Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Update to last post

Update to the article I posted regarding the Father of a fallen Marine and his litigation against the Westboro Baptist Church, titled, A Father fights back.

The jury has also awarded other damages, which takes the verdict to 11 million dollars. Here is a direct quote from the article on CBS News,

"The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress."

"Snyder's attorney, Craig Trebilcock, had urged jurors to determine an amount "that says don't do this in Maryland again. Do not bring your circus of hate to Maryland again."

A Father fights back

I was just going through the afternoon news and this headline immediately caught my undivided attention.

"Jury Awards Father $2.9 Million in Funeral Protesters Case"

Click here for the full story.

If you recall, the father of a fallen Marine had filed litigation against the Westboro Baptist Church and its founder for a multitude of actions resulting from their picketing his son's funeral.

This is the same church that routinely picket funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, carrying signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."

A number of states have enacted laws prohibiting the church's picketing and that has had little impact on their protesting. Perhaps handing over a few million dollars will change their attitudes. We can only hope that this award is not overturned.

The disgusting signs and comments made by the church towards our fallen men and women has only enraged people to do something to stop their protesting. We can only hope this verdict stays and finally puts an end to the church is protesting

Invisible Tank

A story this morning from the UK caught my eye as I was wondering the news services. It was headlined; "British Defense Researchers Create Invisible Tank" and once I saw it there was no way my imagination would allow me to pass it up.

Click here for the full story.

The British have actually done it, I was thinking as I began to read the story. Of course, I was waiting to read how they would create invisible soldiers next, but that was not to pass.

I have seen this invisibility trick done on the military channel before. They were going over the new Army's battle gear called, Land Warrior and already in use in Iraq. On the show they used tiny cameras and a parade of other photo gear to create an invisible soldier standing there. Unfortunately, unless that solder has about three million bucks worth of camera gear he will not repeat it on the battlefield.

It turned out the invisible tank was the same thing, many cameras, just a trick, but it does look pretty cool.

Friday, October 26, 2007

They are still at it

Most of us have read or written stories about the disgusting antics of the Westboro Baptist church. I have written a few articles, one was Phelps Information which went into a bit more detail on the actions of these individuals.

Honestly, for me to write more on the group would be a total exercise in futility. Their actions towards our fallen service members are well documented and already a matter of public record. In brief, the CBS article stated, "the Westboro Baptist church's members have picketed the funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming the deaths are punishment for the country's tolerance of homosexuality."

I recall the mixed bag of emotions that went through me while reading about their protests at service members funerals. Besides the anger and disgust, I could not understand why someone had not filed litigation against the church. Then I began reading many of the already published articles on the church and learned that many of the family running the church were practicing attorneys.

In short, they always stayed on public property and insured they were within their constitutional rights. That knowledge disgusted me to no end.

Now, the father of a Marine killed in action, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder is taking the church on in court.

Here is a direct quote from CBS news, "The father of a Marine killed in Iraq took the stand in his invasion of privacy suit against a fundamentalist church that pickets soldiers' funerals, saying protesters carrying signs at his son's burial made him sick to his stomach."

"Albert Snyder said he had hoped for a private funeral for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder."

The father, Albert Snyder is asking for assistance in his litigation against the church and has setup a web site with information,

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ben Stein: The Real Stars

Ben Stein puts it all into perspective. It is about time someone spoke up.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Dalai Lama

China has never ceased to amaze me with their attitude regarding the Dalai Lama. Of course, they control his homeland and nothing on this earth will make them give it back.

For example, here is a quote from a CBS News article on President Bush giving the Dalai Lama an award.

"China, which reviles the 72-year-old monk as a Tibetan separatist, vehemently protested the elaborate public ceremony."

Now, if that does not hate for the sake of hate, then I cannot think of any other comment that would demonstrate it any better.

Here we have a man of peace, serenity and the spiritual leader to thousands, if not millions. The act by China of taking over his homeland and listing him as a separatist reeks of the fear China has towards him. Yes, fear and they fear him so badly that they will risk whatever they have to insure he does not return, never.

Disgusting, that is what it is, pure and simple disgusting. The Dalai Lama is a man of such high religious stature that throngs of humanity revere him and follow his words. This is what scares China to pieces and it is the sole reason they hate him.

Actually, a man of peace without any hidden agendas is a wonderful thought. He does not ask for millions in donations to build his universities. He does not make statements that God will call him home of his goals are not meant. He desires peace among the world; he does this without beating on your door and ramming his political philosophy down your throat. He supports religious freedom for all faiths, barring none.

