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Friday, December 31, 2004

Now That's Entertainment

Fox Sports Net has managed to set the bar for tasteless and truly disturbing programming at an unheard of before level. I am at the same time appalled and strangely fascinated by the sheer stupidity and frivolity of what I am now witnessing … and not in a good way.

First up in this cavalcade of the bizarre and ridiculous was … The Rock, Paper, and Scissors Championship. That’s right, a competition consisting only of a duel between “competitors” in this childhood pastime. The contestants were decked out in all manner of humiliating costumes, and even managed to keep a straight face during this grueling contest. The competition was as you would expect best of three tries for a total of three sets. The competition progressed in stages, and the eventual winner was awarded $10,000, I think.

But that show was only an appetizer for the shameful display to follow. This spectacle would stand alone as a demonstration of overindulgence, but considering events now underway in South Asia, it is particularly distasteful. The Glutton Bowl is a televised smorgasbord of overeating and poor table manners that implicitly tells the remaining starving inhabitants of battered South Asia to “bite me”.

The contestants were introduced in a manner reminiscent of a professional wrestling program, and the degenerates who took part were not lacking for catchy nicknames either. My favorites included: Garbage Gut, The Doginator, Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, Donna “Belly Donna” Velek, and the most disgraceful of all … Tsunami, the Japanese hot dog champion. That’s right, Tsunami, unbelievable. The competition progressed in multiple stages, and each food to be eaten was kept a secret until just before the bell. As a fitting way to introduce each delicacy, a 55 gallon drum suspended from the catwalk above would descend and dump its contents into a huge transparent bowl.

The first item on the menu was hardboiled eggs, and the 5 idiots to belly up started snacking until the victor put away 38! At that point, I expected cardiologists to rush the stage and put an end to this menagerie, but alas it got worse … much worse. Next up was something that I never expected, BUTTER. The butter was presented in ¼ pound sticks that were 2300 calories each. The winner shoved 7 sticks of butter down his neck. Round three … BEEF TONGUE. Round four … hot dogs. Round five … MAYONAISSE! Yes, mayonnaise! The winner was some Eastern European guy that slurped down EIGHT POUNDS OF FU(%ING MAYO. Next hamburgers, then sushi. I thought the sushi would be interesting because it was laid out in 15 foot sea weed wrapped rolls with a mystery section containing nothing but wasabi. I was right because Belly Donna hurled and was subsequently disqualified.

In each round the winner and runner up remained in competition. A “Wildcard Round” consisting of the second place finishers was held with the winner to advance to the finals. The Wildcard Round was frightening because once the food was announced, I could not predict what more disgusting fare was being saved for the finals. When the drum of ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS was unceremoniously dumped onstage, I had to avert my eyes from the screen. Call me uncultured, but eating bull’s nuts, by hand no less, is something I had never even contemplated. The sight of eight slovenly men shoving animal testicles into their mouths was something I was simply not prepared to view. But I did it … for YOU dear readers, for you.

On to the finals Each finalist was a winner of one of the earlier rounds plus the bull nuts scarfing king. It really wasn’t fair for him because he was already two meals(?) deep by the time they dropped the drum of cow brains into the bowl of shame. That’s another food(?) that never quite appealed to me. It had to be the last round because the only thing left to serve these human dump trucks was the a$$ out of a dead rhinoceros. I have no doubt after watching them that they would choke down those sautéed sphincters if given half a chance. In an outcome literally dripping with pitiable irony, it was the Tsunami himself who managed to out gorge his opponents by consuming two large platters of cow brains.

That the Tsunami defeated all that came against him sends a message offensive on so many levels, that I will leave it to you to flesh that out. That this network would ignore this horrible pun come to life and air this program should hardly be surprising when you consider that it decided to produce something so asinine in the first place.

If you are not laughing, crying, or nauseated (perhaps all three) after having read this post, then I feel that I have not done my job. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Scumbag Murder Suspect ... Again, NOT a Navy SEAL

How many of these idiots am I going to have to expose before journalists take the 2 minutes to check and see that, in fact, this a-hole or another is not a Navy SEAL and never was?
Matthew,

Thanks for checking with us - we greatly appreciate your interest in upholding the honor of the US Navy SEAL Teams, and your search for the TRUTH. If the name you provided was spelled accurately, we do NOT have a listing for anyone named "Evans, Allen C" in our entire database of slightly more than 10,000 names. Please be aware that I also checked for possible spelling variations and alternate pronunciations but found none that matched.

This "research" is free, readily accessible on the web, and takes only moments to complete. Even during the Holidays, the guys at Authentiseal turned it around in 24 hours. Be advised, the story that I was forwarded yesterday reported that this dirtbag was wanted for murder. Today's story says he was thankfully captured, but again declares that the guy was a SEAL.

What does this descriptor add to the story in the way of news value? I could see if the guy was active duty, had stolen some weapons or explosives, and wore SEAL Team T-shirts that somehow it might be useful information. This clown is well into his 50's, fat, and stupid enough not to last 24 hours on the run. What do people think? That SEALs retain some magic powers after graduating BUD/S and can perform Jedi mind tricks on the unsuspecting public. If your murder suspect is an old, fat guy, then he's not in any condition to drop his Frogman mojo on anybody. I say this not to offend old, fat SEALs, because I have one in the family who is probably putting is .270 Winchester in his truck to drive out to the west coast and show me what they can do! Sorry, pop. I was just kidding!

But seriously folks, is it too much to ask that a reporter actually factchecks his story before publication? Or is it too much of an infringement on the 1st Amendment to respect the Navy's request when they asked the AP to at least pixelate the photographs of the SEALs they think they caught being naughty? Where are the ethics? Hell, where is common decency?

Where's my body armor? My dad just pulled up in the driveway!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I Think the Navy Edited That One

After spending six weeks with the guys in Afghanistan, 60 Minutes must have left the bulk of their material on the cutting room floor ... until the Navy went in and swept it all up. The piece was so brief and awkwardly edited that it was basically unable to develop an overall message except to say that the Teams seem to have the situation well in hand. No surprise there. It was interesting to notice that these same guys are fighting in Iraq which must seem like a paralell universe compared to the Afghan mountains. Of course that is a testament to the flexibility of the Teams.

Some things to note. First, the terrain is an assaulter's nightmare with little cover and no concealment. These guys were taking down a village in daylight with very little in the way of heavy weapons (Apache helos/AT-4s) and no "up armored" Hummers with less than fifty operators. Who knew that was possible? (Yuck Yuck) Second, it looked like the guys were using the dogs again, which was common in Vietnam, but not something that has been practiced until recently. Third, fingerprinting people in the field and using databases to transit and receive results in real time. We didn't even do that when I was in Customs! Finally, you are able to see that these are not 19 year old kids running around out there. Those guys in that unit are mature, 30-40 year old family men who are professionals. No Rambos in the Teams, just real men doing a very difficult and dangerous job quietly on your behalf.

