In a desperate attempt to stretch out her 15 minutes of fame, Cindy Sheehan, anti-war nut and darling of the Left, has started a hunger strike. As a news story on the subject points out, “[Sheehan] will remain on a diet of water, teas and juices until Sept. 1, International Peace Day.” Sheehan and others are taking part in “Troops Home Fast”, a hunger strike designed to pressure our military into bringing the U.S. troops back from fighting overseas. Lots of big-name celebrities will be taking part in this hunger strike–people like Dick Gregory, Willie Nelson, Alice Walker, Danny Glover, Dolores Huerta, and Susan Sarandon, to name the six people listed right after Cindy “No peace, no peas!” Sheehan. Color me unimpressed by the overall star quality and lack of protest babes.

Here is an explanation about the nature of the “Troops Home Fast” hunger strike:

What types of fasts are there?
There are many different types of fasting, but the two main types that we’re suggesting people to do are juice and water fasts. A juice fast consists of only drinking liquids, and a water fast consists of only drinking water. If you are worried about a particular health issue, you can modify the fast by periodically eating slices of avocado and banana, or doing what is feasible for you.

Again, color me unimpressed if you are “fasting” by eliminating solids, but still ingesting vegetable and fruit juices or “doing what is feasible for you” (i.e. wimping out). That’s a bit like Michael Moore cutting out the ham, but sticking with the cheesy fries (warning: sound file). A few people, such as Cindy Sheehan, have committed to a long-term fast–but many, if not most, of the people who will participate with “Troops Home Fast” are going without food for 24 hours or less. I don’t see this as much of a sacrifice, since I belong to a religion that encourages all healthy adult members to participate in a 24-hour fast (taking neither food nor water) on the first Sunday of every month. Even my nine-year-old niece participates. As a result, I view a fast that lasts less than 24 hours as relatively meaningless, like Saddam Hussein’s “hunger strike” that consisted of merely skipping lunch. Boy, was he committed to his fast!

Speaking of commitment, there is a joke about a pig and a chicken discussing a bacon and egg breakfast. The pig chides the chicken’s enthusiasm to help out with the breakfast by saying, “For you it’s just a contribution, but for me it’s a total commitment!” At this point, I can see the “Troops Home Fast” people are merely contributing to the issue, not truly committed to it. If they were completely committed to bringing about peace by fasting, they should be willing to lay down their lives for the cause. When Mahatma Gandhi begged for peace between Hindus and Muslims, he declared he would fast until he died if that was necessary to get people to change. From the reactions and attitudes of the people closest to Gandhi, it’s clear they believed he was serious about fasting until death. That is an example of total commitment, rather than a mere contribution to the issue.

So if Cindy Sheehan et al are really serious, they should go without food and water for as long as it takes while sitting at the fence just outside the White House. When their lifeless corpses made the nightly news, no one would be able to deny their total commitment to the cause of peace. And since the Left told us that slow death by dehydration would be completely painless for Terri Schiavo, I have no doubt the “Troops Home Fast” participants would have a similarly painless time as they fasted before the White House.

Until they show they are completely committed to their cause, rather than mere political dilettantes, I will remain unimpressed.

UPDATE (7/11/2006 5:34:11 PM): I guess Sheehan considers merely skipping solid foods to be a fast. Here are the first two paragraphs from her recent blog entry, outlining the nature of her “fast.” The bolded parts are my own.

I find traveling out of the country very challenging being on a fast. When I was on a layover in Madrid on my way to Venice, Italy yesterday, the closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it. Traveling for 22 hours is very taxing under normal circumstances–but then again, when have we had normal circumstances since the 2000 and 2004 successful coup attempts that have brought BushCo into power?

I traveled from Venice to the frontier of Italy to the province of Udine which is right at the foot of the pre-Alps. I am here for a huge youth festival which includes many elements of social justice and peace work. It is beautiful and the air feels different from other places that I have travelled. It is strangely soft and gentle as is the natural light. However, there is not a Jamba Juice on every corner, so blended juice drinks with protein powder are impossible to find.

