Sunday, August 31, 2008

Every Day Heroes

Major Brian Russell

In December of 2006, Major Brian Russell of the United States Marine Corps arrived in Iraq to take on the tough task of leading an eleven-man team of Marines advising an Iraqi Army battalion in Habbaniyah, a then dangerous area of the Sunni Triangle. The day he arrived in Habbaniyah, all of the battalion’s positions were attacked and three were badly damaged. The job ahead would not be an easy one.

Russell was able to convince the incoming battalion commander to correct this and move as many of his troops as possible into the fight. This not only meant fighting the enemy, but also a better chance to cultivate relationships with the local civilians. Russell also pressed for developing leaders at the company and platoon level, giving the Iraqis the opportunity to understand local concerns, and to take pride in themselves as soldiers. Under his leadership, the team of advisors trained the Iraqi non-commissioned officers to become capable leaders, allowing the unit to increase the number of its patrols. Along with those increased patrols, Russell helped build relations with the local police forces. His work resulted in an upswing in cooperation with Iraqi police, and the incorporation of neighborhood watch units into local security efforts.

As his training of the Iraqis progressed, Russell moved his team of American advisors into more of a supervisory role. He made recommendations that the Iraqi’s should expand their area of responsibility. For instance, Russell recommended that the battalion increase its presence in a certain tribal area that happened to be the point of origin for several insurgent attacks. By expanding the presence of security forces there, he contributed to the section being mostly emptied of insurgents. After clearing an area of insurgents, he assisted the unit in devising reconstruction plans and improving local support for the Iraqi Army. The plan started with quick, cheap projects designed to gain the trust and loyalty of the population. It eventually grew to include more than $1.5 million in infrastructure projects.

But the centerpiece of Russell’s plan was ensuring that the battalion and its commanders could execute these tasks in the future, without coalition help. Towards the end of his time in Habbaniyah, the unit was able to execute operations without significant aid from the advising team. This was in stark contrast to when he first arrived, when the battalion could barely field half of its forces without extensive help from the American advisors.

Thanks to his extraordinary efforts, Major Brian Russell helped transform an entire Iraqi battalion into an effective fighting force, a feat for which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. (source)

Thank YOU for your service, Major Russell!

Music and me

Saturday, August 30, 2008

'Nuff said..;)

Found this posted in the comments on a post at RedState. The post itself is a chart comparison between Palin and Obama. VERY interesting reading.. Check it out here.

And then there is this. 'Nuff said.

Governor Palin thanks the troops!

I HAD to share this one:

Thank YOU, Governor Palin.:)

"The Circle of Healing"

My friend Cat sent me the following piece. Seeing as it's about an eagle, she thought I might like it. She thought right, and I wanted to share it with you. Thanks, Cat! Is a great story! :

"The Circle of Healing"

by Jeff Guidry

Every day at Sarvey Wildlife Center we witness first hand the incredible battle for life that our animal brothers and sisters go through. This is a story of one Bald Eagle's magnificent spirit and sheer will to live.

It was mid-summer when a call came in reporting a fledgling Bald Eagle had fallen out of a nest on a Seattle golf course. Our very own Crazy Bob went to the rescue and transported her to the Center. She arrived with two broken wings. When asked to take her to the vet, I jump at the chance.

When I load this hurt and terrified baby into the car, she neither whimpers nor fights; she can't even stand. This is not a good sign; she is obviously in very bad shape. As I drive to Sno-Wood Veterinary Hospital, I constantly look back to check on my very special passenger. She stares at me with big beautiful brown eyes, her mouth slightly agape. I drive a little faster-this
Bald Eagle must live!

She is operated on and has both wings pinned; they are now immobile. Back at Sarvey we lay her in the bottom half of a huge carrier filled with shredded newspaper for support.

The fight for her life begins.

Twice a day a tube is pushed down her throat so that food and medicine can be pumped into her. A week goes by with no change; she still cannot stand up. At three weeks, there's a slight change, but it's for the worse. I'm getting scared for this young Bald Eagle.

Working at the Center, you begin to recognize a look, a look that indicates death is winning. This bruised and broken Bald Eagle was losing the battle but not her dignity. The struggle for her life was not over.

Every chance I get I talk softly to her, telling her to hold on, to fight, to live. Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know.