While I wish that the story had been developed a bit more, I am actually glad it wasn't. The Navy had the bit in Mrs. Logans mouth, and they weren't shy about yanking it. No harm, no foul.

I Smell A Rat

After watching O'Reilly Factor with John Gibson just now, I have a sinking feeling that when I watch 60 Minutes II tonite there will be some more collusion evident between CBSNEWS and other leftist MSM outlets. The attorney advocating for the AP on ORF made the case that no privacy rights had been infringed upon by AP by its methods of obtaining the SEAL's photographs. Which is what you would expect. The question he didn't want to answer was, "What news interest was served by showing the photographs unredacted?" This big time attorney didn't want anything to do with that issue except to say that it's "never" harmful to report the "truth." Really? So it's not harmful to subject the families of the operators to potential danger from islamofascists who may be able to identify their husbands and fathers?

In the US "cover ups" are never met with much support, and I don't begrudge the AP from filing stories that it thinks are newsworthy. But when you take the time to obscure the faces of the terrorists that the SEALs apprehended, what possible reason is there to not afford the SEALs the same courtesy? I can find no other explanation than a malicious intent by the AP to "send a message" to the Teams that the editors do not support the Iraq War in an effort to intimidate the families of the SEALs themselves. How would you feel if your husband was half a world away fighting terrorists, and all of a sudden his mug was on Al Jazeera 24-7 with the tagline "Imperialist terrorist aggressor" scrolling beneath? You'd feel like it was time to move, and furthermore to implore your husband that his dangerous work was putting his children in jeopardy. Re-enlistment bonuses and special pays don't make up for that kind of pressure to get out, move and become a cop in your hometown. I am incredulous at the thought that this never occurred to the AP editors who decided to publish these photo worldwide.

Having not yet seen the 60 Minutes piece, I cannot speculate, but I fear that a set up of the SEALs may be underway with the New York Times following on the front page tomorrow. I hope I am wrong, but with their track record, I wouldn't put it past them. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Sue Bob offers a detailed analysis of the case as the current known facts allow. BRAVO ZULU

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

SEALs Ambush the AP This Time

h/t LGF

Does it not seem reasonable to expect that revealing the identities of Navy SEALs engaged in clandestine operations could have profound negative consequences? WTF? I blogged on this outrageous reporting at the time, but I expected the guys to just sit there and wallow in the mud being slung at them from the MSM. I guess things have changed somewhere along the line, because now six Navy SEALs and two of their wives have filed a lawsuit against the Associated Press. The plaintiffs are not surprisingly unnamed because their lives and those of their families are in real danger if their true identities were ever discovered by AQ cells located in the US. It’s not like Joe Army Guy who can go on CNN and wish his wife and kids Merry Christmas in uniform. There’s really no telling if Joe is a tank driver or a truck driver. Navy SEALs to a man are ALL up to their necks in taking out leadership targets in the Iraqi insurgency and AQ. If one of those guy’s names are revealed, particularly in association with a media driven “war crimes” frenzy, then their safety at home is in real jeopardy if not from AQ, then from some nutbag islamofascist sympathizer in San Diego or Virginia. It’s not like SEALs are authorized to carry concealed weapons in the US like a law enforcement officer. Some moonbat with a gun could do a drive-by on their house.

You would think that an editor somewhere along the way might realize this and refrain from publishing unredacted photographs of operators taken during a Direct Action. Apparently, the AP, WaPo, Fox News and everybody else who showed those pictures wanted the world to see what the oppressor looks like. The import and scope of SEAL operations in the GWOT may well come into better focus tomorrow night when 60 Minutes II reports from Afghanistan the operation that killed the public enemy number one amongst the Taliban by a reporter embedded with an assault team. This kind of irresponsible journalism badly deserves a major defeat in the courtroom as well as in the court of public opinion. Here’s to hoping that the jury in this lawsuit is as repulsed by the AP’s behavior as the jury of public opinion seems to be.

Usama bin Laden is NOT Dead

But he might as well be. Unfortunately for old Usama, his timing has been poor and his message uninspiring of late. His last video all but nailed the coffin shut on John Kerry, and now he picked the day that Victor Yushenko was freely elected in Ukraine to come out against elections in Iraq. Oops. In addition to that he picked the middle of the Tsunami news cycle to release his communiqué ensuring that it will languish into instant obscurity. He can thank the Pavlovian media for that, since the disaster dinner bell has left them salivating for horrific video.

He must be living the narcissist’s dream believing that he is the leader of a cult infused with the power to declare that voting in an election is tantamount to accepting an invitation to spend eternity in damnation. I suppose he still has his dupes, after all a Saudi official felt secure making the claim that US troops were harvesting the organs of insurgents dying on the battlefield in Fallujah. But at some point, muslims are going to have to realize that they are acting as pawns in a global chess game being played by a handful of despotic psychopaths who are all too willing to sacrifice them in what will clearly be a losing effort. I hope for their sakes and ours that the events in Ukraine and Afghanistan inspire the unwashed to walk away from the game room and get on with improving their lives.

As a write this, Ceci Connelly on FNC Special Report is propagating the new meme that Sunnis ought to stay home on Election Day in Iraq out of fear for their lives (and their souls too, Ceci?). I suspect that these people are going to see that 10,000 insurgents on the run from US forces won’t have the time or the inclination to go door to door looking for women with “I voted” stickers on their burkhas. I never cottoned to the “I’m taking my ball and going home” victory strategy and I would be surprised if the Sunnis do either. Even Democrats showed up to this year’s election, and they’ll be back in ’06 if only to make it close.

Usama is emerging as the Algore of islamofascist terrorists, in that every time he advocates something, the opposite immediately ensues. Just as Algore endorsed Howard Dean and spoke on global warming on the coldest day on record in New York a while back, Usama has endorsed Abu Musab al Zarkawi as the “Emir of Iraq”. If I was Zarkawi, I would take this opportunity to finish up that will he’s been putting off, because he’s not looking long for this world.

Monday, December 27, 2004

60 Minutes II: SEALs in Afghanistan

It has come to my attention from one of my readers that this Wednesday December 29th, 60 Minutes II will air a segment by a reporter named Lara Logan consisting of her experiences with Navy SEALs in Afghanistan. I don't know anything about this reporter, except that she is incredible looking and has a penchant for war correspondence. I must admit that I am greatly anticipating viewing this program for a number of reasons that you can certainly imagine.

