Monday, March 31, 2008

Battleground SoCal

Two separate shootings on the San Fernando Valley Freeway have left one man dead in Los Angeles and an investigation into the second shooting in Long Beach. Today's shootings are just the latest in a string of shootings over the past few weeks.

Police officials report that the San Fernando Valley man crashed his car after being shot in the head on the 101 today. Rescue crews discovered him in response to a call for a rolled over vehicle on the roadway early this morning.

Traffic was closed in the Van Nuys area until rescuers could transport the man and clear the road. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition, and later died from his injuries.

The second incident took place around 30 miles away on the 710 freeway near Del Amo Boulevard on Saturday evening, sending the victim in this case to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, after being shot by the driver of another vehicle. Police officials say the man characterized the incident as a case of road rage.

These two shootings are latest in what has been a string of shootings ranging back to late February, when a 46 year-old man was hospitalized after being shot on the Foothill Freeway. Another incident was reported on March 1st in which a 26 year old man died after being shot on the 101 Freeway following an argument with another individual on Hollywood Boulevard. A 54 year-old woman also died after being hospitalized for her injuries after being shot in the head on the San Bernardino Freeway in mid-March.

Police are asking for witnesses to call in about this morning's lethal shooting in the San Fernando Valley.

"Maybe somebody just saw the car spinning out of control and they didn't see anything else," Miller told KNX. He asked if "anybody who was on the freeway this morning around 8 o'clock, that saw any of what happened, could give us a call."

The Honda sedan could have been travelling on the 101, could have entered the eastbound freeway at Van Nuys or Sepulveda boulevards, or could have transitioned onto the 101 from the 405 just before the shooting, police said.

Detectives can be reached by calling the LAPD's main phone number, (877) LAWFULL, or (877) 529-3877.

At this time there have been no arrests in any of the shootings over the past two months.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Judge Denies Bail for Accused Chicago Teen Gunman

Two Chicago area teens, one 19 and one 17, are being held on first degree murder charges for a Saturday shooting outside Simeon Career Academy. The 19 year old is being held in lieu of a $1million bail, the 17 without bail.

Circuit Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. set bail at $1 million for 19 year old Ronald Little and denied bail for 17 year old Samuel Hill in the parking lot of Simeon Career Academy shooting this year, which left 18 year old Chavez Clarke dead on Saturday, the 20th this year for Chicago Public Schools. Two other teens were arrested in relation to the shooting but released without charges.

Prosecutors Monday said Little pulled a gun from his waistband after he and his three friends were approached in the parking lot of the school by a large, unarmed crowd. An argument broke out. Hill took the gun from his friend and fired the shot that struck Clarke, officials said.

As Hill and his friends ran off, Hill handed the gun back to Little, prosecutors said. When police responded to reports of shots being fired near the school they saw Little drop the weapon, police said.

Hill's lawyer, Howard Weisman, stated that they shooting was in self-defense, and that the men had been confronted by around 18 people in the parking lot. Both he and Gresham Police Cmdr. Eddie Johnson said that there had been previous altercations between the two men and Clarke.

The incident was captured mostly on the schools surveillance equipment and is being examined. Johnson said that he believed that Saturday was chosen by Hill and Little because they thought that there would be fewer security guards and police in the vicinity.

Both teens admitted their involvements in sworn video statements to the police.

School leaders and Chicago Public Schools chief Arne Duncan met with Simeon students behind closed doors this morning, and later made statements in which they called for more gun control. Current Illinois law prohibits the sale of handguns to persons under the age of 21. Hill and Little are both in their teens.

Duncan also compared the two teens to al-Qaeda, stating, "These are basically suicide missions. They are not just destroying somebody else's life, they are destroying their own. They are done forever."

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Breaking: Body Found in Mall Bathroom

in the second incident in two days, Mesa, Arizona police have had to respond to the Fiesta Mall after a body was discovered in a bathroom near the food court, prompting a homicide investigation.

Police responded yesterday to the stabbing of a 22 year-old man at Macy's, who suffered non life-threatening injuries.

Police said the suspect grabbed the victim from behind, then stabbed him with a knife once in the neck and three times in the stomach.

The victim tried to get away, and walked toward a cash register, according to authorities.

Police are unsure at this time if the two incidents are related, and investigations are underway in both incidents.

At this time police have no suspects in either case.

More on this story as it develops.

[Update-] The stabbing from Sunday and tonights murder are connected, according to police.

Police say that two recent stabbings at Fiesta Mall are related, and they have a suspect in custody.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Gore Emerges as Democratic Nominee?

With the Texas Primaries second phase behind them and still no clear cut lead for either candidate, the Democratic Party is starting to prepare for a brokered convention, and the possibility of a compromise candidate.

Have you ever seen a tug of war competition between the two strongest, most able bodied people that you know? They're fairly close in size, weight, strength, and endurance. Put them one each end of a rope to face off with one another, and they're likely not going to make much headway unless one or the other of them blunders and falls. NOW, at our hypothetical community picnic, let's turn around behind us at the OTHER tug of war contest; this one between two of the smaller, more sickly, more conniving and less than honorable people you know, still about the same build and whatnot, but the personalities are different. It's a bit different to watch, these two are scrapping it out for every inch they can take from the other, but there's a difference; neither side is playing clean. They're kicking sand at each others faces, name calling, and sending people to their opponents saying "Why don't you just quit now?"