China fears this man for many reasons and most of all because they realize he is right, they are wrong, and that really scares the devil out of them.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Security in Iraq

Since it became a public word, Blackwater has taken more heat than any security organization in Iraq. We have seen media reports, television documentaries, you name it and it has been written about private security in Iraq, Blackwater in particular.

The media loves to portray them as high paid mercenaries, body armor and automatic weapons at ready for any attack. What they normally fail to address is that the majority of the security in Iraq are highly trained, Seals, Special Forces, SAS and other special operations personnel. These are the individuals that our country and others once called our best, our elite, the cream of the crop and governments have spent millions of dollars training and equipping these individuals to go out and perform jobs that no one else was capable of doing.

Now, they are no longer within the fold of the militaries they once represented and because of this, the media calls them killers, mercenaries, anything, but what they once were.

The media loves to say the word mercenary, they love to portray these individuals as shoot first and ask question later and let God sort them out, this sickens me.

We place these individuals in harm's way, dissociate them from any coverage or protection afforded the military and tell them if you shoot someone you will be tried under that government' s law and as a murderer in your own country. This is just wonder job security and yet, individuals work in these high risk situations.

If one or more of these individuals make mistakes and people die, then they alone should be tried for their crimes, not the entire security community. The same applies to outright homicide, if this is done, then those individuals should pay, not the entire community.

This entire mess has sickened me and the sad footnote to it all is that it is far from over.

Friday, October 12, 2007

And he could not spell potato!

The fact that Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize for his film, an Inconvenient Truth has me wondering why I never won one. I mean, I have told many untruths in my day, okay, lies, but the fact remains, if he can win, so can anybody.

Gore has always liked to tell a few tales or two. What can we expect from a man who publicly stated that he invented the Internet!

Since the film, Inconvenient Truth was released many questions have been raised about whether some of the science used in the film is correct. In fact, this week a judge in the UK ruled that schools could not screen the film without accompanying notes, which give a balancing view to some of his claims.

Apparently, an Inconvenient Truth has left out a few truths, in any case, it managed to give Gore a few awards and now the Nobel, go figure.

Gore was no stranger to inconvenient truths, he managed to take on the show, Murphy Brown for their story line of an unwed mother and lose. One thing that bothered me was how a man who could not spell potato was able to write anything at all.

It is quite an honor to take home the Nobel and we cannot take that away from him. However, it makes me wonder just how much politics played as a deciding factor.

A nominee that was passed over for the Gore award, Irena Sendler, was in many opinions more worthy of the award. Sendler is a great woman who risked her life during WWII to save 2500 children from the Holocaust, later captured by the Nazi's and severely beaten. Sendler managed to escape and today is living in a nursing home in Poland.

If you are not familiar with the Irena Sendler story, then I suggest you click here for the Wikipedia overview. She should be an inspiration to the world and her story needs to be told.

Family Values

We all are very aware that the world has become a hotbed of insanity. It has become even more evident with the current rash of school shootings being reported. The latest, a 14 year old Pennsylvania home schooled youth had compiled an arsenal and planned a repeat of the 1999 Columbine attack in Colorado.

In an AP article this morning, CBS News correspondent Maggie Rodriguez reported that officials knew the young suspect's motive: he felt bullied by the students at Plymouth Whitemarsh. But the plot for revenge was foiled when the young man tried to seek out an accomplice who led police to the suspect's house and a disturbing arsenal.

Acting on a tip from a high school student and his father, police on Wednesday found the rifle, about 30 air-powered guns, swords, knives, a bomb-making book, videos of the 1999 Columbine attack in Colorado and violence-filled notebooks in the boy's bedroom, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. said.

The article also states that the youth's Mother, Michele Cossey was being charged for purchasing firearms for her teenage son. Here is the quote from the page, "Michele Cossey bought her home-schooled son a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle, authorities said."

After reading this I was struck with the thought that back in the early 1960 era, my Grandfather had given me a 22 rifle for a gift. He then spent the entire summer teaching me gun safety and the proper manner to conduct yourself on a hunt.

It was not the first time that I have accompanied him on a hunt, but it was the first that I was taught the ins and outs of hunting and the proper gun safety procedures.

Then it all fell into place for me, this was something that had stopped across America, gun safety, one of the male members walking the younger through that rite of passage, Today, we are bombarded with school shootings, gang shootings, the list is endless.

