Monday, January 31, 2005

Kerry Admits To Treason?

I heard the clips today, and quite frankly I couldn't believe it so I decided not to comment. But now others are making the same point. Kerry admitted running guns to the Khmer Rouge during the Vietnam War. Great, except they were the bad guys, they were on the other side. Read the transcript here. Did it not occur to Russert or even to Kerry himself that what he claims he did would have been aiding and abetting the enemy in a time of war? I think more questions need to be asked of the distinguished Senator from Massachusetts about his gun running during Vietnam. Coupled with his incredible antiwar actions after the war, a statement like that by Kerry should be looked at with great scrutiny.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

The Beginning of the End of the North Korean Regime?

Very, very interesting news from North Korea:

According to exiles, North Korean agents in Beijing and Ulan Bator are frantically selling assets to raise cash — an important sign, says one activist, because “the secret police can always smell the crisis coming before anybody else”.

Read the whole thing.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

The Iraq Election

The New York Post has two great columns re: the Iraq election. The first by John Podhoretz and the second by Deborah Orin.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sunday Night Model Railroad Blogging


AnnaMae's
Originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.

Others have Friday night cat blogging, I am now introducing Sunday night model railroad blogging. Model railroading has been called the World's Greatest Hobby, and well it might just be. It encompasses woodworking, wiring, modeling, research etc... For those of you not familiar with model railroading a brief introduction. Model railroads come in a variety of scales. HO scale is the most popular scale followed by the much smaller N scale which is at 1:160 ratio, and is the scale I model.

Living in an apartment does not lend itself to a large model railroad, so at this point I am limited to building parts of a future 50's era metropolis and planning on paper. In other words I am one of the millions of "armchair modelers" in this country.

This is one of my first building models and is a cafe with apartments above. The cafe is named Anna Mae's after my grandmother, who ran a restaurant many years ago. The Hershey's kiss was provided for scale. Total modeling time from start to finish was probably around 15 hours.

More on the Election in Iraq

Read Omar's post at Iraq the Model. The violence was a mere footnote in one of the mst historic days in modern history, and Omars post does a good job of expressing the joy felt by the people of Iraq. This via reuters:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Some came on crutches, others walked for miles then struggled to read the ballot, but across Iraq (news - web sites), millions turned out to vote Sunday, defying insurgents who threatened a bloodbath.

Suicide bombs and mortars killed at least 27 people, but voters still came out in force for the first multi-party poll in 50 years. In some places they cheered with joy at their first chance to cast a free vote, in others they shared chocolates.

Even in Falluja, the Sunni city west of Baghdad that was a militant stronghold until a U.S. assault in November, a steady stream of people turned out, confounding expectations. Lines of veiled women clutching their papers waited to vote.

"We want to be like other Iraqis, we don't want to always be in opposition," said Ahmed Jassim, smiling after he voted.

In Baquba, a rebellious city northeast of Baghdad, spirited crowds clapped and cheered at one voting station. In Mosul, scene of some of the worst insurgent attacks in recent months, U.S. and local officials said turnout was surprisingly high.

One of the first to vote was President Ghazi al-Yawar, a Sunni Muslim Arab with a large tribal following, who cast his ballot inside Baghdad's fortress-like Green Zone.

"Thanks be to God," he told reporters, emerging from the booth with his right index finger stained with bright blue ink to show he had voted. "I hope everyone will go out and vote."

In the relatively secure Kurdish north, people flowed steadily to the polls. One illiterate man in Arbil, 76-year-old Said Rasool, came alone and was turned away, unable to read the ballot paper. He said he would return with someone to help.

Even in the so-called "triangle of death," a hotbed of Sunni insurgency south of Baghdad, turnout was solid, officials said.

FESTIVE VOTING

In mainly Shi'ite Basra, Iraq's second biggest city, hundreds of voters queued patiently at polling centers. "I am not afraid," said Samir Khalil Ibrahim. "This is like a festival for all Iraqis."

A small group cheered in Baghdad as Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein, a descendant of Iraq's last king, went to the polls. Ali leads a constitutional monarchy slate in the election.

Western Baghdad polling stations were busy, with long queues of voters. Most went about the process routinely, filling in their ballots and leaving quickly without much emotion.

Others brought chocolates for those waiting in line, and shared festive juice drinks inside the voting station.