I like Jamba Juice, so I know that drinking only Jamba smoothies is not the same thing as fasting. There are lots of nutrients in a typical Jamba Juice drink — more if you add an optional boost or two — so does it suddenly stop being food if you don’t have to chew it? To quote a snippet from Jamba Juice’s CIO, “[O]ur products are a meal replacement…” (When I was attending college last year, I witnessed large numbers of students using Jamba Juices as “meal replacements” at lunchtime. Some had Jamba Juice lunches for weeks at a time. None claimed to be fasting, or suffered any ill effects from doing so. –TPK)

Now, thanks to Sheehan, Jamba Juice drinks are “fast” food.

The talented duo Cox and Forkum have done another good job with their latest political cartoon.

A Soldier's Burden

On the soldier’s back, in full whine mode, are Cindy Sheehan, Rep. John Murtha, the mainstream media, and Muslims who are more concerned about someone mistreating the Koran than the mutilation of American infidel servicemen.

Forgive me if I don’t have much respect for these voices of negativity.

In the light of the recent murder and mutilation of three soldiers in Iraq, why should we show any concern for the sensibilities of the Islamic nutjobs we kill? If you understand that the aggressor sets the rules, you will recognize that the enemy has given permission for our troops to mutilate and desecrate the bodies of those whom they kill. No more whining from the liberals about soldiers burning bodies. The opposition did it first.

Oh, and I meant it when I called the death of our three solders murder. It would be a battlefield death only if the people who killed them had been soldiers. But the Islamist nutjobs who perpetrated these acts do not conform to the rules of war to be classified as soldiers and be accorded the rights of soldiers in wartime. Thus they are unlawful combatants, and when they kill our soldiers, it is murder.

I came across an interesting post on Little Green Footballs about Haditha. Charles pointed to a news article printed at HawaiiReporter.com that is really good reading. I have suggested having patience when these types of news stories come out, and this is backing me up by offering some interesting information that is starting to come out from Iraq.

Eager to score points against President George W. Bush, US Representative John Murtha (D-PA) is calling the November 19 incident in Haditha “murder”. He claims there is a “cover up.” Over 40 news stories appeared Memorial Day weekend calling Haditha, “an atrocity” or “a massacre.” Murtha says, Haditha “is worse than abu-Ghraib.” Terrorist cheerleader and Cindy Sheehan associate Dahr Jamail is calling for the death penalty. The terror apologists of the Council on American Islamic Relations are calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign. Al-Qaeda terrorists from Zarqawi’s group, Ansar al-Sunnah are circulating leaflets in Haditha congratulating “those who participated in exposing the dirty deeds of the Americans.”

The liberal media is chiming in to make sure that Haditha is used to wear down support for our troops in Iraq—just as they did with abu-Ghraib. Peering through the media smokescreen few have noticed that all of the actual shooting eye-witnesses in the media’s kangaroo court are local Iraqis–witnesses who are under constant threat from terrorists and whose motivations may be suspect. All the US witnesses currently quoted in the media saw events before or after the alleged shootings—but not the shootings themselves.

Only now—two and a half months after the story broke in the March 19 issue of Time magazine– are the voices of soldiers who question the charges beginning to be heard. Marine Captain James Kimber commanded Lima Company of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. The troops involved in the incident were from Kilo Company. He tells interviewers that he first learned about the shootings in February when he heard that a Time magazine reporter was asking questions about civilian deaths. Notably, Kimber says he heard nothing about a civilian massacre during weekly meetings with the Haditha City Council and talks with local leaders. “It would have been huge, there would have been no question it would have filtered down to us,” he said. “We reported no significant atmospheric change as a result of that day.” Kimber who has been relieved of his command and is back in Camp Pendleton, CA says, “I believe I was a political casualty as a result of the Haditha incident.” Some media accounts indicate that some of the dead were relatives of a Haditha City Council member. The May 12, 2006 edition of Iraq Reconstruction Update carries a photo and short article about Marine officers holding weekly meetings with the Haditha City Council with no mention of the alleged shooting controversy.

The whole article is well worth reading. And there is one additional thing worth keeping in mind: the accused marines have not had a chance to defend themselves, so all the incendiary information you are watching or reading has come from people who are not part of the actual trial.