Definitely a more interesting battle, right?

So what happens if someone else comes along, steps in the middle between these two smaller dirty players, takes a pair of shears, cuts the rope in two, watching the other two fall backwards and blink in shock and outrage as he declares to the crowd, "I win?" Everyone looks up at him, trying to figure out what he's doing there, in his plaid shirt and beard looking like he's just hugged a Ponderosa pine (wait, scratch that, let's rewind just a bit here and put him in a suit and tie, clean shaven, and sporting a Nobel prize).

Confusing to consider, isn't it? Mind boggling to say the very least, according to some. I've been predicting this for weeks, along with others of significantly more influence than I have (i.e Rush Limbaugh and Steve Gill among others). For some of us, it was obvious. It was the only solution. It was the only thing that we could see that would unify the Democratic party before November. And now they're admitting that they're considering it.

Al Gore may very well walk away from the Democratic National Convention as the nominee for President of the United States.

If neither Mr Obama nor Mrs Clinton has the 2,025 delegates needed to win the nomination, and if both appear unable to beat Mr McCain, under one scenario a group of about 100 party elders - the "super-delegates" - could sit out the first ballot in Denver, preventing either candidate winning outright, and then offer Mr Gore the nomination for the good of the party.

Tim Mahoney, a Democrat congressman from Florida, said last week: "If it goes into the convention, don't be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket." This suggests the party would accept a Gore-Clinton or a Gore-Obama pairing.

Following a brief flurry of speculation that he might jump into the race last year, Mr Gore claimed he had "fallen out of love" with politics, but he has pointedly refused to rule out another tilt at the White House and said that the only job in public life that interests him is the presidency.

The fallout from a move like this on the part of the democrats? Not good. The Democrats have created this situation for themselves in large part by the creation of "super-delegates" and coming up with such complicated methods for choosing their candidates to begin with, not to mention the fact that they have put forward two candidates for the final bid for nomination, each candidate clearly despised by nearly half the party, causing the two halves to be split on making a nominee choice.

In walks Al Gore, after having been properly courted by the DNC upper echelon. He's clean shaven, he's in a new suit, he's holding his Nobel Prize, and there are no splinters visible as the wooden boy steps out of the back rooms to take the stage and say "I accept the nomination of the party" in August.

That may actually send Obama over the top with screams of "Allah Akbar" and make him charge the stage with a scimitar, while Hillary finally has that final overload of circuitry and mutters "target acquisition mode: engaged" as she points her finger at Gore like a gun, surprising everyone as the tip falls aside on a hinge to expose a barrel.

I wonder if they'll be wearing parkas? Al Gore, speaking engagement, hmmmm. It might do well to check the weather one last time before flying into Denver this August come convention time.

There is a problem with bring Gore in as the nominee, though, and I'm not quite sure that the Democrat leadership has really taken this into consideration. Now be easy reading these next few words, I know this is going to come as a shock to many reading this, especially those with leanings toward the idea of a Gore campaign for 2008. It's big. You might pass out from shock at what I'm about to say. Ready? Deep breath, hang on, it'll be over before you know it...Gore didn't even win his home state of Tennessee last time he ran for President when he actually RAN for President in the fully campaign race. So how is it that the Democratic leadership thinks that Gore can be the savior of the party when he didn't even win his OWN bid for the Presidency and by bringing him out as a compromise candidate it's going to cost them votes?

The closer it gets to the Convention, the more panicked Democrats are becoming in trying ANYTHING to win the White House. By bringing Gore out, cleaning him up, dusting him off, checking him for termites, it becomes more obvious just exactly how desperate they are becoming.

I'm just glad Gore gave us the internet so we could follow it all.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Illegal Immigration Taken on by Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Under growing pressure from citizens across the country, local law enforcement agencies have begun to utilize the training program offered for 12 years by ICE so that they can begin handling illegal aliens when they are apprehended.

The ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Agency has had a program available since 1996 to teach local law enforcement agencies how to properly handle the capture of suspected illegal aliens. Until 2002, only one agency had participated. Now, after growing political and public pressure to address illegal immigration, ICE has trained 41 additional agencies and has 92 more lined up waiting to complete training as well.

Deputies in Houston, Texas, routinely check the immigration status of individuals who are booked into the county jail. New Jersey law enforcement is under orders from the state attorney general to verify citizenship status of individuals taken into custody. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has ordered state officials to enforce immigration laws. And, it goes without saying, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix, Arizona, is taking on the enforcement of immigration laws.

Critics have lined up on both sides of the argument for and against the current move toward apprehending illegals. Some argue that it makes certain individuals more suspicion and apprehensive in contacting law enforcement when they need it out of fear of having their residency status scrutinized. Others feel that it's past time for local agencies to step in and do their part in enforcing the laws that are on the books which make being in the country illegally a crime.