As a result of this new threat, our children are no longer safe inside of a school, in fact, they may even be on more danger, just attending a class.

It completely amazes me how far our society has sank into the pits of hate and despair. Back when I was given that gift, the world was different. We had strong family values, Sundays consisted of church in the morning and a mandatory dinner in the evening where the entire family sat down together.

On many Sundays, we would all pile into our Father's non-air conditioned car and head to the local ice cream shop. Those were days that are now lost to the youth of today and along with them are the family values that they once taught.

It is truly sad to see what is going on today and even sadder to think that family values in America died with my youth.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Britney and the Paparazzi

I normally fill my mornings with massive amounts of caffeine, surfing through various news services and reading even more on the internet. While going about my usual routine I have began to notice something that is either interesting or sick about celebrities, well, actually one in particular, Britney Spears.

I did not start out to read about her insane antics, but it quickly turned in that direction once I began to notice that I was seeing nothing but stories on her. I felt that she was either so newsworthy that she was pushing normal stories to the back page, or she had entered into some type of unholy alliance with the paparazzi. Little did I know that the two were feeding off one another in some form of insane plan of the universe.

Good old Ms. throw back a few beers, snort a line or two, cause a media circus by shaving her head in public, scream at the paparazzi while attacking their cars with an umbrella and then use her genuine Hollywood "get out of jail" card issued to every person who joins the celebrity crowd –REHAB!

What began as every news service and gossip magazine going for the money shot of her getting out of vehicles while blatantly exposing herself, slowly turned into exposing the truth about Britney and the paparazzi, they live for and off of one another.

This became evident when I began to see photos of paparazzi ordering food for Britney. Now, before anyone says this is silly, hear the rest of the story. We had Britney and her sister sitting in a car at a fast food drive up window. Britney was trying her best to order food for the two of them and the person at the drive up could not make out what she was saying.

Why, you may ask, well it was because Britney had not opened her window and kept repeating the order through the closed window. The parade of paparazzi cars behind her took pity and ordered for her.

Next, we have Britney pulled over on the highway with a flat tire; does she call a repair service? No, a few of the paparazzi pull up, get out of their vehicle and change her tire for her. While her car was being serviced, Britney sat in the car singing Christmas songs to her tiny dog all dressed up in a Santa suit.

After that, I see many photos on different occasions of Britney at a gas station getting gasoline. Of course, the paparazzi do not allow her to pump her own gas, no, they get out of their car and pump the gas for her while other paparazzi clean her windows and check her oil!

This went on and on and thankfully, I became sick of the research. Not only do the paparazzi survive off Britney, but they also work hard to insure she is around for more photographs, which she obviously loves to pose for, clean-shaven or not.

Now, I promise from this day forth never to mention her again.

Nothing ever changes

Everyone by now has hear the comments made that America is a paper tiger and normally we only fight a war until the losses begin to mount, then we bring the troops home.

I recall pondering this question when I first heard, or read that bin Laden made the comment. At that point, we had pulled, rather quickly out of our peacekeeping mission in Mogadishu after the now famous Blackhawk down incident.

I recall too, the feelings that I had inside of me towards the people of Mogadishu after reading the book, Blackhawk down. At that time, I knew well the feelings that the soldiers of the Ranger and Delta units involved in that fiasco and believed as they did that we needed to finish the task before pulling out.

America does have a very short attention span when it comes to war, we always have and perhaps, always shall. The people who make up our great nation tends to tire easily when trying to fix other countries problems with superior firepower.

The basic problem we now face is not the insurgents or suicide bombers, but the feelings of exasperation over trying to give democracy to a country that has no idea what to do with it, or for that matter, cannot stop fighting amongst themselves long enough to form a better government.

It is difficult for Mothers and Fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers mourning their loved ones who have given the ultimate act of selflessness, their own lives, when the country they died for, Iraq, cannot stop arguing or killing their own people.

If we place all of the frustration, fears, death and many casualties into the picture, it is rather easy to understand the growing movement for withdrawal. However, from the standpoint of an old warhorse like me and many of my brothers and sisters, we have problems grasping something like this when the task is left unfinished.

We are not war hungry individuals, waving the flag at every chance we get, we have just grown tired of our country committing the military to a cause and bowing to public pressure, withdrawing before that cause is ever seen.

Perhaps it is time for the draft to once again raise its ugly head into the political arena, perhaps it is time for many things to happen, but one thing it is not time for is to abandon another country and leave the people of that country to die for nothing more than assisting our military when it was there.