First, as I have never been to Afghanistan, I am very interested to see some interesting video and reporting about the operations that my comrades have been conducting. On the promo site linked above,
Correspondent Lara Logan gives viewers unprecedented access into the world of Navy SEALs on the hunt in Afghanistan.
I must say that I am surprised that the Teams granted this sort of access to CBSNEWS, and actually allowed a reporter (female even) to be embedded (insert Frogman joke here) with an assault team/platoon during an operation. This is not something that the normally OPSEC aware SEAL Teams typically does. I would expect that her access had to be sufficiently expansive so that the Teams would not be subject to any blowback charges of "cover ups" or being uncooperative. This is a very fine line, and with CBS' reputation, I am truly amazed that a report of this nature was allowed to be filmed or reported on.

Which leads me to my second reason for wanting to see this show ... CBS itself. And 60 Minutes II in particular. This report will, for me, serve as a test case to determine what direction the CBSNEWS management is taking this program. After the utter humiliation and shameless use of forged documents to besmirch the President prior to the election, I am very anxious to see how this centerpiece primer on the GWOT is presented. These are, after all, the same people who won't wear American flag lapel pins out of a fear of losing credibility for not being objective (try to follow that twisted logic).

The MSM in general has treated the GWOT as means for the Bush family and Halliburton to enrich themselves while poor white trash are pressed into military service by a "backdoor draft" to do the bidding of the evil chimperor. Well, they are a little more subtle than that I admit, but the message comes through loud and clear. They have shown no discernable interest in the Afghan elections that were held a month ago since there were no significant acts of violence at the polls. The breathtaking success of the Afghan war, the emasculation of Al Qaida, and the dissolution of the Taliban are apparently not worthy of comment these days since there isn't much in the way of Monday morning quarterbacking to be done there.

To the fetching Ms. Logan and her CBS bosses: Be advised, Froggy is watching, the frogosphere will be watching and we shall see and we shall hear and we shall discuss how you have treated our friends. If you are fair and objective, you will be praised, but if you are not ... Froggy OUT.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Happy Holidays MSM

It seems that the media has gotten its Christmas present early … 22 dead in Mosul. You can almost smell the glee that these disingenuous sharks are basking in since the SecDef was taken down a notch by a lowly National Guardsman in Kuwait. Then it was the “Autopen Affair” and now as if in some perverse gift from the liberal gods they have a big story to tie up all the loose ends for their latest anti-war meme. The DOD, Rummy, and the big time muckety mucks don’t care about the troops, in fact they hate them. That’s why they didn’t give our poor, downtrodden serfs er soldiers armored hummers, and to prove it’s true, Rummy doesn’t even care enough to sign the condolence letters sent to the families of the fallen. I’m sure there’s a liberal somewhere prattling over an eggnog latte to another Kool-Aid drinker about how the CIA snuck an Iraqi “minuteman” into the galley in Mosul so he could “martyr” himself justifying the expansion of the conflict and creating an impetus for finally seizing those beloved oil fields to enrich the Bush family. It’s almost enough to make you wistful for more Christian hypocrisy in the shopping mall/Nativity scene banned from City Hall stories.

Merry Christmas, we’re losing the war (again) you stupid red state retards! Why don’t we postpone the elections in Iraq for six months so that we can fully develop our Iraq Tet Offensive scenario sending America skulking home in shame to relearn the lessons of our Imperial past? What we need to do is turn things over to a proud statesman, a man of tolerance, an internationally respected figure to sort things out over there like … Kofi Annan.

In the end, much like the paragon of the anchor desk Dan Rather, the joke will be on them. The doomsayers will wail on until well past the point it becomes painfully (to them) obvious that the worm has turned. Just like in Afghanistan, the MSM settled in for a long winter’s bloodbath in anticipation for the successful elections there last month. That is not to say there won’t be things for them to exaggerate into the crisis of the week, we’re in the middle of one of those now. But they will, as is their custom, be the last ones to hear the news that the insurgency is defeated and the Iraqi people are finally running the show. The death throes of a movement such as this are often its most violent motions, but the MSM will invariably be kicking this corpse and reporting every twitch long after it has begun to stink.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Insulation

First of all thanks to my readers for your very helpful advice, and most of all for your sincere concern for my situation. I have taken your admonitions onboard, and my documentation program is well underway. I wrote up the events of last week in an email and sent it to her and my father with a request for response or rebuttal within 48 hours. Guess what happened? She freaked, threatened my dad she was going to quit, and generally threw a temper tantrum. In a related development, the animal, my father, my wife and I were scheduled to travel to Denver to close on an important business deal on Thursday. I made the plane reservations for three of us, and she made her own. Unfortunately she got bumped off the flight at the last minute, but before this delicious irony unfolded, she managed to make a complete a$$ out of herself in the terminal for the benefit of my wife and passengers within her sphere of effluence.

The property that we closed on is now solely under the management of yours truly, and the proceeds are sufficient to cover my salary and ALL of my expenses. So now I not only have an unfettered opportunity to learn how to manage a commercial property, but I also no longer have any reason to meaningfully interact with the bane of my existence. Hooray! Although this does not solve my ultimate problems, it gives me an important platform to build my own knowledge base with respect to company operations while providing some much needed insulation from the cold wind blowing down the hall. This is my first real estate deal, and will afford me insights into the business that have been actively thwarted by tortured machinations of the animal. Information is power.

On a lighter note, my wife, father, and I had a great time in Denver these last three days. Our new property is in Cherry Creek, and for those of you who are familiar, it is just a beautiful area that is a great place to shop, eat, and hang out.

My wife and I enjoyed a fantastic dinner with Denver blogger and all-around comedic genius Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom and his lovely family. I have been a fan of Jeff’s blog for some time now, and ladies, let me assure you- your fantasies about Jeff will never be realized. His wife is a beautiful and charming woman, and I can’t imagine any of you prying him away. Thanks to the Goldstein’s for a great time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Wounded Animal Style

I enjoy martial arts films as much as the next guy, but I’m not a fanatic about it. I like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, but my favorites have always been the cheesy, poorly dubbed asian films. I especially enjoyed the different kung fu styles like the “drunken monkey”, the “snake”, and the dude with the hat that doubles as a saw. They’re funny because these techniques were always coupled with the silly sound effects like “sss sss sssss” of the snake style, and that it seems the animal adaptation was more of a movie gimmick than a real martial art. But I have recently become familiar with a “style” that really does have a real world application when practiced by a true master, the wounded animal.

It just so happens that I have a 10th degree black belt in the wounded animal style working in my office right now. She had been perfecting her technique for over 20 years before I showed up, so it’s taken me a while to adapt to the deadly skills she has developed. But I have been making progress of late, and her considerable skills are not working like they once did. Maybe it’s that she’s older now, and her tactics are more suited to someone half her age. Or maybe it’s just that once you defeat the initial attack, there isn’t a whole lot left to carry the fight through, except persistence. And then it becomes a battle of wills and an issue of momentum. Whoever can maintain both, will ultimately prevail. I know a little something about perseverance myself so I feel my chances are good of coming out on top.

