Iran is part of the “Axis of Evil” that President Bush identified years ago, along with the then-Saddam-controlled Iraq and fruit-loop-led North Korea. North Korea claims to already have working nuclear weapons. Saddam certainly wanted nuclear weapons and was actively working on them, as Lybia’s handing over of 408 Iraqi scientists proved. So this leaves Iran. And Iran wants nuclear power.

Oh, yes. Iran wants nuclear power, but you don’t have to worry. They say they only want it for peaceful purposes to generate power. And I could believe them if they weren’t already sitting on a vast sea of oil which can give them all the power they need for their nation. Why do they need something more like nuclear generated power? I can’t see the need, but I can certainly see their want of nuclear power. And this want isn’t coming from a desire to make sure every household in Iran has all the electricity they want, but rather to get rid of their long-time enemy, Israel, and become the lead player in the Middle East. Iran wants nuclear power, but not the power of electricity it can generate. It wants the power of fear and intimidation that comes from nuclear weapons.

“Israel has nukes, so why can’t Iran?” I don’t worry about Israel’s nukes any more than I worry about England attacking the United States with their nukes. But I worry every time a state sponsor of terrorism even thinks of getting nuclear weapons. Knowing that Iran is merely enriching uranium is scary even if they never put the uranium into a power plant or bomb. I can put together the news of enriched uranium and Iran’s sponsoring of terrorism and come up with the answer of a dirty bomb. I wonder how the political left and moonbats of this country would react to a Manhattan made uninhabitable due to the scattered radioactive material from terrorist-exploded dirty bombs? Or Rome? Or London? And what would their reaction be when tests prove the radioactive material came from Iran? I would rather not find out.

Victor David Hanson sums up our options with Iran in his recent post to National Review Online titled, “Dead-end Debates:”

The Bush administration is hardly hell-bent on preemption, unilateralism, and imperial grandeur in blocking Iran’s rapid ascendance to nuclear status.

Instead, there are, and always were, only three bad choices. First, we could let the multilateral Europeans jawbone, using the cowboy George Bush as the bad-cop foil while drawing in the United Nations, the Russians, and the Chinese, or the Arab League, in hopes of delay. Perhaps as we bought time we could pray that after 26 years either the Iranians would liberalize their regime or the democratic experiment in Iraq would prove destabilizing to the neighboring mullahs.

The second tact was live with a nuclear Iran as if it were a Pakistan — and perhaps hope that something like a nuclear democratic India emerged next door to deter it.

The third choice, of course, was to tarry until the last possible moment and then take out the installations before the missiles were armed. The rationale behind that nightmarish gambit would be that the resulting mess — collateral damage, missed sites, enhanced terrorism, dirty-bomb suicide bombers, Shiite fervor in Iraq, and ostracism by the world community — was worth the price to stop a nuclear theocracy before it blackmailed the West, took de facto control of the Middle East oil nexus, nuked Israel, or spread global jiahdist fundamentalism through intimidation.

All alternatives are bad. All have been discussed. So far neither the retired military brass nor the Democratic opposition has offered anything new — much less which choice they can assure us is best. The result is that Iran is the new soapbox on which talking heads can blather about the dangers of “preemption,” but without either responsibility for, or maturity in, advocating a viable alternative.

So what can we do? I don’t like any of the options, but there are times when you have to choose between options that are really bad on the one hand and horrible on the other. Read Tom Godwin’s short story “The Cold Equations” about making tough decisions when all the options are bad.

Reuel Marc Gerecht makes a good point about who is in control of this nuclear showdown in Iran in his article “To Bomb, or Not to Bomb” at The Weekly Standard. It is long, but well worth reading the whole thing.

Critical point: The Iranians–not the Americans–control this discussion and are circumscribing the diplomatic avenues the Bush administration is still determined to pursue. Tehran’s mullahs are unlikely to allow us any running room. Rafsanjani’s and Ahmadinejad’s recent statements about Iran succeeding in enriching uranium (level unspecified) and its readiness to begin industrial-scale production mean, among other things, that the clerical regime believes it now has the advantage (which it does).

