insulted. That in itself is validation for all my teaching.

I found the Activision site and the comment section and sent an email stating my displeasure and how much of an insult it was to watch. I am hoping others can do the same.

Click here, if anyone is interested in making a comment on this, it will take you to the contact section of Activation.

Click here, If you wish to go the full Activision, site itself and see if you can find anything about the game.

Farewell Rumsfeld

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It was only fitting that outgoing secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, decided to pay a surprise visit to Iraq this weekend in a very good gesture of bidding farewell to the men and women he managed for so long.

Secretary Rumsfeld said when addressing the troops, “We feel great urgency to protect the American people from another 9/11 or a 9/11 times two or three,”

“At the same time, we need to have the patience to see this task through to success,” he said. “The consequences of failure are unacceptable.”

Today was day two, of what American military officials said was Mr. Rumsfeld’s farewell visit to the troops. An American military spokesperson said Mr. Rumsfeld was scheduled to travel to other bases outside Baghdad today before returning to Washington.

I for one am going to greatly miss secretary Rumsfeld, there was times that I would read of something and wonder if he had control, only to learn he had been totally out of the loop when it occurred. The majority of the time I felt something for him that I do not often feel for any politician, respect. Rumsfeld was assigned an impossible task with limited equipment and manpower and saw the invasion through in classic George S. Patton style. In the early days of WWII, the very idea of going up against a German tiger tank would have the crew one of our Sherman M4 tanks sweating at the thought. Our tanks did not fare well in a head to head against a tiger tank.

General Patton quickly solved that problem and the other one of small cities with encamped enemy troops bogging down his advance, at the same time. Why fight head on, the Sherman is more maneuverable, attack in pairs or more and fight from the sides. Worked just as the plan was conceived. The second, the small cities bogging down his advance was classic Patton doctrine, go around them and deal with them another time, reach the objective, get the glory and all is well in the world. I miss George S. Patton; he was one of my personal heroes.

I will miss secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld too and it is a shame the politicians win again, H. Clinton must be very proud of herself. Let us see what she can do if she is faced with these same situations.

Farewell secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, God speed and thanks for the memories.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Even the media is lost

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Like many of my fellow compatriots on the web, I found myself torn between two distinctly different emotions when reading the Iraq study groups recommendations, one, from all out laughter and the other exclaiming to anyone within distance, “What the hell did they just say!”

Today, I find that I am not the only person within this great country to have experienced dichotomy while reading the report on Iraq, there are more of us, my stars, there is even a member of the media that felt the same. Perhaps, because some have accused them of being a snake in the grass that and old desert adage applies to them as well, if there is one, there are always more close by luring under rocks and in the shade.

This morning, while reading a few headlines in my newsreader I came across one that peaked my interest. “Half Baked: A Look at a Few of the Recommendations of the Iraq Study Group” with the byline, Aaron Goldstein (12/07/06)

I need to make a comment before I proceed; clicking on the link to Aaron Goldstein shows an interesting pedigree in journalism. He began his career as a member of the socialist New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP). Since 09/11, Aaron has reconsidered his ideological inclinations and has become a Republican as well as authoring a few books, which can be found in the link. Interesting background and that makes his insight even more reason for one to salivate over a member of the feared fifth estate actually disagreeing with their peers.

Mr. Goldstein begins his article by saying, “I’ve not read the report of the Iraq Study Group in its entirety so I cannot comment on it wholly. However, based on what I have read my confidence has not been inspired”

After a few statements he openly comments on one specific paragraph in the report. Then makes a direct quote from it, “When reading some of the passages in the report I had to bite my tongue to keep from bursting into laughter. Consider this gem:”

“The Study Group recognizes that U.S. relationships with Iran and Syria involve difficult issues that must be resolved…The United States has diplomatic, economic, and military disincentives available in approaches to both Iran and Syria. However, the United States should also consider incentives to try and engage them successfully, much as it did successfully with Libya.”