That fear has been exacerbated by accounts — some rumored, some real — of people being turned over to immigration officials after being stopped for minor offenses such as traffic violations and loitering, or after going to police to report a crime.

In Newark, N.J., a freelance photographer who stumbled upon on a dead body in an alley and reported the discovery to police was detained and asked about his immigration status.

In Falls Church, Va., staffers at the Tarirhu Justice Center, which works with immigrant victims of domestic abuse, say they are fielding calls from women who have been assaulted, yet refuse to go to police.

Rumor and speculation, sometimes spread by those who advocate amnesty for those living here illegally, don't help dispel mistrust for law enforcement agencies who are simply trying to enforce the law.

One thing is for certain, and that is that with the large number of illegal immigrants who have already established themselves in our country, it's not going to be an easy task for any agency or agencies. However, perhaps the words of Joe Arpaio sum it up better than any that have been spoken by any other law enforcement official; "People ask me why I am taking this on? The last I heard, crossing the border is an illegal activity. I took an oath of office to enforce the law, so I am enforcing the law."

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Friday, March 28, 2008

Another Dismissal of Charges Against Haditha Marine

Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, under charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment for the deaths of 24 civilians two years ago in Haditha, Iraq, has been cleared of all charges pending his court martial, and will not face trial for the Haditha incident.

Currently, there has been no official explanation for the dropping of charges against Tatum, but there is speculation that he may be called to testify in the court martial trial of his squad leader at the time of the incident.

The government has been trying to compel Tatum to testify against his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich. In recent weeks, it offered Tatum testimonial immunity – meaning that anything Tatum said during Wuterich's trial couldn't be used as self-incrimination.

Wuterich and Tatum are part of the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. A roadside bomb struck their unit's convoy Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha, killing one Marine and wounding two others.

The investigation in the Haditha shootings and bombing are still under investigation, and have been covered extensively here at Wake Up America:

al-Qaeda Planned the Whole Haditha Massacre

Haditha Marines, John Murtha and the New York Times

Haditha Marines: Judge Orders John Murtha to testify in defamation case

Another Haditha Marine Exonerated-Still No Apology From Murtha

Haditha Marine, Col. Jeffrey Chessani to Sue John Murtha

Haditha Investigator:Drop Marine murder case

So far there is STILL no apology from John Murtha.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man

[Update] More from Let Freedom Ring.


Limbaugh Safe from Ohio Voter Fraud Charges

Ohio officials have announced that talk radio show icon Rush Limbaugh has no worries of being prosecuted for promoting voter fraud in the Ohio primaries. Limbaugh's goal has been to keep the Democrats split up until the August DNC Convention in Denver.

For the past few weeks, talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh has been promoting what he calls "Operation Chaos," his plan to make sure that the "soap opera" of the race between Senators Clinton and Obama continues as they both seek the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in the general elections this coming November.

Part of the strategy of "Operation Chaos" has been to urge Republican voters in the remaining primary states to cross over and vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary elections. At stake have been Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other states who have not yet held their primary elections.

The problem facing it's success in Ohio was the sworn declaration of loyalty to the party required by the Ohio Democratic Party, in which the person signing the document would swear allegiance to the party and support it's ideals and candidates in good faith. Violation of the contract is considered to be a felony offense. This, however, lies in contrast with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and is basically not prosecutable.

Thus, Limbaugh is safe from prosecution for promoting "voter fraud."

We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't a crime," said Leo Jennings, a spokesman for Democratic Attorney General Marc Dann.

When asked whether she has concerns about what Limbaugh did, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, replied, "I think it's very bad form, but I think most voters are intelligent enough to make their own decisions."

While certain media outlets have had Limbaugh under fire during this campaign season for his "Operation Chaos," the concept his hardly new to this election process. Limbaugh, by his own admission at the onset of the plan, was inspired by the same tactics called for by DailyKos back in January for Democrats to vote for Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the Michigan Primaries.

If you know someone in Michigan, send them the email I've included below the fold. If you don't know someone in Michigan, send the email to your liberal friends and see if THEY have friends in Michigan. Get the word out, whether by blog, mailing list, MySpace or Facebook page, or whatever.

If we can help push Mitt over the line, not only do we help keep their field fragmented, but we also pollute Romney's victory. How "legitimate" will the Mittster's victory look if liberals provide the margin of victory? Think of the hilarity that will ensue. We'll simply be adding fuel to their civil war, never a bad thing from our vantage point.

Michigan, as well as Florida, had it's nominees stripped for the DNC Convention, nullifying the Democratic Primaries for those two states. This was the situation prompting the DailyKos call for Democrats to infiltrate the Republican Primary in Michigan.

It should be noted that Mitt Romney is no longer in the race for the Presidency, but that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are still vying for the Democratic nomination.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Officials Reveal Documents of Toronto Terrorism Plot

Detailing plans to storm Parliament Hill, behead politicians, of drill exercises in military tactics and weapons training, and plans to purchase weapons for their assault, the report shows how a cell of Canadian Muslims planned to bring Jihad to Toronto.

