Friday, November 6, 2009

A Terrorist By Any Other Name

Ft. Hood was attacked yesterday. 10 people died and 31 were wounded at the hands of a terrorist.

No, he isn't a "suspect." We know he did it.

He wasn't an "alleged shooter." There were witnesses.

He's not just a "murderer," although that would be bad enough.

Malik Nadal Hasan was a terrorist. And not because of his name.

Let's examine what we know so far to be true.

Hasan was a psychiatrist at Walter Reed for six years before being transferred to Hood. After 9/11, his family tells us, he was openly against the war and refused to be deployed. His coworkers said he was anxious about being deployed in a few weeks - for the first time. This would be his first tour of duty. He is not a veteran suffering from battle fatigue or PTSD.

Throughout his time at Hood, he told his coworkers that Muslims - whom he viewed as our enemies - were right in fighting and killing our servicemen and women.

Even more shocking, when a Muslim shot and killed two recruiters in Little Rock, AK back in the summer, that he was "happy" about it, that "this is what Muslims should do."

Other statements Hasan has made and/or written:

There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” and Allah (SWT) knows best.

He was also what the PC crowd would call an "extremist," even by their standards:

"A co-worker at Walter Reed said Hasan would not allow his photo to be taken with female co-workers, which became an issue during Christmas season when employees often took group photos. Co-workers would find a solo photo of Hasan and post it on the bulletin board without his permission."

Something else to consider:

This wasn't just some guy who "snapped." He had been so "extreme" for so long that even the military took notice and had him under investigation.

Thankfully, Hasan was not killed as originally reported. So more evidence should be coming out soon.

So what difference does it make whether this was a loony or a religious fanatic i.e. a terrorist?

Well, first of all, it's the difference between truth and lies. We have an obligation as a moral, civilized society to seek out and uphold the truth, regardless of who it may offend.

Secondly, we owe it to Hasan's victims to present the truth about their killer.

And third - if you are from NYC or from OKC, like I am, you know what it's like to experience a terrorist attack in your own backyard. And especially if you are from OKC, you know what it's like to feel like the investigation settled for an easy answer rather than the truth.

When we change our language and no longer call a thing by its proper name, the name loses its meaning.

Calling Hasan a "suspect," "shooter" or even "murderer" is far too respectful for an animal such as he, in the same way calling a rapist an "assailant" lessens the crime and disrespects the victim.

The man was a terrorist. A terrorist who chose to break his oath of allegiance to his country and his comrades for the sake of a twisted faith and ideology. To paint him as anything less is to become complicit in his crime by denying the truth.

In this war against terrorism - a terrorism based in ideology - the truth is our best weapon.

Use it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Politics of Politics

One of the effects of the 2008 elections, the bailouts, the stimulus, Obamacare, etc., has been the rise of n00bs in political activism.

For the non-gamer crowd, “n00b” is originally the term for a person who is a novice in a particular video game. Actually, the word is “newb,” (i.e. “newbie” or new guy) when used to refer to a new person trying to learn the ropes. But if the newb becomes cocky, inhibits other gamer's playing or is generally annoying, the spelling changes and becomes “n00b.”

Recently, the Republican Party has been flooded with both newbs and n00bs. The newbs have donated to candidates, gone to TEA parties, shown up to hand out flyers, knock doors or run phone banks. The newbs show up and want to help and learn and work together to achieve our common Conservative goals. It is a beautiful thing and something specially American.

However, with newbs come n00bs. These are the ones who have never been to a precinct meeting, never volunteered on a campaign (maybe wore a t-shirt for their 2008 presidential candidate of choice), just started watching Glenn Beck, and have, until recently, been apathetic – or at least inactive – regarding the political workings of our country. And then suddenly, without any real experience in the mechanics of elections, have decided to run for office.

Fresh ideas and new blood are good. We need them, not just now, but all the time.

The problem is that with politics, as with anything, there is a learning curve. And when it comes to the politics of politics, there is a very steep learning curve.

Very few n00bs who run for office come away uncorrupted. Either they lose (or, more accurately, are crushed in) their race and become disillusioned, bitter and withdraw – or else they win, and once in office, are so inexperienced with the behind-the-doors dealings they wind up makings deals with devils they didn’t even know existed.

Campaign Managers

One example is the political consulting machine (or “racket,” as I prefer to call it). It’s common practice for a new political aspirer to either be found by or referred to a political consultant or campaign manager. And for n00bs, this is like manna from heaven. After all, the n00b has never run a campaign before, or really even worked in one. So why not rely on someone with years of experience of successful campaign organizing?

The problem is that campaign managers are rarely there out of principles’ sake. They don’t want to run your campaign because they believe in your cause (at least the seasoned ones). They want to run your campaign so they can take your money. They tend to prey on the inexperienced and suck campaign funds that could be better used elsewhere than paying somebody's consulting fees. Frankly, I have no respect for those of this profession on the local and state level.

Now, I’m all for capitalism. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that they should be making a living getting politicians elected. Here’s an example: right now in Oklahoma we are in primary campaign season. We have a couple of people running for governor on either side of the ticket. I know of a campaign manager/consultant who is managing the campaigns of both a Republican gubernatorial candidate and a Democrat gubernatorial candidate. This, to me, is not ethical. But it sure is profitable.

Of course, it goes without saying that you can win an election without a paid campaign manager, at least on the local and state levels. Do you need organization, advisors, all that jazz? Sure, but instead of going to former elected officials or grassroots activists and asking for help, n00bs set the dangerous precedent of hiring these scam artists – and once you hire them, you can never get rid of them, or guess what? They will run the campaign of your next opponent.

Candidate Recruiting

Another common local practice is the recruiting of n00bs to be candidates in local races. Consider this situation (played out often in reality but this is a composite of several I know of): a team of corporate welfare recipients and disgraced former elected officials (outed for illegal activity) launch an effort to recruit a n00b to run against the elected official who most openly opposed them, and more often than not, defeated their corporate welfare schemes or else gathered the information exposing their illegal activities. After asking almost 30 people, they finally find a n00b ambitious enough to run without asking many questions – you know, like “was I your first choice, what makes you think I want to run, and who all is involved here?”

Before being contacted, the idea of running for that particular office had never entered his mind. But suddenly he is being told he is perfect for this job and needs to run – and guess what, we’ll run your campaign and finance it and everything! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Thankfully, this plan doesn't always work. But the n00b is a sad tool in their political vendetta, and now has alliances he may never be able (or see the need) to rid himself of.

Procedural Ignorance

The last issue with n00b candidates is the high level of naïveté among elected n00bs. There’s a difference, obviously, between a n00b on the school board and a n00b on Capital Hill. You can get a n00b on a school board or city council, and it can be a good proving ground. But n00bs never go for school board. Why would they? That’s small potatoes.

Within local Republican infrastructure there are all sorts of people who have gotten elected and stay elected, particularly to state legislative office, by forming evil alliances with those across the aisle that they rail against during the campaign.