I absolutely loved Mr. Goldstein’s follow up to the quote from the report; “I suppose this is in reference to Libya’s disclosure and surrender of its weapons of mass destruction program. The end of Libya’s WMD program had nothing to do with American diplomacy and everything to do with the willingness to use American military strength in ousting fellow Arab dictator Saddam Hussein. Colonel Qadaffi was shaking in his boots and it wasn’t because he danced the night away with Madeline Albright.”

This gentlemen is a keeper and I bookmarked it in hopes that his other articles will be as well as this one was. The article is quite long and well worth reading through.

But, wait, that is not all, there is still more to be found, another reporter saying the report does not make sense, nor will it ever as long as James Baker is involved within the program. This one is from the Mideast on Target, under a section called, The Daily Tid Bit and titled, “Israel Faces A 1938 Czechoslovakia Scenario Under Baker Report”, byline simply as, “Administrator”. The actual article the headline is refereeing to is the one that calls everything into question. This article is reprinted from an email and it titled, “America Be Wary, Baker-The-Deal-Maker is Back, Yoram Ettinger, Ynet, Dec. 7, 2006”

The firs two paragraphs places everything into a very neat perspective:

“Jim Baker’s abysmal track record in diplomacy – in contrast to his impressive business and political track record – suggests that the implementation of his “Iraq Study Group” recommendations would benefit anti-US rogue regimes and harm pro-US moderate elements.

In 1990, the Texan Deal Maker lured Assad into the anti-Saddam Coalition, following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. He overlooked Assad’s leadership role in international terrorism, showered the Butcher of Hama with international legitimacy, alluded to potential US assistance to Syria, and gave Assad a free hand in Lebanon. In response to Baker’s “Pragmatism”, Assad refrained from assisting the US war on Saddam, but completed Syrian occupation of Lebanon, massacred thousands of Lebanese and violently replaced an anti-Syrian Christian Administration with a pro-Syrian puppet Administration in Beirut. The ripple effects of Baker’s “Pragmatism” still reverberate in crumbling Lebanon.”

One thing is for certain, the Iraq report is clearly based on pure speculation, the fact that the findings would actually work, if placed into affect on a line-by-line basis is yet more speculation.

Personally, I feel the entire report is nothing but pure political bovine excrement and the sad truth and reality of this situation is President Bush is being pressured into doing exactly the opposite of what should be done in this quagmire. The obvious solution is simple, attack on all sides and all into all countries presently supporting terrorist activities and put an end to the Middle East mess that will continue to haunt us forever.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It saddens me.

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There was a very brief moment in time within this great country when you would never hear or read a negative statement relating to the war in Iraq. It was a simple time, kids playing baseball, Mom in the kitchen baking apple pie and old glory waved at the corner hardware store.

Darn that Normal Rockwell painting I saw on an old Post magazine yesterday, I cannot get it out of my mind.

One would assume that a fantasy about this war would include troops marching proudly in Times Square while a ticker tape mix of confetti rained down upon them. That is just about what it would take for any member of the fifth estate to have ever uttered one word of praise regarding the performance of our military in Iraq. Instead, on any given day and today was no exception, all I can read are reporters, politician’s, academia and respected media members offering their armchair quarterbacking of how the war should or should not be.

I can click on any link, turn on any number of national news shows, local news shows and pick up any newspaper and there they are, so-called resident military experts paraded before our minds eye. Usually a retired military, more often a Colonel, because that just sounds more respected than some junior lieutenant, fresh out of college, yet to fire weapon in defense of his country offering their insight into what went wrong and when did it happen.

At the start of this war, I would see them offering their views on the day’s military tactics and how far a unit had moved forward in their quest to reach Baghdad. Now, they sit there selling their souls for some media firm and tear down any number of military units, or worse yet, lately, being a retired military officer. The media will use the rank of the person to add weight to their anti-war and anti-military views.