It would be nice to just once finish the job, if people have a problem understanding this, ask a veteran of Viet Nam, Mogadishu or many other places in the world.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Turkey and the PKK

The major question being pondered by military analyst and armchair generals alike is what will happen should Turkey cross into northern Iraq to attack the Kurdish rebels they are holding responsible for two recent bomb attacks.

Sky News is reporting that Turkey has given the green light to its military to "take all necessary measures" against Kurdish rebels held responsible for two recent bomb attacks.

Analysts are predicting that an invasion, even a limited cross border incursion could affect Turkey's ties with the United States.

Sky News is reporting that they have seen Turkish military build-ups before, but they were always limited to hot pursuit border crossings, which due to the heat of the moment do not require prior approval. However, other analysts are reporting that America is presently urging restraint within the northern region, which is normally one of the only remaining peaceful portions of Iraq.

"In the past 10 days more than two dozen people - soldiers and civilians - have been killed in southeastern Turkey in attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party - the PKK," the article from Sky News stated.

This is an interesting development, according to Wikipedia; the PKK, aka, Kurdistan Workers Party is listed as a terrorist organization internationally by a number of states and organizations, including the USA, NATO and the EU. More than 37,000 people have been killed in the Turkey-PKK conflict since 1984, most of which were civilians, 4,568 being military personnel.

It never ceases to amaze me that throughout history our country has aligned itself with various military and quasi-military organizations in order to accomplish various military objectives. Then, after the fighting is over and the group is well equipped and trained by our own military and intelligence agencies, we always end up at odds with them, their leadership, and end up having to fight that group later on.

Traditionally, we have only felt sorrow for the people of Kurdistan, as Saddam Hussein did everything that he could, including dropping poison gas among entire civilian populations. Along these same lines, it is very easy to forget that the people of Kurdistan have been waging their own wars.

A Turkish cross-border incursion to battle the PKK just may ignite more sparks within Iraq, we will have to wait and see how it progresses.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Who is on first?

During my time that I just spent in never land, cloistered from television images and newsprint I kept hearing discussion of what would become of the nuclear weapons in Pakistan if President Musharraf lost everything to al Qaeda.

Of course, the logical answer to that is absolute terror within the free world as well as those that are not. If that were truly the case, that al Qaeda assumed control of weapons of mass destruction, Pakistan probably would not exists for more than twenty minutes before one of the nuclear powers dropped a multi megaton warhead on top of them to put an end the question.

Israel, for example, there is no way on this green Earth that they would permit this to occur. The state of Israel has the resources to put an end to the question and would be completely justified in using them.

The media loves to portray Pakistan standing side by side with America, fighting terrorism and bringing the good old red white and blue to the rest of the world, makes for good press, however, it is a total lie.

Pakistan only fights those along their border that they have a problem with. After all, why else would bin Laden be living there and building bigger and better forces. If we are fooled into thinking that Musharraf is America's pawn, we had better think again. He is only doing exactly what he is forced to do, nothing more.

Personally, I have grown tired of all of things that go bump in the night that our government constantly tells us is waiting to drop the big one on top of our head. Perhaps the think tanks and talking heads are correct and we are fueling terrorism instead of putting the fires out.

It just may be time for us to sit back and take stock of the situation, instead of looking for terrorists hiding under the rug all of the time. Then again, it may be time to build that bomb shelter, only time will tell.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Back soon

Today is a wonderful day; at least it feels that way to me. Due to severe vision problems, I have spent so many days alone with my thoughts lately, unable to read the news or even blog about it.

Today, I am pleased to announce that due to a wonderful eye doctor and the miracles of medicine, I am once again writing this with near perfect vision.

It was a long and winding road for me, beginning eighteen months ago, with many an obstacle to overcome. It took four surgical procedures and numerous quantities of eye drops, but now that all appears to be in the past.

The glaucoma was effectively brought under control with surgery and then as fate would have it, I was hit with severe cataracts that left me totally without vision. The last procedure on Tuesday corrected that problem. They removed the affected lens from the eye and replaced it with a corrected lens, which has given me perfect vision without the use of glasses or any of, the new laser procedures.

I am in the healing process this week with many more eye drops and a bandaged eye at night, but it all appears to be in the past now.

So, hopefully I will be back in the saddle soon.

I want to thank everyone for all of the kind words and get wells I have received during this time.