Here’s how the confrontation typically plays out each day. She walks into the office I share with my father and fabricates some kind of slight that I have deviously constructed in my ongoing effort to destroy her personally. Then she “reacts" to the slight she has just made up out of whole cloth, and quickly storms out of the office. Then later in the day when she is in her office with my father, she brings the “issue” back up just loud enough so I can hear her incessant carping. The “conversation” is carefully steered so that my father ends up having to reassure our wounded animal that she is greatly appreciated for her many years of faithful service. Until tomorrow at least, when the struggle resumes with a slight variation of the same tired theme, kinda like a liberal democrat.

At first I got angry a lot and bitterly complained to my father that I hadn’t done or said anything to instigate the fight. My father would reassure me that he knows I didn’t do anything, and then he reminds me that she has been a good property manager for the company. The message being that she is somehow entitled to this special treatment as the cost of doing business. Of course, I don’t see it that way. I’ve had to work with different people all over the world, and although I certainly encountered people I’d rather not have to deal with, I have always believed in being a professional. But the wounded animal has carefully cultivated her prized position over more than two decades in the same place demanding that her tender sensibilities never be subjected to the harsh scrutiny of evil outsiders conspiring against her. Oh well.

Recently I have managed to strike a critical blow to her deftly constructed fantasy world. This time I was able to predict the future and tell my father in advance precisely how she would react to a big change in the office. To be fair, she didn’t know this change was coming as it was decided upon by the two of us before informing her of the circumstance. So when the new situation was announced, she walked directly into the trap. Not my trap; the trap that she had set and checked daily for years. Her opening moves were already failing her as soon as she started swinging, so she did what a wounded animal does when its caught … she cried. Then she stormed out of the office altogether, but I was still watching when she slammed her car door into the mirror of my truck in our private parking lot. I have had a nasty ding in that door for months, and now I know where I got it.

The well worn playbook is finally in the head coach’s hands, and the new up and coming assistant will be pointing out the plays ahead of time from now on. It’s almost sad in a way because there has never been any doubt about who is moving up to the big boy chair when the legendary coach steps down. That’s the part of the strategy I have never understood, and it’s the part that concerns me the most. I still can’t compare to the wounded animal with respect to her inside knowledge of company operations. That final advantage is also her most potent, so it is incumbent upon me to go to school now and get past the door she has been guarding so intently. I just hope that once I’m all the way in, I don’t find something really rotten. It’s been only a small victory in the larger war, I know, but the momentum has shifted and now it is time to push the advantage. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 13, 2004

13 Votes

That's how close it was in the Best of 500-1000 Ecosystem category. Don't worry, I'm not going to pull an Algore. I'm just glad to be here. Thank you readers for your loyal support.

Subliminal Conditioning

Tonight, my family and I attended our church’s annual Common Meal. It was a wonderful Christmas celebration/potluck/comedy show. That’s right, comedy show. The evening’s entertainment consisted of a delightful improvisational Christian comedy troupe called Isaac Air Freight whom I heartily recommend if your church is having a similar function.

One of the sketches was a spoof of the ubiquitous music award shows, and the winner, of course, were two idiotic caricatures of a generic gangsta rap group. The parts were played to perfection, if not a bit overdone, and the result was the repulsive cartoonish image of black hip hop culture. The performers were one white, one hispanic, and they were dressed in the ridiculous garb that our children strive to emulate. Their ebonic speech, the chest pounding, hand slapping circus of it was absurdity personified. The performance, while comedic in intention, was not far from reality, and as it turned out, a little too close to home. What they presented was little more than a minstrel show, which as we see in popular culture is all too common, and ever the cause of celebration by the mindless masses that lap it up and cast their riches at it in the quest for entertainment. The authenticity of the performance was, as I mentioned, so close to reality that it was difficult to bear.

I am not certain if it was the audience with whom I shared this spectacle or the spectacle itself, but I found myself feeling embarrassed to watch the show with the black members of our congregation. I sat beside two lovely black families during the performance, and their reactions to the troupe’s gyrations on stage were completely opposite. One family consisted of a husband and wife with their two daughters and a son, and the other was a couple who had immigrated to America from Africa. The native family appeared to enjoy the show immensely, and both parents and children alike shared hearty laughter with the assembly. We have only been attending this church for a few months, and I had yet to become well acquainted with this family except in passing. I could not be sure if they were laughing earnestly or just so as not to cause the white people present (the vast majority) to feel restrained or uncomfortable, but they truly appeared to be enjoying themselves. I must emphasize that the show was not in any way vulgar or crass, nor was any of the language questionable. The common hip hop vernacular was in full display, and the rhyming silliness of it was terribly amusing.

The couple from Africa did not laugh. I have had opportunity to get to know them fairly well as they are members of our weekly Tuesday night “small group”. The man is a neurologist at a very well regarded University hospital in the area, and is in every way a well traveled and highly educated gentleman who in no way reflects the image that was projected onstage. His beautiful wife is great with their first child, and though I am not certain what her field of study might have been, she is every bit as impressive and cordial as her husband. They both share a delightful Afrikaans/British accent, and they are spiritually a very mature pair whose insights on Tuesdays we are fortunate to enjoy. Their backs were to me so I could not discern their expressions, but they were oriented toward the stage, and appeared to be watching intently. I spoke to the man at length after the show about medical issues and having a child, but I did not think to ask him his opinion of the show. It wasn’t that I was afraid to ask; I had simply not remembered to do so.

If you are a regular reader of Froggy Ruminations, you no doubt are aware of my political proclivities. I am as anti-PC as anyone you’ll ever meet, and I am never hesitant to express my views to the world via this forum. But just as my mind was telling me that there is no harm in making fun of anyone in such a lighthearted way, my emotional self was burning with shame for laughing at the brilliant portrayal. It seems that the leftist cultural behemoth had had an effect on me despite my best efforts to repel it. My feelings defied logic, because the “artists” they were emulating deserve every last ounce of mockery they received from the troupe’s capable hands, and then some. But where did this message of shame originate, and where was I infected? As I write this I have just watched a public service announcement narrated by Alec “I’m leaving if Bush is elected” Baldwin which provides a clue. In the spot, a young boy of 10 or so walks past a street musician with his mother, and says to the man, “Get a job.” The musician stops his playing mid-note in apparent shock. The boy is dressed in gray slacks and shirt, and looks to be a miniature version of John Ashcroft or so it seems. After a few more examples of the child's cultural retardation, Baldwin appeals to the audience to ensure that their children receive liberal doses of the “Arts”, and warns that if they do not, “It shows.”

This is a blatant example of the emotional conditioning effort that has been well underway in America for decades. Every jot and tittle of our culture is saturated with this message of shame for thinking what comes naturally to the clear mind. Their efforts have made an impact, albeit slightly even on me. I shudder to think how this message will evolve by the time my children reach my age. Although I will train them to think and see the culture with a jaundiced eye, how will they be able to resist the mind numbing conformity that is daily shoved down their throats?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

If You Haven't Voted for Froggy Lately ...