Fox News, once the proud backer who supported President Bush in his elections are even starting to pick of this form of what I call, “back-up reporting” when offering a negative view.

It was very apparent that this war was not going to be winnable even at the onset when we staged what the military was referring to as “shock and awe” bombing of various strategic targets in Baghdad and the media was asking, “where the heck is it?’ Back then, I just assumed that firing billions of dollars in weapons and destroying a building without even touching the one next to it was an awesome sight.

The only thing that shocked the media was we did not offer them better entertainment for the evening news. It saddens me that back then, if a country music act voiced their displeasure the world came to a screeching halt and people boycotted their act. Today is a different story, if anyone mentions they support the war and offer praise for our military the other person looks at you as if they are ready to hand you a sign to wear displaying the fact of your ignorance to the world.

It saddens me to no end to know that I actually was alive once more to witness the fall from grace of our military. It not only saddens me, it disgusts me knowing once more in history these small group of people everyone was ignoring in the beginning stages of the war, or that small group of protestors outside our local college that even the local evening news ignored are now basking in the glory of their sunshine. It is disgusting me to a point of frustration that is unspeakable. This country can never support a military action longer than it took forces to liberate Grenada. The public’s show of patriotism runs only so deep and the specific depth of that well is when casualty reports begin flowing into the media’s news desk.

Yes, it is a very sad statement indeed, when Osama bin Laden’s name can be mentioned and no one cares or even questions why he has not been captured. This country has such a short-term memory when it comes to war. While all of the anti-this and anti-that crowd are celebrating and out shopping this holiday season they should remember one small fact.

There are people this holiday season still not in the mood to shop, not quite ready to mention the holiday or not bothering to put up lights and a tree. They are not yet ready because they lost their family on September 11 and the thought of a holiday still brings back those memories.

September 11, the day that our country will forget about in ten years or so.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My first day on the job

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Often I digress to the days of my youth and spin few tales, tall or not, they are mine and they make me happy when sharing. I was telling this particular story to my sister just last night and she said, “You have got to blog this one”, so here we are. This story has to do with my first few months as a Police Officer in the late 1960’s. I was still in the Academy, but working a few hours, an evening with an, “FTO, Field Training Officer and how I destroyed a brand new Police car my first time out.

Going to school eight hours a day in a Police Academy, studying to be a Police Office is a bit harder than college. I have managed to accomplish both in my life, I can attest to the fact of constant push-ups, running and constantly degraded is not the same as college, unless you have pledged to a rotten Fraternity.

I was only a few months out of the military when accepted, still in good shape and that was a big day in my family too. My Father, Grandfather and two Uncles were all on the force. I have mentioned in the past that I came from an Irish family and we managed to fit right into that American mold of my lineage, even my cousins in Ireland were constables, so, yes, it was expected of me, actually dictated.

After a period studying, hitting the books and understanding what you are doing, the new recruit, not yet a sworn officer, is assigned to a Field Training Officer and a patrol car for a few hours a day. I was a nervous wreck, I had taken so much equipment to the car that the trainer stood there with his hands on his hips asking if I was working or moving in permanently.

After thoroughly chewed out for making us late for patrol we began our small shift. We were two hours into the shift when the trainer pulled the unit into a parking space and tossed me the keys for the remaining hour. I darn near had a heart attack. I did not want to drive that patrol care in any form. It was brand new and this was its first day on the job as well as mine, very bad karma. I knew should I put one small dent in the body I would be in trouble. I had no choice and nervously moved over to take the wheel.

Our next call was mundane, a stolen vehicle report and I stood idly by trying to look busy while the trainer took care of it. I had gathered that I was not yet trusted to talk to the citizens, well, he had actually told me that, so I knew quite well to stay quite and look important.

I am driving and trying my best to avoid everything I could see, even staying eight car lengths behind vehicles. The next call was the one every rookie waits for and dreams about, a burglary in progress in an occupied house. This is the big one, adrenalin rush to the limits, racing at Mach 1, sirens blaring, red lights rotating and mirroring off other vehicles, I was in heaven and I just knew I would be the envy of my classmates.