A n00b goes in with his two or three goals for that legislative session and the wolves descend. Suddenly the n00b finds that people he never thought agreed with his goals do, and want to help him succeed in those goals, all he has to do is vote ‘Y’ on a couple of bills they are co-authoring – or else he finds himself inundated with crying mothers wanting him to “protect” their families by increasing government intrusion in their lives (i.e. pet breed legislation), and after all, he’s there to serve his constituents, and he begins the slippery slope of appeasement and backdoor dealings that are the demise, if not of political careers, of Conservative values.

Now, these are all addressed on the microcosmic level of state and local elections. However, this is creeping into the federal level, too, which to me seems even more dangerous. In Oklahoma, we have an unprecedented number of both newbs and n00bs running for federal office (I’ll leave it to you to form your opinion of which is which) and while I appreciate the enthusiasm, I am deeply concerned with the preparedness of a number of said candidates.

I am in no way postulating that only “certain” people should be “allowed” to run for office. But the level of inexperience and ignorance of the politics of politics among today’s n00bs can be destructive, not just to our larger conservative principles, but to that individual n00b himself

. So what’s the answer?

The solution is this: Channel your newfound political conscience into learning the process. Know who the players are - on both sides of the aisle. Learn that not everyone who wants to help you really wants to help you. And the only way this happens is by being involved BEFORE running for office yourself. Get over that initial learning curve of process, procedure and personalities. And dive in head-first, because we need all the newbs we can get.

**the identities of all candidates in the above examples have been deliberately withheld. I have no documentation of the situations described, only my personal eyewitness account.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sally Kern Challenger Announced

The latest candidate to throw her hat in the ring against Rep. Sally Kern is local OKC lawyer Brittany Novotny.

Novotny is a native of South Oklahoma City, graduated from Westmoore High school and went to law school in California. She is now OKC lawyer (who briefly also served in a San Francisco law firm) who specializes in trail law dealing with civil rights violations, wrongful termination and personal injury.

On her Facebook campaign page, she is listed as a registered Democrat and the National Committeewoman for the Oklahoma Young Democrats (assumed current, since there was no date specifying otherwise), as well as LGBT Caucus National Committewoman for the Young Dems.

However, it is interesting to note that Oklahoma Data has her as having registered in Oklahoma in 2007, and only voting once – Super Tuesday of last year. Now, OK Data’s records only go through March 2008, so I’ll assume she also voted in the general in November. But still, that’s only 2 votes. Ever. (At least under the name "Brittany." Not knowing her birth name, I couldn't search for that.)

Novotny is a transgendered individual, who was born a man but now lives as a woman. The local LGBT mag Gossip Boy – which has a section called Sally Fighters (worth checking into, btw), as well as such charming factually accurate anecdotes like Sally Kern (whom they call Frau Butchy, in the typical tolerant liberal fashion) running around restaurants shouting “The homosexuals are coming” and poorly attempt to link Kern to the KKK - reported Monday their enthusiastic support for Novotny.

Novotny represented Keith Kimmel, who was suing because the Oklahoma Tax Commission refused to issue a car tag with the words “I’m Gay” as the plate. Novotny is, also, working on behalf of fired gay school teacher and “LGBT Community icon” Joe Quigley, according to Gossip Boy.

So it’s no surprise that Novotny has been the cover story of Advocate.com (above) and Queerly.com, with Gossip Boy hailing her as a “full-fledged LGBT hero.”

It’s common knowledge the national LGBT movement has put thousands of dollars in Oklahoma elections, such as Jim Roth’s recent run for Corporation Commissioner, and of course for previous (albeit heterosexual) Kern challengers. Again, their track record here hasn’t been very good. Pretty sure they’re somewhere around 0-4 at last count. But you’re welcome to keep pouring money into our economy.

This will surely develop into an interesting race. And keep your eye on that Jim Roth. Rumor is he has his eye on another less prominent seat this season.

Optimism vs. Pessimism: A Case Study

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shocked, I tell you!

Obama Joker Artist Unmasked: A Kucinich Supporter

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So, let me get this striaght. The Obama Joker poster artist:

  • 20-year-old college student
  • Democrat
  • Palestinian-immigrant parents
  • Was just goofing around in Photoshop

I'm shocked - shocked - that the media isn't all over this! Only marginal mentions on any of the major news sites.

Okay, sure, I know there are bigger news stories. After all, who could miss Favre's 37th pseudo-retirement?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flag Yourself!!

For my historic 100th post, I am officially flagging myself.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Julie vs. Us

So I'm reading one of Big Hollywood's reviews about Julie & Julia, and they link to the real Julie's blog. I decide to check it out, and this is today's entry:

"Also, yeah, I bash on Republicans a lot. It's nothing personal - some of my dearest friends... well, no, but dearest relatives - are Republican. I just am terrified of everything you stand for, is all."

Well, good to know it's nothing personal.

I've heard this creeps into the movie, but only barely, and I guess it would have to to be produced at all. I'll still rent it when it comes out, most likely. I love Amy Adams.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life Upon the “Wicked” Stage

As a companion post commemorating this weekend. And yes, it is political.

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Life Upon the “Wicked” Stage

by Stage Right

Wicked, the smash international stage hit, is a phenomenon and triumph of luck, pluck and virtue for it’s primary creator: composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz. Schwartz made a revolutionary cultural impact on American Theatre with his 1971 Off-Broadway hit Godspell. He followed quickly with his Broadway debut Pippin which was known primarily for the over-powering staging and choreography of Bob Fosse, but over the years, his score has gained new-found respect. A revival of Pippin debuts this week at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum. Then came his next musical The Magic Show with 70’s magician Doug Henning and with those three hits running simultaneously it seemed Stephen Schwartz was on track to be the next great American Composer.

But, even though he continued to write quality work, including scores for animated features like Prince of Egypt and lyrics for Pocahontas and Hunchback of Notre Dame, his Broadway bona fides faded away in memory as a relic of the 70’s. Those inside the industry know that Schwartz continued to be active and involved in the industry and tirelessly encouraged the development of new writers and new musicals through his work with ASCAP. He traveled the country and selflessly helped young composers with their dreams. He is a true hero of the American Theatre and you have to really search far and wide to find anyone who would say anything bad about him. Stephen Schwartz is a “mensch” and he deserves the success he is now enjoying with the mega-hit that is Wicked.

As a piece of theatrical entertainment and as an introduction to the world of musical theatre for a pre-teen girl Wicked is fantastic. But, make no mistake, Wicked is a political story and carries strong political messages and it is frustrating for a lover of musical theatre to have to sit through morality tales that take me out of the fantasy world on stage and force me to reflexively defend my own beliefs in my head while watching the play. But, that’s what I found myself doing.

My previous posts on Rent and Andrew Lloyd Webber have elicited debates about the artistic worth of the plays in question and although I never intended “Stage Right” to be any kind of critical or artistic analyst, I now feel compelled to give my professional opinions on pieces that I’m discussing as well as their political and cultural ramifications.