The document was released in Brampton court yesterday, outlining the investigation of a group that had intended to wage an attack in Toronto that would be "much larger" than the London bombings of 2005 in which 52 people were killed.

The documentation was presented for the first time yesterday in the Crown's case against a young man charged with involvement in a terrorist group. The youth has pled not guilty of the charges, which are damning.

Along with the outlines for storming Parliament Hill and the beheading of politicians, known as Operation Badr, the Crown also revealed evidence that the group know as the "Toronto 18" had attempted to secure safe-houses, military weapons and ammunition, and places to conduct military drills in preparation for a campaign that they "should be willing to die for." There were also transcripts of wire and videotaps presented as evidence, in which members discussed their plans for waging a campaign of terror on Toronto.

The document and the evidence to be presented in the case had been kept away from the public under a court ordered ban until yesterday, with the Crown arguing that for the information to be made available to the public could taint the trials of those indicted.

While some of the allegations have already surfaced in public reports, a great deal in the factum had never been published. Some of that expected evidence includes:

* Videos of terrorist indoctrination, in which the accused are exhorted to wage battle in the new empire of "Rome" in North America, "whether we get arrested, whether we get killed."
* Wiretap surveillance in which they discuss their desire to "establish the religion of Allah and to get rid of the oppressors" and the need for funds to finance their goals of building a "team" to "go make an attack."
* The construction of a "radio frequency remote-control detonator" that needed to be improved because its range was nine metres.
* Allegations the accused attended two training camps. One was a 12-day camp near the town of Washago, Ont., where they practised military-style exercises in camouflage gear and undertook firearms training with a 9-mm firearm. The second was a two-day camp at the Rockwood Conservation Area, where they donned camouflage clothing and made a propaganda-style video of their military drills.

According to the Crown's factum, the alleged terrorists first popped onto the radar of police in August 2005, when two of the adults were stopped at the Canada-U.S. border in a rented vehicle while attempting to smuggle firearms and ammunition into the country.

After connecting the attempted smuggling incident and the car rental to certain telephone calls that investigators had intercepted, police officials managed to infiltrate the local Muslim community and had their informant make contact with two members of the terrorist cell. The cell members were eager to have what they believed was the assistance of the informer, Mubin Shaikh, whom they hoped to have help them with their military training in preparation for their planned operations. Shaikh was taken to a secluded area that the cell members had proposed to use as a training site, and reported that he was also shown "cop killer" bullets in a weapon magazine.

Over the next several months, until June, 2006, police and investigators continued to build their case against the group, recording fund raising activities for the purchase of weapons, attempts by group members to improvise radio controlled detonators for explosive devices, and the initial conducting of military training drills for the members of the group. Plans were also underway to find a site to conduct more advanced commando type operations drills at Rockwood.

On March 5, two of the adults met with a man named Talib, hoping he would help them generate funds to purchase military assault rifles and other weapons, which one of them had already paid a down payment. As they attempted to recruit Talib, one man expressed their desire to establish "the religion of Allah," adding "we're not just a bunch of young guys." The other spoke of the "global fight."

Meanwhile, a second, more advanced training camp was in the works and took place at Rockwood May 20-22, police allege. A number of the accused attended, as well a man named Shal Syed, who later voluntarily met with investigators and offered a statement about an adult's comments and the group's activities.

Syed said an adult said the purpose of the camp was to "train" and to prepare for jihad. Again, an adult led a discussion circle inside a tent discussing so-called military strategies. One of the men asked Syed if he could teach others how to use firearms and grenades and whether he had access to such weapons. He also promised to show Syed recorded lectures given by Osama bin Laden.

On 2JUN06, over 400 police officers began the round up of the suspected cell members, bringing 17 adults and older teenagers into custody. The 18th suspect was apprehended two months later.

In an Editorial in The Australian dated 5JUL07, Irshad Manji asks why there are so many terrorists who come from well-educated, more affluent backgrounds instead of being "poor and dispossessed." According to Manji, the root of this is based in religious symbolism.

Again, we must confront religious symbolism. The blade is an implement associated with 7th-century tribal conflict. Wielding it as a sword becomes a tribute to the founding moment of Islam. Even the note stabbed into van Gogh's corpse, although written in Dutch, had the unmistakable rhythms of Arabic poetry. Let's credit Bouyeri with honesty: at his trial he proudly acknowledged acting from religious conviction.

Despite integrating Muslims far more adroitly than most of Europe, North America isn't immune. Last year in Toronto, police nabbed 17 young Muslim men allegedly plotting to blow up Canada's parliament buildings and behead the Prime Minister.

They called their campaign Operation Badr, a reference to prophet Mohammed's first decisive military triumph, the Battle of Badr. Clearly the Toronto 17 drew inspiration from religious history.

Manji goes on to call for moderate Muslims to speak out in a greater voice against the violence, and calls for reformations in Islam that would do away with the mindset of religious intolerance found to be so predominant in extremist sects of the religion.

