11/22/2004

Floridian: Iraq 'n' roll

This is funny. The troops in Iraq are playing Heavy Metal music to harass the insurgents in Iraq. This method has proved useful in the past (ask Manuel Noriega how he liked it), and the troops like the music. You might say, "No problem, good for the troops and bad for the enemies."

Well apparently Amnesty International has a problem with it and they don't find it humorous at all:

"Uncooperative prisoners are being exposed for prolonged periods to tracks by rock group Metallica and music from children's TV programmes Sesame Street and Barney in the hope of making them talk," the BBC reported in May 2003. "However, Amnesty International said such tactics may constitute torture."

Though listening to Barney has tortured adults for years, I hardly consider this real torture. Saddam Hussein practiced real torture. Al-Zarqawi practices real torture. Heavy Metal is not torture folks...it's an annoyance (to those that don't like it). In fact, the troops should up the ante and start playing Slayer!

I find it funny that they (Amnesty) interview the prisoners and act like they are getting the truth. Sorry, Abu Gharib was already exposed...and no real torture going on there...only humiliation. If torture was really going on in that magnitude that the prisoners and Amnesty International claim, then the media would be all too happy to expose it...just as they exposed the Abu Gharib scandal (2 months after the military had already begun taking action on the scandal).

If anything, the self-righteous Amnesty International is meaningless. What is their purpose? We know bad things happen all over the world by corrupt governments and dictators. What does Amnesty International do? Here's an example:

A.I.: "Saddam Hussein's regime is guilty of torturing and killing innocent civilians."
Saddam: "Whatever!"

They complained about Saddam and the Taliban yet were powerless to do anything about it. In comes the U.S., with the power and capability to stop the offending governments and government officials, and they complain about heavy metal music "torturing" the prisoners (many who are guilty applying real torture under Saddam). Ohhh, the humanity!

Amnesty International is much like the U.N. If you complain about something yet do nothing to rectify the situation...guess what? The situation never gets resolved! Wow, what a revelation! Words without the resolve to act accomplishes nothing. It's like if I tell my son he has to get better grades, but I don't take any action to ensure that happens...he won't get better grades. It's only through praise and punishment that he gets good grades. As he matures, he'll do it for himself out of honor, integrity, and responsibility. Unfortunately, our enemies have none of these qualities.

11/19/2004

Posting Frequency

I'm still undecided on how much I should post. I'd rather do 1-3 quality posts a week than 5 short ones. For those of you reading, which would you prefer? More frequent, shorter posts? Or longer, more detailed posts, a few times a week. Thanks for your opinion!

The Left Attacks our Military Again

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the Marine shooting of a wounded and "unarmed" man. Here is a transcript of the 2 Marines talking in case you missed it:

VOICE: Any Marines in there?
VOICE: Yeah, they're on the floor, far right, far right.
VOICE: Coming around the back, hey, who's in here?
VOICE: Coming around.
VOICE: What are you doing in here? (BLEEP).
VOICE: That guy shot at my tank (BLEEP).
VOICE: Yeah.
VOICE: Yeah.
VOICE: Shot up my tank.
VOICE: Come in here.
VOICE: Yeah.
VOICE: Did you shoot them?
VOICE: Did they have any weapons on them?
VOICE: All right. These are the ones from yesterday.
VOICE: These are the ones they never picked up. Bleep.
VOICE: He's breathing.
VOICE: He's f#$%ing faking he's dead!
VOICE: He's faking he's f@#$ing dead!
SOUND: BANG
VOICE: Well, he's dead now

We're hearing all of the liberals carp about how this killing is a violation of the Geneva Convention. How convenient they ignore the insurgent's (i.e. terrorist) violations of Laws and Customs of War on Land (which is referenced by the Geneva Convention) where "To kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army" and "To make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy, as well as the distinctive badges of the Geneva Convention" are also prohibited.

Additionally, do these insurgents (aka terrorists) meet the Geneva Convention requirements to be P.O.W.s to begin with? According to the Geneva Convention (and Laws and Customs of War on Land) it's debatable.