So the Left has been out in force demonstrating against the war in Iraq as it hits the three-year mark. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people rallied in the nation’s capital. Similarly-sized demonstrations happened in New York, Los Angeles, and across the U.S.

Eh, who am I kidding. These planned demonstrations were a big fat dud. The second picture at Michelle Malkin’s site shows a few dozen people at the Pentagon. Whoopee. A demonstration in Washington D.C. drew a whopping 166 people. On the radio, I heard a man ramble excitedly about the high turnout of teenagers at the local demonstration. What was he so excited about? At one demonstration, there were two teens out of six people. At the afternoon rally, five of the eighteen people who showed up were teens. My, Grandpa, what big numbers you don’t have.

Gateway Pundit has done a great job of tallying up the lackluster response around the globe.

Zombie has a photo shoot of the Global Day of Action rally in San Francisco held on March 18, 2006. From her vantage point, it appears the Saturday rally had more action than today’s. But even with the larger numbers on the weekend, the overall groups were much smaller this year. Perhaps the numbers are lower because the Left heard that Susan Sarandon is going to portray Cindy Sheehan in an upcoming movie, so they stayed home to watch Entertainment Tonight and E!

There are better ways to get your message across, but for liberals every war is Vietnam and every political scandal is Watergate all over again. And so they get to relive their youth and recall past glories by going through the same silly marches.

Please. That’s so 20th century.

I recently wrote about how the media will sometimes ignore one story while obsessively focusing on another. In the case of Cindy Sheehan, the media is focusing heavily on her story. Her plight as a parent of someone who died in the War on Terror isn’t unique, but her anger and defiance of the President has made her a cherished icon of the Left.

President Bush visited Utah on Monday, August 22nd to meet with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. As with any visit by the President, the protestors came out. Since Utah is such a conservative state, it was odd to see the mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson, actually issuing a call for people to come and protest. Mayor Anderson sent an e-mail to some like-minded people, outlining his wishes for the Presidential visit:

Don’t let him come to Utah and not see huge opposition, even in the reddest state. This would send such an important message. A tepid response will just send a message of apathy and resignation. Let the Bush administration — and the world — hear from Salt Lake City!!! The advocacy community should be organizing the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen!

To put Mayor Anderson’s words in perspective, Jerry Newberry, the communications director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said that he had no knowledge of any protests of a Presidential visit ever organized by officials in the VFW’s host city, let alone by the mayor of that city. But considering that Rocky Anderson is a Democrat, are you really that surprised?

Since the President was going to visit Utah, the Left decided to use its current cause celebre to rail against President Bush and his policies. A political commercial was created to run on Utah TV stations for a few days before the President’s visit. But KTVX, the local ABC affiliate, refused to run the commercial, citing it as an “inappropriate commercial advertisement for Salt Lake City.”

I first heard about all this last week on a Utah TV news broadcast, as the host explained how KTVX wasn’t going to run the commercial. The very next commercial break on that station included the Sheehan spot. Since this ad was targeted at Utah viewers, I’m not sure how many other people around the nation saw it. Here is the full text of the commercial, as spoken by Cindy Sheehan:

Mr. President, my name is Cindy Sheehan. On April 4, 2004, my son Casey was killed in Iraq. He was only 24, and he died in his best friend’s arms. Casey was so good and so honest. Why can’t you be honest with us? You were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction. You were wrong about the link between Iraq and al-Qaida. You lied to us, and because of your lies, my son died. You said he died for a noble cause. What cause? Mr. President, I want to tell you face to face how much this hurts. I love my country. But how many more of our loved ones need to die in this senseless war? How many more soldiers have to die before we say enough? I know you can’t bring Casey back. But it’s time to admit mistakes and bring our troops home now.

Now that you have read the text of the commercial, I’d like you to consider it piece by piece.

“Mr. President, my name is Cindy Sheehan.” While this ad is ostensibly addressed to the President, it is actually directed at the people who are watching the commercial. Addressing it to the President makes the ad sound more consequential than a statement that begins, “I’m Cindy Sheehan, so listen to what I say.”