Reinterpreting doesn't mean rewriting. It means rethinking words and practices that already exist, removing them from a 7th-century tribal time warp and introducing them to a 21st-century pluralistic context. Un-Islamic? God, no. The Koran contains three times as many verses calling on Muslims to think, analyse and reflect than passages that dictate what's absolutely right or wrong. In that sense, reform-minded Muslims are as authentic as moderates and quite possibly more constructive.

Perhaps, with the rising of moderates in Islam calling for reinterpretation, the world is on the verge of witnessing, in the 21st century, a reformation movement begin in the religion, such as Christianity underwent during the time of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the doors of the Wittenberg Castle Church.

In the meantime, investigations such as the one in which the Toronto 18 are under trial for may become more common place in Western society.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

McCain Benefits from Democrat's "Soap Opera?"

As the ongoing warfare between Clinton and Obama continues, John McCain has a chance to regroup and prepare his campaign strategy for the coming November general elections. What can he do to remain in the public's mind from now until then?

The slug-fest between Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama continues. Currently, Obama leads in the popular vote and has secured the support of several states, while Clinton has secured several larger states and possibly holds sway over a number of super-delegates for the upcoming Denver convention in August. And the mud is slinging and flying. From Obama's controversial religious ties and affiliations to Clinton's embellishments on her role in international affairs as First Lady, including a very embarrassing version by her of events on her trip to Bosnia, neither candidate is doing themselves any favors as the primary season begins winding down to a close. At this point, both of them are covered with mud, and they're largely not slinging it each other, but winding up falling, face first, into the puddle and muddying themselves.

There is little doubt that either candidate can garner enough support at the polls to become the clear-cut leader going into the convention. Neither candidate seems willing, at this point, to concede to the other and bow out. This leaves the playing field wide open for voters in the remaining primaries and caucuses, and a convention seeing the entry of not one clear choice for the party, but two equally determined individuals to choose from.

The good news is that an ugly convention fight is highly preventable. The one advantage of a scenario that's both completely hair-raising and utterly foreseeable is that everyone has an incentive to stop it. The bad news is what's not preventable: a contest that rolls into June. Even without a messy convention, the current trajectory of the primary campaign could easily destroy the party's White House prospects.

Democrats have never been known for Spock-like rationality, but even they see the logic of avoiding a convention fiasco. "It's in nobody's interest in the Democratic Party for that to happen," says Mike Feldman, another former Gore aide. "There is a mechanism in place--built into the process--to avoid that." That mechanism, such as it is, involves an en masse movement of uncommitted superdelegates to the perceived winner of the primaries. Almost everything you hear from such people suggests this will happen in time. "I think once we have the elected delegate count, things will move fairly quickly, " says Representative Chris Van Hollen, who oversees the party's House campaign committee. Increasingly, there is even agreement on the metric by which a winner would be named. Just about every superdelegate and party operative I spoke with endorsed Nancy Pelosi's recent suggestion that pledged delegates should matter most.

We've all seen exactly how wonderfully Nancy Pelosi can run things by now, haven't we?

With so much focus on the fighting amongst the Democrats, what is going on with the Republican side of the campaign? John McCain is taking a little time to regroup and form his strategy for entry into the general election segment, and Rush Limbaugh has implemented what he calls "Operation Chaos," his plan to keep the "soap opera" of the Democratic primaries race going on through the August convention in Denver.

Folks, we are doing it! Do you realize, we are doing it! Things are happening out there on our terms. Why, this is just fabulous. "McCain leads 46 percent to 40 percent in a hypothetical matchup against Obama in the November presidential election, according to the poll. That is a sharp turnaround from the Reuters/Zogby poll from last month, which showed in a head-to-head matchup that Obama would beat McCain 47 percent to 40 percent. ... Matched up against Clinton, McCain leads 48 percent to 40 percent, narrower than his 50 to 38 percent advantage over her in February. 'It's not surprising to me that McCain's on top because there is disarray and confusion on the Democratic side,' Zogby said." Wait a minute. McCain's on top means Hillary's on bottom. We were told Hillary will never be on bottom, particularly when it comes to this dream ticket.

McCain's campaign manager has stated that the focus for the next phase will be on McCain's positive aspects, his service records both in the navy and in government, and to make the public more aware of who McCain is as an individual. One of the hurdles McCain faces will be in how to best spend his campaign money; McCain is historically not a candidate who has been successful in raising huge amounts of campaign funds. Reestablishing the campaign infrastructure is another priority for the McCain camp, having to rebuild it since it's 2007 collapse due to lack of funding.

McCain is gaining ground in the polls, however, in large part due to the infighting of the Democratic party, and several polls show him leading either top Democrat in the race for the White House in November.

Mr. McCain commands considerable support among independents, especially against Mrs. Clinton, of New York. This suggests that should she win the Democratic nomination, he would have an easier time winning states like New Hampshire and Colorado. Against Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain fares worse among independents but slightly better among Democrats. That signals opportunity in states filled with lunch-bucket Democrats, like Michigan and Ohio.