From the Laws and Customs of War on Land:
"The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteer corps fulfilling the following conditions:
1. To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
2. To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
3. To carry arms openly; and
4. To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

In countries where militia or volunteer corps constitute the army, or form part of it, they are included under the denomination "army."

Also defined in the Geneva Conventions (Convention III, Part 1, Article 4, #2):

"Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfill the following conditions:[ (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war."

The insurgents clearly do not meet the requirements of a combatant under the protections of the Geneva Convention. For example, in the case of this Marine, a member of his unit was killed a day earlier by an insurgent who faked death and was not carrying his weapon openly. The Marine that did shoot the insurgent was wounded in the face during the attack.

For those of you that can't draw a line, faking death to seek an advantage and booby-trapping bodies are both prohibited. The Geneva Conventions also prohibit the killing of civilians such as Margaret Hassan, but you don't hear about those violations of the Geneva Convention, do you? These animals have brutally tortured and beheaded numerous civilians, and yet liberals want to whine over the death of one? Where's the media outrage for all of the civilian victims? Where's the media outrage for brutal murder of Margaret Hassan who was against the war and had worked to help the Iraqi people for over 30 years? Where is the media outrage for the years of Geneva Convention violations under Saddam Hussein?

It's rather hypocritical for the media to cry over the death of a dead terrorist who likely does NOT meet the requirements of a P.O.W. under the Geneva Conventions, when the terrorists themselves don't follow ANY of the Laws or Customs of War. For those of you that say, "Hey, it's war," please remember the knife cuts both ways.

This is yet another case where the media cries foul when they think it will hurt conservatives (in this case the Bush Administration - guilt through association), but conveniently don't apply the same "high journalistic standards" when similar facts and circumstances don't meet their agenda.

11/18/2004

Bush revives bid to legalize illegal aliens - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - November 10, 2004

This is a move I'm still trying to figure out. Though Libertarians are for open immigration, in light of the terrorism threat, I don't think that's sound policy. There still needs to be a process for documenting/regulating aliens and an process to apply for citizenship.

When Bush first brought up legalizing illegal aliens, I thought he was just pandering to the Hispanic vote (as it had no chance of succeeding). Now, it looks like he's serious. The big question is why.

Well, I've come up with a few theories of possible pluses:

1. By legalizing illegals, they'll now pay Social Security and Income Tax witholding (as opposed to cash). Employers will be able to legally hire "agricultural workers," thus improving the conditions (in theory).
2. The illegals may now be documented.
3. Creates a case where all undocumented aliens can be expelled from the country.

Now for the downside:

1. Additional immigrants from Mexico, may be a social burden in that agricultural workers do not get paid well. As the work tends to be seasonal, the ability for them to collect unemployment may be a strain on the system.
2. It may do little to ensure that our borders are secure.
3. It does little to address the REAL problem and why we have so many illegal aliens from Mexico...the failure of the Mexican economy. This is the biggest issue.

I really don't know or understand why the President feels the need to do this. He isn't catering to Hispanic voters as the election is over. He certainly isn't reaching across the aisle as Democrats feel that the plan doesn't go far enough. And the plan doesn't make conservatives happy either...many are in favor of tightening our borders. This one is truly perplexing....and I'd love to hear some opinions...



11/11/2004

FOXNews.com - Foxlife - Conservative Groups Denounce 'Kinsey'

First, I don't like the characterization that they are conservative groups when in fact they are religious groups that are conservative.

As for my opinion of the groups protesting the films?

Idiots.

If you don't like the movie, don't go see it...but don't tell me what I can and can't spend my $8-10 to watch. I'm an adult and I can decide what's best for me! As a film buff, I'm more interested in seeing it now than I was before.

Really, all protesting a Movie/TV Show/Music does is give them free publicity. If I don't like the content of something, I keep my mouth shut in the hopes it will disappear into obscurity. These religious conservative groups would be wise to do the same thing because the negative buzz they provide will only be offset by the liberal media tenfold. They'll complain about evil conservatives attempting to censor art...and in this case, they'd be right. The downside is that the actions of these religious groups makes all conservatives look bad. So SHUT UP already and find something else to worry about...like their own lives and families!