I think it’s instructive to look at some of the reasons why Wicked is so successful musically. In any musical, the music is what drives the success of a piece and this is certainly true in the case of Wicked. Ironically, this show is probably the most derivative of an Andrew Lloyd Webber or “London Spectacle Musical” like Les Mis or Miss Saigon, than anything Schwartz had written to date. Do you ever wonder why, when you see a show like Evita, all of the songs seem so “hummable” and melodic… like you’ve already heard them? Well, you have! You hear “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” about five times during the 1st act before you hear the actual song at the top of the second act. Wicked is Schwartz’ first show to use motifs in such a broad way, and it seems to have worked out well! For further explanation of Stephen Schwartz’ use of motifs, read this.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to loosely describe the plot in this way: Wicked takes a different look at the inhabitants of Oz directly before and during Dorothy’s famous arrival and exodus journey. The plot focuses on the relationship between Galinda (later called Glinda, the Good) and Elphaba, the green skinned girl with amazing sorcery powers. Although the two girls loathe each other in the beginning of the play, they eventually become best friends despite their differences. Throw in a love triangle and a struggle for power in the Emerald City and you’ve got a nice short outline of the show. But, make no mistake, the audience must root for the “Wicked Witch of the West” or the show will not work on any emotional level.

Because of the heavy-handed political message, Wicked tends to fall apart in the second act. The first act is primarily about the development of the two characters, Glinda and Elphaba and how they develop and grow as individuals and how their friendship grows despite the peer-pressure and stereotypes people are trying to hold them to. But, the second act is all about Elphaba’s political fight against the establishment and Glinda’s conformity with the status quo. They go to great pains to twist the “Wicked Witch’s” actions into justifiable reactions to her being grossly mis-understood. Because it’s not a very easy feat, it’s no surprise that the second act comes across as contrived and emotionally lacking.

One other major criticism: This show has no strong, likable or believable male characters. All of the men are rather despicable or shallow, and the one man who actually grows as a human being only does so as a result of siding with Elphaba. Apparently in the world of Wicked, you’re either with Elphaba or against her.

To take L. Frank Baum’s classic tale of good and evil and turn it sideways and beg the audience to take a different perspective on the characters and see that the green chick was only acting out as a result of those who had wronged her is one thing. But the additional levels of political commentary on the Wizard’s regime and his totalitarian tendencies is something else. The Gregory Maguire novel which the musical is based on is actually much more strident and political and, frankly, disturbing, and the creators of the show have done a great job in hacking a lot of the ugliness of the novel out. But, in Schwartz’ own words:

I would argue that the show is still basically political in its content.

Among the specifics that changed: Oz in the book is essentially a totalitarian state, and the Wizard rules by fear, aided by his secret police force. In the show, the Wizard is more manipulative, pretending to be doing things for the good of Oz and to be subjugating the Animals for the greater good, but it becomes clear through the course of the evening that he is doing these things only to remain in power, and that his scapegoating of the Animals (pun intended) is because “one sure way to bring people together is to give them a really good enemy”. In fact, it may be argued that the Wizard in Gregory’s book is somewhat like Hitler, whereas the Wizard in the show has resemblances to George W. Bush and other American politicians. This doesn’t make the show less political; it merely makes it different in its political targets.

Oh, well that makes me feel better… instead of going after a Hitler character like they do in the novel, we’ve made the villain look more like George W. Bush and other American politicians. Enjoy the show, America, that’ll be $100 please!!!!

An element of the show is the oppression of Animals as second class citizens in Oz. Animals spelled with a capital “A” can speak and dress like humans distinguishing them from animals with a lower case “a”. The Wizard has set up various laws restricting the rights of the Animals so as to better consolidate his power because, (from the show): “one sure way to bring people together is to give them a really good enemy”. And, as Schwartz says:

Oz in the show is still a place where one “race”, the Animals, is being systematically deprived of its rights; the Animal story in the show still has strong elements of Jews in Nazi Germany or minority races in the United States.

Yeah, same difference.

In reading about the adaptation of the book to the musical you will find that one very challenging aspect was how to incorporate the sub-plot of the Animal opression which is very strong in the novel. It seems that they couldn’t escape this aspect of the story because it acts as the main motivation for Elphaba to do the things she does which then get characterized as “Wicked”. And, there-in lies the trouble with today’s musical theatre story-telling. A witch can’t just be a witch. Bad can’t just be bad. The enemy can’t just be the enemy. We MUST take a walk a mile in their shoes to understand their feelings… we have to understand the rage of the rioters in Los Angeles, we have to realize that Osama Bin Laden built daycare facilities and hospitals in Afghanistan. In other words, we have to be a leftist!

Unlike Les Miserables, where authority is questioned but true justice and compassion is measured by actions and loyalty and adherence to a universal code of ethics, Wicked is drawn in the gray shades of moral ambiguity and relativism. I long for the shows where good guys are good guys and bad guys are bad guys and we get to root for the right side. And, the biggest problem with Wicked is that the forced political references to George W. Bush’s America are so clumsy and jarring that they completely undo the fantasy world that the actors and designers have worked so hard to create. Any subtle allegory that was intended by the writers is completely undermined when they throw around terms like “regime change” in a show so rooted in fantasy and imagination. It is jarring to the audience, a majority of whom will reflexively be annoyed and defensive upon hearing the show’s villains equated with a man they voted for.

I like Wicked. I enjoyed it. I took my girls to see it. I’d see it again, but only because I can check my politics at the door and just appreciate it on a very surface level. But please, oh please… What would Godspell have been like if we had to understand Judas’ point of view?

Stage Right is on Facebook.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cash for Clunkers = EPIC FAIL

So today the Legislature is going to approve even more money to be flushed down the toilet that is "Cash for Clunkers."

Harsh, you say? How could it be a Fail? Isn't the program so wildly successful that the government has run out of designated funds for the program?

If your measure of success when it comes to government programs is the amount of expenditure of tax dollars, I suggest you try a similar practice with your own bank account. Spend a month's worth of grocery budget on one week's worth of food, and let me know how that works out for you.

The problem with Cash for Clunkers isn't that people are taking advantage of it. The problem is that the government is taking advantage of it.

If your measure of the success of a government program is how many people use it, then I'd advise you to revisit the recent CRA debacle, which - in a curious similarity to Cash for Clunkers - required (housing) lenders to issue more financing to loan applicants than they could afford - all for the Greater Good, you understand.

Skip the first 30 seconds to get to the actual meat of the video.

First, it's obvious this has nothing to do with stimulating the economy. Aside from the fact that government subsidies only create economic bubbles that eventually burst (see above) - they are instead requiring that the trade-in cars be destroyed.

This doesn't make any sense from an economic standpoint. After all, what traditionally happens with trade-in vehicles? The dealer either flips them itself or sells it to a smaller, independent dealer who in turn is able to sell it to someone who couldn't afford a newer car on their own. However, by destroying the trade-in cars, the government is undercutting an entire segment of the industry. And to reiterate, it's not a proof of GOOD planning that you run out of money 1/10th of the way into the plan.

Second, Cash for Clunkers only does marginal good to the environmental cause, and that's even allowing for the fallacious position that the government exists to enforce environmental ideologies. Must have missed that part in the Constitution.

To believe Cash for Clunkers will make a significant impact on the environment, one must assume one of two things: either A) all Americans drive equal miles, therefore by trading in cars getting 21mpg for cars getting 22mpg, it'll significantly reduce fuel usage, or B) some Americans drive more than other Americans, and those are the ones that will trade in their cars for more fuel-efficient cars, not the segment of the population that drives less. The first assumption is obviously ludicrous, and the second is improbable and unprovable. But that's only the first chink in the "environmentally-friendly" facade.