Long before the Democratic race ends, Mr. Fabrizio said, Mr. McCain must “war game” a strategy and a message for either outcome.

This is probably the main problem facing the McCain camp, for the moment. With no clear cut leader on the Democratic side, McCain can really do little more than await the emergence of the Democrats nominee and ultimate candidate that he will face for the November ballot. Until the August conventions, all any of us can really do is await the outcome of "Operation Chaos."

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Minnesota High School Cancels Veterans Tour Engagement

What does a group of touring veterans do when they have an event suddenly canceled out from under them? They find a place offered to them by other veterans to stage their event, of course.

Forest Lake Area High School was to be the site of an event featuring the group Vets for Freedom today, an event planned to be a part of a social studies activity for students of the high school, allowing students the chance to have a question and answer session with veterans of the war in the Middle East.

There were to be no political endorsements, no political statements, no political agendas; it was strictly an event in which high school students were to be given a chance to meet with veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Around 12 hours prior to the event, Forest Lake alum and Vets for Freedom head Pete Hegseth was informed by the schools principal that the event was not going to be permitted to take place at the school, citing "several phone calls" from an unspecified number of "concerned parents" that the event was going to be a political forum, and that if it was held there would be protests.

I think it's extremely unfortunate that a school would bow to the political pressure of outside groups and not bring in a veterans organization," Hegseth said. "Are we saying that patriotism and duty and honor have no place in our public schools?" So far, the tour has visited one school, albeit a private school.

The stop in Forest Lake was supposed to involve about 150 social studies students and was going to be closed to the public but open to the media. But the last-minute venue change left Hegseth wondering how many people would actually show up today.

Under a cloud of uncertainty, the tour made arrangements to move to the American Legion post, unsure if there would be anyone to actually show up for the event on such short notice of the change of venue. As it wound up, the Legion Post wound up with over 200 people attending, a standing room only crowd for the tour.

While it is uncertain as to the actual number of parents to have called the school to complain about the event, two possibilities come to mind; was the pressure significant enough for the principal to make a determination that the event needed to be canceled, or was it internal pressure of school administrators, perhaps the principal himself, that caused the cancellation of the event at Forest Lake?

While it is hardly as publicized as the protestations outside the Marine recruiting station in Berkeley, California, Minnesota has seen more than a few incidents in recent years of protests against both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and indeed protests against the military itself. Minnesota is also the first state to have elected a Muslim to Congress, during a time when our nation is at war with factions of radical extremist Muslims.

This situation with Forest Lake gives one pause for a moment to think, and to reflect, upon the inherent contradictions within our society today. We celebrate "the Greatest Generation," paying tribute to them and their sacrifices during the World War II era. Our fascination with them is reflected in film today, with such outings as Saving Private Ryan, Flags of our Fathers, Band of Brothers, and other such movies and mini-series; we pay homage to the foundation of our nation with such films as the Patriot and John Adams, and yet a Minnesota high school will not allow a group of modern veterans, with no political agenda, to hold an event that would contribute greatly to the historical education of it's students.

But that in itself is a story for another day.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


It seems that some of the high school students made it to the event at the Legion Post and participated after all.

Dozens of students at Forest Lake High School were so upset that they skipped school to go see the speech.

"My brother's in the armed's a slap in the face for people with family members in the armed forces," said student Elijah Miller.

The non-profit, non-partisan group does talk about staying in Iraq, but Hegeseth said the current speech has been adjusted for public school students. He said it's about sharing experience.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Of Hobbits and Men

J.R.R. Tolkien is considered by many to be the father of modern fantasy writing. His tales of middle earth, of hobbits, orcs, trolls, wizards, and men have become classic literature and best selling movies. Could there have actually been real hobbits?

One of the most famous and enduring lines from The Lord of the Rings series is "All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost..." Certainly there is little that glitters in the discovery of fossilized remnants of bones at an archaeological dig site. The lack of sparkling luminescence does little, however, to make significant discoveries any less golden in the minds of the scientists who make unique and new discoveries while working in the field.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arda, the online guide to the works of Tolkien, the hobbits of middle Earth can be classified as this:

A mortal race almost certainly related to Men, though their origins are unknown. Their most distinguishing feature was their short stature; even the tallest Hobbits rarely exceeded four feet in height.

Originally a widespread people, hobbits were found in much of the north of Middle-earth and down the Vales of Anduin. As the Third Age passed, the Hobbits moved north and west, eventually founding the land of the Shire in III 1601.

There is much speculation as to the origin of Tolkien's concept of the hobbit folk, whether it was based upon tales prevalent in Europe of little people who once walked among men, if it was based upon faeries, or were they simply a creation of his own imagination as a writer? Whatever the case, hobbits and other things from the world Tolkien mapped for us in his books have found their way into our daily lives, with middle earth having played even into the music of Led Zeppelin, in which Gollum and Mordor were mentioned in the song "Ramble On."

So how, then, does this tie in with modern science? The answer involves the release of news from the island nation of Palau, in the Pacific, where scientists have discovered the remains of a culture that may very well have been a hobbit-like people.