Four weeks go by and she is still on her belly. There is nothing so heartbreaking as seeing the life force of this majestic bird slowly slip away.

At five weeks we are approaching the end.

Sarvey Wildlife Center believes in giving every soul that comes in a chance to live; but when it is painfully clear that death is the only way out, the decision is made to let that particular spirit continue on its journey. We were at this juncture; this beautiful baby eagle was given one week to see if she could, or would, stand up. This was a crushing blow. Every day that next week I checked to see if she was up. The answer was always the same... "No."

On the following Thursday I could barely face going to the Center. As I walked in not a word was spoken but everyone wore a huge grin. I raced back to the young Bald Eagle's cage, and there she stood in all her glory! She was standing! She had won. This girl had cheated death by a mere 24 hours. She was going to make it. She was going to get her second chance.

After another week the pins in her wings were removed. Her right wing was perfect, but her left was not. She couldn't fully extend it. We tried physical therapy and hoped a little time was all she needed, but there was no significant progress. Her wing was too badly damaged. She would never fly, never soar the skies with her people. At least her life was saved, but for what? Was she doomed to live her life in a cage? Not exactly, for this was a special soul.

Bald Eagles normally want nothing to do with humans and will go to great lengths to get away from them. This girl liked people; she wanted to see what you were doing, to follow where you were going, and to see whom you were going with. She was very curious.

About this time our director suggested that I try to glove train her. She had the right temperament; maybe she could do educational programs. Wouldn't that be something? Very few eagles are able or willing to be handled, much less remain calm in front of large crowds. The work began.

I started getting her used to the glove, a little at a time. At first she was thinking, "OK, I'll step on your hand but only with one foot." Then, "OK, I'll use both feet but only for a second." Later, "Yeah you can take me part way out of my cage, then I'll jump right back in." And finally, "OK,
I'll let you walk around with me on your arm. Hey, this is fun!"

At this point, every day a volunteer would take this Bald Eagle out for a cruise around the clinic. It was time for her final test-jesses, the leather straps that attach to the ankles of birds-of-prey to give control to the handler and to protect the bird from injury or escape. I put the jesses on
her-a piece of cake. It was as if she were born with them on. This was certainly a very mellow Bald Eagle.

Now it was almost time for her first program, but she needed a name. None that we could come up with seemed right, and then Paula, a volunteer, said, "Hey, what about Freedom?" That was it; that was her spirit and her spirit was why grandfather sent her to us. She was ready.

Freedom is now four years old and one of Sarvey Wildlife Center's premier
ambassadors. She clearly enjoys our programs and really knows how to turn on the charm. She is a star. Freedom has been on national television, on the front page of major newspapers, and is known across the country.

She is also one of the great loves of my life. She will touch her beak to the tip of my nose and stare into my eyes. At that moment our spirits are one.

I am the luckiest person on Earth.Thank you, Freedom.

(editor's note)...Jeff said, "Why I felt such a connection to this
particular eagle, I do not know."

Now we all know why:

Freedom is alive because Jeff fought for her life, and there is no doubt that Freedom sensed his love and commitment. Jeff gave Freedom the support she needed to want to live.

When Jeff was later diagnosed with a serious illness requiring chemotherapy, he found himself turning to Freedom for support. Two or three times a week, whenever he felt well enough, he would drive from Bothell to Arlington to walk with Freedom around the grounds. Now it was Freedom's turn to give Jeff a reason to fight for his life.

Only a short time ago Jeff was informed there was no trace of the disease left in his body. He immediately left for the Center.

When he took Freedom out of her flight, she did something she had never done before: She extended her wings and wrapped them around him.

The circle of healing was now complete.

C Sarvey Wildlife Center. All Rights Reserved. by
I found the picture of Jeff and Freedom here, where Jeff said in May 2005 that he and Freedom have been together 10 years now. Go read the side note at the bottom of that link.;) AND check out the Sarvey Wildlife Centre here.

Freedom and Jeff
(Sarvey Wildlife Centre gallery here)
Go look! lol

Friday, August 29, 2008

Who is Sarah Palin?

US Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) introduces his vice presidential running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a campaign event in Dayton, Ohio August 29, 2008. (Matt Sullivan/Reuters)

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, second from right, dances with her husband Todd Palin at the inaugural ball in Juneau, Alaska Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007. Nearly 800 people showed up to greet Gov. Sarah Palin and her family at the first of six inaugural balls planned throughout Alaska (AP Photo/Chris Miller)

abc news and other msm may be headlining their stories on Sarah Palin with the title "Who is Sarah Palin?", but I'm thinking that by now, not many people are cluelss as to who she is, and what she represents for America.

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, is a self-described hockey mum, who was busy raising her kids. Married for 20 years to her high school sweetheart Todd; today is their anniversary. As she says, some of life's blessings come unexpectedly:

"Some of life's greatest opportunities come unexpectedly, and this is certainly the case today. I never really set out to be involved in public affairs, much less to run for this office. My mom and dad both worked at the local elementary school. And my husband and I, we both grew up working with our hands.

"I was just your average 'hockey mom' in Alaska. We were busy raising our kids. I was serving as the team mom and coaching some basketball on the side. I got involved in the PTA and then was elected to the city council and then elected mayor of my hometown, where my agenda was to stop wasteful spending and cut property taxes and put the people first.

"I was then appointed ethics commissioner and chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and when I found corruption there, I fought it hard and I held the offenders to account. Along with fellow reformers in the great state of Alaska, as governor, I've stood up to the old politics as usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the Big Oil companies and the 'good old boy' network....(here)

Today, Sarah Palin is not only the elected Governor of Alaska, she is now set to be elected as Vice-President of the United States.

And the Democrats are going crazy. Caught off-guard - again - Obama people put their collective feet in their collective mouths and immediately bleat about Palin's 'lack of experience in foreign affairs,' and on the national stage. Ooops! As usual, backtracking furiously, the Obama people realised that was NOT a path they wanted to go down. Sarah Palin visited our troops looooong before it might have gained her political brownie points. I have seen pictures of her today, sitting with troops, LISTENING. She has also been to Landstuhl. ;)

One commenter on a site I contribute to said "she was just a housewife", and meant it in the most derogatory way. HA!

Today, every mother in America relates to Sarah Palin, who has managed a household as well as held down various elected offices.

Another criticism levelled by one woman on another site: "She's no Hillary Clinton." No, she most certainly is not. And this is not a bad thing. In her acceptance speech today, Palin acknowledged that because of Hillary Clinton, 18 million cracks appeared in the glass ceiling.

"I think as well today of two other women who came before me in national elections. I can't begin this great effort without honoring the achievements of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and, of course, Senator Hillary Clinton, who showed such determination and grace in her presidential campaign.

"It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all...."(here)

Some disgruntled Democrats are saying that Palin is on the ticket merely because she is female (that's not quite the words they are using, but you get the idea.). Can ya tell the Democrats are over-anxious now? lol Fact is, there is so much more to Palin than her gender. She has been in executive positions (unlike someone else we won't name. She has direct links to the military (her oldest son is about to deploy with the Army), again, unlike someone else we might name..

She has been a life long member of the National Rifle Association and understands hunting milleu, (do I dare say, unlike someone who can only talk about bitter Americans who cling to their guns?)

She is working class, and as a housewife, hockey mum, she understands budgets. As a high profile politician in Alaska, (with 80% approval rating by the way) she has not been able to waffle and just be marked as "present" when important decisions need to be made.(Repeat after me: unlike someone else on the national scene, for now)

Today, there has been rumblings about an investigation relating to past decisions she has made. Now, I am no politician, but seems to me that if she is not concerned, and John McCain is not concerned, and the Repblicans have thoroughly vetted and approved her, this is merely more smearing/spin by her worrried opponents. The Democrats would have you believe that McCain is a doddery old fool, ready for retirement (or worse). But I suggest that today's announcement is brilliant on many levels. The most obvious to me is the timing. After the obscene display of Obama's last night, with the millions of dollars spent to convince the common folk that he is one of them, (and was I the only one who wondered why he needed to shout?) today, McCain's campaign has managed to pre-empt the news cycles with his announcement and introduction of Palin. Quite apart from all the obvious which we can be sure the msm and the Democrats will be airing ad nauseum, I think Sarah Palin is a wonderful choice for ALL Americans. I base that on a short clip I found today.

Standing behind a dais marked "Country First", Sarah Palin's words should resonate with many disaffected Americans:

Did you notice that SHE has an American flag lapel pin? Just an observation! But her words, in part: "...The people of America expect us to seek public office and serve for the right reasons. The right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve. We are expected to serve with integrity..."