A few blocks close to the scene the trainer instructed me to shut down all emergency sound and lights. The object was to actually get the person inside, save the family, the day and be a hero, or so I had fantasized.

While pulling onto the scene the trainer instructed me to stop directly in front of the home, blocking the front escape route, I was to bail out, weapon drawn taking the right side of the home, while he went to the left and we would meet in the rear. The responding units would cover the front and escape route. All the while I could hear the sirens in the distance coming to our assistance, which only added to my excitement. My blood pressure had to be at a maximum level and I was experiencing an adrenalin rush higher than I had ever achieved in combat. This was real, honest to God Police action and my first day on the patrol had found me in the middle of it.

I pulled the unit directly in front, as instructed, opened the driver’s door, drew my weapon and bailed out, running to the right as instructed, all the while watching every possible window and door. I was determined to catch the person and be the hero of the day and the envy of all in the Academy.

Just as I was reaching the rear of the home, I heard the noise. It was the loudest crashing noise I had ever heard and I could actually see the entire house in front of me shaking on its foundation. I had no idea what it was, all I could assume was something inside had blown up, or multiple close range shots from a shotgun.

Then I heard my Trainer begin screaming, ranting and calling me names that I had never even heard in the military. I was terrified and yet, had no idea what I had managed to do.

I heard him say that the family was safe, the perpetrators had escaped in the confusion and for me to get my #*&$%#^$% to the front of the home.

Like most of my brothers on the net, I have seen my share of combat and the devastation of a bombing. I have even seen the aftereffect of an Arclight, a B52 carpet-bombing, nothing remains alive, not even the soil.

What I had never seen was a brand new Police Car sitting in the living room of a perfectly good home with all of the previously captive family standing around calling me every name they could imagine.

I quickly learned that as I had bailed out of the unit, I had left the engine running and the vehicle in gear, for some unknown reason the accelerator had stuck in the open position, not my fault, but that did not matter. The unit had crashed straight through the porch and directly into the living room. The only consolation was the family had been laying face down at gunpoint in the rear of the home, as the unit had crashed into the living room; man holding them hostage actually screamed like a woman and dived, face first out of the back window.

Of course, with all of the noise and confusion and the small task of a very large car crashing into a home, my trainer had missed him because he too had been busy at the time, running for his life.

Capitan’s, Lieutenants, Sergeants and just about every officer working that shift all came just to see the car in the house and then the news trucks arrived. Not one single person ever spoke to me, I was non-existent and everyone knew I was never to be seen again.

The Chief of Police called me into his office the next morning. That is similar to the commanding General of a base asking to see you. Not a happy thought and an officer can work twenty years without ever meeting the Chief of Police, except for the occasional accolade or award and all he does then is pin you, shake your hand and make a speech.

I was not dismissed or even reprimanded in writing, which is the curse of death to a rookie; it turned out the Chief had made the same mistake when he was a rookie and he actually laughed when showing me the news clippings. Yes, I had realized my dream, I had become famous, all over the newspaper, there I was standing in the back attempting to look important. However, instead of graduating with my classmates I was assigned to three months additional defensive and offensive driving with special emphasis on parking.

I never made that mistake again and when I was assigned the job of being a Field Training Officer, the first thing I would do was show the rookie the newspaper clippings.

Is Israel next in line?

The Ranter
The Views of The Ranter
It always amazes me, either that or impresses me, when I see something that was once forecast and now becoming a reality, such as the Domino Theory. During the Viet Nam war, this particular phrase was the buzzword of the conflict. The theory, if one should fall, so would many.

