Friday, December 21, 2007

Petraeus "Surge" So Successful Officials Ponder Accelerated Troop Withdrawals

Gen. David Petraeus's surge has been so successful in reducing violence that some officials at the Pentagon and the State Department, not to mention in the Democratic Congress are wondering whether Petraeus can accelerate his timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Petraeus summarized the good news about security in an interview Tuesday in his office in the Republican Palace. He described the remarkable improvements since the U.S. troop surge reached full strength over the summer. Behind him was a chart outlining his "anaconda strategy" against al-Qaeda. Like the giant snake, Petraeus said, the American military is destroying its prey by "squeezing, squeezing, squeezing."

The U.S. commander said the level of violence in Iraq is down about 60 percent from summer's peak in every major category overall attacks, U.S. casualties and Iraqi civilian casualties. In Anbar province, once the epicenter of the insurgency, the number of attacks has fallen from 1,350 in October 2006 to fewer than 100 per month. Last week, there were just 12 attacks in Anbar.

Read More Here

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Yes, Virginia, There really is a "Christmas Tree" !


Officials in the town of Queen Creek, Arizona have been advised by lawyers for The Alliance Defense Fund that the use of the word "Christmas" does not violate the Constitution.

"The American people, common sense, and the Constitution are clearly winning the war on Christmas waged by the Left," said Gary McCaleb, ADF senior counsel. "Unfortunately, the misguided belief that we must sanitize Christmas to keep from offending a small segment of the population exists."


Residents of the town recently sent dozens of emails to officials asking that the "Holiday Tree", displayed at city hall, be returned to it's original designation as a "Christmas Tree".

"We understanding that there is often a great deal of misinformation surrounding public acknowledgement and celebration of Christmas," the letter, signed by legal counsel Jeremy Tedesco, said.

"Consequently, ADF has assisted municipalities across the country in separating fact from fiction in regard to seasonal expression by public bodies like Queen Creek.

"Queen Creek does not violate the First Amendment when it uses the word 'Christmas' or incorporates religious references into its Christmas celebrations," the letter said. "Certainly erecting a Christmas tree and recognizing it for what it is offends no constitutional principles."

The letter noted the courts even have recognized the government's display of a nativity scene as constitutional.

"One need not look further than the United States president to see that governmental entities and officials are permitted to reference religion, and specifically Christmas," he said. "At this year's lighting ceremony for the annual National Christmas Tree, President Bush made the following remarks:


"Christmas is a time of rejoicing and reflection. Each year at this time, we rejoice in the proclamation of good news, that in Bethlehem of Judea, a Savior was born. And we rejoice in the Christmas promise of peace to men of goodwill. We also reflect on the mystery of Christmas: the story of the Almighty, who entered history in the most vulnerable form possible – hidden in the weakness of a newborn child..."


"It is our opinion that Queen Creek need not fear legal liability for calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree. Indeed, any lawsuit challenging a municipality's recognition of Christmas would be completely frivolous," the letter said.

"I've always wanted it to be called a Christmas tree, and I've always wondered why we call it a holiday tree," Mayor Art Sanders told the Associated Press. "If we're going to have a holiday tree-lighting, it should be a Christmas tree, in the same way you wouldn't call a menorah a holiday candlestick."

"ADF will continue to protect the right to publicly celebrate Christmas as well as other constitutionally protected religious liberties that are attacked," said McCaleb. "It is time to stop the ridiculous assault on a holiday celebrated by 95 percent of Americans."


Read More Here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

All Military Components Meet, Exceed Recruiting Goals

The first month of fiscal 2008 was a success for all active and reserve military components.

In a meeting with Pentagon reporters today, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said all components met or exceeded their recruiting goals for October.

On the active-duty side, the Army made 101 percent of its goal of 4,500, with 4,564 recruits. The Navy made 100 percent of its goal of 2,788 recruits. The Marine Corps made 102 percent of its goal of 2,720, with 2,788 enlisting. The Air Force made 100 percent of its goal of 2,656.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bad News Dries Up In Iraq

The Investor Business Daily Had This on News From Iraq:

For the first time in months - in fact, since the U.S. troop surge was put in place in June - coverage of U.S. policy in Iraq does not rank among the top 10 news stories as tracked by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The percentage of news stories devoted to events in Iraq, moreover, has shrunk to 3%, the lowest since September and barely half the 2007 average. In only three other weeks this year has Iraq coverage been so scanty.

All this in a period when word managed to get out through other sources that:

U.S. troop casualties have plunged to their lowest level since February 2004, as rocket, mortar and suicide bomb attacks have all hit two-year lows.

Iraqi civilian casualties are down two-thirds from their peak in December 2006.

Iraq's government and the U.S. military say al-Qaida has been vanquished in Baghdad, as thousands of Iraqi families return to the capital to rebuild their lives.

Iraq's government has signed up 20,000 Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites to fight foreign terrorists.

The U.S. has announced it will remove 3,000 troops, with more to follow in coming months, as the wind-down of the surge begins.

But so it goes with anti-war news organizations that aggressively report setbacks in Iraq but give short, if any, shrift to the positive developments.

It's to the point where some news observers use the absence of news about Iraq as a bellwether of U.S. progress - the old "no news is good news" indicator.

As sufficient as that may be for more savvy news consumers, the question remains of how Iraq coverage - or noncoverage, in the current context - affects attitudes in the population as a whole.

In other words, how can Americans led to believe the war in Iraq is a "mess" or "mistake" or "quagmire" (to use terms repeated often in media accounts) ever see it differently if they hear or read nothing to the contrary?

Saddam Could Have Had Nukes By 2007

The Flopping Aces Blog had this story:

This week there were two news stories that re-opened an incredibly dangerous question about Saddam Hussein and nuclear weapons. Before examining those stories, it's important to reflect on the historical facts regarding Saddam Hussein and claims from five years ago that he was a nuclear threat to stability in the region and the world.

"How quickly Iraq will obtain its first nuclear weapon depends on when it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.

If Baghdad acquires sufficient fissile material from abroad it could make a nuclear weapon within several months to a year.
Without such material from abroad, Iraq probably would not be able to make a weapon until 2007 to 2009, owing to inexperience in building and operating centrifuge facilities to produce highly enriched uranium and challenges in procuring the necessary equipment and expertise.

Most agencies believe that Saddam's personal interest in and Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotor - as well as Iraq's attempts to acquire magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools - provide compelling evidence that Saddam is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program. (DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.)"

Baghdad Comes Alive

First the NY Times and now Newsweek gets into the act:

For the first time in years, the Iraqi capital is showing signs of life.

For the first time, however, returning to Baghdad after an absence of four months, I can actually say that things do seem to have gotten better, and in ways that may even be durable. "It's hard to believe," says a friend named Fareed, who has also gone and come back over the years to find the situation always worse, "but this time it's really not." Such words are uttered only grudgingly by those such as me, who have been disappointed again and again by Iraq, where a pessimist is merely someone who has had to endure too many optimists. It doesn't help that no sooner have I written these words than my cup of coffee spills as a massive explosion shakes our building-the first blast near our place in weeks, and the more shocking for that. We grab body armor and helmets and await the all-clear. It is "only" an IED near the entrance to the Green Zone, targeting a U.S. convoy and killing two civilians and one American soldier.

The explosion is the exception to the rule but one of the reasons the U.S. military is gun-shy about claiming success too soon. IED attacks across the country are at their lowest point since September 2004, down 50 percent just since the surge peaked last summer. There hasn't been a successful suicide car bombing in Baghdad in five weeks, and the few ones in recent months have been small and ineffective. There used to be four a day, many of which claimed scores of lives each.

Al Qaeda in Iraq is starting to look like a spent force, especially in Baghdad. The civil war is in the midst of a huge, though nervous, pause. Most Shiite militias are honoring a truce. Iran appears to have stopped shipping deadly arms to Iraqi militants. The indigenous Sunni insurgency has declared for the Americans across broad swaths of the country, especially in the capital.

Emerging from our bunkers into the Red Zone, I see the results everywhere. Throughout Baghdad, shops and street markets are open late again, taking advantage of the fine November weather. Parks are crowded with strollers, and kids play soccer on the streets. Traffic has resumed its customary epic snarl. The Baghdad Zoo is open, and caretakers have even managed to bring in two lionesses to replace the menagerie that escaped in the early days of the war (and was hunted down by U.S. soldiers). The nearby Funfair in Zawra Park where insurgents used to set up mortar tubes to rocket government ministries, and where a car bombing killed four and wounded 25 on Oct. 15 is back in business. "Just four months ago, you could hardly see a single family here," says Zawra official Hussein Matar. One of our translators succumbed to the tears of his son recently and took him to Zawra for his 9th birthday. It was the boy's first visit to a Baghdad amusement park; the war has robbed him of nearly half his childhood.