Samir Hassan, 32, who lost his leg in a car bomb blast in October, was determined to vote. "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting for peace," he said, leaning on his metal crutches, determination in his reddened eyes.

In Sadr City, a poor Shi'ite neighborhood of northeast Baghdad, thick lines of voters turned out, women in black abaya robes in one line, men in another.

Some of the first to vote countrywide were policemen, out in force to protect polling centers from attack, part of draconian security measures put in place by U.S. and Iraqi officials.


In other words the election was more successful than anyone could have predicted. A 72% turnout in the face of threats of terrorists. Let us all remember when the dominos start to fall in the Middle East that it was this day that started it. Let us also remember that had it been up to the Democrats in this country this day would not have come (that can also be said about the fall of the Soviet empire). They are forever on the wrong side of history, but today is a day of celebration for the world, especially for Iraqis.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Freedom Marches On


Basra
Originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.



This is a fantastic day in the history of the world. I did not liveblog the Iraq election coverage, nor did I listen to every bit of press coverage while it was happening. In fact I scanned the news as the polls opened, again after they had been open for two hours and then I prayed for the people of Iraq and went to sleep. I was anxious to get to the news this morning. I feared that I would log on and find that the first truly free election in Iraq had been marked by hundreds of casualties, firefights and a low voter turnout due to voter fear. This morning it seems that the vote was a huge success. There was violence as expected. But had anyone said days ago that there would be so little violence and so few killed by the terrorist group that just days ago declared war on Democracy, few would have believed it. Of course the few that were killed while waiting to vote will be mourned, but overall itseems that the Iraqis overcame the threat of violence, the naysaying of most of the world, the criticism of the Democratic Party of this country and the hope of journalists around the world that their opportunity for freedom would fail. The estimates are that 72% of the country's elegible voters cast votes. This number has yet to be verified, however if it is even close to correct, than a higher percentage of Iraqis voted in this election than did Americans in the last election, and that American election produced a record turnout.

Freedom marches on, and the successful election in Iraq vidicates those who believe that men, all men, desire freedom. Those who scoffed at the President's state of the union speech will now have to square their position with what has happened in Iraq, and in countless other counties in recent decades. Those who scoffed at the President's speech are the same people who declared that the Soviet Communism was a legitimate form of government equal in validity to American democracy.

This is a historic day, a day that will be remembered as the day freedom came to the middle east. This election will reverberate around the world, especially in neighboring Iran where the young population cheered the President's inauguration address. Those young Iranians who long for freedom and now live next door to people who are free and live in a democratic country. How much longer will they tolerate the oppressive mullahs who rule that country? How much longer will Syrians, who last week watched Iraqi expatriates in their country vote when THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT , stand for their oppression? And who will they look to when they want to break the shackles of their oppresors? The United States, just as the Presdient stated in his inauguration address. The question is will those who scoffed at his speech be willing to "pay any price or bear any burden" when the oppressed come to us for help?

Phtos of the election here.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Freedom, Freedom, Freedom

Larry Kudlow's piece on Realclearpolitics is a must read before tomorrows election in Iraq.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Nothing Like It In the World


valley
Originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.

Spent Saturday skiing, another perfect day in the Rocky Mountains under clear blue skies with fresh powder.

Countdown To the Election

It is less than two hours before the polls open in Iraq. Although I suspect there will be violence, I believe the elections will be more successful than most predict. Small acts of violence will not deter the Iraqi electorate. Those in this country who understand the importance of this election are undoubtedly filled with anxiety. For the reaction of Iraqis read here and here. Photos here.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Friday, January 28, 2005

James Taranto: A Degenerate Dynasty

After Ted Kennedy's latest rant, where he called for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, days before the citizens of that country risk their lives to vote, it bacoame apparent that not only is Mr. Kennedy a disgrace to the US senate and the country, he is a disgrace to his family. James Taranto has more in the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web. Read it here. Pay special attention to the excerpt of the 1961 JFK inaugural address, the soaring rhetoric, the optimism, his advocation of the spread of democracy, no matter the price or burden to THIS country. All the elements the modern Democratic pzarty ridiculed President Bush for making in his address.