This phrase was constantly tossed about, often discussed, dissected and in truth, no one really believed the concept, other than the politicians constantly using it to dig us a bit deeper into the quagmire called Viet Nam. Bear in mind something, history is now showing had we not withdrawn our vital assets, leaving behind advisors to advice and at times command a poorly equipped military, we may have been victorious in this conflict. Remember, we never lost a battle, not once and yet, politicians played the game and lost.

Of course, the phrase, the Domino Theory applied to Communism, but still has a ring of truth to it today and can readily be applied minus the communist portion in today’s conflicts.

We are presently engaged in a war within the Middle East, as long as our men and women are facing combat, it is a war. The Middle East is comprised of various countries, kingdoms and governments. Lebanon is a prime example of my hypotheses, currently undergoing a take over from Iran and Syria.

It is not a question if Lebanon will fall into the hands of Syria and Iran it is a matter of when. President Bush, no longer carrying the House and Senate would be hard pressed to commit troops and assets for an extended period to this region and both countries are well aware of that fact and in fact, banking on it in their quest.

With this fact surfacing on the Middle East horizon, we must ask ourselves a question, who will be next. The obvious answer is Israel, long the thorn in the side of both countries; they just may perceive that history is at the exact apex to destroy Israel once and for all. They would read that America, now the paper tiger often talked about, would fail to come to the aid of its ally in the Middle East. They are also aware that Israel was hard pressed to defeat their Hezbollah fighters, meeting a far better trained equipped and dedicated force than expected with little, if any regard for the lives of the citizens of Lebanon.

Iran would feel that America, already stretched to the limit of its military strength would be unable, politically and militarily to honor an aggression treaty and immediately swoop in for the final blow. Personally, I feel they would not only be very wrong, they would be making a fatal mistake. Defending Israel is embedded within the minds of America and stretched to the limit has nothing to do with it; they should also take into account the resolve and spirit of America when faced with adversity and huge odds, that it where we shine and Iran and Syria would be making the calculated mistake of their countries existence.

Iran and Syria would also make a calculated risk that Israel would not use its nuclear arsenal to defend itself on a first strike basis, keeping engagements to a ground war only, they would be very wrong on this account. Israel will use nuclear force to defend its state and have no qualms about their actions whatsoever, the sanctity of their sovereign soil is vital to Israel.

Granted, this is only a possible scenario of many, but the destruction of Israel has long been their goal. Attacking it would not only prove fatal, it would turn the Middle East into a raging inferno of flames and destruction. They have the resources, but do they possess the stupidity is the major question.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Banks at risk

The Ranter
The Views of The Ranter

I was reading through all the news very early this morning and quite frankly still suffering from a Glaucoma Migraine which hit me last night, so I was attempting to keep my little brain occupied and came upon an article warning of possible Qaeda financial cyber attacks on Banks.

This one grabbed my attention as I am a security consultant, not doing much with it in my present state, but the Virus, Trojan, Spyware and Phishing industry has been a part of my world and I have sat back these past few years watching it grow in leaps and bounds.

Back during the antiquated and still missed by some, DOS days and the early Windows, we experienced many problems with what was then known as the Virus Industry. John McAfee had darn near invented the concept of actually going out and battling the new underbelly of computing and a new industry to combat this growing threat was still in its infant stages.

At that point, in time I was an agent for a few Antivirus firms and due to my affiliations was able to play with just about every known virus hitting the industry. It was amazing to me the depths individuals would actually stoop to do damage to someone’s data and information.

Back then, we knew that if all else failed, we could perform a low-level format and rid the system of the culprit. Not so today, today we are faced with new, improved security risks, Keyloggers capturing every keystroke, software turning your computer into someone’s private network, Trojans downloading their payloads at a later and transmitting all of your personal financial information to another computer.

Taking all of this into consideration, I find it a totally conceptual possibility that these new attacks will occur, when is the question, not if.

I am not going to hawk software on my blog, but if you are on the net, you need a good firewall, Antivirus, Anti Spyware and Anti Phishing, or your computer and information is in jeopardy. There are many fine sites and software available to effectively do the job right.