YOU ARE WRONG. I actually have a shot at the Best of 500-1000 category, so what are you waiting for?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Adopt a SEAL Platoon UPDATE #1

As I had hoped, your response to this concept was overwhelmingly positive!

One of the maxims of the SEAL Teams has always been, "Work smarter, not harder," and in that vein I have been looking for a way to do this without reinventing the wheel. On Thursday afternoon I had a very productive conversation with the President of Soldier's Angels about the ASP program, and I think that we will be able to partner with this outstanding organization. This partnership is important for many reasons, but first among them is its proven track record of service to our troops, and its established infrastructure of reliable and motivated volunteers. In fact, the President is a Navy wife and "brat" and had been trying to recruit sailors and Marines into the program when she received my email. She has agreed to treat ASP as a "Special Operation" of Soldier's Angels. The only issue left to resolve is ensuring the secrecy of the locations where the care packages are going to be sent. The other bonus for ASP with respect to this partnership is that her volunteer network with be able to allieviate the burden of running this operation by a single person ... me.

I have already had a web designer volunteer his expertise and hosting for the website http//:adoptasealplatoon.org which will be up and running sometime this weekend. Initially the website will be collecting a list of volunteers and donators for when the program begins to function. In addition, I have also had an attorney volunteer his expertise to ASP by creating a 501(c)3 charity pro bono which will prove invaluable for an important adjunct to ASP, the Adopt a SEAL Family (ASF) program. The only piece of the pie I am still missing is a graphic designer to come up with a logo for the website, so please email me if you can help out there.

ASF is the brainchild of my good friend's wife who is the Platoon Chief of our first adopted platoon. She also happens to be the Ombudsman of his SEAL Team and therefore an official representative of SEAL families. She has been a friend for more than 10 years and her kind heart and fertile mind will be a great asset to both programs. She has informed me that the guys have been averaging 300 days away from home which is a sacrifice that someone not in that situation could not possibly appreciate. These wives are literally on their own, running their households and caring for their children alone while their husbands are taking on the most hazardous missions to protect our freedom. They are equally deserving of our support and appreciation as the men whose lives they are sharing with us. So far, we have discussed buying gift certificates for Target, Barnes & Noble, spa treatments, car washes, etc., and catering special events for the wives and children of our warriors to show them our gratitude. As with ASP, this program is open for other suggestions of things we can do to allieviate their daily needs and brighten their days.

ASF also serves a practical purpose as well. During the campaign, I wrote about the serious retention problems facing the SEAL community during the conduct of the GWOT. No single person on the planet has more power over whether or not a SEAL decides to re-enlist than his wife. I can attest to this fact personally. The best way that we can support our national capability to continue to field a viable and effective force of Navy SEALs to carry out special operations against our enemies is to show the heads of their households that they are loved and appreciated by the nation. ASF is the best way I can think of to do just that. In the last six months the SEAL Teams have come to this realization themselves, but kind words from the Admiral are no match for the outpouring of generosity and thanks that we can demonstrate through active participation in ASF.

I am very pleased and excited about the direction this project is headed, and with your help we can really make a difference in the lives of our SEALs and their stalwart families. I am shooting for the middle of January as the kick off date, and more updates and instructions will follow. Froggy OUT.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Secretary's Call

Much has been made of Donald Rumsfeld's "talking to" by a disgruntled National Guardsman in Kuwait yesterday. Believe me, this is nothing new. When I was at SEAL Team FOUR in Little Creek, VA the entire base was compelled to attend a CNO's (Chief of Naval Operations) Call at the base theater. We all sat in the back and settled in for an hour or so of boring speeches by high ranking Navy muckety mucks. We were wrong. After a canned speech by the CNO, he opened the floor to questions from sailors much in the same way Rumsfeld did. What happened next will forever live in my memory.

First, some 3rd Class Petty Officer complained to the CNO that he had been passed over as LPO (Leading Petty Officer) of his division. He explained the situation in excruciating detail, remembering to point out the the Leading Chief who had promoted another 3rd Class who was a few months below him in rank to the vaunted LPO slot. Witnessing this idiot making a complete ass of himself was akin to watching an impending car wreck in slow motion. I have been admonished for jumping the Chain of Command before, but this was amazing to watch. I barely remember the CNO's response, because I was so busy laughing my ass off while trying to keep quiet.

But that was only the beginning. After 2 or 3 more asinine complaints similar to the above mentioned, another 3rd Class dropped a bomb that left me on the floor. She stood up in front of hundreds of sailors and described how she and her compatriots had spent the entire day cleaning up their building and adding that they had been forbidden from using the restroom all day so that it would not be sullied on the off chance that the CNO would stop by for a visit. But she wasn't done, not by a long shot. She then added that it was very inconvenient that high ranking officers always pick Friday afternoons for these sort of visits, and inquired as to why this was the case since she had better things to do. She wrapped up by asking if he, the CNO, was actually going to visit her command after the substantial labors she and her comrades had endured on his behalf. I $hit you not. I do remember the CNO's answer to that one. He asked her who her CO was, and she proceeded to point directly at a man wearing khaki that was at this point cowering behind the seat in front of him. The CNO promptly motioned for the CO to join one of his staff officers offstage, and assured her that he would, in fact, come by to inspect the building. By this time a pall of silence had decended upon the entire building, and several hundred people mouthed the words, "No F*cking Way!" in silent unison.

The highlight of the session was something that I will remember as one of the coolest moments I have ever witnessed in my life. At the time, the Navy was drawing down post-Gulf War, and there was a 15 year retirement option available to sailors. A Chief stood and told the CNO that his wife, another Chief, had recently died of cancer. He went on to say that he was at 14 years, six months of service and had two chidren at home who were mourning the recent loss of their mother. The Chief said that his unit was scheduled to deploy soon, and that although he had requested to stay home to care for his children, his CO refused and was compelling him to either deploy or leave the Navy. Once again, there was a pall in the room, but this time the air was thick with derision and scorn for a CO that would do such a thing. The CNO once again asked this Chief to point out his CO in the crowd, and with a snap of his fingers he dispatched another aide to start heading in his direction. While the aide was enroute, the CNO said, "Chief, you're retired." The audience immediately erupted with cheers and applause that did not relent for several minutes.

I am not going to criticize this National Guardsmen for having a legitimate complaint about the equipment he must use to fight in Iraq, but taking it up with the SECDEF on TV is unsat. Does he really think that Rumsfeld wouldn't rather have 2 armored hummers for every soldier? Like he said, it's a matter of physics rather than a matter of desire. There is a time and place to make these kind of inquiries, but this was neither.