Specifically exempted from the Cash for Clunkers program are motorcycles. This makes no sense if the point of Cash for Clunkers (as has been alleged) is the "Greater Good" goal of lesser fuel consumption, since motorcycles average 35-40 mpg, much higher than the required 22mpg for cars. And anyway, the list of qualifying cars has changed weekly since the bill was signed at the beginning of the month, because apparently the definition of "environmentally friendly" is as nebulous and non-specific as the "Greater Good."

So, if it can't be economically or environmentally justified, then what's the real motive behind Cash for Clunkers? As always, the goal is control.

Back when the auto bailouts were in process, there was much talk from Capitol Hill that this money didn't come without strings attached. Pelosi and crew told automakers that if they accepted bailout money, they would be subject to Congressional regulations when it comes to the types of cars they manufacture, specifically environmental regulations. This was, again, wildly unpopular with voters.

So, rather than push new environmental regs on automakers, they backed off and have been laying low for a while, instead focusing on tanking the rest of the economy and getting unemployment back into the double-digits.

But now they have found the magic bean to get their fantasy of total auto regulation into becoming reality - Cash for Clunkers.

By allowing only certain cars to be traded in (the evil pre-2007 21mpg cars) for approved cars (the sainted 22mpg cars), the idea is to saturate the market with approved cars. Then, once they have data showing "that's what people are buying" they can justify requiring automakers - pursuant to their acceptance of the bailout money - to make cars falling within their environmental regs, which if you recall they couldn't even keep standard for this Cash for Clunkers program.

This is an irresponsible program all the way around. Considering the government has designated a 5-year-old 21mpg car a "Clunker," how will they designate your 80-year-old grandmother applying for a pacemaker under Obamacare?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Exclusive: The True Story Of The Hunt For And Capture Of Saddam Hussein

Obviously,this is not my exclusive, though it could be. I have known Lt. Col. Steve Russell (Ret.) for several years now, and can attest that his valor and integrity as presented in the article are true. Both I and my husband helped on his Senate campaign last summer, and are proud to have him as both our State Senator and our Sunday School teacher.

This is a repost from Parcbench. If you haven't visited over there yet, do so.
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Exclusive: The True Story Of The Hunt For And Capture Of Saddam Hussein

Written by Ralph Benko on July 31, 2009

20031215-saddam-holeMohammed al-Muslit motioned with his leg towards a floor mat—a white cotton rug—on a patio area. Four or five Delta soldiers pulled back the mat and saw some ropes and handles surrounded by loose earth. They pulled the handles, found a big Styrofoam square in a brickwork area and pulled open the lid with a flashbang grenade (meant to stun, not kill) ready to go.

When they looked in they saw two hands at the bottom — the bottom was a small space — like a grave — and when they saw the hands they decided to reach down and grab whoever it was. Out he came, and began rambling, “I am Saddam Hussein, the duly elected president of Iraq, and I am willing to negotiate.”

But…we are getting ahead of ourselves.

The hunt for and capture of Saddam Hussein by the United States Army is a story with all the drama of a thriller. But it is real, and, for mystifying reasons, not well known. Parcbench was able to track down Oklahoma State Senator Steve Russell, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and holder of the Bronze Star for Valor, who is considered by many to be one of the key masterminds behind the capture of Saddam. Although Col. Russell gives great credit to others, especially his commanding officers and Delta Force soldiers, whose names remain classified to this day, based on contemporary press reports from magazines such as TIME and Newsweek, it is clear that Col. Russell was one of the crucial figures responsible for bringing the “Butcher of Baghdad” to justice.

Many Americans, whose only exposure to the war is from television news, or Hollywood dramatizations, think of Saddam’s capture as a kind of indiscriminate assault. Nothing could be further from the truth. The meticulousness and discipline with which our military, especially our field commanders, devised and executed the strategy is, perhaps, one of the great untold stories of modern warfare.

In ancient times the compelling narrative of the capture would have been immortalized in a work such as Gilgamesh, The Book of Exodus, The Iliad or The Aeneid. It has that kind of epic quality. During World War I or II, Col. Russell very likely would have come home to a tickertape parade and a hero’s welcome.

But we live in an era in which heroic initiative has been devalued. Col. Russell is a modest, salt-of-the-earth family man with a lifelong commitment to American service and without a touch of vainglory. He retired from 21 years of active service in 2006 so that his five children would not grow up with their father fighting on foreign soil. Yet, he did not take a cushy job with a defense contractor. He went on to help America win the war in Iraq by pushing the then-ridiculed counterinsurgency strategy here on the home front.

Lt. Col. Steve Russell saw combat in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where from 2003 to 2004, he commanded a task force of around 1000 troops: the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry. This task force was charged with the occupation of Tikrit in the first year of the war. Tikrit, of course, was Saddam’s home turf, and the 22nd became very engaged in the hunt and capture of Saddam.

Losing the opportunity to celebrate Lt. Col. Russell’s role in this American triumph would be our loss, not his. But luckily, he sat down and shared his reflections from this gripping tale. It is a narrative that is inspiring to those who are proud to be Americans, and it is as important to hear it today as it was a few years ago.

This is the history that Col. Steve Russell presents:

When I first took charge of the task force in June 2003, on my second day in command, two brothers presented themselves to us at our base. They were businessmen, from Ouja, Saddam’s birth village, just to the south of Tikrit and in the greater Tikrit area.

The brothers came and said that they had to see me; they had some information. At the time I thought, “Okay, here we go again.” We would get claims of “important information” all the time. People would bring us little vials of red looking stuff saying it was nuclear material, or bring in mercury, saying that they knew where all the hidden weapons were…all of these grandiose schemes. But when the sergeant told me about these brothers, businessmen, I just had this gut hunch, and told him to show them in.

The brothers began setting forth a story about the apparatus and network of Saddam’s security services before he was overthrown from power. They described his network of 25 bodyguards and another group called, “The 40,” the members of which were very close to Saddam personally and many of whom were related by blood or very old family ties. The 40 also served as bodyguards and provided personal services — cook, driver, and so forth. Beyond these inner circles, the brothers described something called “route clearers.” These consisted of several groups with 800 people each. Saddam, when traveling, would go on any number of routes, choosing which one to travel on a whim. The “route clearers” would proceed ahead on all of the routes he might choose. They weren’t openly armed, but would cover all the chokepoints of all the roads he might choose to take.

The route clearers were not an overtly armed presence, but they and the body guard groups became the source of the incipient insurgency. A clandestine presence. I remember listening to the businessmen brothers’ story at the time and thinking this was either the most elaborate lie I had heard or there was something to it. We began to work with others on finding some of the family network, the bodyguards and “The 40.” According to what we were being told, there were 5 controlling families: the Majids, the Hassans, the Hereimoses, the Hadooshis, and, the family that we found was the most important, the Musslits. We didn’t know why the Musslits became the most important after Saddam’s fall, but they ascended. We were led to believe they were the most dangerous family of all with 10 brothers and dozens of cousins. We decided to trust our informants and to take our investigation down this direction.