"Get Osama" is Prohibited Speech in New York

Stop the ACLU had this interesting post on it's site:

"There's a $25 million reward out for his capture, so it's no secret the United States government wants to get Osama Bin Laden. But when a Long Island man wanted to express that thought on his license plate, he got more than he bargained for. He's the most wanted man in the world, or as President Bush once put it: "He's wanted dead or alive."

Just like the president, Arno Herwerth of Hauppauge on Long Island wants to get "Osama" also, and he's making it know. So when Arno, a retired NYPD sergeant, ordered personalized "Get Osama" license plates from the DMV, he said he thought he was being patriot.

In a letter addressed to Herwerth, the DMV said they "prohibit the issuance of any license plate combination that is, 'in the discretion of the commissioner, obscene, lewd, lascivious, derogatory to a particular ethnic group or patently offensive.'"

Arno points out, however, there is a little something called "free speech" in the country he so adamantly believes he is supporting. He claims the president's September 2001 speech in which he announced Bin Laden was "wanted dead or alive," should not be forgotten, and if it was okay for the Commander In Chief to say, then the same words on license plates should be permitted.

Read More Here

Shocker: NY Times Confirms Progress,Optimisim in Baghdad

The following excerpt is from an article published in the New York Times in which they report that security has improved, progress has been made and Iraqis are optimistic about their future, thanks to the surge. Oh how it must have pained the editors to have to publish this story. Not that they don't try to dampen it mind you, you'll see what I mean when you read it in it's entirety.

The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad's streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.

As a result, for the first time in nearly two years, people are moving with freedom around much of this city. In more than 50 interviews across Baghdad, it became clear that while there were still no-go zones, more Iraqis now drive between Sunni and Shiite areas for work, shopping or school, a few even after dark. In the most stable neighborhoods of Baghdad, some secular women are also dressing as they wish. Wedding bands are playing in public again, and at a handful of once shuttered liquor stores customers now line up outside in a collective rebuke to religious vigilantes from the Shiite Mahdi Army.

Iraqis are clearly surprised and relieved to see commerce and movement finally increase, five months after an extra 30,000 American troops arrived in the country.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's True: Iraq is a Quagmire

But the real story is not something you have heard

Jack Kelly of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a great piece on Sunday, November 18th, which just about sums up the real story in Iraq !

We're floundering in a quagmire in Iraq. Our strategy is flawed, and it's too late to change it. Our resources have been squandered, our best people killed, we're hated by the natives and our reputation around the world is circling the drain. We must withdraw.

No, I'm not channeling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. I'm channeling Osama bin Laden, for whom the war in Iraq has been a catastrophe. Al-Qaida had little presence in Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein. But once he was toppled, al-Qaida's chieftains decided to make Iraq the central front in the global jihad against the Great Satan.

"The most important and serious issue today for the whole world is this third world war, which the Crusader-Zionist coalition began against the Islamic nation," Osama bin Laden said in an audiotape posted on Islamic Web sites in December 2004. "It is raging in the land of the Two Rivers. The world's millstone and pillar is Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate."

Jihadis, money and weapons were poured into Iraq. All for naught. Al-Qaida has been driven from every neighborhood in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, the U.S. commander there, said Nov. 7. This follows the expulsion of al-Qaida from two previous "capitals" of its Islamic Republic of Iraq, Ramadi and Baquba.

Al-Qaida is evacuating populated areas and is trying to establish hideouts in the Hamrin mountains in northern Iraq, with U.S. and Iraqi security forces, and former insurgent allies who have turned on them, in hot pursuit. Forty-five al-Qaida leaders were killed or captured in October alone.

Al-Qaida's support in the Muslim world has plummeted, partly because of the terror group's lack of success in Iraq, more because al-Qaida's attacks have mostly killed Muslim civilians.

"Iraq has proved to be the graveyard, not just of many al-Qaida operatives, but of the organization's reputation as a defender of Islam," said StrategyPage.

Read More Here: It's True: Iraq is a Quagmire

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Progress, Progress And More Progress in Iraq !

I found this great piece in Ivestor's Business Daily:

News from Iraq gets better by the day, but the media have done their best to downplay the turnaround and congressional Democrats have basically pulled the covers over their heads and pretended it doesn't exist.

There's an eery silence out there about what's going on in Iraq. It's almost as if the silence is, well, intentional. Here are just a few examples of what we're talking about, pulled from last week's developments:

In Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, British Major Gen. Graham Binns said that attacks against British and American forces have plunged 90% since the start of September.

Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reported that terrorist attacks of all kinds are down almost 80% from last year's peak - thanks directly to the U.S. surge of 30,000 new troops.

Amid growing signs that even Iraq extremists have tired of terrorism and killing, a Sunni religious group closed down the high-profile Muslim Scholars Association because of its ties to terrorists.

U.S. Major Gen. James Simmons, speaking in Baghdad, said Iran's pledges to stop sending weapons and explosives into Iraq "appear to be holding up." Roadside bombs, the leading killer of U.S. troops, have plunged 52% since March, he added.

Perhaps most touching, according to a report from Michael Yon, who deserves to be the first blogger to win a Pulitzer Prize, Muslims are asking Iraqi Christians to return to help build Iraq.

Iraqi Muslims recently crammed into St. John's Catholic church in Baghdad to attend a Christian service. According to Yon, "Muslims keep telling me to get it on the news. 'Tell the Christians to come home to their country Iraq.' "

Finally, there's this from Douglas Halaspaska, a reporter on the Web site U.S. Cavalry ON Point: "I came to Ramadi expecting a war and what I found was a city that has grown from the carnage, and all its inhabitants - both Iraqi and American - healing. I was not expecting what I found in Iraq ... it was better than all of that."

Again, all this has taken place just in recent days, weeks and months. The positive news has become simply overwhelming.

Which makes it all the more curious why major newspapers and network TV news programs can lead with a barrage of news out of Iraq when things there go bad, but can't seem to find the space or time when things turn good. As the bad news dries up, their interest in the good remains nil.

It takes people like Yon, whose online webzine can be found at http://michaelyon-online.com, to tell us what's going on - not the highly paid prima donnas whose past reporting has made them so invested in defeat that they can no longer afford to tell us the truth.

Stranger still is the Democratic Party's response, as reflected in its recent actions in Congress.

We expected a certain amount of sheepishness on their part. After all, wasn't it just Sept. 11 that Hillary Clinton told Gen. David Petraeus his progress report on Iraq required "a willing suspension of disbelief"? What we didn't expect was all the self-delusion and denial that now seems to mark Congressional Democrats' efforts on Iraq.

The Democrats are denying our troops the funds they need to finish their job by playing games like Friday's, when they tried to tie $50 billion in funding to massive troop withdrawals, beginning almost immediately.

The measure failed in the Senate by seven votes. But the question remains: Why would they do such a thing in a war America is on the verge of winning?

Iraq attacks down 55 percent

Violence is down 55 percent in Iraq since a U.S.-Iraqi security operation began this summer, U.S. officials said Sunday.

The officials cautioned it was too early to credit Tehran with the recent lull in overall violence, despite recent optimism that Iran was stemming its support for Shiite militia fighters.

"It's unclear to us what role the Iranians might have had in these developments, if any," said Philip Reeker, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, at a news conference in the U.S. guarded Green Zone.

"It's difficult to read trends in reductions," he said. "To draw direct lines from that data to say that there are fewer attacks and conclude that there's a particular reason for it. Vis-a-vis Iran's action, that is something we're not yet prepared to do."

Washington has accused Iran of training, arming and funding Shiite extremists inside Iraq. But in recent weeks, U.S. officials have said Tehran appears to have halted the flow of arms across its border into Iraq.

Overall, attacks in Iraq have fallen 55 percent since nearly 30,000 additional U.S. reinforcements arrived in Iraq by June, said Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman. Some areas are at their lowest levels of violence since the summer of 2005, he said.

Iraqi civilian casualties are down 60 percent across the country since June, and the figure for Baghdad was even better - 75 percent, Smith said.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Joint Chiefs: We Can Strike Iran

The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that despite the commitment of U.S. forces elsewhere, the military is capable of conducting operations against Iran if called on to bomb nuclear facilities and other targets.