UPDATE: I have seen and heard the media reports about how Rumsfeld was set up by the embedded reporter, but it really doesn't change anything. Nobody forced that Sergeant at gunpoint to ask such an inappropriate question of the SECDEF, and if it wasn't him today, it would have been some other guy tomorrow. I'm telling you that every time junior enlisted gets direct access to senior leadership in these type of forums, there is always somebody who can't help himself or herself from asking questions like this.

Rush seemed incredulous that there were soldiers in the military that had complaints, but for all of us veterans this is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). Military bureaucracy is pervasive no matter what branch or field of service, and the troops will always have more than enough things to bitch about. That doesn't mean that they aren't committed to doing their jobs, it's just a way to let off steam and allieviate frustration. Finally, as I was listening to Rush, a former Guardsman called in and set him straight, but civilians can never understand what it's like to be in the service.

It's unfortunate that the MSM was there to record this very common occurrance just so it could be blown out of proportion, but this will be forgotten as soon as the Scott Peterson jury decides to give Scotty the needle.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Awarding Valor

Yesterday, the President flew into MCAS Miramar on his way to Camp Pendleton to personally award the SEALs who were part of Joint Task Force K-Bar in Southern Afghanistan the Presidential Unit Citation. Last weekend while I was in San Diego, I met with several SEALs that were looking forward to the President’s visit, and were justifiably proud of receiving this highest unit award given by the US military. Generally speaking, Teamguys are pretty blasé about things like this, but the guys I spoke with were animated and radiated the satisfaction they were feeling for being recognized for their very dangerous and difficult work. This is not only because of their great respect and reverence for President Bush, but also because since 2001 very few SEALs have received ANY awards for their gallant conduct in either Afghanistan or Iraq. I am not aware of anybody under the rank of E-6 that has received ANYTHING. This is a serious problem that is unique to Naval Special Warfare, and does not exist to the same degree in the Army, Navy, or Marines outside of the SEAL community. Something needs to be done about it.

In the course of my investigation of this issue, I discovered that two distinct issues are at play here. Many awards for valor have been written already for YEARS, but the layers of bureaucracy that must be hurdled before these awards are issued is staggering. I am not certain at what level things are being held up, but it seems that the unique chain of command that the SEALs fall under is contributing to the confusion. Although SEALs are sailors in the Navy, they are operationally controlled by SOCOM which is in effect run by the Army. The Navy is ultimately responsible for awarding SEALs for their conduct, but there seems to be a breakdown between the Navy and SOCOM, and somebody needs to rectify this situation immediately if not sooner. The fact that the White House beat the Navy to the punch in awarding the PUC before any sailors received their personal awards is unsatisfactory.

I was at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego last weekend and I saw a Marine Sergeant in uniform wearing a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with a “V” who was still limping from his wounds. Seeing that made me glad that the Corps was taking care of of its own. But when a SEAL goes across the bay to 32nd St. Naval Station and sees dozens of sailors walking around with combat action ribbons because they were deployed on a ship in the Persian Gulf, while they are still waiting to be recognized for participating in direct combat, something is wrong.

The second issue is a problem that I have seen widely reported across the different services. Combat decorations are being confused with end of tour awards. When a SEAL completes a tour of duty, it is traditional for him to receive an award for the totality of his service during that tour. For that reason, officers and chiefs typically rate higher ranking awards that are commensurate with the level of leadership responsibility associated with that tour. But combat decorations are supposed to be awarded for individual acts of bravery and intrepidy, and not for the culmination of a SEAL’s actions for the entire deployment. The effect of this misapplication of the awards process is twofold. First, SEALs are not recognized for their valorous actions during a specific battle or operation. Second, officers and chiefs continue to receive inflated numbers of awards and awards of higher precedence even though they are usually not taking the same amount of personal risks as the enlisted men are. I am not saying that officers and chiefs are not frequently deserving of these awards. I am saying that the kicking in of doors and accomplishing the actions at the objective are done by the enlisted SEALs in the platoon, while the “head shed” are typically directing the assault. The enlisted SEALs in a platoon outnumber the head shed by better than 4 to 1 so it stands to reason that these guys are taking the brunt of the risks.

In 1997 another SEAL Corpsman and I traveled to Kenya with the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Special Forces Group to conduct a 30 day MEDCAP (Medical Civic Action Program) operation. We were the only SEALs out of a group of hundreds of SF guys and technical support personnel attached to 5th Group. Before we even left Africa, the Team Sergeant of the A-Team we worked with had already written up and had approved Army Achievement Medals for the two of us. The day we returned to Ft. Campbell, KY, the Battalion CO personally awarded us our medals in his office, and then forwarded those awards to SEAL Team ONE. We had to wait a few months for them to award us these decoration in order to make it official. Obviously the AAM is not the Silver Star and requires much less in the way of justification, but we were very impressed and grateful to the 5th Group Battalion Commander and that Team Sergeant for making the effort to recognize us for our service. There is no legitimate reason that the same effort cannot be made on behalf of these SEALs.

UPDATE: Before somebody starts getting the wrong idea, the purpose of this post is NOT to sow ANY discord between platoon guys and their leadership. This post is meant to highlight an issue that was brought to me by platoon CPOs in the Teams right now. All I am saying is that the awards system is failing the people it is designed to recognize. I am not pointing fingers at individuals here, I am pointing to a problem that needs to get fixed. Everybody in the Teams knows that this situation is not new, and has been in need of attention for years. I also understand that other priorities exist, and that awards are not at the top of the list. But having awards held up for three years from OEF is unsat.

I am not in the habit of amending my post's content once it has been published, so take this update as a clarification of my comments regarding CPOs and officers in the Teams. I am fully aware that they are operating in the same conditions as the platoon guys are, and I don't want anybody to come away from this post thinking that I do not recognize their gallant efforts or personal sacrifices. I do. The fact that everybody trains together in the Teams from Day ONE accounts for the very close relationships that have existed between CPOs, officers, and platoon guys for as long as the Teams have been around.

If anybody doubts my support for the SEAL community in general or my friends serving in platoons at all ranks then please scroll down to the post below this and satisfy yourself that you are incorrect. Froggy OUT.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Adopt a SEAL Platoon

I am considering starting the Adopt a SEAL Platoon program here at Froggy Ruminations. In light of all the bad press that has been directed toward my comrades, and the many questions from my readers about how they can support the troops, I wanted to float this trial balloon to see what kind of support there might be for this kind of thing.

What I envision initially is to collect a list of comfort type items from the guys in one of my friend's platoons that is currently deployed. I am not sure exactly how to obtain these items right now, however. Maybe I can collect donations on the site and assemble care packages and send them to my buddies. Or perhaps I can create some kind of registry (like for weddings) and my readers can directly buy and ship these items. I am not sure that I want to reveal the mailing address for that so I have to figure out how to set that up. There also may arise a need from time to time for assistance to some of the families of the guys as well, and of course I would try to address those needs as well.