I think this election season just got a whole lot more engaging, interesting, and with more promise than has been seen in the recent months.

Obama who? lol

*Also on NewsBlaze here,
and my other usual*

Where were their flags?

I am talking about American flags at the Democratic convention - you know the folks whose leader sees nothing wrong with NOT wearing a lapel pin as a sign of patriotism. ;) I received a very disturbing email from a friend:

For two days RedState has been at the Democratic Convention trying to find American flags.

Sure, when the television cameras come on for prime time network coverage, the Democrats have been passing out flags like candy.

But when the prime time lights are not on, and for the entire time Tuesday night, including during prime time, there have been no American flags: not in the crowd, not on the stage, not in the hallways -- nowhere.

Well, we finally found some American flags.

They were in the trash.

Let's skip, for a minute, that this is supposed to be an environmentally friendly campaign and the flags were thrown in with paper, plastic, food, and other junk. Ignore that.

Just focus on this: The Democrats only pulled out the flags for prime time Monday night and Wednesday night. They have otherwise avoided all displays of the American flag.

After Wednesday night, they threw them in the trash.

Sincerely yours,

Erick Erickson

RedState actually has much more on the symbolism of this, and more pithy (yes, I DID say "pithy" over at their site. The comments bear reading, too. Go check it out here.

H/T to Carol


Army Spc. Corey Thompson, 420th Engineer Brigade, works with Australian combat engineers as they align two sections of a bridge. U.S. Army photo by Capt. James Reid, Combined Task Force Castle

Engineers Bridge Gaps on Afghanistan’s Highway 1

By Army 1st Lt. Tomas Rofkahr
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Aug. 27, 2008 – Members of the Australian Reconstruction Task Force and Task Force Castle’s 420th Engineer Brigade completed the emplacement of two Mabey Johnson bridges near Andar and Moqur in eastern Afghanistan.

Insurgent attacks during the summer left the bridges impassible, forcing Afghans and coalition forces to use single-lane bypasses.

Work progressed quickly once the Australian and American combat engineers arrived. The first bridge in Andar was erected in just over two days, and forces then moved on to Moqur, where they emplaced the second bridge.

Both bridges are on Highway 1, which connects Kandahar in southern Afghanistan to the Afghan capital of Kabul. Highway 1 is a paved route originally built in the 1960s. The 300-mile stretch that includes the bridges was refurbished in 2002 and 2003 as part of President Bush’s Afghanistan Road Initiative. The U.S. Agency for International Development credits the work with reducing the transit time between Kandahar and Kabul by half....

Read the rest of this B*N*S*N story here.


"Afghan Army Has Made Huge Progress"

Afghanistan '"Afghan Army Has Made Huge Progress", Press TV, 3 July 2008

EXCERPT: "A senior Canadian official confirms that the Afghan army has made a "huge progress" and is now capable of leading missions against Taliban. 'We see huge progress with the Afghan army,' General Walt Natynczyk, Canada's Chief of Defense Staff, told reporters on Wednesday [2 July 2008]. 'What is terrific to see here, through the Arghandab piece, was that the Afghan military, the Afghan army that we have trained with this past two years, are actually stepping up. It was their plan, it was their leaders, and with that they have renewed confidence,' Natynczyk added. Natynczyk praised the battle in Arghandab last month, in which about 100 Taliban were killed. He added that the Canadian personnel would focus on training more senior officers with Afghan National Army (ANA) before Canadians leave the country in 2011."

Now that the msm is unable to lead their hourly news with bad news from Iraq, they have turned their attention (kinda, sorta) to Afghanistan. Most stories out of there right now are based on the number of troops and civilians killed. What they forget to tell us is that this IS the season when the Taleban annually up the ante. The military knows this; our troops on the ground see the big picture. General Natynczyk shares the progress here.

That IS B*N*S*N!


MOD Police travelling with the military
[Picture: MDP]

MOD Police see progress in Afghanistan

A Military Operations news article

31 Jul 08

The first visit to Afghanistan by the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) has seen officers help train newly-qualified local police in some of the most dangerous locations in Helmand Province.

The six month deployment by the MDP to Afghanistan was spent building the capacity of their Afghan counterparts in a major push to bring rule of law to the country.