The United Nations has again proven incapable of handling this challenge (the Russians and the Chinese will, so the Iranians believe, continue to block sanctions). And the Iranians have little reason so far to fear the Europeans. The Germans have repeatedly shown themselves uncomfortable with tough sanctions against Tehran, and the recent comments made by the German foreign minister recommending direct U.S.-Iranian talks signify, translated into Persian, that the Germans really don’t like the sanctions approach, even when pushed by France. Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad are also saying that it’s too late; you can’t bomb us now since we’ve crossed the enrichment threshold. This certainly isn’t true–the Iranians don’t have enough centrifuges constructed and running–but it could become true, much faster than the Bush administration would like.

And finally, I will finish this by pointing to some text and another great cartoon from Cox and Forkum about Iran:

Apparently some on the left are mobilizing to prevent military action against the U.S.-hating, terrorist-sponsoring, genocide-threatening, Nuke-seeking, Holocaust-denying, homosexual-executing theocrats of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mild and Woolly

Cox and Forkum posted a new cartoon today about our assimilation problem. They are basing this cartoon on an article by Robert Tracinski of TIA Daily titled America’s Real ‘Assimilation’ Dilemma.

Non-assimilation

I agree that the phenomenon of “political correctness” and the attacks on American history — most notably, the attempt to portray slavery and racism, not the fight for liberty, as the essence of our history — are real threats to the process of assimilation. And this paves the way for anti-American leftist groups, like ANSWER, to sponsor pro-immigration rallies at which some illegal immigrants have waved the flags of their home countries — an odd way to make the case for becoming a citizen of this country.

But the argument about political correctness and multiculturalism is not really an argument against immigration. In fact, it only connects to immigration very incidentally. If the ability of our culture to induct people into the values of our civilization is in doubt, then what happens to 11 million illegal immigrants is a relatively small problem. What we really ought to be worried about is a group of 75 million people who desperately need to be assimilated into America’s culture of individualism, taught the essential facts about America’s history, and encouraged to appreciate the virtues of our political system.

I am talking about 75 million people who are, you might say, on an automatic track to citizenship, and all of whom will become newly eligible to vote in the next two decades.

I am speaking of the 75 million Americans under the age of 18.

Cox and Forkum have produced another cartoon, this time about Senator Trent Lott and his recent comments about the Porkbusters group. At the bottom of a Washington Post article is the following quote from Senator Lott:

“I’ll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina,” he said.

Read the whole article. You’ll learn about a proposed $700 million project to turn a railroad into a highway along the Gulf Coast, after it had been recently repaired at the cost of $300 million. As Senator Dirksen is purported to have said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

Cox and Forkum also point to a CNN article about some identified pork projects.

  • $13.5 million for the International Fund for Ireland, which helped finance the World Toilet Summit
  • $6.4 million for wood utilization research in 11 states
  • $1 million for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative in Michigan
  • $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina

Pray tell, what part of the above, or any of the other $29 BILLION in Congressional pork projects, is authorized by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution?

Cox and Forkum have a new political cartoon out about the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR.

Cox and Forkum: CAIRful

They created the cartoon based on The Middle East Quarterly article CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha. Here is one paragraph from the article about CAIR:

But there is another side to CAIR that has alarmed many people in positions to know. The Department of Homeland Security refuses to deal with it. Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat, New York) describes it as an organization “which we know has ties to terrorism.” Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat, Illinois) observes that CAIR is “unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect.” Steven Pomerantz, the FBI’s former chief of counterterrorism, notes that “CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.” The family of John P. O’Neill, Sr., the former FBI counterterrorism chief who perished at the World Trade Center, named CAIR in a lawsuit as having “been part of the criminal conspiracy of radical Islamic terrorism” responsible for the September 11 atrocities. Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson calls it “a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas.”

The genesis of the cartoon comes from the following paragraph from the section labled “Intimidation:”

CAIR attempts to close down public debate about itself and Islam in several ways, starting with a string of lawsuits against public and private individuals and several publications. CAIR’s Rabiah Ahmed has openly acknowledged that lawsuits are increasingly an “instrument” for it to use.

This article addresses eleven objectionable reasons in answer to the statement by CAIR Communications Directory, Ibrahim Hooper, that “It’s always interesting these Muslim bashers can never point to something CAIR has done it in its 10-year history that is objectionable.” Read the whole article.

I’ve been meaning to write again about global warming for some time now, and it’s about time I actually did so. I listened to the local liberal radio station on the ride home from work, and the host was going on and on about how Alaska has changed with the effects of global warming. Earlier this year I listened to a guest on the same radio station explain that the Inuit people of the Arctic areas of Alaska and Canada claim the U.S. is responsible for violating their basic human rights due to global warming. The guest made the comment that the Inuit people’s lives had been unchanged for millennia until the advent of global warming.