The degeneration of Ted Kennedy is not just the story of a once proud political family to the fringe of political lunacy, but the story of an entire party that has become so obsessed with retaining its power that it's members regularly resort to anti-American rhetoric.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Voting Fevor Takes Hold In Iraq

Yes there will be violence aimed at those going to the polls in Sunday's election, and it can be assured that terrorists will attempt a spectacualr act of terror in an attempt to invalidate the election. However, I believe that the election on Sunday will be more successful than most people think possible. I also believe that no matter how successful the elections actually are, the mainstream media in this country and around the world will attempt to portray it is a miserable failure, as "not legitimate", as they attempted to do with the election in Afghanistan for the first 48 hours after the votes were cast there. Once it was discovered that the claims of fraud weren't true, they dropped the story like a hot potatoe: best to act as if the first elections in that country in centuries had not taken place than to give the Bush Administration any credit.

If, God forbid, the terrorists manage to disrupt the election in a significant way then the elections will be rescheduled. Eventually man's desire to be free will overcome those who have declared war on democracy.

The Times of London is reporting that the people are eager and excited to vote, that they feel as though they are finally entering a new era. When they have their first to taste of self-determination they will understand all the more the damage that Zarqawi and his associates wreak, and that the terrorists will return them back to the bondage they were subjected to before the American invasion.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Darth Tater: Why Did It Take So Long?


darthtater, originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.

Honestly this is the best thing I've seen in a long, long time. What's next? Chewy Chia?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Democrat's Anti-Americanism Rages On

Little can be said about this. Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Howard Dean etc... are the soul of the modern Democratic Party. They have come to the point where they are willing to do or say anything, no matter how damaging or insulting to the country they supposedly represent, in order to advance their personal agendas and expand their personal power. This story and this story are indefensible.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

A Must Read Lileks

If you do not read Lileks everyday you should, and today is a good day to start.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Breaking the back of The Terrorist Forces In Iraq?

Powerline has a fantastic post regarding the continued roll up of the Zarqawi terrorist ring in Iraq. The mainstream media is intent on making sure you know nothing about this. Yes I read the second half of the Powerline post regarding CBS, but as they have made themselves completely irrelevent it makes no difference.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Sharon: Conditions Ripe For Historic Breakthrough

This certainly sounds like good news, assuming of course that the Palestinian government keeps it's word, for once.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Senate Confirms Rice

The Senate has just voted to confirm Dr. Condaleeza Rice as Sec. of State. The vote was 85 voting for and 13 voting against. Included in those voting no were John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer. The debate over Dr. Rice’s confirmation lasted hours, which gave the Democrats plenty of time to bring even more shame to their party by having their members call her a liar, and accuse her of deliberately misleading the American people.

Despite all of this her confirmation was, as John McCain called it, a “foregone conclusion”, which lead the Senator from Arizona to make this statement on the floor of the Senate:

“So I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion,” McCain said. Since Rice is qualified for the job, he said, “I can only conclude that we are doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the election.”


Yes, bitter, sore, childish losers is a perfect description of the current Democratic Party, and their behavior toward Dr. Rice should make it obvious.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has also confirmed Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General in a straight party line vote.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

31 Marines Die In Helicopter Accident

God be with their families.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Powerline Has Good Iraq Election News

A Powerline reader translated a recent poll taken in Iraq and sent the translation on to the guys at Powerline. It is good news ahead of Sundays elections. Read it here.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Realist or Idealist?

The fallout from the President's inauguration address continues as more and more people join the debate over the merits and benefits of the spread of freedom and democracy. It is strange isn't it that in the most free country in the history of the world there are those who believe that it is a bad idea to promote the spread of freedom?

In today's Opinionjournal, Joshua Muravchik lays out the case that given the historical record it is President Bush who is the "realist", not the naysayers who decry his speech as naive idealism. Read the whole thing.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Maureen Dowd: Pathetic Demogogue

From the Belgravia Dispatch. Maureen Dowd has been fisked, again. Her column in today's NYT so distorts the interview that Vice Predisdent Cheney gave to Don Imus that it is difficult to imagine that they are the same.

I suppose if Maureen Dowd chose not to lie, it would be difficult for her to compose any of her ridiculous anti-Bush rants. If she allowed any of the administration's comments to be printed without serious distortion, her readers may actually begin to see how reasonable the administration actually is. But Maureen Dowd occupies a world where a speech about the human desire for freedom is "incendiary".