“On April 4, 2004, my son Casey was killed in Iraq. He was only 24, and he died in his best friend’s arms.” The death of anyone’s child is a tragedy, as I have written before. I am truly saddened that Ms. Sheehan’s son died. But at the age of 24, he was an adult, and he freely volunteered for his military service. Once you volunteer for the military, you go where you are ordered to go. I learned this at an early age while growing up an Air Force brat.

“Casey was so good and so honest. Why can’t you be honest with us?” This begs the question: where exactly did the President lie?

“You were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction.” Oh, really? I have already written about the Iraqi WMDs. There is a problem with proving a negative. To prove that there are no WMDs in Iraq, we’d need to scour the entire Iraqi nation, turning over every rock, digging deep into the sand, opening every container in a country the size of California. At that point, we could say we had proven that Iraq did not currently have WMDs. But as I have pointed out, Saddam Hussein had WMDs and used them against the Kurds. Since he never fully accounted for those WMDs, it is pretty safe to assume that they still exist. Syria is a good possible location for them, as we have seen from a foiled bomb plot.

“You were wrong about the link between Iraq and al-Qaida.” How can anyone deny that there was a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda? I have covered this before, so I’ll only quote a bit of what I wrote then: “Does the name al-Zarqawi ring a bell? He’s one of the ghouls who chopped off Nick Berg’s head. Know where he is right now? If you say Iraq, go to the head of the class. So here we have al-Qaeda: trained in Iraq, supplied with weapons from Iraq, plotting attacks in Iraq, launching attacks now in Iraq and, thanks to the corruption of the U.N.’s “oil for food” program, funded by Iraq.” In the year since I wrote that, more evidence has surfaced that Iraq and al-Qaeda had close ties. The link between the two is quite clear. But it may be that Ms. Sheehan misspoke, and really meant a link between Iraq and 9/11. President Bush didn’t make that claim.

“You lied to us, and because of your lies, my son died.” Notice that she first claimed President Bush was “wrong” and later stated that he “lied.” There is an important difference between being incorrect and being a liar. And in any case, Casey didn’t die because President Bush lied. He died because his unit was attacked by terrorists in Baghdad. OK, so that may be splitting a fine hair, but this is an emotionally-charged accusation, and it isn’t accurate.

“You said he died for a noble cause. What cause?” Oh, I don’t know, how about the freedom of 26 million men, women, and children from the tyrannical whims of a brutal dictator? Or is freedom not a noble enough cause? How about making Iraq into a honey pot for terrorists who want to kill Americans, pulling them away from defenseless civilians in the U.S. and funneling them into Iraq where our trained men and women in uniform can kill or imprison them? Or is the military’s resolution to stand “between their loved homes and the war’s desolation” not a noble enough cause? If Ms. Sheehan does not think these causes are noble enough, well, that’s a difference of opinion — but to claim there is no cause at all is facetious at best.

“Mr. President, I want to tell you face to face how much this hurts.” Why didn’t Cindy Sheehan tell President Bush this the last time she met with him, two months after her son died? Contrary to what some liberals might think, the President’s title is not Mourner-in-Chief and it is not really his job to “feel your pain.” We had enough of that under the last President; while he was busy diddling interns, his inaction against terrorist threats helped lay the groundwork for the current war. Nonetheless, I believe President Bush does recognize the pain Ms. Sheehan feels. More than that, he realizes that to turn away from Iraq now would place the lives of millions of sons and daughters, both American and Iraqi, on the line. He has the discipline to see past the public wailing of one grieving mother and recognize the potential tragedy of millions of grieving mothers if we leave Iraq too soon.

“I love my country.” I’m willing to take her word for that.

“But how many more of our loved ones need to die in this senseless war? How many more soldiers have to die before we say enough?” There is only one thing more painful than the loss of our armed forces in battle, and that is to lose the battle as well. Coming up second best in a war is the costliest price any nation can pay, because it means that the men and women who fought and died did so for a lost cause.