The first six MDP officers have returned this week having helped train the Afghan officers in southern Afghanistan, including the towns of Lashkar Gah, Musa Qala, Gereshk and Sangin.

Royal Military Police officers have also been running courses at the British Headquarters in Lashkar Gah, where the bulk of training and mentoring takes place.

Read the rest here.


Abdul Rahman Panjshiri speaks to the crowd during a ground-breaking ceremony for the $130,000 Haish Saidqi eight-room schoolhouse, Aug. 20, 2008, in the Rokha district of Afghanistan’s Panjshir province. Panjshiri donated the land for the school. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jillian Torango, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team

Afghan Family Donates Land for New Girls’ School

By Air Force Capt. Jillian Torango
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Aug. 25, 2008 – On a hillside overlooking the picturesque stepped farmlands of the Rokha district in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province, a small group of people attended a ground-breaking ceremony Aug. 20 for the $130,000 Haish Saidqi eight-room schoolhouse.

Hajji Kabiri, the province’s deputy governor, and Zolmaid Shahid, the provincial director of education, were among those on hand. Of special importance was the attendance of Abdul Rahman Panjshiri; he and his wife donated the land for the school.

Panjshiri, as his name indicates, is originally from Panjshir. His wife’s family had to leave the province when she was a girl so she could continue with school and get a good education.

Panjshiri said he and his family took asylum in the Netherlands during the Taliban regime, but he always knew he wanted to come back to Afghanistan.

“When the Taliban fell and I decided to come back to Afghanistan, some of my family was not happy with me,” he said. “My three sons even did not come back with me, but my wife and daughter did, and we now live and work in Kabul.”

This is a GREAT B*N*S*N story on so many levels. :) Go read the rest here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Axis of Idiots

From my inbox. I have seen this a few times. I have no idea who this writer is, but think his thoughts well worth a read:

"The Axis of Idiots"

Jimmy Carter, you are the father of the Islamic Nazi movement.
You threw the Shah under the bus, welcomed the Ayatollah home, and then
lacked the spine to confront the terrorists when they took our embassy
and our people hostage. Our Canadian friends gave as many as they
could sanctuary in their embassy in Iran . They're more
American than you'll ever be.. You're the runner-in-chief.

Bill Clinton, you played ring around the Lewinsky while the
terrorists were at war with us. You got us into a fight with them in
Somalia and then you ran from it. Your weak-willed responses to the
U.S.S. Cole and the First Trade Center Bombing and Our Embassy Bombings
emboldened the killers. Each time you failed to respond
adequately, they grew bolder, until 9/11/2001.

John Kerry, dishonesty is your most prominent attribute. You
lied about American Soldiers in Vietnam .
Your military service, like your life, is more fiction than fact .
You've accused our military of terrorizing women and children in Iraq .
You called Iraq the wrong war, wrong place, wrong time, the same words
you used to describe Vietnam . You're a fake. You want to run from Iraq
and abandon the Iraqis to murderers just as you did to the Vietnamese.
Iraq , like Vietnam , is another war that you
were for, before you were against it.

John Murtha, you said our military was broken.
You said we can't win militarily in Iraq . You accused United States
Marines of cold-blooded murder without proof and said we should
redeploy to Okinawa . Okinawa, John? And the Democrats call you their
military expert! Are you sure you didn't suffer a traumatic brain
injury while you were off building your war hero resume? You're a sad,
pitiable, corrupt and washed up politician. You're not a Marine, sir.
You wouldn't amount to a good pimple on a real Marine's ass. You're a
phony and a disgrace. Run away, John.

Dick Durbin, you accused our Soldiers at Guantanamo of being
Nazis, tenders of Soviet style gulags and as bad as the regime of Pol
Pot, who murdered two million of his own people after your party
abandoned Southeast Asia to the Communists. Now you want to abandon the
Iraqis to the same fate. History was not a good teacher
for you, was it? Lord help us! See Dick run.