Adm. Michael Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday: “From a military standpoint, there is more than enough reserve to respond if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do, and so I don’t think we’re too stretched in that regard.”

Defense and military officials have been preparing American forces within striking distance of Iran, according to the Washington Times. Attacks on the Islamic Republic would be carried out largely by the Navy and Air Force.

Officials say one target of any U.S. military action would be Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps facilities because of their role in providing insurgents in Iraq with armor-piercing roadside bombs. One official said the factory where Iranian bomb materials are being produced has been located.

A second target would be Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are chiefly underground and spread across the country.

Appearing with Mullen at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it would probably spur other nations in the region to obtain those weapons themselves. That in turn would raise the risk of nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists.

But Adm. Mullen said the use of military force against Iran would be an option “of the last resort.”

Poll: 54 Percent of Americans Take Pro-Life Position on Abortion

A new poll conducted by CBS News makes it clear that a majority of Americans are pro-life when itcomes to the issue of abortion.

The October survey finds 54 percent of Americans take one of
three pro-life positions opposing all or almost all abortions and
another 16 percent want more restrictions on it.

The October 12-16 poll asked Americans to tell CBS News their
"personal feelings" on abortion. The survey found that 16
percent of the public only favors allowing abortions "only to
save woman's life" and another 34 percent think abortions should
only be allowed in the very rare cases of rape, incest or to save
the mother's life.

Another four percent of Americans want all abortions to be made
illegal.

With the Planned Parenthood-affiliated Alan Guttmacher Institute
showing that less than two percent of all abortions are done in
cases of rape, incest or to save the mother's life, the CBS News
poll shows 54 percent of Americans oppose 98 percent of all
abortions.

According to the survey, just 26 percent of the public wants
abortions permitted in all cases. Another 16 percent want
abortions to remain legal but to be subject to greater
restrictions than they currently face.

Read the full story:
http://www.lifenews.com/nat3389.html

Poll:Half of America Would Never Vote For Hillary

Half of likely voters nationwide said they would never vote for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.

The online survey of 9,718 likely voters nationwide showed that 50% said Clinton would never get their presidential vote. This is up from 46% who said they could never vote for Clinton in a Zogby International telephone survey conducted in early March. Older voters are most resistant to Clinton—59% of those age 65 and older said they would never vote for the New York senator, but she is much more acceptable to younger voters: 42% of those age 18-29 said they would never vote for Clinton for President.

The Zogby Interactive poll, conducted Oct. 11-15, 2007, included 9,718 likely voters nationwide and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.0 percentage point.

Violence, Casualties Down in Iraq

The U.S. troop surge in Iraq continues to have positive effects, as violence and casualties are decreasing in many areas of the country, the Joint Staff's director for operational planning said today.

In and around Baghdad, terrorist operations are down by 59 percent; operations targeting Iraqi forces are down more than 60 percent; car bombs are down by 65 percent; fatalities due to car bombs are down by 81 percent; casualties due to enemy attacks are down by 77 percent; and the violence during this last Ramadan period was the lowest in three years, Army Maj. Gen. Richard Sherlock told Pentagon reporters.

Also, last week in Anbar province, the coalition had no casualties, which is an important milestone, the general noted.

"Overall casualties in Iraq have continued to decrease, even though coalition forces have conducted a variety of operations throughout the country," Sherlock said. "While this is indeed encouraging, al Qaeda in Iraq, other extremist groups and criminal elements in Iraq continue to be major threats."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Report:Haditha Was Engineered by Al-Qaeda

The report - apparently overlooked by a Washington press corps awash in leaked Bargewell documents and secret Naval Criminal Investigative Service reports - shows that Marine Corps intelligence operatives were advised of the scheme to demonize the Marines by an informant named Muhannad Hassan Hamadi. The informant was snared by 3/1 Marines on December 11 2005 and decided to cooperate.

The attack was carried out by multiple cells of local Wahabi extremists and well-paid local gunmen from Al Asa'ib al-Iraq [the Clans of the People of Iraq] that were led by Al Qaeda foreign fighters, the summary claims. Their case was bolstered by Marine signal intercepts revealing that the al Qaeda fighters planned to videotape the attacks and exploit the resulting carnage for propaganda purposes…

During the November Haditha battle, the insurgents secreted themselves among local civilians to guarantee pursuing Marines would catch innocent civilians in the ensuing crossfire. On January 6, 2006 six insurgents who tried to do the same thing at another location in Haditha were turned in to Coalition authorities before they could mount a similar assault, the report said.

The captured insurgents revealed the attack was planned in Albu Hyatt, a nearby town where numerous Marines have been killed and wounded since the beginning of the war. The two main elements of the attack were the IED-initiated ambush on Route Chestnut and two IED ambushes planned along the so-called River Road that parallels the Euphrates River about 1.5 kilometers north of the Chestnut location.

The prisoners claimed the multi-pronged assault on the Marines was intended to garner local support by discrediting the Marines among the civilian population. If the coordinated attack had gone off as planned all three IED ambushes would have been sprung on the patrolling Marines almost simultaneously, the prisoners said. The insurgents plan depended on the Marines aggressively responding to the assaults to create as much carnage as possible.

Bryan Preston at Hot Air has some interesting questions.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Al-Qaeda's Afghanistan Chief: Bin Laden Alive

Al-Qaeda's chief in Afghanistan urges Muslims around the world to come fight for the country's "independence" and insists that Osama bin Laden is alive and well, according to an audio clip released Wednesday by a US-based monitoring group.

"In every corner of the world, Muslims should be concerned about Afghan Muslims and help them," Mustafa Abu al-Yazid says in the audio message, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamist websites.

"Every Muslim who has the feeling of sacrifice in his heart should come forward and fight for the independence of Afghanistan," Yazid says in Arabic in the 28-minute audio, accompanied by a video showing him in a still image.

Yazid, in the speech titled "The Truth of Belief," also claims that insurgents are scoring victories in the battlefield despite the death of top Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah in May.

Yazid calls on Muslims to support Dadullah's successor, Mullah Mansour.

He also says that bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda terror network's chief, supervises all activities and is alive and in good health.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Secret Air Force Team Plans Iran strike

THE United States Air Force has set up a highly confidential strategic planning group tasked with "fighting the next war" as tensions rise with Iran.

Project Checkmate, a successor to the group that planned the 1991 Gulf War's air campaign, was quietly reestablished at the Pentagon in June.

It reports directly to General Michael Moseley, the US Air Force chief, and consists of 20-30 top air force officers and defence and cyberspace experts with ready access to the White House, the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Detailed contingency planning for a possible attack on Iran has been carried out for more than two years by Centcom (US central command), according to defence sources.

Checkmate's job is to add a dash of brilliance to Air Force thinking by countering the military's tendency to "fight the last war" and by providing innovative strategies for warfighting and assessing future needs for air, space and cyberwarfare.

Checkmate's freethinking mission is "to provide planning inputs to warfighters that are strategically, operationally and tactically sound, logistically supportable and politically feasible". Its remit is not specific to one country, according to defence sources, but its forward planning is thought relevant to any future air war against Iranian nuclear and military sites. It is also looking at possible threats from China and North Korea.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nebraska State Senator Sues God...And God Responds !

The defendant in a state senator's lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He's everywhere.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he's trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.

Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."

The Omaha senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, also says God has caused "fearsome floods ... horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes."

He's seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty.

And God Responds !

A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten
something he might not have expected: a response. One of two court
filings from "God" came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances,
according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in
Omaha.


"This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden
was here - poof!" Friend said.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha sued God last week, seeking a
permanent injunction against the Almighty for making terroristic threats,
inspiring fear and causing "widespread death, destruction and
terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants. "

Chambers, a self-proclaimed agnostic who often criticizes Christians,
said his filing was triggered by a federal lawsuit he considers
frivolous. He said he's trying to makes the point that anybody can sue
anybody.

Not so, says "God." His response argues that the defendant is immune from
some earthly laws and the court lacks jurisdiction.

It adds that blaming God for human oppression and suffering misses an
important point.

"I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of
immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you," according to the
response, as read by Friend.

There was no contact information on the filing, although St. Michael the
Archangel is listed as a witness, Friend said.

A second response from "God" disputing Chambers' allegations lists a
phone number for a Corpus Christi law office. A message left for that
office was not immediately returned Thursday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Terrorists Thank Cindy Sheehan

Islamists: Sheehan 'gives us hope' U.S. will change Mideast policies

Muslim terrorist leaders are "thankful" for the efforts of activist and congressional candidate Cindy Sheehan, stating in a new book Sheehan's anti-Iraq war activities and her statements against President Bush "give us hope" the U.S. will change its Mideast policies.