“I know you can’t bring Casey back. But it’s time to admit mistakes and bring our troops home now.” Thus, we would lose the war in Iraq, and the death of brave soldiers like Casey would truly be for nothing. Many leftists have tried to compare the current war to the debacle in Vietnam, so perhaps it’s worth pointing out that our military didn’t lose in Vietnam. Thanks to the acts of useful idiots who sapped the will of the people and of the government, America lost the will to fight, and the military was undermined and pulled out from Vietnam. This was a great victory for the leftists, and it is telling that their victory came at the bloody loss of our military men and women. We didn’t lose in Vietnam militarily — we lost politically, because the people’s will was sapped by tools like Cindy Sheehan.

Ms. Sheehan: the world has watched as your private life crumbles around you. Your family has publicly discredited your actions and asked you to stop. Your husband has filed for divorce. You may have supporters in the leftist community of anti-war protestors, but every one of the people you ought to hold most dear refuses to stand with you. That should tell you something. You stand alone. And I cannot imagine that the spirit of your son, who was willing to fight and die for freedom, stands beside you now. I believe he would be ashamed.

I am not a journalist. I merely play one on TV. If I were a real journalist — and, more importantly, being paid to write — I’d be more consistent and not skip posting for a week or more. But it is good to be the boss. When you are the boss, you get to make the big decisions. And since I am the boss of CaptainsComments.com, I get to make the decisions about the way it looks, how often I post, and what I will write about. Likewise, other bloggers are equally free to choose what and when to post, and the mainstream media is just as free to write about what it wishes. But there are some major differences between a hobby site like mine, and a major news outlet like ABC News or the Washington Post. It is obvious that our size and scope are different, but there is also an issue of partisanship. I make no bones about being a politically conservative individual with some libertarian leanings. But the mainstream media doesn’t openly admit its own political biases and the way members of the media are mostly liberal-leaning in their political philosophies.

We all have our own agendas, but some people refuse to identify their agendas or try to hide that they even have an agenda, which really amounts to the same thing. Having the power to choose what to report or not to report means you have the power to push forward an agenda. I realize there are some very good things happening in Iraq, but based on what the mainstream media reports, you’d think nothing good is happening to anyone there. Imagine if I reported only the failures of your sports team. If you never heard about any of their successes and only got news of the failures, wouldn’t you start having a negative image of the team? You wouldn’t care that they had just been ranked at the top of their sport because the news would be about anything and everything negative. While Americans tend to love an underdog, a team that continually loses every game and is bad-mouthed every night would see its fan base dwindle over time.

Sometimes there is an advantage to mulling over a subject for several weeks before posting. While typing up this information, I had a news nugget fall into my lap that just happens to deal with this issue. Mark Finkelstein posted an excerpt of an interview of Captain Sherman Powell by Matt Lauer for The Today Show:

Lauer: Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you’re facing and with the insurgent attacks you’re facing… What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?

Captain Powell: Well sir, I’d tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I’d be pretty depressed as well.

Q.E.D.

So the successes in Iraq are a major non-story to the mainstream media, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. First, good news is not seen as news; second, the mainstream media is very liberal and has shown that it will do pretty much anything to affect President Bush negatively. And sometimes the necessary action is to keep silent about successes.

Speaking of silence, the mainstream media has been markedly silent about an issue affecting a liberal group — Air America. This liberal radio network was launched to compete with the very successful conservative radio market. So far, it isn’t doing too well. Its history has been clouded with financial woes, and this latest newsworthy debacle is no exception.

To boil it down: Air America Radio’s former chairman, Evan Montvel-Cohen, got a New York charity called the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club to give $875,000 to Progress Media, Air America’s parent company at the time. (Progress Media has since been bought by Piquant.) The Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club charity dealt with children and Alzheimer’s patients and got its money from the donations of private individuals and from grants by the government. Since the money was “borrowed” from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, as explained in the words of Air America host Al Franken, it makes sense that someone needs to pay the borrowed money back. Al Franken explained, “[we] discovered this big loan from this Boys and Girls Club, and Rob Glaser, the new guy, who is the head of this new company Piquant, said OK, we don’t legally have to pay it back, because we’re a different company I guess, but we morally do, so they start making arrangements to pay it back.” As I see it, when a company is sold, its debts are also acquired by the parent company, so they are more than just morally obligated to repay the money. But I’m not a high-priced business lawyer, nor do I want to play one on TV, so the actual legalities are a mystery to me.