By this time, the United States Army had already defeated the Iraqi Army, which had almost disintegrated. In April, the forces Col. Russell would command (he didn’t take command until June) were given orders to occupy Tikrit. By June, the beginnings of the insurgency had really begun to foment.

We — me and my soldiers and the others in the brigade —came up with the strategy to go after the Five Families with particular emphasis on the Muslits. We gave some analysis to my commanding officer Jim Hickey (commander of the first brigade of the 4th Infantry Division) and Maj. Gen Ray Odierno (4th Infantry Division). Our analysis led us to believe that there was an upper tier — the “Deck of Cards” guys — consisting of Saddam and his henchman, the ones who got all the publicity. Then there was the bottom tier, which I called “the trigger pullers,” who we fought in the bloody street battles.

So we asked ourselves, “Who’s in between?” As we looked at it and took the information from the brothers from Tikrit, we concluded that in between was the security apparatus. We called them “the Bodyguards.” We figured that they must be the ones acting as go-betweens between Saddam and his remainder network and the guys fighting on the streets. If we could find them, we could follow them back to find Saddam.

The Bodyguards typically were between 35- 55 years old, much older than the trigger pullers. They had extensive involvement in the Republican Guard and the Saddam Fedayeen (martyrs), the elite, fanatical, loyalist group led by Uday. These were field grade officers when Saddam was in power. Going after this middle group, decided Col. Russell, would disrupt the street fighters who would be cut off from the people who were giving the orders (as well as from their paychecks).

And the Bodyguards also might lead to the big guys they were protecting.

In early June, we began acting on some of these tips. We did not really know how it all fit together but knew the guys we were going after were bad. It was like picking up the edge of a carpet and rolling it up until you got to the end. During the same timeframe, a special operations Delta team known as Task Force 20 arrived. The things we were pursuing and their leads began to overlap. I had an excellent relationship working with their team leader (whose name remains classified), and working directly with his team (size classified).

They wondered where we were getting our information and what we were finding. We shared almost everything, including sources. We earned each other’s complete trust — not something routinely given in a highly sensitive operation like this one. They were working on a much broader geographical scale. We were working on Tikrit, Ouja: the home turf of Saddam and much of his cabinet.

Col. Russell and his colleagues quickly realized that an insurgency was taking place, something Washington took a long time to grasp, almost costing us the war.

As if right out of a great spy or police novel, Col. Russell and his colleagues would get some information and meticulously use it to pursue this line of Bodyguards. In every raid they would search for and find new clues, such as photograph albums. They would look at the pictures in the albums and ask who the person just captured was standing next to in the photo. Then they would raid the house of another former Iraqi Army officer, who looked as if he might be part of the Bodyguard network. The network on the Saddam side had existed before the war, but it had been shattered by America’s assault, and they were putting it back together as best they could. The 22nd Infantry and Delta were in relentless, methodical, pursuit.

The Delta team captured Abid Mahmoud, the “Ace of Diamonds,” in June. He was Saddam’s presidential secretary, and one of the “Four Aces” in the “deck of cards.” The other three Aces were Saddam and his two sons. Delta caught him in northern Tikrit, a raid in which Russell’s soldiers assisted. He was the biggest catch of the war up to that time.

As a result of that raid, we got some tips about a possible safe house for Saddam himself, We were tipped off that he might be in a spot below a bluff known as the Hadooshi Farm. It was a fish hatchery with an elaborate orchard. We decided to act very quickly in hopes we would just go out there and get him. We conducted the raid, which began in the evening and extended into morning, but we didn’t find Saddam. I often wonder if he had been there hiding.

Although we didn’t get him then, there was extensive evidence that he had been there. We found several large (maybe two foot by two foot) fireproof bank boxes. One had the Saddam family photo albums — birthday pictures, days at the beach — and Mrs. Hussein’s personal papers, including her ID card and passport. The other boxes? One was a gold colored rectangular box with over 500 pieces of jewelry, valued at more than $2 million. The jewels were astounding, elaborate gold and enormous gems.

The other boxes had $8,500,000 in crisp American currency — still wrapped in Chase Manhattan wrappers, plus another $750,000 in foreign currency. These discoveries brought a lot of attention, national and international, and soon the press descended. While the street fights intensified, each raid led to others in our pursuit. We worked even closer with the Delta Team from that point on in a symbiotic relationship. The Army focused primarily on the Musslit family. In July, Russell’s men caught Adnan Abdullah Abid al-Musslit, Saddam’s number one personal bodyguard that served him over 20 years. One by one, Russell’s men and the Delta team determinedly netted others, taking about 60 percent of the key family players into custody by December. Rudman, a Musslit brother thought to have replaced Abid Mahmood as Saddam’s daily chief, was himself caught in a raid but he died, apparently from coronary. This was incredibly frustrating to Col. Russell and the others, since Rudman likely knew Saddam’s location.

What we discovered as we learned more, however, was that Mohammed al-Musslit, Rudman’s brother, was probably the single most important figure in Saddam’s entourage. In Saddam’s last public appearance in 2003, in the big public square, if you examine the footage closely there is a guy who gets on the back of the car with a pistol in his hand, guarding Saddam. That’s Mohammed al-Musslit. If we ever caught him, we felt he would know Saddam’s location.

Well, Mohammed al-Musslit was caught in Baghdad in a raid directed at another individual. During the interrogations, someone identified al-Musslit. Within 24 hours he was sent to Tikrit. The Delta team asked him questions and he started talking about a location. His morale was low. We’d been pursuing him for months. He had seen his brothers and colleagues caught or killed. He had been on the run and was unkempt and exhausted.

A few days prior to the al-Musslit capture, a teenage boy walked up to a checkpoint and said he knew where some important people were hiding.

He said “are hiding” not “were hiding.”

Col. Hickey then ordered Russell’s men to raid a desert farm that was, as it turned out, the same farm where Saddam hid during his 1959 escape after leading a coup attempt. As Iraqi forces closed in on that farm, he swam the Tigris and escaped on a horse.

We learned sometime later that this very likely was the very same farm where Saddam was hidden in 1959. A couple of days later, Col. Hickey called us early in the morning of December13 and said: “They got the fat man last night.” This was the code name we used for Mohamed al-Musslit. I was stunned. The Colonel said, “I want you to have all your forces available.” This could be it, I thought.

Saddam, according to the information provided, was on a farm near the village of Adwar on the bank of the Tigris River. From the farm’s riverbank one could see the Hadooshi farm and Saddam’s mansion in Ouja. Colonel Hickey put up a giant cordon on both banks of the Tigris. The commanding officers decided to raid two farms with two small teams, even though the thinking was that the northern location was more likely. The southern farm was a few hundred yards of orchard to the south, both on the edge of some big wheat fields.

Col. Hickey would cordon off the entire area and the two farms would be hit by small detachments, simultaneously. The first would be taken by G Troop 10th Cavalry, Col. Hickey’s brigade recon troop, of which 30 to 40 of the 65 members would conduct the raid. Delta elements, recomposed and now called Task Force 121, would take the Southern farm. At about 8 PM, the cordon would form a big noose and the two teams would go in. My own troops were on the West Bank as part of the cordon with the 299th Engineers. At 8 PM, all forces were set, and the detachments seized both farms. Two men tried to run to the Northern farm, but were snagged by Capt. Des Bailey‘s G Troop. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it was Saddam’s cook and brother. Inner circle bodyguards. For the next half hour the search was on.