"You [Sheehan] give us hope and you show us that there are different Americans than those whom we know,"
stated Ramadan Adassi, chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group in the West Bank's Anskar Refugee Camp.

"This sincere woman says what we've been saying all these last years - Saddam never threatened America or its security. Now Iraq is being decimated and America is losing. Voices like Sheehan's show things can change,"
said Adassi.

Adassi and other terror leaders were quoted sounding off about Sheehan in the recently released "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans - to a Jew!," by author and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.

According to "Schmoozing with Terrorists," jihad leaders interviewed about Sheehan were thankful for the anti-war activist's activities.

Terrorist: 'I thank Sheehan from the deep of my heart'

Palestinian terrorist leaders were elated to hear Sheehan blamed the Iraq war on Israel, according to Klein.

Responding in "Schmoozing," Ala Senakreh, overall West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, stated:

"I agree with her completely and thank her from deep in my heart when she dares to tell the Americans that their children are killed for the interests of Israel.

"The American security has nothing to do with the atrocities in Iraq and in Palestine. I tell this noble mother that American soldiers and Israeli soldiers receive common training and share their experience in how to turn these atrocities even more cruel. You are losing your sons not for a better life for you, but for Israeli interests,"
stated Senakreh.

Abu Hamed, leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, urged Americans to listen to Sheehan.

"I hope that all the Americans will understand what this great mother understood. We hope you do not consider this mother as a humanitarian case who speaks from her own pain, because she is saying the truth. I hope you will take her as a good example."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

U.S. Preparing for Military Strike on Iran ?

Top officials in the U.S. are pushing for a military strike against Iran, Fox News James Rosen reported Wednesday.

Citing a "recent decision by German officials to withhold support for any new sanctions against Iran," Fox said senior Bush administration officials have been left with no other option than to "to develop potential scenarios for a military attack on the Islamic regime."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government recent refusal to support additional sanctions against the rogue state has made the sanctions effort useless.

Fox reported: "Political and military officers, as well as weapons of mass destruction specialists at the State Department, are now advising Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the diplomatic approach" has failed, and that the U.S. must now "actively prepare" for a military option.

Noting a "well-placed Bush administration source," Fox said senior policy makers are reviewing the military option and say "the likely timeframe for any such course of action being over the next eight to 10 months, after the presidential primaries have probably been decided, but well before the November 2008 elections."

Last month President Bush raised the specter of a new "holocaust" if the Iranians are not checked.

He told a meeting of veterans, "Iran has long been a source of trouble in the region. It is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism... And Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust."

Bush Rating on Iraq Improves

Approval of President George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq war has risen, according to a poll released on Wednesday on the eve of a speech by Bush in which he is expected to endorse a plan for a gradual troop withdrawal.

Just 30 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, but that was an 8-point jump from July, said the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The boost came primarily from Republicans, men and independents, NBC reported.

In his televised speech on Thursday night, Bush is expected to accept the recommendation of the U.S. commander in Iraq to draw down about 30,000 "surge" forces by next summer.

Fifty-six percent of Americans said the war was not worth the U.S. casualties or the costs involved, compared with 35 percent who believed ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it, the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found.

Asked what was the most acceptable outcome to the war, 24 percent of those polled said U.S. troops should remain in Iraq until it became a stable democracy, while 26 percent wanted the troops to leave now and 37 percent wanted them to leave within the next year, NBC reported.

500 Scientists Debunk Global Warming

According to a report in the WorldNet Daily:

More than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting the current man-made global warming scare, according to a new analysis of peer-reviewed literature by the Hudson Institute.

The newest analysis was released by Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery, who said of the 500 scientists who have refuted at least one element of the global warming scare, more than 300 have found evidence that a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to the current circumstances since the last Ice Age and that such warmings are linked to variations in the sun's irradiance.

"This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850," he said.


"Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people. It was the harsh, unstable Dark Ages and Little Ice Age that brought bigger storms, untimely frost, widespread famine and plagues of disease," he said.


Other researchers have found evidence that sea levels are failing to rise importantly, storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder and human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills twice the number of people as heat. Another result was that corals, trees, birds, mammals and butterflies are "adapting well" to the routine reality of changing climate, the analysis said.

The scientists were compiled by Avery and climate physicist S. Fred Singer, who previously has reported there has been little or no warming since about 1940. The two also co-authored the new book "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years," from peer-reviewed studies in specialties including tree rings, sea levels, stalagmites, lichens, pollen, plankton, insects, public health, Chinese history and astrophysics.

"We have had a greenhouse theory with no evidence to support it – except a moderate warning turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events," added Singer. "On the other hand, we have compelling evidence of a real-world climate cycle averaging 1470 years (plus or minus 500) running through the last million years of history. The climate cycle has above all been moderate, and the trees, bears, birds, and humans have quietly adapted."


Singer said climate model-builders probably have developed a consensus of guesses. "However, the models only reflect the warming, not its cause," he said.

He said about 70 percent of the Earth's post-1850 warming came before 1940, and thus was probably not caused by human-emitted greenhouse gases. The net post-1940 warming totals only a tiny 0.2 degrees Celsius, he said.

The analysis said the historic evidence of the temperature fluctuations includes the 5,000-year record of Nile floods, 1st Century Roman wine production in Britain, and thousands of museum paintings that portray sunnier skies during the Medieval Warming and cloudiness during the Little Ice Age.

Physical evidence includes oxygen isotopes, beryllium ions, sea and pollen fossils and ancient tree rings.

Al-Qaida in Iraq Suffers Heavy Losses

UPI is reporting that Al Qaeda in Iraq has taken heavy losses:

Al-Qaida militants in Iraq have taken heavy losses in two joint U.S.-Iraqi raids north of Baghdad, the U.S. military reported Thursday.

In one operation involving more than 1,000 U.S. troops and Iraq Special Forces in the Hemreen mountain area and Diyala river valley, three al-Qaida fighters were killed and 80 others were arrested, the Army statement said.

The report said four of the arrested men are considered senior leaders in the terror group, Kuwait's KUNA news agency reported. U.S. air support was used to conclude the raid, after which a major weapons cache was found, the statement said.

Elsewhere in Salah Al-Din province, U.S. forces arrested 12 al-Qaida suspects and destroyed an entire house packed with explosives and weaponry, the report said.

Expert: Bin Laden Video Faked !

Neal Krawetz of Hactor Factor, an expert on digital image forensics, said in his blog that the first video contained many visual and audio splices, and that all of the modifications were of very low quality.

Most striking is bin Laden's beard, which has been gray in recent images. For this video it is black.
"As far as my tools can detect, there has been no image manipulation of the bin Laden portion of the image beyond contrast adjustment. His beard really does appear to be that color."
The Washington Post has the video.

Krawetz says the inner frame of bin Laden was resaved at least twice, and not at the same time. The images show fine horizontal stripes on bin Laden and a background indicating these came from interlaced video sources. In contrast, the text elements, such as the As-Sahab logo, appear to be from non-interlaced sources.

The September 7 video shows bin Laden dressed in a white hat, white shirt and yellow sweater. Krawetz notes
"this is the same clothing he wore in the 2004-10-29 video. In 2004 he had it unzipped, but in 2007 he zipped up the bottom half. Besides the clothing, it appears to be the same background, same lighting, and same desk. Even the camera angle is almost identical."
Krawetz also notes that
"if you overlay the 2007 video with the 2004 video, his face has not changed in three years only his beard is darker and the contrast on the picture has been adjusted."


More important though are the edits. At roughly a minute and a half into the video there is a splice; bin Laden shifts from looking at the camera to looking down in less than 1/25th of a second. At 13:13 there is a second, less obvious splice. In all, Krawetz says there are at least six splices in the video. Of these, there are only two live bin Laden segments, the rest of the video composed of still images. The first live section opens the video and ends at 1:56. The second section begins at 12:29 and continues until 14:01. The two live sections appear to be from different recordings
"because the desk is closer to the camera in the second section."


Then there are the audio edits. Krawetz says
"the new audio has no accompanying 'live' video and consists of multiple audio recordings." References to current events are made only during the still frame sections and after splices within the audio track." And there are so many splices that I cannot help but wonder if someone spliced words and phrases together. I also cannot rule out a vocal imitator during the frozen-frame audio. The only way to prove that the audio is really bin Laden is to see him talking in the video,"
Krawetz says.