I anticipate receiving correspondence from the platoon guys and sharing that with my readers as well. I won't be at liberty to divulge what SEAL Team or platoon we would be adopting for OPSEC reasons, but you all understand that so no big deal. Anyway, let Froggy know what you think, and suggestions to make the program more successful are always welcome.

Who knows? Maybe if the pilot program is popular with my readers and the guys, we can adopt more platoons, and really show our support for the men who are putting their lives daily on the line for our safety and security. Waiting for your replies...

A Day That Will Live in Infamy

63 years ago today, America was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy at Pearl Harbor Naval Station on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. That event set in motion a war that would claim tens of millions of lives around the globe. Christmastime of 1941 signaled the emergence of what has been described as the "Greatest Generation". All these years later, another great generation has answered the call to arms in defense of freedom. I encourage you to take this opportunity to thank a member of either of these great generations of Americans today as you encounter them in the course of your daily activities. Remembering always that your ability to enjoy the freedoms you now possess has been guaranteed by the exertions of a few among us, it is encumbent upon us all to teach our children about the significance of this day lest their courage fail them in their time of struggle. Our enemy today seems as intractable now as the Axis powers did then, but our victory is certain and only a matter of time. Be of good cheer, but never forget.

Monday, December 06, 2004

More Blood in the Water

The MSM sharks over at the Washington Post have caught the scent of some wounded SEALs, and they are circling. I woke up on Sunday morning to watch active duty Navy SEALs with their pictures unaltered broadcast nationwide on Fox News Sunday. Today some of those same operator’s images have been showcased for anyone on the planet to see on the WaPo website. The accompanying article promises more investigations into the activities of Navy SEALs operating in Iraq, who are taking on the most dangerous and difficult missions to be had in the region. Although I covered a lot of this ground before, there are some points that bear repeating.

It is one thing to have pictures of National Guard MPs playing naked Twister with Iraqi detainees within the secure walls of Abu Ghraib prison. It is quite another thing to enter the bomb factory of a hardcore terrorist in the middle of the night. Apparently this difference is not apparent to either the NCIS or the WaPo. Consequentially, we have the MSM headline machine churning out sensational copy with no discernable context and the Barney Fife of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies declaring war on some of the greatest heroes our nation has ever produced. WaPo knows that slapping “Navy SEAL” on any story raises its importance by an order of magnitude, even if it’s false. The NCIS has apparently begun to believe the press releases filed by the TV show that purports to accurately dramatize it. In the show NCIS is an important investigative agency that hires brilliant Goth babes who can solve the JFK assassination by DNA swabbing a 40 year-old snot rocket from a leaf at the grassy knoll, and the partial impression of a shoe print in an ancient piece of gum. In reality, NCIS is in essence the “safety school” option for federal agent wannabes who can’t get into a 3 letter agency.

Unfortunately, this is not all the NCIS’ fault, because somebody in the platoon took the pictures, and perhaps that same somebody let their wife see them. If that somebody is the same somebody in both instances then somebody might want to rethink bringing their camera on deployment next time. It has been a well-known unwritten rule that no pictures are taken of activities occurring away from home. This rule is in place for a reason, and its violation has caused marriages to end, and other distasteful consequences to occur in the past.

But while the Navy refuses to identify the SEALs that have been subject to Article 32 hearings in a related trumped up case, the WaPo has seen fit to publish unredacted photographs of active duty SEALs in its web addition, and probably in print as well. If the WaPo wants to hate Bush and his “war for oil” that’s fine, but our Special Operators deserve the benefit of the doubt at a minimum, let alone having their mugshot beamed around the world.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Going to San Diego for the Weekend

Got tickets to the Chargers/Broncos game. I'm a Raider fan, but they suck, and the winner of this game will win the AFC West. I will be visiting with my SEAL buddies as well, and will likely be at McP's for a retirement party for one of them.

Just a reminder that the Weblog Awards voting is open from 12/1-12/12 and Froggy made the cut in two categories: Milblogs and Ecosystem 500-1000. There are links to the voting pages on the top right sidebar. You may vote once per day per IP address. Vote for Froggy only if you think I am the best of the choices, and don't forget to vote in the other categories as well.

If you want a good laugh here is a site by Lyle Zapato that is very entertaining.


Light at the End of the Tunnel

I am very encouraged by President Bush’s nomination of Bernard Kerik to lead the Department of Homeland Security. No matter what you think about Tom Ridge, the fact is he has presided over one of the biggest bureaucratic bungles in US history (which is a significant accomplishment so to speak). I never understood his qualifications for the job in the first place because he does not have a law enforcement background. He was a Vietnam Vet, the Governor of Pennsylvania, and reputed to be under consideration as a VP candidate in 2000. Next on the chopping block ought to be Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas congressman who was appointed head of the DEA when he lost re-election. He now serves as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security which is simultaneously the most important arm of the Department and the most disorganized. It should come as no surprise that when you put politicians in charge of law enforcement agencies, you can expect them to be quickly run into the ground.

Kerik enters the DHS job with impeccable credentials and important real world experience. He is well known for his excellent stewardship of the NYPD during and after the 9/11 attacks. But it seems that his life experiences have culminated to make him uniquely qualified to hold this position. After serving in the US Army, Kerik got a job supervising security for the construction of a US military installation in Saudi Arabia. In 1984 he had returned to the States, and took a position as Corrections Officer in Passaic, NY where he was quickly promoted to Warden. In 1986 he took a 50% pay cut to fulfill his life’s ambition of becoming a NY Police Officer where he soon began to work undercover on narcotics investigations. By 1991, Kerik’s successes had garnered the attention of Mayor Giuliani who appointed him the NY Commissioner of Corrections. In August of 2000 after vastly improving conditions at Riker’s Island Correctional Facility, Kerik was named Chief of the NYPD where he served with the distinction. Following the invasion of Iraq, President Bush tapped him to go to Baghdad to design and implement the training program for the Iraqi Police.

I don’t know about you, but the contrast between these men could hardly be more profound. Kerik’s resume could scarcely be more complete, while the appointment of Ridge and Hutchinson seem deeply irresponsible in comparison. If I were still an ICE Agent or Federal Air Marshall I would pray for a quick confirmation followed by a broadly swung axe eliminating the dead wood and political hacks that populate the leadership of DHS. For 2 years ICE Agents have been looking for light at the end of the tunnel which they believed to be a speeding freight train, with any luck they can look forward to a ray of hope.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Infecting the Airwaves

As if there wasn't enough garbage on television, the LA County Public Health Agency has put together a delightful new public service announcement.