The latest twist in the Hobbit story concerns the discovery of the bones and skulls of 26 individuals in caves on small islands in the Pacific nation of Palau. The fossils have been radiocarbon dated to between 1,400 and 3,000 years ago.

One male individual weighed around 43kg (94lb) while a female weighed 29kg (64lb). They would have grown to about 4ft (120cm) tall.

However, while small, their skulls had many human-like features.

This discovery has scientists and researchers divided into two camps. Some are absolutely certain that this discovery marks the proof of a race of "little people" that could be called hobbits, others remain unconvinced, arguing that this could simply have been a colony of dwarves. Further research and data must be collected and studied before any conclusive determinations can be made.

It could be fair to say, however, that in the search for a race of little peoples who lived in ancient times, such a quest might be called "hobbit" forming...

Once and Always, a Very Non-Hobbit-like American Fighting Man


Jodie Foster Stalker Arrested

Jodie Foster, for some reason, seems to attract a less than stable following in some of her fans. John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate President Reagan, claimed he was doing so for her. Now another man is under arrest for making bomb threats.

I have never really been one who understands "celebrity worship." Personally, I like the actors and actresses I like in the roles that I like them in, or the musicians that I listen to for the music they perform, but to sit and dwell on them and what they do with their lives? I've got more going on in my own life to keep up with than to try and keep up with Britney and her latest head shaving, Paris giving crotch shots as she gets out of a car, so forth and so on. It frankly baffled me the predatory way that Princess Dianna was hounded by the media and those who couldn't get enough of her.

We won't, however, discuss my all time favorite song bird Carly Simon...


Jodie Foster is, in my opinion, a fantastic actress. She's one of those rare individuals who managed to actually survive the stigma of having been a child actress and turned her career into exactly that; a career. An Oscar winning career.

But for some reason, she also has the capacity, twice at least, now, to garner the attentions of the criminally insane, as is evidenced by this latest situation in which she is the center of attention of a man who has been arrested after writing letters threatening to bomb the Van Nuys, California, airport.

Smegal's attention to Foster first came to light around October 2004, when she began receiving letters and packages, one containing a prepaid cell phone with a request that she call a particular number. Instead, a federal agent called and spoke to Smegal, who then sent pictures of himself and his dog via phone.

In an August 2005 interview, Smegal admitted to sending the letters and packages to Foster and promised to stop. DNA samples on the first letters matched the DNA samples taken from the more recent wave of letters. Almost identical letters were found in Smegal's home in January. He claims that he mailed the threatening letters to airports because he believed the Screen Actors Guild had made disparaging remarks about Foster and that they were located at some of the airports.

Smegal. Wasn't that the critter from the Lord of the Rings series? Does he see Jodie Foster as "the Precious?" A curious thought.

Smegal faces up to ten years in prison if convicted, along with three years of supervision and $250,000 in fines. Quite a hefty price for wanting to impress Ms. Foster. Personally, I think that there could be other ways that he could have done something to attract her interest. He's already sent her letters, including pictures of himself and his dog. Presidential assassination didn't work out so well for Hinckley, so I'm guessing he scratched that off the list fairly quickly. Maybe he should have mailed himself to her, instead of just a picture? Of course, with that would come the possibility of the package being lost in transit, and winding up being shipped to Tasmania, as they used to do in the Bugs Bunny movies.

Honestly, I'm not trying to make light of the man's infatuation with Ms. Foster and the lengths he was willing to go to in order to gain her eye. In my mind, he has serious problems that need to be addressed in a serious manner, by qualified professionals who can decypher his issues and help him to resolve them.

That being said, as I am not going to be one of those in the position to be treating this man for those problems, don't you wonder how many air holes he would have needed to ship himself to her?

Just a thought.

And no, I have no intentions of mailing myself to Carly Simon. I ponder this sort of thing merely out of curiosity, not because I have any intention of practical applications...

Just random thoughts, I promise...

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

35 Year Old Convicted of Coercing 14 Year Old Illegal into Prostitution

The argument over the situation in the U.S involving illegal aliens continues to be a hot one. Some advocates for allowing free and open access continue to point to illegals coming here to "end their poverty and suffering." What happens, though, when someone can't come forward for protection by the law because of their legal status?

A Hyattsville, Md, man, 35 year old Javier Miguel Ramirez, has pleaded guilty to the sexual trafficking of a minor. In this instance, the minor involved was a 14 year old Mexican national who was not legally in the country.

According to his plea agreement, from August 2005 through June 2006, a Mexican national girl worked for Ramirez as a prostitute. Ramirez knew that the girl was only 14 years old when she began working for him. Ramirez instructed her to lie and tell clients that she was 20 years old. Upon receiving requests for sex from clients by phone, Ramirez caused the girl to be transported to residences in Maryland and Virginia to engage in sex. He instructed the girl to charge clients $25 or $30 per 15 minutes of sex. She was instructed to meet with 25 clients or more per day, and provided most of the money that she made to Ramirez.