Ted Kennedy, for days on end you held poster-sized pictures from
Abu Ghraib in front of any available television camera. Al Jazeera
quoted you saying that Iraqi's torture chambers were open under new
management. Did you see the news, Teddy? The Islamic Nazis demonstrated
another beheading for you. If you truly supported our troops, you'd
show the world poster-sized pictures of that atrocity and demand the
annihilation of it.
Your legislation stripping support from the South Vietnamese led to a
communist victory there. You're a bloated, drunken fool, bent on
repeating the same historical blunder that turned freedom-seeking people
over to homicidal, genocidal maniacs. To paraphrase John Murtha, all
while sitting on your wide, gin-soaked ass in Washington

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Carl Levin, Barbara Boxer, Diane
Feinstein, Russ Feingold, Hillary Clinton, Pat Leahy, Barack Obama,
Chuck Schumer, the Hollywood Leftist morons, et al, ad nauseam: Every
time you stand in front of television cameras and broadcast to the
Islamic Nazis that we went to war because our President lied, that the
war is wrong and our Soldiers are torturers, that we should leave Iraq,
you give the Islamic butchers - the same ones that tortured and
mutilated American Soldiers - cause to think that we'll run away again,
and all they have to do is hang on a little longer. It is inevitable
that we, the infidels, will have to defeat the Islamic jihadists.
Better to do it now on their turf, than later on ours after they have
gained both strength and momentum.

American news media, the New York Times
particularly: Each time you publish stories about national defense
secrets and our intelligence gathering methods, you become one united
with the sub-human pieces of camel dung that torture and mutilate the
bodies of American Soldiers.
You can't strike up the courage to publish cartoons, but you can help
Al Qaeda destroy my country. Actually, you are more dangerous to us
than Al Qaeda is. Think about that each time you face Mecca to admire
your Pulitzer..

You are America 's "AXIS OF IDIOTS." Your Collective Stupidity
will destroy us.
Self-serving politics and terrorist-abetting news scoops are more
important to you than our national security or the lives of innocent
civilians and Soldiers. It bothers you that defending ourselves gets in
the way of your elitist sport of politics and your ignorant
editorializing. There is as much blood on your hands as is on the hands
of murdering terrorists. Don't ever doubt that. Your frolics will only
serve to extend this war as they extended Vietnam . If you want our
Soldiers home as you claim, knock off the crap and try supporting your
country ahead of supporting your silly political aims and aiding our

Yes, I'm questioning your patriotism. Your loyalty ends with
self. I'm also questioning why you're stealing air that decent
Americans could be breathing. You don't deserve the protection of our
men and women in uniform. You need to run away from this war, this
country. Leave the war to the people who have the will to see it through
and the country to people who are willing to defend it.

No, Mr. President, you don't get off the hook, either. Our
country has two enemies: Those who want to destroy us from the outside
and those who attempt it from within. Your Soldiers are dealing with
the outside force. It's your obligation to support them by confronting

America must hear it from you that these self-centered people
are harming our country, abetting the enemy and endangering our safety.
Well up a little anger, please, and channel it toward the appropriate
target. You must prosecute those who leak national security secrets to
the media. You must prosecute those in the media who knowingly publish
those secrets.

Our Soldiers need you to confront the enemy that they cannot.
They need you to do it now.

Semper Fi,

J. D. Pendry - Sergeant Major, USMC, Retired
H/T to Jane

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday Hero

Lt. Col. Nathan Blood
Lt. Col. Nathan Blood
U.S. Army

Lt. Col. Nathan Blood, brigade effects coordinator for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Multi-National Division - Baghdad, says “Hello” to his 16-month-old daughter, Mackenzie, during a web camera communication.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams. Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don’t Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Biden who?????????

Confession time: Until this week I had never heard of Biden. 'Tis true, and my only excuse is that this foreigner only started paying very close attention to the American political landscape in the last few years..As the msm pundits do their usual half-arsed jobs of analysis and reporting of the presumptive (presumptuous? lol) annointed one and his VP choice, some Americans have been paying attention.

CJ is one such American. I am sure you know that CJ is active duty US Army and, for me, that means when he talks, I listen. Today, CJ sent out a piece he has written about Biden. CJ uses Biden's OWN words to foretell America's future if BO (+ MO) and Biden take over the White House.

It should, of course, be required reading for all:

Exclusive: Obama VP's New World Order Aspirations

August 26th, 2008 by CJ

Everyone (except Hillary Clinton's supporters) seems to be pleased with the choice of Senator Joseph Biden as Senator Barack Obama's choice of VP. There's a lot of attention on Biden's negative comments about Obama and positive comments towards McCain, but that's really semantics. The real issue that everyone should be focusing on isn't even in the press yet. And I doubt they'll even investigate or publicize this if they knew anyway. Prepare for something you'll only find on ASP.