At this point I called the radio guest a barking moonbat because he clearly had no grasp of history or climate. The only constant about our climate is that it changes. Our planet has cycled between ice ages and epochs of extra warmth, and it will continue to do so long after the current generation becomes some future paleontologist’s exciting find. But someone must have sold this guy a theory of an unchanging earth.

Earlier today, I did a Google news search on “global warming.” It came back with an interesting listing of recent news reports. While I won’t go over every one of the dozen or so I read, I’ll discuss a few. In the first listing, the National Geographic Society reported that global warming might result in rivers in Africa drying up. Here’s the proof:

To predict future rainfall, the scientists compared 21 of what they consider to be the best climate change models developed by research teams around the world. On average, the models forecast a 10 to 20 percent drop in rainfall in northwestern and southern Africa by 2070.

I have only one issue with these climate models — they don’t work. The scientists run models and make predictions for the future based on the results, but when they run these same models with a known set of data, like information from 1970, and run a simulation of the next 35 years, the models cannot accurately determine what the weather actually was in 2005. And if the models cannot accurately parallel known data, why should we trust their findings for the unknown future? This isn’t science — it’s religion!

A news article posted at KSL.com indicated that scientists in Utah were noticing the state getting warmer faster than they had first thought. While there are people who disagree with global warming and claim it’s all based on faulty science, I have no problem believing that climate change is occurring. After all, the earth has gone through many periods of hot and cold. I’ve asked quite a few people if they could name the primary cause of global warming. The answers have varied, but only one person to date has given the correct answer: the sun. And the sun has been rather active as of late.

So if people agree that the earth is warming up, then what is the primary concern? It sounds like the main argument these days centers around what to do about the warming. Since the sun provides our warmth, and it is rather difficult to turn the sun’s thermostat down a few clicks to reduce the heat, I don’t think there’s much we can do. But not everyone shares my opinion. The next news link issued the following mission statement on how to confront this problem:

Our mission is to use the strength of our numbers to urge:

1) Our government to join the rest of the world in solving global warming, and

2) American business to start a new industrial revolution and develop clean energy products that will reduce our dependence on oil and other pollutants that contribute to global warming.

I consider their first goal to be inherently flawed, since the main idea espoused by the world’s big thinkers is to jump on board with the Kyoto treaty. I’ve already written about why that is a bad idea. But people are free to petition their governments to sign the treaty. I’ll continue to petition for the opposite. To each his own, I guess.

If you think everyone is gloom-and-doom about global warming, you’d be wrong. Two other links took a different view. One had a tongue-in-cheek approach to global warming, considering that it would serve to warm up the bitter Ohio winters. Seriously, a warmer earth would do just that, and warmer winters would reduce deaths due to exposure and increase crop yields in the upper latitudes. The other article linked to a blog disseminating lots of recycling information and discrediting global warming itself. I don’t believe everything I hear or read from environmentalists these days, but I can’t deny that the earth is getting warmer. It just doesn’t necessarily follow that humans in general and the United States in particular are to blame for it.

I loved this quote from the next link: “Of course, global warming is no surprise to Southwesterners, where there has been no significant precipitation in four to five months.” The problem with that sentence is that global warming doesn’t cause drought in the American southwest. You can lay that squarely at the feet of La Niña. When El Niño is in full force, the southwest gets more rain than normal. Don’t bother to write and tell me that La Niña / El Niño are caused by global warming; that’s nonsense. These two weather phenomena are opposite ends of a normal weather cycle that has gone on for as long as people have cared to notice. Blaming this normal cycle on global warming is a common argument, but nonetheless an invalid one.

But global warming does seem to be a great catch-all explanation. If it’s rainy, it’s global warming. If it’s dry, it’s global warming. At the height of summer, you’ll hear reporters and politicians bemoaning global warming. But just as many will cry and wring their hands over global warming in the middle of winter. Some goofs even had the bright idea to hold a global warming conference in Montreal in the middle of freakin’ winter. Steven Milloy of JunkScience.com wrote a great editorial about how global warming fans point to simultaneous heating and cooling as being caused by people:

The British newspaper The Independent, for example, reported in its Nov. 30 article about the Nature study that “the real evidence does point to a possible one degree Centigrade cooling over the next two decades.” But the newspaper reported in another same-day article that “the [record hot] summer of 2003 was triggered by global warming caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.” Such contradictory reporting casually ignores the reality that greenhouse gas emissions can’t simultaneously cool and warm Europe.