The two detachments met after 20 minutes, without having found Saddam. It looked to them like another dry hole. But Captain Bailey said to the Task Force 121 commander, “let’s check it one more time.” Al-Musslit had been brought along for the raid. The Delta soldiers took him to the southern farm where the two men tried to flee from and had been brought back. Al-Musslit did not want to be seen or heard and neither did the cook and driver as they gestured to one another.

Mohammed al-Muslit motioned with his leg towards a floor mat—a white cotton rug—on a patio area. Four or five Delta soldiers pulled back the mat and saw some ropes and handles surrounded by loose earth. They pulled the handles, found a big Styrofoam square in a brickwork area and pulled open the lid with a flashbang grenade (meant to stun, not kill) ready to go.

When they looked in they saw two hands at the bottom — the bottom was a small space — like a grave — and when they saw the hands they decided to reach down and grab whoever it was. Out he came, and began rambling, “I am Saddam Hussein, the duly elected president of Iraq, and I am willing to negotiate.”

Samir, the translator (an American citizen) translated and one of the Delta guys said, “Well, President Bush sends his regards.”

They began to check him for physical marks. Saddam had a 3 dot tattoo at the crook between the left forefinger and thumb, and a sunburst tattoo on back of his right hand. Sure enough, it was him. He got arrogant and tried to shove the soldiers away as they checked him. They straightened him out — which is how he got the busted mouth and eyebrow. He became benign, they put a bag over his head and immediately got him out of there. The first indication that made Col. Russell believe that the operation had succeeded in capturing Saddam was when he heard the Delta team commander radio to Col. Hickey “we may have something.”

Col Hickey then called me on a digital commander’s satellite phone — point to point, no chance of being intercepted — and said “Cesar Romero,” a code name we used. Earlier in the summer, there were pictures of what Saddam might look like in disguise, and one of the get-ups looked amazingly like Cesar Romero. The name stuck. Before I could say anything, he said, “not a word.” Tell none of your soldiers what has just happened. The President has to be notified.” I said, “Roger sir. I understand.” Col. Russell, along with a handful of Col. Hickey’s other commanders and staff, were among maybe 50 people to know what actually happened that night. Everyone kept it quiet until the President was notified. The rest is history.

But history did not end with the capture of Saddam Hussein. The war effort itself — the victory for democracy and American security for which Col. Russell and his colleagues had risked their lives— was imperiled. He declined a promotion to full Colonel, turned down a Queen’s University fellowship in Kingston, Canada for the war college, and retired from his Army career—leaving the battlefields on which he had fought for 20 years to devote himself to winning the war in another capacity.

Understanding the insurgency first hand, and not content simply to write the memoirs and engage in public speaking, where he is much in demand, Steve Russell determined to help raise American awareness of how it was possible to win an honorable victory in Iraq at a time when the nation at large wanted to quit. He formed a group called Vets For Victory (www.Vets4Victory.com) and began to tour America actively to bring forward his own witness of the situation in Iraq and how the soldiers could turn around a badly deteriorating situation and restore the possibility of victory for American and coalition forces if the nation backed them up.

At the nadir of the war, very few stepped forward to push for the counterinsurgency strategy. Arguing for victory in Iraq was vastly unpopular, widely considered close to political suicide. It took discernment and courage to take that stand. John McCain, operating within the corridors of power, was one who did. Steve Russell, operating at the grass roots, was another. As combat veterans, both understood, in a way that ordinary elected officials and civilians who have never seen combat never could, how wars are won. President Bush adopted the counterinsurgency strategy implemented by Generals Petraeus and Odierno, while groups such as Russell’s strongly advocated support at home. The tide of battle turned in favor of victory and a free and democratic Iraq, which will someday allow America to withdraw with honor intact and victory abroad.

And yet, notwithstanding his distinguished career and outstanding achievements, this story, perhaps, is mere overture. Last year, Steve Russell conducted a dark-horse campaign for the Oklahoma Senate— and, beating out four politically experienced primary candidates—won and then proceeded to win the general election. Russell understands fighting—and winning—on the political battlefield, as well as on the streets of Tikrit.

He is a conservative, a devout Christian, a devoted husband and father, a true patriot, a champion of veterans and their families, and a true man of the people. He does not, like most Senators, come from the privileged class and affluent background. He is in solidarity with working people and is viewed warily by some of the Oklahoma political establishment as a maverick Republican who does not reflexively do the bidding of Big Business or feel the need to defer automatically to the political apparatus.

Whatever the Establishment thinks of him, many in Oklahoma, and across America, view Steve Russell as one of the brightest rising stars in the Republican Party. His service to our nation has been—and continues to be—a blessing.

——–

Ralph Benko is a Washington, DC public and government affairs consultant and principal of Capital City Partners, LLC. He is the author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World (The Websters’ Press, 2008), which shows how policy and advocacy groups can effectively utilize the Web. It is available as a free eBook from www.thewebstersdictionary.com and in book form from Amazon.com and finer bookstores everywhere.

Friday, July 10, 2009

All Things Considered

Can you really blame the guy?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!!

................
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Untold Story About Sally Kern

In light of today's events, I felt this was important to share. Link at the bottom. -----------------------------------------------------------------

by Stephen Black and Chris Morrison from First Stone Ministries

The Untold Story of Irony

Washington’s political gay elitists with the Victory Fund edited Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern’s comments from a closed door meeting given in a January speech of this year. They edited down the comments to what they considered the most inflammatory sound bites. Their cunning plan was to upload the edited comments to YouTube in hopes of enraging gay people and their supporters. This plan, they thought, would further the “Victory Fund” gay political cause and bring in funds for their political machine. Over and over they emphasize that Rep. Kern’s speech demonstrated hatred towards gays. What they failed to mention – or include in the sound bites – is the truth, that Rep. Sally Kern said we must love the homosexual. Her message was not about bashing gays. The main stream liberal media outlets who seem to be unconcerned about what was been left out, and unmotivated to seek the whole story, responded predictably. They thrive on bad news and smear tactics of conservatives, so they picked up the story immediately and replayed the inflammatory comments. The story was worldwide overnight! Sally Kern was labeled hateful, bigoted, anti-gay, an evil homophobe and so many other names that are so vile, I cannot repeat.

In her remarks during the January speech, Rep. Kern mentioned the parallel of the gay political movement in the United States – not individual gays. She said the agenda of the gay political movement is, in her opinion, as dangerous as terrorism. While I personally would not have used this parallel, the irony of this story is impossible to ignore. That irony is demonstrated very visibly in the hate emails numbering over 26,000, death threats, and the mean-spirited and orchestrated campaign calling for her resignation. These very tactics are akin to terroristic tactics, therefore point directly back to Sally’s original parallel. Truly this is ironic! This political tactic, directed to silence Rep. Kern, bully her and other conservatives and manipulate the unsuspecting public almost worked. However, what they did not realize was Sally Kern’s courage and steadfastness.