Maureen Dowd will occupty the same ash heap of dicredited demogogues pretending to be journalists as will Dan Rather.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

The Conflict of the 21st Century

Ralph Peters has an excellent column in today's NY Post regarding the state of affairs in Iraq and what he believes is the "conflict of the 21st century".

Progress has been made in Iraq, but the US media will not broadcast any positive developments from that country. They wish to see the elections on Iraq fail so it will reflect badly on George Bush. The fate of the people of Iraq comes second to their desire to push their agenda ahead in this country.

The elections on Sunday will most likely see violence, but they will also see millions of Iraqis willing to risk their lives to vote, risking their lives for the freedom that the President spoke of in his inauguration speech. The freedom that so many who have iot seem unable to appreciate or understand, and that millions of oppressed around the world yearn for everyday.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Majority of Iraqis Plan to Vote

Very interesting statistics from Iraq. It seems that the majority of Iraqia, even those Sunnis inside the Sunni triangle, plan to vote.

many people in this country want the elections, and thus democracy in Iraq to fail. So deep is their irrational hatred of George Bush that they would rather see chaos in the Middle East than have any sort of success attributed to him. There will be violence on election day, but the elections will proceed as planned, and will be more successful than many predict or want.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Top Al-Queda Lt. Arrested In Iraq

A top Al-Queda Lt. was arrested nine days ago in Iraq:

A top lieutenant of al-Zarqawi's terror group, Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf, also known as Abu Omar al-Kurdi, was arrested during a raid in Baghdad on Jan. 15, a government statement said Monday.

Al-Jaaf was responsible for 32 car bombings that killed hundreds of Iraqis and was linked to the August 2003 bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad that killed the top U.N. envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 others, the statement said.

The suspect "confessed to building approximately 75 percent of the car bombs used in attacks in Baghdad since March 2003," Allawi spokesman Thaer al-Naqib said in the statement.

Al-Jaaf was "the most lethal of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's lieutenants" and "claims responsibility for some of the most ruthless attacks on Iraqi police forces and police stations," the statement said.


This areest and the fact that it has just been announced has led some to believe that the earlier reports of Zarqawi's arrest may have some weight. Either way the more top terrorists arrested or killed befor ehte elecions scheduled for next week the better. Let's hope that this arrest leads to the arrest or death of his cohorts.



Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

The Debate Over Freedom

While I was away over the weekend enjoying bright blue Rocky Mountain skies and attempting to ski down very icy, very steep ski runs, the debate over the President’s inauguration speech continued to rage amongst the talking heads. I am most interested in reading the opinions of those on the center right as the left is predictable in their response. They do not believe the United States has the moral authority to lead the world toward greater freedom. The Democrats response is predictable as well (not that the separation between the left and the Democrats is of any consequence any more, they are basically one and the same) in that no matter what the President said in his speech they would have declared it the most irresponsible "policy" in the history of the United States. So it is the opinion of conservatives that is most interesting. There are many who understood the speech and have deemed it to be one of the most important inauguration speeches in the history of the country, and there are those who believe that the ideas expressed in the speech were too grand, and they are concerned that the implementation of the "plan" will be of too great a cost. They want more details. Interesting. They seem to view the speech as a policy speech like any number of speeches given on Social Security reform, health care etc... As if there is an outline of a plan in the President's office that details how to bring freedom to the darkest corners of the globe:

Step 1: Elections in Iraq
Step 2: Military domination of every other country on the globe
Step 3: Force newly subordinated people's to vote at gunpoint

I find it difficult to believe that intelligent people cannot understand that the President's speech was not a preview of his second term, but a speech about the aspiration of man and the role of the United States at this time. It was a philosophical speech. Did Kennedy have specific requests of citizens when he said to ask not what your country may do for you, but what you can do for your country? No, he did not divvy up chores to specific parts of the country to be finished before his first term was complete.

I am confused as to how conservatives can be distressed by a Republican President giving a speech that calls for mankind to strive for the end of tyranny. Robert Kagan, journalist for the Washington Post went so far as to declare the President’s goals the “antithesis of conservatism”. Really? Which document defining conservatism declares the eternal desire to end tyranny a terrible goal? A larger question: How has mankind, and the United States in particular, come to the point that a debate is necessary when the leader of the free world declares that his country will always stand beside those who wish to free themselves from the shackles of a brutal dictator?