According to testimony, the minor girl was dependent upon Ramirez for housing, clothing, and food, often being housed at his residence, where he also initiated a sexual relationship with her. When she would refuse, or indicate that she no longer wished to work as a prostitute and wished to be returned to Mexico, she was physically abused and told that if she did return to Mexico, "it would be in a box."

"Few crimes are more repugnant than sex trafficking a helpless and innocent girl," James A. Dinkins, the special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Baltimore, said in a statement. Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein called the act a "depraved and morally reprehensible crime."

Ramirez now faces the possibility of a maximum 40 year sentence in prison, followed by 5 years of supervision after release, and a fine of $250,000. His sentencing will be carried out on 23JUN2008 at 2:00 p.m. As of his conviction, he is required to register as a sex offender in any state in which he holds residence, work, or attends school.

I sincerely HOPE that some of you out there advocating illegal immigration come to the defense of this. I would just LOVE to know how you can justify this sort of activity. Especially those of you with daughters around the same age. Go on, look into the eyes of your little girl and find the justification for this sort of thing.

I challenge you to do so.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pending Film Release Prompts Dutch Terrorism Watch

[Update] 3/27/08- FITNA has been released, see full 15 minute film here.

What if you could take a look into the driving force of your enemy? What if you could take a glimpse into the motivating, driving factors that make your enemy hate you and want to destroy you? What if you could access that information, but chose to ignore it?

In 1925, there was a book published that, if given more credence and scrutiny, could have been used as an instrument to stop the greatest onset of crimes against humanity that the world has ever seen. Oddly enough, those who could have done something to stop the movement inspired by the book and it's author pretty much ignored it or had no idea of it's existence. In the years following the first publication of this book, and it's second publication a year later in 1926, the world saw the rise of one of the most brutal and oppressive regimes in our history on this planet. The book was called Mein Kampf; the author, Adolf Hitler.

Under the leadership of Hitler, Nazi Germany rose from the ashes of depression in the years following The Great War and became the single most powerful military industrial complex in Europe. The rest, as they say, is history.

But what if, as we step into the realm of infinite possibilities of things that could have happened, someone had taken Mein Kampf seriously from the outset and had made the right moves to stop the rise of Hitler and the National Socialist Party? What if, as we continue to ponder the possibilities of infinite parallels and things that could have been, someone had taken Stalin as a more credible threat and forestalled his rise to power through murder and subterfuge in the Soviet Union?

What if we had the information at our disposal today to stop a growing threat to civilization as it spreads across the face of our planet? What if we could take a look inside what motivates extremists to strap bomb vests to their bodies and detonate them in groups of innocent civilians? To drive vehicles laden with explosives through military checkpoints and the drivers kill themselves as they try to take out the soldiers at those checkpoints? What if we had this information, and ignored it?

Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders is going to release a film in the Netherlands that deals with these issues, by exploring the very passages of the Koran which incite the hatred and violence of extremist Muslim factions, in a film to be released this month. Needless to say, the world of Islam is less than eager for the film to be released, and the Netherlands are on high alert for acts of terrorism.

Less than a year ago, (National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Tjibbe) Joustra scaled down the threat level to "limited," saying Islamic terror networks in the Netherlands had crumbled in the face of tougher law enforcement and a lack of leadership.

Terrorists from Pakistan and Afghanistan were directing actions in Europe "and in some cases, sending their own attackers," said the coordinator. These attackers "are more professional than the homegrown variety and less visible to the intelligence and security services," he said.

This won't be the first film released by a Dutch film maker critical of Islam. In 2004 director Theo van Gogh was killed after release of his film "Submission," a fictionalization of the abuse and subjugation of women in Islam, prompting the films screenplay writer, Muslim critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to flee the country and live in the United States under 24 hour a day security.

It remains to be seen how the film will be received in the Western world. However, one need not peek into a crystal ball to foretell what the reaction of militant Islamic fundamentalist groups will be; hence the elevation of the threat warnings within the Netherlands.

Demonstrators in Afghanistan have burned the Dutch flag to protest Wilders' plan to release the 15-minute film, titled "Fitna." He says it will describe the Muslim holy book as "fascist" because it is used by extremists to incite violence and preaches oppression of women and homosexuals.

The Dutch government has said it is powerless to ban the film because of the country's constitutional right to freedom of expression.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has said the government is worried about repercussions from the film and by threats to Dutch nationals abroad.

There are, of course, those who will denounce this comparative of the Koran to Mein Kampf. They will argue that the Koran is a holy book, and the fundamental documents of a religious movement, and that Mein Kampf was, at best, a sort of autobiography and outline of the ideas behind the rise of a Teutonic Empire, at worst a book of political theory. They are more than free to do so. I welcome them to try to make the arguments that the two books have not inspired similar responses from their target audiences. However, I would strongly suggest, and indeed hope, that those who wish to bring forth such arguments and rebuttals have first hand knowledge of the subject matter OF those two books. One need not play one of the three roles portrayed by Jack Nicholson in "Mars Attacks" to see the aliens announcing "We come in peace," all the while walking around with their ray guns and disintegrating any human in sight, to understand that what one says and what one does may not convey the same message.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man