Barack Obama has claimed multiple times Saddam "illegally used American aid to buy arms", "slaughter[ed]…his own Kurdish citizens", and used American intelligence to aid in his invasion into Kuwait. That's not even the most damning of Biden's own claims. He bodly proclaimed, "Saddam provided safe haven for the world's most infamous terrorists." WHAT!?!?! I thought this war was NOTHING about terrorism! But, that's not all. Biden also stated that Saddam had a "manifest quest for chemical and nuclear weapons."

I know what the liberal robots are saying: Bush misled him. Interestingly, Biden has been making this case since 1992!! As a matter of fact, Biden published a 56 page "vision" in 1992 in which he published each of these statements and more.

The title of Biden's "vision" is "The Wilsonian Vision and American Foreign Policy in the 1990's and Beyond." Translation: I'm all for the New World Order. As a matter of fact, his paper is broken into three parts.

I. On the Threshold of the New World Order
II. An American Agenda for the New World Order
III. Fulfilling the Wilsonian Vision

To really understand the purpose of Biden's foreign policy white paper, you should probably know what the Wilsonian Vision is. Wilsonianism is based upon former President Woodrow Wilson's "14 Points" speech to Congress in the early 1900s. Parts of this vision include the removal of borders and completely free and unrestricted trade among nations. It calls for the removal of all armaments except the bare necessities needed for domestic safety. Sound familiar? Think Obama's call for the destruction of ALL American nuclear weapons and a refusal to build more, regardless of what our adversaries may have. Finally, it calls for the restructuring of Europe along ethnic and nationalist lines...

You really should go read the rest on CJ's blog, A Soldier's Perspective, here.

"I am the surge"

Vets for Freedom has a new tv ad out, and it's a goodie - of As my regular readers know, I ALWAYS set great store by what our troops, boots on the ground, say; unlike *some* politicians who 'know it all' about our War on Terror strategy, even though they declare failure before the surge is even done (no names

Watch the ad below, and maybe even make a phone call or two.:) Then, head over to Vets For Freedom here. We can educate people, Yes we can!!!!

One picture

...says a thousand words!

All Smiles

An Iraqi girl smiles in excitement as U.S. Soldiers from Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y., deployed to Forward Operating Warrior, Kirkuk, Iraq, visit the neighborhood, Aug. 20, 2008. Photo by Staff Sgt. Ave Pele-Sizelove, Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq. (source)

No political commentary from me needed :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Truth About The Lies

From CJ

As a milblogger, I get a lot of ignorant emails spouting lies about all sorts of topics. For example, did you know that the Bush administration is secretly in the planning stages of declaring marshal law just prior to the elections so he maintain his power as President? Yup, and I'm even in on it as a Soldier, according to one emailer!!

But, the one I see and hear far too often is the ignorant "Bush Lied, Soldiers Died" catch phrase of the liberal wingnuts. Don't get me wrong, I have no doubts that Bush has lied - he's a politician just like every other crook in DC. I've got a new post up on VAMC that I think you'll find very informative, especially if you also find yourself fighting the ignorance in your daily battles with the defeatists in this country.

I KNOW all my regular readers already know the "truth about the lies", but go read what CJ has to say. Maybe even copy it and share it.

Thanks CJ.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Run For the Fallen

Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Sovie
20, Ogdensburg, New York
U.S. Marines
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464, Marine Air Group 29, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing,2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, New River, N.C. Killed when two CH-53 helicopters crashed near Ras Siyyan, northern Djibouti, while flying a training mission in the Godoria Range area.
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464, MAG 29, 2nd MAW, II MEF

Nic's mom, Mary, says:

I cannot believe how hard this is to write about memories of Nic. This year, and this month especially is difficult as Nic's 5 year contract with the Marines ended on August 5, 2008. We will never know now if he would have reenlisted or come home as he planned and attended college. He had so many dreams and plans for his future. However, he loved his job as crew chief in the Marines and working with all of his fellow Marines.