Cox and Forkum did a great job lampooning this attitude with the following cartoon:

Brrr!

When my sister-in-law was little, she could be teased very easily. Just looking at her funny was enough to bring on the tears. She has grown out of that, but you’d only expect an adult to grow out of that childish state of super-sensitivity. It’s part of becoming an adult. Life can be cruel, and growing up means learning how to deflect or ignore the sometimes cruel comments that others make.

This is also true with religion. As Robert Heinlein famously wrote, “One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh.” As much as you might prefer otherwise, not everyone will treat your religion with the dignity and respect you believe it deserves. You might think that, with 33% of the world’s population identifying as Christians, people would treat Christianity with the greatest amount of respect, but that’s certainly not the case — especially in the art world. Chris Ofili created a multi-media treatment of the Virgin Mary spattered with elephant dung and cutouts of female genitalia from pornographic magazines. That’s the sort of dignity and respect that ought to be shown the mother of Jesus Christ, right? What about Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ? In case you missed the controversy back in 1987, Piss Christ is an “art” piece created by dunking a crucifix into a bottle of the artist’s own urine and then photographing the image. When Christians complained about these two creations, claiming they desecrated the images of two of the most holy personages in Christianity, the near-universal response from the art crowd was “Suck it up, Christian crybabies!” And Christians, for the most part, did just that. That is why you don’t remember Christians threatening to cut Serrano’s throat, or Billy Graham urging his co-religionists to end Ofili’s life. In the West, the right to free expression simply trumped the importance of showing respect for the religious sensibilities of Christians.

This is why, at least twice a year, certain people gather to protest and mock my religion right in the faces of my co-religionists — and they are not fire-bombed, attacked, or beheaded. Under the watchful eyes of the local police who are there to protect their freedom of speech, these protesters drag holy scriptures across the concrete and mime wiping their buttocks with sacred religious vestments, all the while loudly proclaiming that people of my faith are going to hell. If someone of my faith should lose his cool at the protesters’ blasphemous acts and get into a scuffle with them, it will be he — not the chanting, insulting, offensive protesters — who is arrested and taken away. Here in the U.S., we prize freedom of speech more than freedom from offense. That’s why people here can feel safe in mocking even what we hold most holy. Kanye West is safe even when he poses as Christ on the cover of Rolling Stone, although the Left seems to believe this is an edgy, courageous stand against the fundamentalist Christians who swarm around in the Red States. But taking a poke at Christians is safe because Christians have become more mature than those who choose to make fun of them.

So let’s fast-forward to September 2005. The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed some political cartoons about Islam and its prophet Mohammed. You can view the 12 political cartoons in question at Zombie’s page, about 3/4 of the way down. The first 3/4 of the page shows representations of Mohammed across the centuries. Incensed Muslims in Denmark forwarded these images to their co-religionists across the globe, also including three highly-offensive images that were not printed by the newspaper. Methinks some people intended to stir up trouble, and they have succeeded. Danish embassies have been burned in Lebanon and Syria, and the angry rioters have not targeted only the Danes. Other Scandinavian places have been indiscriminately attacked and trashed. Neither are news people immune from making mistakes like this; my wife and I heard a news reporter accidentally report how the Muslim people were angry over Dutch cartoons. I guess if Muslims can attack the Norwegian Embassy in Tehran, Iran, then it’s also OK for the geographically-challenged press not to know the difference between Holland and Denmark. (Hint to press: one is Scandinavian, the other is not.)

So what is the difference between how Christians and Muslims react when their religious icons are mocked? Christians do not consider Christ any less holy or worthy of respect than Muslims do Mohammed. The difference is one of maturity. Christianity has been around for about two thousand years, and it has grown up a bit during that time. Islam, on the other hand, sprang up some 600 years later, and it is a little like your kid brother. When things don’t go according to the Prophet’s wishes, Muslims pitch a fit with yelling, crying, and wild flailing of fists. While a child’s temper tantrums are annoying, these fits of rage can get downright deadly when they’re being pitched by immature, brittle adults with knives and firearms. And that might be my biggest problem with the way Muslims react to any impugned dishonor of their faith. Armed riots seem to be the standard Islamic response to anything that upsets them. Someone puts panties on a prisoner’s head — it’s time to riot! Someone makes up a story about flushing the Koran — it’s time to riot! Someone draws a disrespectful picture of Mohammed — it’s time to riot! The picture above was taken from a recent demonstration against the Danish cartoons. It would appear that, to Muslims, it is morally acceptable to respond to an insult by killing the insulter. Oh, yeah, that’s a mature attitude.