Another bin Laden video was released on September 11 and was much more straightforward. There was a still image of the black-bearded bin Laden (oddly, using a frame not used in the previous video), and then, as has been a tradition at al-Qaida , there was a long, unedited video of a statement read by Azzam Al Amriki, also known as American-born Adam Pearlman, who is currently being sought for treason and thought to be living in Pakistan. That doesn't mean the 9/11-released video wasn't doctored.

Click here and mouse over the image to see Krawetz's 75 percent error level analysis of one image. As Krawetz presented at this year's Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, al-Qaida has a history of doctoring background either to present propaganda or simply to disguise locations.

In a separate interview, Krawetz talks with CNET News.com about some of the tools he used in his analysis.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bin Laden "Virtually Impotent"

Talk Show America

Political News & Commentary

Talk Show America 9/10/2007




President Bush's homeland security adviser said Sunday the fugitive al-Qaida leader is "virtually impotent" beyond his ability to hide away and spread anti-American propaganda.

Ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, White House aide Frances Fragos Townsend made a clear attempt to diminish the influence—or the perception-of the man who masterminded those attacks.

"This is about the best he can do," Townsend said of bin Laden. "This is a man on a run, from a cave, who's virtually impotent other than these tapes."

"We know that al-Qaida is still determined to attack, and we take it seriously," Townsend said. "But this tape appears to be nothing more than threats. It's propaganda on their part."


Townsend said experts are doing a technical analysis, looking for clues about bin Laden's health and whereabouts.

"There's nothing overtly obvious in the tape that would suggest this is a trigger for an attack," she said.

She emphasized another finding from the intelligence estimate released in July-that worldwide counterterrorism efforts have constrained the ability of al-Qaida to hit the U.S.

"We ought to remember, six years since the tragedy of the September 11th, we haven't seen another attack," Townsend said.


"We are safer than we were in 2001," she said.


New Osama Tape To Come Out

Monday, September 03, 2007

No Live Shows This Week !


Hi Folks,

J.R. here,

There won't be any LIVE shows this week, duty calls at work. Please visit the podcast player on the left to listen to the archived shows. I will try to record at least two new shows this week which will appear in the player.

Thanks for you patience and understanding during this time.

New shows will be forthcoming and I'll be back LIVE as soon as I possibly can.

God Bless you all and God bless America !

Thanks,
J.R.

Talk Show America 9/3/2007

Talk Show America 9/3/2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

General Praises Exonerated Haditha Marine

After agreeing with the Investigating Officer's recommendation that all charges against Sharratt, a veteran of the bloody battle of Fallujah in 2004 and the insurgent ambush in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, be dismissed, Mattis assured Sharratt that he could reflect with satisfaction over his service in Iraq.

"You have served as a Marine infantryman in Iraq where our nation is fighting a shadowy enemy who hides among the innocent people, does not comply with any aspect of the law of war, and routinely targets and intentionally draws fire toward civilians," Mattis wrote in his decision.

"Operational, moral and legal imperatives demand that we Marines stay true to our own standards and maintain compliance with the law of war in this morally bruising environment," he said.

"With the dismissal of these charges, you may fairly conclude that you did your best to live up to the standards ... In the face of life or death decisions made by you in a matter of seconds in combat."


In recommending that the charges against Sharratt be dropped, Lt. Col. Paul Ware who conducted the grand jury-like Article 32 hearings found that murder charges brought against Sharratt were based on unreliable witness accounts, insupportable forensic evidence and questionable legal theories.

"The government version is unsupported by independent evidence," he wrote in his report to Mattis.

"To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary."

Ware maintained that prosecution of Sharratt could set a
"dangerous precedent that ... May encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and its mission in Iraq."

"Even more dangerous is the potential that a Marine may hesitate at the critical moment when facing the enemy,"
Ware said.

Here is Mattis's statement concerning his decision to drop all charges against Sharratt in the Haditha murder case:

"The events of November 19, 2005 have been exhaustively reviewed by Marine, Army, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators. An independent Article 32 Investigating Officer has considered all the facts and determined that the evidence does not support a referral to court-martial for LCpl Sharratt. Based on my review of all the evidence in this case and considering the recommendation of the Article 32 officer, I have dismissed the charges against LCpl Sharratt.

"LCpl Sharratt has served as a Marine infantryman in Iraq where our Nation is fighting a shadowy enemy who hides among the innocent people, does not comply with any aspect of the law of war, and routinely targets and intentionally draws fire toward civilians. The challenges of this combat environment put extreme pressures on our Marines. Notwithstanding, operational, moral, and legal imperatives demand that we Marines stay true to our own standards and maintain compliance with the law of war in this morally bruising environment.

"The experience of combat is difficult to understand intellectually and very difficult to appreciate emotionally. One of our Nation's most articulate Supreme Court Justices, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., served as an infantryman during the Civil War and described war as an 'incommunicable experience.' He has also noted elsewhere that 'detached reflection cannot be demanded in the face of an uplifted knife.'

Marines have a well earned reputation for remaining cool in the face of enemies brandishing much more than knives. The brutal reality that Justice Holmes described is experienced each day in Iraq, where Marines willingly put themselves at great risk to protect innocent civilians. Where the enemy disregards any attempt to comply with ethical norms of warfare, we exercise discipline and restraint to protect the innocent caught on the battlefield. Our way is right, but it is also difficult.

"With the dismissal of these charges LCpl Sharratt may fairly conclude that he did his best to live up to the standards, followed by U.S. Fighting men throughout our many wars, in the face of life or death decisions made in a matter of seconds in combat. And as he has always remained cloaked in the presumption of innocence, with this dismissal of charges, he remains in the eyes of the law - and in my eyes - innocent."

Lt. Gen. James Mattis also dismissed charges against Capt. Randy Stone in the Haditha case.

"I have thoroughly reviewed and considered all of the evidence surrounding the Haditha incident and Captain Stone's conduct with respect to command reporting of and response to the incident," Gen. Matttis wrote. "It is clear to me that any error of omission or commission by Captain Stone does not warrant action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."


He concluded his statement by writing
"Now that his case is resolved, I know that he will continue to serve with motivation and dedication, and with the understanding that he has much to contribute to the success of his unit and the Marine Corps."


Talk Show America 8/16/2007

Charges Against Haditha Marine Cpl Sharratt Dismissed !

In a 7:00 am meeting yesterday morning with defense attorneys and prosecutors, LtGen James Mattis ordered that all charges be dismissed against LCpl Justin Sharratt.

Gen Mattis' order for a dismissal follows the recommendation of the investigating officer in LCpl Sharratt's Article 32. A similar decision is expected in the case of a second Marine, charged with dereliction of duty, Capt. Randy W. Stone.
LCpl Sharratt had been charged with murder for his actions against the enemy in Haditha, Iraq.

On November 19, 2006, the Marines of Kilo Co., 3/1, were caught in a complex ambush in Haditha. At the end of the day's action, one Marine was dead and eleven wounded.

The next day, insurgents (using techniques from the jihadist handbook) made a videotape of the aftermath and accused the Marines of wanton murder.

The insurgents' evidence was used as the basis for a cover story in Time magazine. Seizing on the opportunity to erode support for the war, Congressman John Murtha went on a media offensive against the Marines, declaring them to be vicious, cold-blooded murderers.

Today's exoneration of LCpl Justin Sharratt is the first step in officially establishing the truth about what happened in Haditha.

Contrary to claims by Congressman Murtha and the media…

The Marines were under fire that morning. Numerous witnesses at the hearings have testified to that fact. Haditha was a complex ambush that resulted in one Marine dead and eleven wounded.

Marines did not overreact. LCpl Sharratt and his squad mates (Cpl Salinas and SSgt Wuterich) protected women and children from harm as they pursued suspected insurgents armed with AK-47s. One Marine particularly reviled in the press, Sgt Dela Cruz, took prisoners that morning and retained an incredibly cool head in a hostile environment.

There never was evidence of a massacre. Murtha and the media reacted because they wanted Iraq to have an incident as gut-wrenching and divisive as My Lai.

Photographs, which Murtha said were the only proof needed, only showed the tragic results of insurgents fighting among civilians.


A defamation lawsuit was filed against Murtha on behalf of SSgt Wuterich. The Department of Justice is shielding Murtha with the claim that he was doing his duty as a congressman. The suit is on appeal.

Talk Show America 8/16/2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Support For Bin Laden and Suicide Bombings Waning Among Muslims

The 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey, released July 24, reports a substantial decrease in Muslim support of suicide bombings and Osama bin Laden.