The demographics suggests that the 26,000 emails are a very small representation of how the gay and sympathizing population feels about Rep. Kern. No doubt there are politicians afraid of this very loud well-funded fringe group. Death threats and demands for Sally Kern to resign from office were meant to be a warning to other politicians. “We are listening!” They threaten. Hundreds of YouTube videos were uploaded with incredibly hateful words from those who piously declare, “SAY NO TO HATE.” Their usual demand for everyone, everywhere to have “tolerance” was diluted by their very own actions, which are incredibly hateful and intolerant. Truly this is hypocritical, and very misleading.

The irony of this untold story is indeed very interesting. But is anyone in the media elite willing to talk about it? Perhaps they fear the wrath of the gay community. Late-night comedian Jay Leno suffered just last week when he poked fun at a soap-opera actor who played a gay character. The irony is almost laughable if it were not so alarming to those who love Judeo-Christian values and the traditional family.

Well over 1500 people rallied at the Oklahoma State Capitol to support Sally Kern. They realized that freedom of speech is under fire. Contrast this with the well-organized homosexual political activists who diligently push their manifesto. These activists want the USA to be like our Canadian neighbors. They desire control over free speech, using their banner of tolerance while at the same time labeling Judeo-Christian beliefs hate speech. They wish to silence Christian values by enacting hate speech laws that would make it a violation to state a belief that homosexuality is sin. There seems to be no end to their tactics to redefine American traditional values. Many, like Sally, are standing up now and saying, “enough is enough!” However, will we continue to stand up and lovingly sow truth?

The Untold Story of Ministry and Concern

Does it make sense to you to label someone who actually helps people who struggle with homosexuality as hateful, bigoted, anti-gay and an evil homophobe? The untold part of this story – which I delight to tell you now – is that behind the scenes, Rep. Sally Kern and her husband, Dr. Stephen Kern have supported First Stone Ministries for many years. Dr. Stephen Kern is the senior pastor at Olivet Baptist Church, which actually hosts some of First Stone Ministries’ support groups. The Kern’s have a special place in their hearts for our ministry to those who struggle with same-sex attractions and homosexuality. For several years before all this controversy erupted, they had put action to their love for those who are struggling and for their families. The next part of this untold story is from a current staff member with First Stone Ministries.

The Untold Story of Love and Devotion to Those Who Struggle

It has been an honor to be a friend of the Kern family for several years. I am Chris Morrison, development coordinator with First Stone Ministries. I want you to know that the Kern’s played a healing role in my life. Ten years ago I was battling with how I was to live my life. I would either continuing to seek the Lord in my weakness or just give up and live as a gay man. While in college in a neighboring city, I would drive to Oklahoma City and spend weekends in the Kern’s home; Sally Kern would also take me to the airport so I could fly home for holidays and leave my vehicle in their care.

Sally Kern wept as she delivered her speech at the Oklahoma Capitol, April 2, 2008.Though I attended a Baptist university, I still carried my brokenness on my sleeve, as I struggled intensely with homosexual feelings. I will never forget the seed that was sown on Thanksgiving weekend in 1997. Sally Kern was taking me to the airport and she gently broached the subject of my homosexual struggle with me. I was surprised and scared of what she was going to say, because I hadn’t told many people about my struggle. It was rare for someone to bring up my struggle before I had ever disclosed it. Her tenderness was overwhelming; she lovingly ministered to me that day. She mercifully let me know that she and her family were praying for me, and that they loved me. That day is precious to me as I felt so loved and accepted. I am grateful to the Lord that Sally had enough courage to plant the seeds of God’s forgiveness, hope and healing.

In 2004 I had the privilege of supporting Sally Kern as she ran for State Representative. I attended her watch party on Election Day and remembered her saying she knew that God was calling her to run for State Representative, but didn’t know all the reasons. That statement resounded in my head as I stood and watch Sally Kern at the Freedom of Speech Rally – “Rally for Sally” on April 2, 2008. I remembered the words from the Bible, “For such a time as this.” Sally Kern, is a representative “for such a time as this.” I am grateful to Sally Kern for her humble stance, as well as her boldness to call the nation to repentance, and to call for Christians to stand for traditional values in our land. I am a man who was nearly enslaved by the lie of being born gay, yet Jesus saved me from that deceived existence. The Kern family played an integral role in my healing from homosexuality, for which I am eternally grateful.

This is the untold story behind the precious Kern family that you will most-likely never hear as a main story in the liberal media.

In Conclusion

We should not be so quick to judge everything we hear in the media as the truth. I was wisely taught by my Irish mother to consider your sources thoroughly, make sure you have both sides of the story, and get all the facts before coming to a conclusion. Unfortunately many people did not with Sally Kern’s story. The propaganda machine of gay elitists fed only a part of the story to the liberal media in a deliberate attempt to stir controversy.

I am grateful that we are having this national dialog. I hope, as a result, more people will really take a look at what is happening morally to this country. A well-funded political gay movement with its warped ideology could completely change our country in just a few short years. Christians need to be informed and active. We need to stop being so apathetic. We cannot be afraid of angry loud voices. If we, as Christians fail to be salt and light, then the darkness will overcome the USA. It could become very dark in just a few short years. We must lovingly and compassionately proclaim the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ and pray for a God-breathed revival in the United States of America.

source

Monday, June 29, 2009

This One Trumps Them All

Most-decorated Marine Aviatior in history, Kenneth L. Reusser, dies at age 89

Retired Marine Corps Col. Kenneth L. Reusser, called the most decorated Marine aviator in history and was shot down in three wars, has died at age 89.

Reusser flew 253 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and was shot down in all three, five times in all.

His 59 medals included two Navy Crosses, four Purple Hearts and two Legions of Merit.

In 1945, while based in Okinawa, he stripped down his F4U-4 Corsair fighter and intercepted a Japanese observation plane at a high altidude. When his guns froze, he flew his fighter into the observation plane, hacking off its tail with his propeller.

In 1950 in Korea led an attack on a North Korean tank-repair facility at Inchon, then destroyed an oil tanker almost blowing himself out of the sky.

In Vietnam he flew helicopters and was leading a rescue mission when his Huey was shot down. He needed skin grafts over 35 percent of his badly burned body.

Reusser, who lived in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie, was born Jan. 27, 1920, the son of a minister.

Reusser raced motorcycles to help pay for college and earning a pilots license before WWII.

After retiring from the Marine Corps he worked for Lockheed Aircraft and the Piasecki Helicopter Corp. He remained active in veterans groups.

Reusser died June 20 of natural causes. He is survived by his wife, Trudy; and sons, Richard C. and Kenneth L. Jr. Interment was Friday in Willamette National Cemetery.

After this week, the term "Unsung Hero" takes on a whole new meaning for me.

Hat Tip: The West Coast Outpost

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jacko Whacko

Meanwhile, pro-democracy fighters are still dying in Iran. Just in case you forgot.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pray for Nettie

South Carolina Republicans have formed a website and are planning a benefit event on behalf of Nettie Britts, the 24-year-old Young Republican leader who was savagely attacked in her home late last week.

Britts remains hospitalized in serious condition and her intruder remains at large after the attack, which police believe took place late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning in North Columbia, S.C.

The Richland County Young Republicans chair suffered a fractured skull in the attack, which does not appear to have been politically motivated.