Not only does Islam seem brittle and immature, the world is also perceiving it as a deeply insecure movement because of the widespread backlash against Denmark. Those who are inwardly secure in their faith rarely require the approval of their beliefs by others; much less do they demand such approval with a show of violence. This behavior is the mark of an inherently uncertain and unstable belief system, one that constantly requires propping up. Islam seems to need a perennial enemy to focus its bile and hatred upon — whether it is the Jews, the Crusaders, the infidels, the Americans, the West or Denmark — just so it can remain a cohesive entity.

It is a mistake to think that Muslims can be placated by apologizing for these cartoons. If they had not set off the Muslims, something else would have done just as well. This is the ideological equivalent of a child’s tantrum, pure and simple — a violent, unreasonable demand that the world fear Muslim might and kowtow to every Muslim sensibility. And like all tantrums, if we choose to defer to the first angry outburst, more and worse ones are sure to follow.

So there is just one thing to say about all this: “Suck it up, Muslim crybabies!”

P.S. If you issue a fatwa calling for my death because of this post, you will only have proven my point.

Addendum (2/8/2006): A few updates on MuslimFreakoutOverSillyCartoonsGate:

HonestReporting.com is showing the hypocrisy of Muslims whining about the “offensive” Danish cartoons when they have no problem printing their own anti-Semitic cartoons.

There were a dozen political cartoons printed in Jyllands-Posten, but when the Danish Muslims passed the cartoons to their brittle coreligionists, they included three other images without revealing where they got them. Gateway Pundit has uncovered the origin of one of these three extra images. It’s not a picture of Mohammad at all. It’s from a pig calling contest.

Ted Rall, a political cartoonist, has waded into this discussion on uExpress.com. While I find his cartoons unfunny, and his politics laughable, I actually agree with this paragraph he wrote:

What if millions of people take offense? What if some of them turn violent, even murderous? So what? No one can make you angry. You decide whether or not to become angry. If journalistic gatekeepers worry about the mere possibility of prompting outrage, they’ll validate mob rule and undermine our right to a free press, one that covers the controversial along with the bland.

Addendum (2/9/2006): From what Michelle Malkin is reporting, it was NeanderNews that uncovered the source of the pig-snouted image passed around by the Danish Imams. Kudos to Dennis for discovering this!

JunkYardBlog has a great summation of this Comic Jihad issue in an under two minutes video file. Watch it and share it with a friend. Then share it with another.

Addendum (2/16/2006): So the major news companies tell us they won’t post copies of the 12 Danish cartoons because it will inflame the sensibilities of the Islamic world, but at the same time they have no problem running more Abu Ghraib pictures which will inflame the sensibilities of the Islamic world. Cox and Forkum has a great cartoon about this very subject:

Cox & Forkum

Today is Veterans Day. When I think of our veterans, I think of men like my grandfather who fought in the Pacific theater of World War II, or my father who was a fighter pilot and flew missions over Vietnam. But it recently hit me that my cousin Tom, several years my junior, is now a veteran. My thanks and respect go out to these three, and to the millions of others who have put on the uniform of the United States. I love this cartoon, put together by Cox and Forkum for Veterans Day last year.

Veterans Day -- Thank You

They also pointed to an editorial written by Edwin A. Locke, titled Giving Real Meaning to Veterans Day. Here are some highlights of that editorial:

Because human life is so precious, war should never be undertaken unless our rights are threatened. It is often said that our soldiers must sacrifice themselves for our country. This is precisely what we must not ask them to do. A sacrifice entails the surrender of a greater value for a lesser one. But if a man loses his life on the premise, “I would rather die than live in slavery,” it is a tragic loss — but it is not a sacrifice. Such a man is acting in his own interests, to protect his most precious values.

We must be proud of our soldiers, but it is equally true that they should be proud of the cause they fight for. It is terrible to die in war, but there is one thing worse: to die in a war that has no meaning, a war that offers no reason for risking one’s life.