11/08/2004

FOXNews.com - Politics - National Sales Tax Promoted as Fairer System

I've know I've brought this up before, but I've been following the national sales tax debate for years (and telling everyone I know about www.fairtax.org). I've long hoped that the idea of a national sales tax would be a part of the national debate. Finally, the idea appears to be gathering some steam. There are currently 2 bills that are presently being debated. The Tax Freedom Act of 2003 and The Tax Freedom Act of 2004 .

For those of you not familiar with the idea of a national sales tax, it works like this:

1) There isn't an income tax .
2) No more income tax withholding.
3) A (proposed) 23% sales tax.

Additional proposals:

1) Everyone is given a "prebate" to be administered by the states at the beginning of the month. The prebate represents the poverty level income per month. In other words, those living at or below poverty level get the tax back.
2) The IRS is either entirely eliminated or drastically reduced.

I do have a few exemptions of my own:

1) A one home purchase up to $250k (would exempt most of the middle class). Everything above that amount would be taxed at the normal rate.
2) A one vehicle purchase up to $25k...again exempting the middle class. Any vehicle purchases above that amount would be taxed at the normal rate.
3) Food would remain exempt.

Benefits:

1) Everyone in the Black Market Economy pays taxes now. Waitresses, Bartenders, Prostitutes, Drug-Dealers, Strippers, etc....they will all pay as it's a consumption tax. This is an important issue because there is a HUGE black market economy.
2) Will encourage savings and investment. Your money is yours until you actually spend it. A side-benefit of this point is that it will also bolster retirement savings. Another side-benefit is that foreign investment will likely increase (no capital gains tax).
3) Fewer attorneys and CPAs needed to help citizens file tax returns. The tax code is approx 36,000 pages. What normal citizen can figure that garbage out?
4) Sales tax infrastructure is already in place for 45 out of 50 states. Instead of sending IRS agents out to beat on taxpayers, the IRS will only need to focus on enforcement of businesses collecting the taxes and people attempting to fraudulently collect the prebates. Penalties for failing to collect the sales tax or attempting to fraudulently collect the prebate should be VERY strict.
5) Shrinks a government agency...always a plus! Especially when the agency is the IRS.

Radical? Certainly....but it's also a great idea. Think about it...class warfare will be irrelevant. People who make more, spend more, and pay the most in taxes. People that get paid for goods and services in the Black Market Economy will now pay taxes on their purchases.

11/05/2004

The Bush Victory - Now What?

Finally this election season is over. Although the victor, President Bush, is not my ideal candidate; at least he isn't Kerry (or any liberal for that matter). Just as liberals voted ABB (Anyone But Bush), I voted ATCDAL (Anyone That Can Defeat A Liberal) aka George W. Bush. Though I wasn't thrilled to vote for President Bush, I feel it was the right decision to switch my vote from Badnarik to Bush.

The big question is why?

There were a number of reasons why, but most of them had to do with John Kerry.

1) Seriously questioning Kerry's character in light of his actions during and after Viet Nam. Of course, he could have cleared up some of these questions by releasing all of his military records. The fact of the matter is that he betrayed his fellow Men-in-Arms after the war with his statements during Congressional Hearings...none which were ever validated by anyone (though nobody in the news media ever bothered to follow-up). Furthermore, if what he said was true (concerning atrocities that he admitted to), why wasn't he court-martialed? I could go on ad naseaum, but before ripping into this reason, do some of your own research first.

2) News that Justice Rehnquist was diagnosed with cancer. Rehnquist is one of 4 conservative members of the court. With the court aging (4 Supreme Court Justices over age 70), there is the possibility of 1-4 retirements. Kerry would have appointed ultra-liberal justices to the Supreme Court...which is not in the best interests of the country. Right now the court is split 4-4-1, with the moderate vote being Justice O'Connor. A Kerry victory would have ensured a liberal Supreme Court for 20 years.