Britts’ colleagues described her as a “good kid” and a hard worker who earned their respect.

“Nettie has always been the first person to volunteer on almost any campaign I’ve worked for,” said GOP activist and fund-raiser Sunny Phillips. “I cannot fathom the violence that she has just encountered and I hope that they bring those responsible to justice.”

A website, HelpNettie.com, has been formed to accept donations on behalf of Britts, and popular GOP blogger Earl Capps is said to be organizing a benefit on Britts’ behalf.

Additionally, a Facebook group has formed to support Britts.

Obviously, we would encourage everyone to lend a hand, and to keep Britts in their thoughts and prayers as she continues to recover …

Hat tip: fitsnews

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mr. Gorbechev…Nice Tie Today….

My blog is not green. That is not a statement.

As an American, it is my obligation to support free, open, honest elections and oppose any efforts to suppress that.

So, rather than turn my blog green (because it’s a hassle to go back and forth and it would totally mess with my OCD need for color coordination) I am taking this opportunity to say I support free, open, honest elections for peoples of all nations without fear of repression or reprisal.

And as such, I support the Iranian people in their desire for free, open, honest elections without fear of repression or reprisal.

Friday, the House voted nearly unanimously to pass a resolution to supports "all Iranians who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law."

Not to support a specific candidate in the election. Not to intervene either militarily or diplomatically.

Just a plain statement of support for the above qualities, all central American – Conservative – values.

Only one Representative took a stand against the Conservative principles of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law.

Republican Ron Paul.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not.

If it wasn’t Ron Paul, I would think it was a joke. But this is also the man who, early in the primaries, said that America hadn’t been attacked by a foreign power in 250 years. Which is why there is no holiday on December 7.

So really, this is just par for the course.

We now have Paul on record opposing a resolution that says the following (language from the resolution):

• "(1) expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law; • "(2) condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cell phones; and • "(3) affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections."
His excuse? “We know very little beyond limited press reports about what is happening in Iran." (source)

In that ludicrous statement, Paul betrays his ignorance of the situation by blaming a lack of information on “limited press reports.”

Almost all of what we know of what is going on in Iran has come not from official press agencies, but rather from individual Iranian citizens using networking sites like facebook (until it was banned) and now Twitter.

In fact, Twitter was so essential to the communication between Iranian dissidents and the outside world that Twitter rescheduled maintenance so as to not interrupt their flow of communication. Go here for more info regarding the importance of Twitter in the Iranian Revolution.

The official statements from the Iranian government, however, say that Ahmadinejad won by a landslide in an legitimate election where it took 20 minutes to tabulate over 350,000 ballots.

To Paul, apparently, that’s enough to create reasonable doubt.

Here’s what the real issue is, though. What did this resolution actually do?

Did it order the military to go to Iran? No.

Did it claim one person did or should have won the election over another? No.

Did it threaten to intervene in the Iranian elections? No.

Did it do really anything in a practical sense? No.

So there was no imperialism (which totally screwed the Japanese, they’re nothing but American serfs nowadays, right?) or “policing the world” (like with those poor innocent Nazis, we had no business interfering in their peacekeeping enterprises) as some have alleged.

All the resolution did was officially state that we, as Americans, support free, open, honest elections and condemn violence against individuals, specifically as it regards the situation in Iran.

So then, what is the point in opposing it?

Reagan took a much more direct, oppositional, antagonistic stance when he went to Berlin and gave his famous imperative to the Soviet Union.

But you’re right, that was a huge imperialist, meddlesome screw-up. No reason to follow that fellow’s footsteps.

One wonders how Paul would have responded had he been in office at the time. Actually, no, we don’t have to wonder. This vote shows us exactly how he would respond.

Hold him accountable, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve called other good Conservatives RINOs for less.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yes, It's Just Miracle Grow

What, you mean that's NOT normal??

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ho. Ly. Crap.

I never thought I would see the day when not only MSNBC, but Rachel Maddow of all people, criticizes Obama. And it's totally justified.

Preventative Detention.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You have to see this

This is Jon Voight's speech last night at the 2009 Republican Senate-House Dinner. It's not very long, but it's so worth the watch. His delivery isn't dynamic; the words carry their own power with nearly no inflection, and yet they are dynamite.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Westboro ala Hajib

Remember Westboro Baptist Church?

Westboro is a political activist group masquerading as a Baptist church that, a few years ago, terrorized military funerals in Oklahoma (as well as other states). As a result, State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft along with others passed a law protecting military funerals from being harassed.

I saw these people in action because right after the bill was passed, they came to Wesselhoft's church - my church - on a Sunday morning and protested, holding up their "God hates you" signs as families drove into the parking lot. The most bizarre thing about this was that several groups from my school, UCO, came to counter-protest Westboro. So, across the street, we had the crazy Kansans with their infamous God Hates Fags paraphernalia. On the church's property, there was a hodgepodge of counter-protesters from groups representing war veterans, Christians, feminists, marxists and atheists. I know this because I saw the flyers around campus for almost two weeks advertising the counter-protest and outlining which groups were "sponsoring" the counter-protest (pretty much all of them).

One wonders if they all would have turned out to counter-protest Code Pink or Cindy Sheehan, who has the exact same MO as Westboro "Baptist Church". Actually, no, one doesn't wonder. Obviously, the answer is "no."

Westboro does not "peacefully assemble" at funerals and protest, though that would be disgusting enough. They show up to try and provoke funeral-goers. That's how they make their bank. They get in the face of the father of some fallen soldier, provoke him to the point that he would hit one of the Westboro nuts, then they sue the pants off the soldier's family and get funding for their next "rally."

So this law by Wesselhoft did not infringe upon their right to speak and peacefully assemble in as much as their assembling was not peaceful in intent or nature. The same way that your right to keep and bear arms disappears when you abuse that right and murder someone in cold blood, like Private William Long.

As you know, Private William Long, an Army recruiter, was assassinated by an Islam convert. The killer, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, was later found to have maps and information suggesting that he would attack further targets, including a Jewish center, a Baptist church, a day care center for children and a post office.

But, hey, this had nothing to do with his Muslim faith. Somehow it was OUR fault.

Or at least, that's what this person wants us to believe.

Shortly after the shootings, a memorial service was held for Private Long on a roadside. A woman didn't appreciate it, and pulled a Westboro.

While I hate to give this woman circulation and airtime, I think it's important we see the kind of people who, like Westboro, do not mourn the death of a soldier, and in fact revel in it. A soldier who took an oath to die in order to protect their ability to spit on his grave.

This was filmed by one of the guys at the memorial service. I wish he wouldn't have put commentary and graphics on it and just left the video clean, but whatever. It's the only copy I could find. And either way, it doesn't obscure what this woman was spewing. You can do what I did and play it in the background while looking around facebook.

Watch. Share. Never forget.

Hat Tip: The Lambeth Walk

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

And thus be it ever
When free men shall stand
Between their loved homes
And the war's desolation

Blessed with victory and peace
May this heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made
And preserved us a nation

Then conquer we must
When our cause it is just
And this be our motto:
In God is our trust

And the Star Spangled Banner
In triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the brave

~Francis Scott Key