The best way we can honor our veterans and give real meaning to Veterans Day–aside from ceremonies honoring their past and present dedication and bravery–is to promise that we will go to war only when America’s interests as a free nation are threatened, and wage it in the uncompromising pursuit of victory.

I have often heard people claim to support the troops, but not the war in Iraq. My quick response to that statement is to ask exactly how they support the troops. Are they helping the troops by contributing to projects such as Soldiers’ Angels, Any Soldier or Project Valor-IT? These are very concrete ways of supporting the troops and letting them know how much we value them and their service.

But every time I have asked about truly showing support, these people have admitted that they haven’t done anything for the troops overseas, or they explain that they are doing their part by trying to bring the troops home as soon as possible. I follow this up with a simple question–if they had the power to snap their fingers and instantly transport the troops back to their homes, would they do so? So far, all the people I’ve asked have claimed they would do exactly that if they could.

And what would happen if the troops were to vanish from Iraq? While that nation has seen an amazing amount of progress, with the increasingly competent police force able to keep the peace and the successful ratification of the Iraqi Constitution, if our troops were to vanish tomorrow, the forces of evil still at play in that region would do their best to tear that progress down. I say evil, and I mean it. That is the best word to describe people who think strapping on a bomb and exploding themselves at a wedding is a good and noble idea. These are the people we are fighting in Iraq, and we are winning! If we were to pull out, the deaths of 2,000 brave American men and women would be in vain, and the freedom that 26 million Iraqis now enjoy would vanish.

Remember, two million Vietnamese and one million Cambodians were slaughtered because we left them and the Communists swiftly took over. Is cutting and running the best way to “wage [war] in the uncompromising pursuit of victory,” as Locke wrote?

Do the liberal Leftists in the U.S. really support the troops? Some do, and I can’t deny that. But as far as I can see, the majority of Leftists do not support the troops. They are doing everything they can to distract from the brave actions of the military by calling them babykillers and demanding that more photos be released from Abu Ghraib to fan the flames of their hate.

The Veterans Day celebration in the city of Berkeley, California was canceled because chairman Joe McDonald wanted to have Bill Mitchell as the keynote speaker at the rally. Mitchell, along with shameless media whore Cindy Sheehan, is a co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace. From the Knight-Ridder news article:

“If you want to have an anti-war rally, count me in,” said Linda Perry, an aide to City Councilman Laurie Capitelli. “But not on Veterans Day. It’s neither the time nor the place.”

Edwin Harper, adjutant of the local Disabled American Veterans chapter, which has participated in past Berkeley Veterans Day observances, threatened that his group would pull out.

“They have the other 364 days and 23 hours to make their political point,” he said. “This one hour should be reserved for honoring veterans, period.”

McDonald, backed by other members of the committee, disagreed, saying that not permitting Mitchell to express his point of view would be tantamount to censoring free speech.

Please. Yes, Mitchell is free to express his anti-war views, but Linda Perry had it right–a Veterans Day celebration is neither the time nor the place to air your political grievances. And speaking of neither the time nor the place, “social justice” group CODEPINK is planning to focus, as it always does, on the dead this Veterans Day. Coffins and crosses will represent those who have died in Iraq. I can predict with certainty that there will be many with signs or t-shirts calling for the troops to come home.

Rather than focusing on those who have fallen, this is a day we ought to thank our neighbors and friends for their service to our nation. And to all of you, thank you.

We are in your debt.

This day brings me bittersweet feelings. I am heartbroken over the death of thousands on that day four years ago, but I can be content in the knowledge that in our response to these thugs, 50 million people are now freed from oppressive dictatorships that supported terrorists acts like the ones we saw that September morning. Sitting on my shelf is a documentary about New York firefighters, filmed by two French brothers named Jules and Gedeon Naudet. I have held off watching it these four years, but I will watch it today. I missed the documentary put together by National Geographic, but I plan on buying that soon as well. I don’t want to forget why America is at war with terrorists.

Below are eleven images from the slideshow available at Little Green Footballs. If anyone asks me why we are doing what we are doing, I point them to Charles’ slideshow.

Incoming Plane

Second Plane Hits

Pentagon Burns

The Towers Burn

Three Falling

Trapped

The First Tower Falls

The Second Tower Falls

Died in the Service of Others

Empty Streets

Never Again

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.