"The marked decline in the acceptance of suicide bombing is one of several findings that suggest a possible broader rejection of extremist tactics among many in the Muslim world,"
said the report, according to a July 24 Reuters article.

The numbers are remarkable. Support for bombings and terror tactics has dropped in seven of eight countries where data were available, according to AP.

In Lebanon, Muslims who believe suicide bombings are justified some or all of the time plummeted from 79 percent in 2002 to 34 percent.


In Pakistan, the percentage dropped from 41 percent in 2004 to 9 percent.


Among Jordanian Muslims, 56 percent had confidence in Osama bin Laden as a world leader in 2003; the number has dropped to 20 percent.

Incredibly, none of the major television networks mentioned this survey during the July 24 evening newscasts.

So why isn't Big Media covering this story?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Talk Show America Listed in Top 100 Conservative Websites for 2007 !

Top 100 Conservative Political Websites of 2007




The most popular 100 conservative political websites and blogs for 2007 are listed here. Read who made the list and who surprisingly didn't.

Now for the interesting findings. There were some big disappointments. The Republican National Committee barely made the list at 405,641. Scrappleface, which most of us remember as one of the early popular political satire sites, also barely made the list at 433,108.

The following sites didn't even make the list:


Hugh Hewitt - 5,633,009


Federalist Society - 1,245,004

Christian Coalition - 1,002,811

American Conservative Union - 950,055

Independent Women's Forum - 930,362

Ifeminists.com - 828,382


And here is the list.

Drudge Report - 951
Fox News - 599
Wall Street Journal - 1,043
New York Post - 1,778
WorldNetDaily - 4,605
NewsMax - 5,334
Boston Herald - 6,684
Free Republic - 7,114
Town Hall - 7,915
U.S. News and World Report - 8,694
National Review Online - 10,502
Politico - 11,359
Lew Rockwell - 13,174
Washington Times - 13,621
Rush Limbaugh - 14,117
Real Clear Politics - 17,027
The Post Chronicle - 19,203
Reason Online - 19,942
Little Green Footballs - 21,079
Michelle Malkin - 23,570
Instapundit - 25,661
Ludwig von Mises Institute - 28,169
Human Events - 28,937
Weekly Standard - 43,327
Powerlineblog - 41,288
Heritage Foundation - 48,044
FrontPageMag - 48,461
Red State - 49,599
Free Market News - 54,314
Jewish World Review - 55,733
Lucianne - 56,585
Ann Coulter - 57,910
Cato Institute - 58,391
Volokh Conspiracy - 61,682
Vdare - 76,539
American Thinker - 81,917
Michael Savage - 82,673
Bill O'Reilly - 83,723
Sean Hannity - 87,305
RightWingNews - 106,285
American Enterprise Institute - 108,262
American Spectator - 118,709
Mens News Daily - 126,426
Laura Ingraham - 145,994
Ilana Mercer - 162,520
Adam Smith Institute (U.K.) - 162,584
Radley Balko - The Agitator - 165,128
Snapped Shot - 166,275
American Conservative - 181,314
GOPUSA - 186,477
Acton Institute - 187,367
Renew America - 190,345
Christopher Hitchens - 194,067
Hoover Institution - 200,268
Political Crossfire - 200,941
Commentary Magazine - 211,054
Liberty Forum - 211,445
An Englishman's Castle (U.K.) - 228,967
World and I (Washington Times) - 236,083
Accuracy in Media - 232,120
American Daily - 251,092
Media Research Center - 253,620
Etherzone - 257,691
Heartland Institute - 257,924
Cafe Hayek - 265,888
John Birch Society - 273,956
Concerned Women for America - 277,015
Independent Institute - 281,097
National Center for Policy Analysis - 290,051
La Shawn Barber's Corner - 300,533
View from the Right - 301,593
Becker-Posner Blog - 305,780
Fraser Institute (Canadian) - 307,688
World Magazine - 307,978
Tom G. Palmer - 310,087
Talk Show America - 318,999
Tom Rants - 346,982
MichNews - 361,642
RealityCheck - 325,321
Family Research Council - 332,263
National Center for Public Policy Research - 334,388
Insight Magazine - 334,429
American Center for Law & Justice - 341,008
Club for Growth - 341,118
Tammy Bruce - 353,769
Sierra Times - 359,115
John Locke Foundation - 359,971
Enter Stage Right - 361,598
Judicial Watch - 367,970
Eagle Forum - 381,771
Sweetness and Light - 390,593
Discovery Institute - 398,031
Conservative Underground - 406,018
Hudson Institute - 419,364
Reason Foundation - 426,451
Young America's Foundation - 450,076
Republican National Committee - 405,641
Scrappleface - 433,108
Claremont Institute - 456,349
Intellectual Conservative - 458,064


Hat Tip To: Intellectual Conservative

Talk Show America 8/2/2007

Petraeus Working to Keep Iraq Assessment Apolitical

The top U.S. commander in Iraq today acknowledged high expectations for a September assessment of the situation in Iraq and said he would work to keep politics out of the process.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, spoke to Diane Sawyer on ABC's "Good Morning America" program from his headquarters in Baghdad. He said that every time he gets a question about the assessment, "I feel another rock going into the rucksack, which is reasonably heavy at this point."

Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker will offer a comprehensive assessment of the status of Iraq during testimony before Congress in September. The general said it will be the ground truth. "We will be trying, frankly, to stay apolitical in this whole endeavor," he said.

By then, Petraeus and other military commanders may have offered recommendations through the chain of command to the president. "We will also offer our views of various implications of ways ahead that may be under discussion," he said.

Sustainable security in Iraq is the goal of the military effort in Iraq, Petraeus said. He said it will take until summer 2009 to establish the conditions for that concept to flourish.

This does not mean the number of U.S. troops will remain the same, he said. Petraeus is on record as saying that he will not ask for extensions for troops beyond current 15-month deployments. He and other senior leaders will work together to decide when they can reduce the number of American troops in Iraq "without surrendering the gains we have made," he said.

He said he and Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, will work together to "determine at what point we can send forces home without replacements and also begin to transition tasks over time so we are doing more partnering and less leading."

Petraeus also said there will be a gradual drawdown of British forces in Iraq, contrary to reports that British forces will leave early. British forces are in command of Multinational Division Southeast and already have handed to provincial Iraqi control the provinces of Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Najaf. British forces are turning over more and more territory in Basra, the largest province in southeastern Iraq, to Iraqi control. "The plan over time is to draw down," Petraeus said.

In addition, the general addressed reported tension between him and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He said stories about friction between Maliki and him are the product of "some political factions here who would like to throw sand in the gears of the relationship."

Petraeus said he meets with the prime minister several times a week, and he speaks with Maliki several times a day. "We have a relationship that includes good, frank and open discussions, and we don't always agree on everything," Petraeus said. "But we have the strength of a relationship that allows us to discuss those issues and to come to resolution on them. At times, politics trumps the military, and we accept that."

Talk Show America 8/2/2007

Surge Putting Pressure on Terrorists

Operations in Iraq are putting pressure on insurgents, keeping them off balance and eliminating their safe havens, a senior spokesman there said today.

"We have established a degree of tactical momentum ... and will continue to build on that momentum," Navy Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox, deputy spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, said during an in-country media roundtable this morning.

"We continue to pressure former sanctuaries in the Baghdad belts -- around Ramadi and in and around Baqubah -- denying (al Qaeda in Iraq) freedom of movement and disrupting extremist secret cells while increasing the confidence of the local citizens in the coalition and Iraqi security force."

Already this year, coalition forces have seized or destroyed more weapons caches than in all of 2006, Fox said. Just last week, coalition and Iraqi security forces seized more than 120 caches, he added.

Tips are coming in from Iraqi citizens in record numbers. In June, 23,000 tips were called in to coalition and Iraqi forces -- four times the number at this point in 2006.

"The pace and number of weapons caches seized reflects the pressure being applied by the surge of operations. Nevertheless the enemy retains the capability to launch spectacular attacks, as we have seen them do with tragic results for innocent Iraqi citizens," Fox said.

Iraqi security forces conducted a raid last week in Nasiriyah, seizing a cache with 42 improvised explosive devices, about 400 rockets, 70 mortar rounds, and 11 heavy machine guns.

Fox said another trend in the region pointing to the effectiveness of the surge is that tribes and leaders previously pitted against coalition forces are now joining the fight against insurgents. He cited a handful of recent events that indicate the "people of Iraq are rejecting the hatred, violence, sectarianism and Taliban-like state offered by (al Qaeda)."