Both Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney have been reporting on this irregular money transfer and are investigating it and the surrounding issues. But the mainstream media has mostly yawned at the story, and people have noticed. Maloney quotes a letter written by Michael Becker sent to the New York Times taking them to task for a very sloppy job of reporting this issue. I can’t help but believe that if the politics were reversed, the mainstream media would be in a frenzy to dig deeply into the dealings of a conservative company — and would report its findings fully and regularly to the American people. But because the Left-leaning news media is ideologically aligned with Air America Radio, it is fairly obvious no members of the mainstream media will be hopping up to report this growing scandal.

This is not the case when the Leftist media sees a chance to score against the Right. Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey was killed in Iraq last year. Since that time, Ms. Sheehan met with President Bush; while they disagreed about the war, the meeting was cordial. The account of this meeting is based on Cindy Sheehan’s own words. But now it is very hard to find a mainstream media source that acknowledges that Sheehan previously met with President Bush. Instead, everyone seems to be focused on her current vigil outside the President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. What is she demanding? To meet with the President. The unspoken message is that she wants to meet with the President again. While her situation is lamentable, and the grief of any parent who has lost an adult son is great, her continuing sorrow at her son’s loss is not reason enough to merit another meeting with the President.

Since Ms. Sheehan is against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, she has become a rallying figure for the Left, and people are gathering to stand with her. I listened to the Randi Rhodes show on a local Air America station and heard a caller explaining how she and a friend were heading to Texas to be at Sheehan’s side. The caller identified this trip as her greatest spiritual experience. Cox and Forkum poked fun at the way the Left is practically deifying Sheehan in the mad rush to attack President Bush and the war:

Mother Sheehan

I mourn the loss of Casey Sheehan. Everyone deserves a good and long life, but the sad reality is that not all people get what they deserve. I am distressed to see that Ms. Sheehan chooses to use the death of her son to make political hay. While she stands up to express her opinion, she is open for response.

Matt Drudge is reporting some of the things said by Cindy Sheehan, and these bear reading:

We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!

In the sense that war is terrible and terrifying, I suppose you might be able to say the statement is true. But when over a hundred bombs go off in Bangladesh with the intent to maim and kill indiscriminately, the targeted war the U.S. is waging in Iraq ceases to be comparable to such blatant terrorism. And what was the reason for the Bangladesh attack, as explained by leaflets the terrorist bombers left behind? The goal of the bombing was to turn Bangladesh to Sharia law, and to “warn Bush and Blair to vacate Muslim countries, or to face Muslim upsurge.” Does it make sense to strike out against England and the U.S. by bombing Bangladesh, a nation that is 83% Muslim? Perhaps it does to a terrorist. But to Sheehan, these sorts of attacks don’t matter. President Bush is the biggest terrorist in the world.

We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now.

And you thought those green-and-black war images were taken with night-vision goggles in the dark. In Sheehan’s reality, the green glow comes from all the nuclear explosions in Iraq. I’m sure you remember seeing all this in the news: the crater that was once Baghdad, the fused and melted glass of Fallujah, and the flaming pyre that was Mosul. In all honesty, Sheehan is not talking about nuclear explosions. She is talking about the use of depleted uranium for bullets. As Steven Den Beste pointed out, you’d get more radiation by living 100 feet higher up a hillside than by living next to a ton of depleted uranium. Heck, you could coat the inside of your house with depleted uranium and get less radiation because it would block out the normal cosmic rays we get every day. The war we wage in Iraq is not a “nuclear war” in any normal or logical sense of that phrase, but it sounds horrifying, so the news media will probably run with it.

So here we have a woman, quite possibly mentally unbalanced, who is publicly mourning her son who died in Iraq. Her story is no different from the hundreds of other mothers who have lost sons and daughters in the war on terror, but because she is so vocally against the war and makes such a great figurehead to promote leftist causes, the media is all over her story.

All the news that’s fit to exploit.