3) Kerry's liberal voting record (look it up on vote-smart). He has consistently voted against 2nd ammendment rights, for raising taxes, against the intelligence community, and against a strong defense. Though a compelling argument could be made that gridlock in Washington (liberal President with a Conservative Congress) is good for the country in terms of deficit spending, I was uneasy with the thought that he'd raise taxes and attempt to socialize health care.

The big questions for the next 4 years:

1) Will Bush and the Republicans exhibit fiscal restraint by cutting taxes AND spending?
2) Will Bush manage to get any of his judicial nominees through? Will he fight for them?
3) Will Bush finish what he started and stabilize Iraq? Will they remain a democratic country or will the Shi'ite majority turn it into an islamic state?
4) Will Bush accomplish his agenda of privatizing social security, health care/tort reform, and tax reform?
5) Will Bush push forward with a religious mandate to eliminate gay marriage? Will the uses of the Patriot Act be expanded or lessened?

We'll see...in the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy the liberals whining about this election. In case you libs don't know, the majority of the country is RED, not BLUE. Which basically means that the majority of people in this country lean conservative...NOT liberal. Now if we can only swing them to Libertarian...we'd be all set...

11/02/2004

Voting and the Electoral College

Yes, today is the day we vote. I voted first thing this morning and secured my right to complain over the next 2-4 years. It looks like a close race...even a electoral tie (remember, you need 270 to win). Truthfully, I'll be glad when it's over....

That scenario brings up an interesting question. Isn't it time to get rid of the Electoral College? Before the Jet and Information Age, the Electoral College was useful in that it forced candidates to visit every state. Now we see the opposite is true with the candidates only visiting battleground states. The Electoral College was also designed so that states with a large population advantage didn't get get all the attention. Obviously, that isn't true as Bush has pretty much ignored New York and California.

With information being readily available to everyone, shouldn't every vote count in every state. How would you like to be a Republican in New York or California or a Democrat in the West? Those votes are rendered meaningless by the majority in those states. If EVERY vote counted equally, then an overall majority would rule.

However, for the elimination of the Electoral College to work, a few things would need to be accomplished first.

1) Elimination of Provisional Ballots - This confuses the issue and makes fraud too easy. Seriously, if you can't figure out where you're voting ahead of time, you're too stupid to vote. I do support same-day voter registrations though.
2) Elimination of dual-voter registrations - voters registered in more than one state abuse their right to vote and water down legitimate votes
3) Insurance that non-citizens can't vote - What are the benefits of citizenship if we allow non-citizens to vote? That is one of the primal rights of citizenship.
4) A secure electronic method of voting - I'd envision a method of voting where all votes are cross-referenced with a database of registered voters. I'd imagine that you could vote via biometrics...but that would freak out the civil libertarians (oh no, a centralized database of retina scans!). I think it's doable if it's strictly controlled.

Needless to say, we are a LONG way from doing this...but I think it's still an idea worth pursuing.

11/01/2004

Wired 12.11: The Mystery of the Coca Plant That Wouldn't Die

In case you have ADD and don't want to take the time to read the article, I'll summarize for you.

1. US gives $750 million dollars to Columbia as part of a regional anti-narcotics package. 20% goes to dusting coca fields with herbicide.
2. There is now a strain of Coca that is resistant to the herbicide.
3. The herbicide-resistant strain appears to be genetically modified to resist the herbicide.
4. The herbicide does kill all the weeds thus making the coca field production higher.
5. U.S. coca crop dusting efforts are now helping the drug cartels' coca production.

Doesn't this illustrate the futility of the "drug war"? It is impossible to kill the supply so long as there is demand. The profit motive is far too high for drug producers who will do anything to meet the supply. The cartels are even using subs to traffic the drugs.

The bottom line is that there is and always will be, a segment of the population predisposed to using narcotics. There is no way to stop people from doing drugs. We spend billions of dollars on both sides (supply and demand) with little results. We can affect demand to a certain extent by educating our children to the dangers of narcotics and by raising kids that won't grow up to need escapism via narcotics. But we'll never fully eliminate a segment of the population's demands for narcotics. To think anything different is pure ignorance.