-- One hundred sheikhs and 400 religious and political leaders met in Ramadi on July 7 for a conference called "Promise of the People";

-- Fifty tribal leaders met at the governor's house in Baqubah earlier this month to discuss security and services and pledged to work together in the Muqdadiyah Tribal Conference;

-- July 16 in Taji, Sunni and Shiia sheiks pledged unity to one another to stop sectarian attacks; and

-- Sixteen local sheiks and tribal leaders in Khalis on July 23 pledged on behalf of some 75 sheiks to work to end the violence.

Air power also is surging in support of ground forces, delivering fire power and other support in record numbers since the since the surge began, said Air Force Maj. Gen. David M. Edgington, who joined Fox at the roundtable. Edgington is director of the Air Component Coordination Element for Multinational Force Iraq. He is responsible for synchronizing all air assets into combat operations.

"Our purpose is to integrate our forces with the ground forces to synchronize the effects that we are able to bring to the battle in support of the coalition force," he said.

Edgington said air support is flying 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In Iraq and Afghanistan combined, Air Mobility Command refuelers are flying 50 sorties a day, delivering some 3 million pounds of fuel. Airlift aircraft are flying 200 sorties daily, carrying about 2,000 passengers. These missions include taking troops to different posts and in and out of theater, medical evacuation flights, and transporting detainees.

Air Force cargo flights each day allow 160 trucks to stay off the roads and avoid the hazards of ground travel, Edgington said. "Taking 160 trucks off the roads a day is a huge effort on the part of the airlifters," Edgington said.

While he said he couldn't discuss operational details of combat air power in theater, the Air Force general showed eight video clips of recent combat action against insurgent troops. In the clips, airpower assets are seen destroying insurgent weapons caches, bomb factories and snipers on rooftops.

Edgington reported that Iraqi airpower abilities are growing at a "healthy rate."

Iraqi forces have C-130s flying in support of Iraqi and coalition missions. They also have surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and are conducting pilot training. They do not, however, have any air combat power yet, the general said.

Talk Show America 8/2/2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Troops Nab 48 Terrorists, Kill One, in Iraq

Combined Iraqi and U.S. forces captured 48 suspected terrorists, killed one insurgent and seized weapons and bombs in Iraq over the past three days, military officials said.

During an operation today in Tarmiyah, troops detained 10 suspected terrorists. The detainees have alleged ties to an al Qaeda in Iraq leader known for coordinating car-bomb attacks in Baghdad.

Coalition forces netted six suspected terrorists in coordinated raids in Samarra today. During one operation, troops detained five individuals who allegedly are associated with al Qaeda leaders in central Iraq responsible for helping foreign terrorists move into the country. In a separate operation there, coalition forces detained one suspected terrorist who officials said is a close associate of al Qaeda leaders in Baghdad.

During raids targeting key al Qaeda in Iraq leaders in Mosul this morning, coalition forces nabbed three suspected terrorists. One is believed to be the al Qaeda in Iraq administrative emir for Mosul, military officials said.

Elsewhere, troops apprehended one suspected terrorist today during a raid targeting the al Qaeda in Iraq network in Baghdad.

"With every operation coalition forces conduct, we are further degrading and destroying the al Qaeda in Iraq network," said Army Maj. Marc Young, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Al Qaeda and its foreign leadership seek only to bring violence and fear to the Iraqi people in its attempt to prevent a secure and democratic Iraq."

In Baghdad on July 23:

-- Iraqi security forces and U.S. Special Forces advisors detained 13 suspected al Qaeda members during two operations near Baghdad. Eight suspects are linked to an al Qaeda cell involved in sniper operations and death squad activities near Hayy Aamel. The five others reportedly are involved in al Qaeda sniper and death squad activities near Tib, military officials said.

-- A series of five explosions killed 11 Iraqi civilians and wounded 20 others in central and eastern Baghdad. Those wounded in the attacks are receiving medical treatment.

-- Apache crews from Multinational Division Baghdad teamed with ground forces to disrupt an insurgent attack north of Baghdad. A ground patrol later seized four insurgents involved in the fighting and confiscated nine handguns, ammunition and explosive-making materials.

-- Troops captured three suspected insurgents and recovered a weapons cache in eastern Baghdad's Adhamiyah district. The stockpile contained eight mortar rounds, five rocket-propelled grenade launchers and three rockets, seven grenades, and 1,800 rounds of small-arms ammunition. An explosive ordnance disposal team removed the cache.

-- Multinational Division Baghdad troops seized a large cache containing mortar tubes, munitions and significant amounts of homemade explosives in the southern portion of the Iraqi capital. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the cache in place after troops cordoned off the area.

-- Two children died, and a woman and her daughter were injured after mortar rounds, believed to be fired by al Qaeda operatives, landed in the village of Awad. Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers responded, and the wounded girl and her mother were immediately evacuated via helicopter to a coalition combat support hospital after receiving immediate care at the patrol base.

Elsewhere in Iraq on July 23:

-- Iraqi Security Forces killed an al Qaeda cell's senior leader and detained seven suspected insurgents in a series of early-morning raids at a terrorist training camp northeast of Karmah.

-- Combined Iraqi and U.S. troops operating near Hillah detained a key member of Jaysh al-Mahdi, a rogue militia group. The suspect allegedly is responsible for emplacing improvised explosive devices and explosively formed penetrators that killed several coalition force members when the explosives detonated along Iraqi and coalition force supply routes.

Airports Warned of 'Dry Run' Attacks

Airport security officers around the nation have been alerted by federal officials to look out for terrorists practicing to carry explosive components onto aircraft, based on four curious seizures at airports since last September.

The unclassified alert was distributed on July 20 by the Transportation Security Administration to federal air marshals, its own transportation security officers and other law enforcement agencies.

The seizures at airports in San Diego, Milwaukee, Houston and Baltimore included
"wires, switches, pipes or tubes, cell phone components and dense clay-like substances," including block cheese, the bulletin said. "The unusual nature and increase in number of these improvised items raise concern."

Security officers were urged to keep an eye out for
"ordinary items that look like improvised explosive device components."


A federal official familiar with the document confirmed the authenticity of the NBC posting but declined to be identified by name because it has not been officially released.

"There is no credible, specific threat here," TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said Tuesday. "Don't panic. We do these things all the time."

Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke described the notice as the latest copy of a routine informational bulletin for TSA workers, airport employees and law enforcement officials.

A statement posted late Tuesday by the TSA on its Web site confirmed that
"a routine TSA intelligence bulletin relating to suspicious incidents at U.S. airports" had leaked to news organizations. The statement added, "During the past six months TSA has produced more than 90 unclassified bulletins of this nature on a wide variety of security-related subjects."

The bulletin said the a joint FBI-Homeland Security Department assessment found that terrorists have conducted probes, dry runs and dress rehearsals in advance of previous attacks.

It cited various types of rehearsals conducted by terrorists before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; the July 7, 2005, London subway bombings; the Aug. 2, 2006, London-based plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights using liquid explosives and the 1994 Bojinka plot in the Philippines to blow up multiple airliners over the Pacific Ocean.


The bulletin said the passengers carrying the suspicious items seized since September included men and women and that initial investigation had not linked them with criminal or terrorist organizations. But it added that most of their explanations for carrying the items were suspicious and some were still under investigation.

The four seizures were described this way:

San Diego, July 7. A U.S. person either a citizen or a foreigner legally here checked baggage containing two ice packs covered in duct tape. The ice packs had clay inside them rather than the normal blue gel.

Milwaukee, June 4. A U.S. person's carryon baggage contained wire coil wrapped around a possible initiator, an electrical switch, batteries, three tubes and two blocks of cheese. The bulletin said block cheese has a consistency similar to some explosives.

Houston, Nov. 8, 2006. A U.S. person's checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a 9-volt battery, wires, a block of brown clay-like minerals and pipes.

Baltimore, Sept. 16, 2006. A couple's checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a block of processed cheese taped to another plastic bag holding a cellular phone charger.


Talk Show America 8/2/2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

NO LIVE SHOWS THIS WEEK


Hi Folks,

J.R. here,

There won't be any LIVE shows this week, duty calls at work. Please visit the podcast player on the left to listen to the archived shows. I will try to record at least two new shows this week which will appear in the player.

Thanks for you patience and understanding during this time.

New shows will be forthcoming and I'll be back LIVE as soon as I possibly can.