The 30-second syphilis public service spot features "Phil the Sore," a lumpy, red cartoon character with an earring, who follows two men going home together. As the men later part, one of them, dressed in a bathrobe and underwear, says, "Let's do it again sometime." Phil then calls in his whole family, whose members carry boxes labeled "brain damage," "rash" and "blindness" — all potential results of syphilis.

Phil the Sore, are you kidding me? To actually have a cartoon that promotes homosexual one night stands is phreaking outrageous! I mean do these pinheads realize that ANY cartoon in the midst of prime time programming is going to attract the attention of children more than anything else? Yeah, they probably do. I’m not going to go too deep into the agenda behind this psa, which beside its stated purpose, is aimed at inculcating children on the wonderful benefits of the promiscuous gay lifestyle, other than to say it’s there. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is an activist gay organization that is no different from other gay groups with the agenda to normalize homosexuality in addition to their healthcare mission.

The good news is that no broadcast outlet in LA County will run the ad, even during Will & Grace on NBC. There are apparently cable channels that may run it, but that comes as no surprise. Frankly, it’s a matter of time before some station manager rolls over, and then we’ll have a Dancing Chancre with an earring a$$ slapping a couple of homos after a long night of pillowbiting debauchery. Super. In order to support the broadcasting of this ad campaign you have got to be suffering from tertiary syphilitic brain damage. After seeing something like this on TV, we're all going to need a shot.


Legalize It

Before I was hired by US Customs as a criminal investigator, I used to hate reading the annual National Review article supporting the legalization of marijuana. I love my NR subscription, and even though Rich Lowry had a cover story about “What Went Wrong?” in Iraq one week before the election, I’ll renew it. Their perennial argument is basically an appeal for the real medical uses that marijuana has to offer. I completely agree that the medical applications for marijuana are legitimate and that it offers real comfort to those who are in need. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about completely legalizing it and selling it much in the same way as alcohol. I’m not going to trot out statistics about how alcohol is more harmful to the body than pot because you already know that. Besides, that’s not part of my argument either.

The enforcement of marijuana smuggling is a massive distraction to the interdiction of really dangerous narcotics like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. Smugglers do not care if a 100 lb. weed load is intercepted at a US Port of Entry. They don’t care because it’s the cost of doing business when your actual goal is to cross 5 lbs of heroin or 20kg of coke. The smugglers send some broke migrant farm worker with a green card across in a stolen car with the promise of $500 dollars if the poor sap actually makes it. But when the dope is spread out all around the car, the dogs are sure to catch it, and even if the dogs are taking a nap, any inspector that’s half awake can see the guy’s hand shaking and the beads of sweat forming on his brow. Right after that guy is sent to Secondary Inspection and all of the attention focused on a load car with unknown contents, 10 carloads of real dope crosses. In my two years working dope cases on the Southwest border, I caught a handful of dope loads containing anything but marijuana. Confidential Informants tell us the tactics that the smugglers use, and it is information from them that accounts for 90% of non-marijuana seizures at the Port.

Smugglers can’t afford to throw away meth loads to cross heroin, but even if they could it would be better to get some meth off the street than another perfunctory weed load. The legalization of marijuana would drastically improve law enforcement’s ability to intercept the types of narcotics that are extremely hazardous and addictive. People don’t carjack, rob, or murder to get money to buy marijuana. People don’t go on 3 day marijuana binges and wake up to find that there infant child died at some point. Access to drugs like these, needs to be severely curtailed. The “gateway” threat of marijuana pales in comparison to the potential enforcement improvements gained by its legalization.

My recollection of teenage life is that while you had to convince some Mexican guy entering the liquor store to buy a six pack of beer for you (in Spanish), there were a half a dozen guys at school who had to go no further than their locker to get a bag of weed. Marijuana possession under an ounce is a misdemeanor ticket right now which is hardly a deterrent. Obviously, the natural accompaniment to such a policy change would be stiff federal penalties for illegal distribution particularly to minors. In my opinion, removing marijuana sales from the black market would drastically reduce its availability to minors.

I am not very confident that my policy formulations will be well received by the Congress or the President, but hey, there’s my two cents. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

CIA, UN, and Iraq

I always enjoy Wretchard's take on the issues of the day and this day is no exception. He uses the perch of Norm Coleman's bold column in WSJ calling for Kofi Annan's ouster to gaze back at how our struggles with Iraq over the years have really been a battle with half the EU and all of the UN. Our purposes were thwarted time and again by the concerted efforts of corrupt bureaucrats and politicians across Europe and dirty UN functionaries from top to bottom. This scam involved the movement of Billions of dollars in and out of a hostile terrorist regime through dozens of financial institutions for the personal enrichment of hundreds of individuals and corporations.

How is it possible that all of this was occurring in what was at the time regarded as the number one threat to US national security under the nose of the CIA? This scam was so pervasive and comprehensive that it must have looked like someone bashing in the window of the Police Chief's car parked in front of the Station and driving away. The fact that this scam went unnoticed by US Intelligence is probably the single biggest intelligence failure in American history. Forget WMDs, we know they were moved to Syria. Missing thousands of illicit monetary transactions originating from what should have been the most closely monitored regime on the planet over more than a decade is unconscionable. It seems impossible. Not to mention routine surveillance that should be regularly conducted by US Intelligence of foreign financial institutions should have caught this years ago.

If you want to talk about alternatives to having invaded Iraq, the only feasible scenario for having resolved things in Iraq without a war would have to have begun with the revelation of this massive money laundering operation. If detected we might have been able to humiliate the French and its EU/UN cohorts into dumping the OFF contracts thus allowing the real pressure of actual sanctions to work. This might have forced a more intrusive inspection regime that may have identified the WMDs before they were moved or destroyed. More likely, we might have shown the French our cards and used their relationship to deeply infiltrate the regime inner circle accomplishing the same goal. Of course an operation of that scope would have to be conducted by an intelligence service with legitimate clandestine operations capability ... like the Israelis.

The clandestine existence of OFF corruption categorically denied any other non-military solution to the Iraq problem. We got sucker punched by the French and kicked in the nuts by the UN, but we didn't even know it happened until we starting reading documents at the Mukhabarrat HQ post invasion. This is truly a sickening revelation, and I cannot adequately express my anger for those responsible. And I'm not talking about the French and the UN. They were acting true to character, and nothing more could reasonably be expected from them. The Fing CIA has been asleep at the switch for far too long, and I will not be satisfied with the current deck chair on the Titanic rearrangement that the administration and the 9/11 Commission wants to push through. The CIA needs is a$$ handed to it, and I'm talking about $hitcanning every department head in the Agency and bringing in military officers in the management and former SOF operators for the field positions.

There is no excuse for this level of incompetence, and frankly the only thing that has protected us from follow on attacks so far is American combat boots kicking in teeth, and probably friendly intelligence services handing us people. That's why I don't really think it would matter much to really drop the hammer at CIA, it's not like they're producing anything useful anyway.