Conservatives who believe that the speech was meant to be an outline or preview of the President’s second term need to calm down reread the speech. Will President Bush hesitate to defend America or aide in some way those who try to rise up against their oppressors? No. But that does not mean, as many seem to think, that he believes he can through military might or other means, end all tyranny in the next four years. As another blogger stated on his site, the speech was a speech for the not yet born.

This is an eternal struggle. The United States is set to lead the struggle for the foreseeable future. It is a burden we will have to accept now and long after George Bush is no longer President.




Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Back From (a much needed) Vacation

A couple of weeks after the election I went into a self-imposed news and blogging blackout, and I encouraged fellow bloggers to do the same. The lead up to the election was long and it was taxing. It was a rewarding experience for the blogosphere, as the power and influence grew at a faster rate than many thought possible. In fact by the end several bloggers had more or less become absorbed into the mainstream media by their willingness to accept any and all invitations to appear on TV. Fair enough, to each his own. Many bloggers burst on to the scene in the days leading up to the election and many of those blogs have since permanently shut their digital doors. There were times when I thought I might do the same, but after my hiatus I am ready to go again.

I will encourage all bloggers who did not take time off to do so. Not just for your personal life, but for the sake of the quality of your blogging as well. Step away, freshen up, get some new perspectives and come on back. I promise it will feel good.


What have I done the past weeks? Read, skied, worked on hobbies, worked hard at work, enjoyed the holidays, visited my family, watched movies, etc… And I enjoyed all of it all the more because I DID NOT know what Barbara Boxer had said on any given day. In fact I am amazed at how the headlines today are almost exactly the same as they were seven weeks ago when I shut down (Tsunami aside). In fact the past seven weeks have been so relaxing and have allowed for such clarity of mind that they may have set me on the path to a new career. More on that some other time.

So now I begin anew. The next election is a little under two years away, so this blog will have a slightly different format than it did pre-election. It will still be 80% politics, but 20% of posts will be about things completely unrelated. Skiing, hiking, art, cigars and even model railroading are possibilities. (hey if a good portion of the blogosphere can have “Friday night cat blogging” and keep their audience, someone out there will be interested in model railroading).

So check back early and often for a fearless conservatives views on politics and current events.

Happy reading!


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

The Inauguration

Yesterday was a great day for America and freedom loving people everywhere. The world witnessed the peaceful transition of power in the most powerful country on earth. The President was confident, the first lady was radiant and the crowd gathered in Washington DC was enthusiastic.

The highlight of the day was the President’s speech. It was a fantastic speech that outlined a vision, a hope, for future generations of Americans and for those who are now languishing in prison-like dictatorships. The speech will probably be known as the “Fire of Freedom” speech, and it will likely go down in history as one of the most important inauguration speeches in US history. Yes there are detractors on the right and the left. Those who are apparently unable to grasp the vision of the speech, those who understand the speech but feel that the United States should not be the country to lead the world to greater freedom, and those who feel the President should have concentrated on how the 3rd ID might secure the fourth sector of Basra before the Iraqi elections or the sins of the United States at Abu Ghraib, as if an inauguration speech is the place for that type of conversation.

The detractors from the left seem to be unable or unwilling to understand that the speech outlined a vision for the world more broad and more grand than the inauguration speech of their idol JFK. He was just as idealistic in his speech, but the left swooned when it was delivered by a man with a (D) behind his name. The detractors on the right come from the group of timid conservatives that seem to be unable to grasp political victory by the horns and not let go. Those who feel the role of a Republican majority should be not to offend. They have yet to realize that when victory is achieved the party must accept itself as the victor and lead the country, not play the ever so humble victor who feels lucky to be handed the reigns of power. The President understands that he was elected to lead and he understands that the United States has the obligation to lead at this time. Many apparently do not want to understand either of these facts. Maybe they simply do not have the vision it takes to understand what it takes to lead the free world at this time.

The President asked this question in his speech:

"From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?"

The questions has yet to be answered, and the answer will only become clear generations from now.

The President has a vision to lead the world toward freedom and make America more secure. The question is whether or not we as a people have the character to see that vision through.


More at RealClearPolitics and Hugh Hewitt.

By the way, for anyone out there wondering, I am officially back from my self-imposed two month news and blogging blackout. More on that later.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Zarqawi Arrested?

Unconfirmed, and it seems unlikely that he would allow himself to be captured alive. Of course we thought that about Saddam too.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.