God Bless you all and God bless America !

Thanks,
J.R.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Plame's Lawsuit Dismissed

A federal judge dismissed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's lawsuit against members of the Bush administration Thursday, eliminating one of the last courtroom remnants of the leak scandal.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments. Bates dismissed the case against all defendants: Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Plame's attorneys had said the lawsuit would be an uphill battle. Public officials are normally immune from such lawsuits filed in connection with their jobs.

"This just dragged on the character assassination that had gone on for years," said Alex Bourelly, one of Libby's lawyers. "To have the case dismissed is a big relief."

Plame's attorneys said they were reading the opinion and had no immediate comment.

While Bates did not address the constitutional questions, he seemed to side with administration officials who said they were acting within their job duties. Plame had argued that what they did was illegal and outside the scope of their government jobs.

"The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory, " Bates wrote. "But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."


Talk Show America 7/20/2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Haditha Witness's Surpressed Testimony: AK 47s at White Taxi

A former Marine from Kilo Company wounded at Haditha, Iraq on the day of the alleged massacre told Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators he saw Kalashnikov assault rifles propped against a white taxicab next to the bodies of five Iraqi men killed when the fighting started. His report contradicts prosecution contentions that the Iraqis were innocent civilians.

Joshua Cash Karlen, 23, from Westminster, Colorado, said Monday that he is positive he saw the weapons while he was being evacuated from the battlefield. The following spring Karlen says he reported his observations to NCIS investigators while being interrogated by two special agents.

"They grilled me over why I was there, why I was driving through the cordon and what I saw," Karlen said. "I was in there for about four hours."

Karlen says he repeatedly told the two agents what he witnessed at the ambush site.

"The area was cordoned off when we drove by," Karlen said in a telephone interview from his home. "I was hit by a grenade and had a severe concussion so I had to be evacuated out. I was on the south side of Chestnut (code name for the road running on the south side of the ambush site) being driven through the cordon. We were going real slow so I could see a white car, a pile of bodies, and weapons piled against the car. There were three or four AKs stacked leaning against a white car and some Marines were standing around."


Despite a lengthy interview Karlen's statement was never included in the evidence obtained by the defense, according to defense attorney Brian Rooney. The former Marine Corps Staff Judge Advocate represents Lt. Col Jeffrey Chessani. Chessani is the former commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. Chessani is currently waiting to discover if he will stand general courts-martial over his role in Kilo's alleged murder rampage.

"This is the first I have ever heard of this!"
Rooney exclaimed.

Rooney said the NCIS failure to provide Karlen's eyewitness account to Marine Corps prosecutors was a "very serious omission" that undoubtedly harmed his client's case.

Karlen's testimony is absolutely essential to the defense, Rooney added. The outspoken defense attorney is at a loss to understand why Karlen's statement was never introduced into evidence, he said.

"We could never put any weapons with the Iraqis who were killed by the cab," Rooney explained Monday night. "This evidence is crucial to prove the men in the cab were armed insurgents. Early on there were reports they had weapons, but the weapons were never found."


Hat Tip: Conservative Thoughts

Talk Show America 7/20/2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Troops See Progress, Grow Weary of Negative Reports on War

Troops on the ground in Iraq are not as much tired of the war as they are of those who are not in the fight saying that no progress has been made, a top commander in the region said today.

The troops there see progress every day, said British Army Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb, deputy commander of Multinational Force Iraq and senior British representative in Iraq, speaking to Pentagon reporters via satellite.

"They see the water going to people who didn't have it before. They see electricity coming on line. They see stability to the networks. They see all the stuff that no one really portrays," Lamb said. "While it's so clear to them that we're making progress, it's not reflected by those who are not in the fight, but [who] are sitting back and making judgment."


Overall, Lamb called the day-to-day work there by coalition forces "hard pounding," and said that extraordinary things are being accomplished by ordinary people.

"You should be enormously proud of what I see your Marines, your Air Force, your Navy, your Army and the civilians who are in the fight out here, as to what they do, and gladly,"
Lamb said.

The British general has served in Iraq since August 2006. This is his second tour to the region. He said, that in the first month of the surge there has been
"good progress, steady momentum, hard fighting, [and coalition forces] going places where they haven't been before. I see -- unequivocally -- that this surge is making a difference."

Lamb compared the complexities of the mission there to playing three-dimensional chess in a dark room - while being shot at.

But, he said, Iraqi forces are making ground in their training and several units own their own battlespace. This is key as coalition forces begin clearing and holding new sections of the capital city.

Only a few years ago, after coalition soldiers would leave cleared areas, insurgents would return and again take control. Under the new strategy, coalition forces now hold sections of the city allowing for local governments to be formed, construction of key infrastructure, training of security forces and the rebuilding of the economy and workforce.

Now, when coalition forces leave, Lamb said, the "vacuum" is not filled with insurgents, but a trained security force and a growing economy.

He said it is a concerted effort on the parts of coalition forces, the local community, Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government. "The sum of the parts is so much greater than where we were before, and the difference should not be underestimated," Lamb said.

Already, several Iraqi units are holding their own north in Diyala and Salahuddin and south in Babil and Basra.

Still, most units require U.S. help with logistics, command and control and intelligence, he said.

Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government are busy weeding out those who are aligned with the insurgency and sectarian violence, especially within the police force, he said. U.S. forces are arresting, and turning over to the Iraqis, any of their security force who are guilty of using their positions to promote sectarian violence, Lamb said.

"We'll take the individuals, arrest them and put them through the Iraqi criminal justice system,"
he said.

Already, 11,000 members of the police force have been removed and 4,000 are in the criminal justice system under review.

"I've seen over my time here people ... looking to improve and deliver a force that is Iraqi rather than sectarian,"
he said.

Talk Show America 7/20/2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

EnviroMental Nut Jobs Suggest Extinguishing Humans to Save Planet

From Newsweek:

The Second Coming may be the most widely anticipated apocalypse ever, but
Environmentalists have their own eschatology-a vision of a world not consumed by holy fire but returned to ecological balance by the removal of the most disruptive species in history. That, of course, would be us. There's even a group trying to bring it about, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, whose Web site calls on people to stop having children altogether.
And now the journalist Alan Weisman has produced "The World Without Us," which conjures up a future something like ... well, like the area around Chernobyl-just forests that have begun reclaiming fields and towns, home to birds, deer, wild boar and moose.

Weisman's intriguing thought experiment is to ask what would happen if the rest of the Earth was similarly evacuated-not by a nuclear holocaust or natural disaster, but by whisking people off in spaceships, or killing them with a virus that spares the rest of the biosphere.
In a matter of days or weeks, nuclear power plants around the world would boil off their water and melt into vast radioactive lumps. Electrical power would fail, and with it the pumps keeping New York City's subways from flooding; in a few years Lexington Avenue would collapse and eventually turn into a river. Lightning-caused fires would blow out the windows in skyscrapers.

Sound appealing? Well, it did to Weisman, too, when he began work on the book four years ago. And "four out of five" of the people he's told about it, he estimates, thought the idea sounded wonderful.


Talk Show America 7/16/2007

North Korea Shuts Down Nuke Reactor

According to Reuters:

North Korea has told the United States it has shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, the U.S. State Department said on Saturday.

"We welcome this development and look forward to the verification and monitoring of this shutdown by the International Atomic Energy Agency team that has arrived in North Korea,"
said spokesman Sean McCormack.

UPDATE:IAEA Confirms North Korea Has Shut Reactor

U.N. inspectors have verified that North Korea shut down its nuclear reactor, the watchdog agency's chief said Monday, the first on-the-ground achievement toward scaling back Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions since the international standoff began in late 2002.

The main U.S. envoy on the issue, meanwhile, said that the United States is looking to build on momentum and will start deliberations on removing North Korea from a list of terrorism-sponsoring states.

North Korea pledged in an international accord in February to shut the reactor at Yongbyon and dismantle its nuclear programs in return for 1 million tons of oil and political concessions. However, it stalled for several months because of a separate, but now-resolved dispute with the U.S. over frozen bank funds.

The shutdown over the weekend was confirmed by a 10-member team of IAEA inspectors, said Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The process has been going quite well and we have had good cooperation from North Korea. It's a good step in the right direction,"
ElBaradei said, speaking in Bangkok ahead of an event sponsored by Thailand's Science Ministry.

The Yongbyon reactor, about 60 miles north of the capital, generates plutonium for atomic bombs; North Korea conducted its first nuclear test explosion in October.

Talk Show America 7/16/2007