As any parent who lost a child will tell you, everyday is Memorial Day. You would think it would be easy to share all of those memories......they play through our minds everyday. And sadly, it doesn't get easier as time goes on, we just learn to live with the pain. That is where our faith comes in. Nic had that faith too. He would tell me that he put his life in God's hands before every flight. He said that God is in control and whatever happens, he was OK with that. It was that same faith I had to stand on when those 2 Marines came to my door @ 10:30 PM on a cold winter night February 17, 2006. It is that same faith that sustains me today.

Nic was my middle son. He has a brother 4 years older and a brother 4 years younger. We were always a close knit family. Faith and Church has always been important to our family. Nic was an altar server for many years and was involved with the church youth group & plays. He even went to Taize & Paris France in 2001 with the church youth group. He enjoyed hiking in the Adirondacks with his older brother and they had plans to climb all the peaks. Nic was always smiling and made friends easily. His friends often turned to Nic for advice because he really listened and cared....they knew that. He had a great sense of humor and was usually the life of the party. He was always optimistic and saw the glass as half full, not half empty. He could cheer anyone up. He was thoughtful & caring to everyone, but could be tough when he had too. He was a wonderful uncle to his nephew Andy. Andy was only 4 when Nic died, but he still talks about "Uncle Nic" all the time.

Nic was on honor student throughout school and could probably attend any college he wanted to go to. When September 11, 2001 happened, Nic was 16 and in 11th grade. He wanted to serve his country. A few days after is 17th birthday, just before starting his senior year, Nic talked to a Marine recruiter and signed up with the delayed entry program. He graduated high school with honors in June 2003 and left for bootcamp August 5, 2003. We proudly watched our son march across the fields October 31, 2003 as he was called a Marine for the first time. From there, Nic continued his training, went to SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) training, earned his wings for flight school and became a crew chief on the CH 53 Helicopter. He excelled in his job as crew chief. His best friend in the Marines, Sam Large was also a crew chief. They bot h died along with 6 other Marines and 2 Air Force personnel when 2 helicopters collided. Somehow, in our pain, both Sam's family and ours were comforted by the fact that if they had to die, they died together. Sam's wife and many of his Marine buddies were here for the burial. Nic is buried in our parish cemetery, Notre Dame in Ogdensburg, NY. He had 2 CH 53 helicopters fly over for his burial.

There is a song called "The Dash" sung by Eric Dodge. He is a new & upcoming Country Music singer from Utah. Every time we listen to that song, tears fill up our eyes as we think of Nic. It says:

"Someday they're gonna carve two dates beneath my name in stone. One for when I first arrived, one for when I say good-bye. I can't change when I got here, or when I'm going home...but there is still a little time in the middle that's mine ..all mine. The dash between the dates, the gift we've all been given. That little line that takes us from the cradle up to heaven. You're born and then you die....Life goes by so fast and it̢۪s all riding on the dash." The song ends with.."When I'm gone I hope my friends all gather for a toast to laugh and cry and say at least I tried to make the most of the dash between the dates........"

Nic lived his "dash" to the fullest. He filled all our lives with joy & love and wonderful memories. He touched so many hearts and changed so many lives for the better. His smile lightened and brightened everyone's day. His sense of humor made us all laugh. His stories kept us on the edge of our seats. His wise words, his encouragement and his ability to always look at the glass as half full and seeing the positive aspect of every obstacle or problem that came before him or his friends, made life not only easier for those around him, but a whole bunch more fun! His faith kept you grounded and he never wavered. We thank God for that and for him each and everyday. Honor, courage and commitment-----he was every bit of the Marine motto. We will never let him be forgotten....he is a part of our day, everyday! We know there will always be heartache & tears, but also the precious memories that we created through the years.

I will always remember what he told me the first Christmas when he couldn't be home, "Don't be sad that I am not there. The Spirit of St. Nicholas is always with you and so am I." We hold his words close to our hearts. We will never let his sacrifice for all of us be forgotten.

Mary (proud Marine Mom of Nic)

Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Sovie

Run For the Fallen

Arlington National Cemetery

Today, the Run for the Fallen ends in Arlington. Today marks the end of this run for our heroes. Every hero has been recognised and remembered. I have a number of these brave men and women forever etched on my heart. There ARE sites which have profiles of each of them. Two that allow us to know them and their lives are:

Living Legends (SA)
They Have Names

There are many other official sites, of course, and I urge you to spend some time reading the words of those who know and love these heroes the most. To find out more about Run For the Fallen, go here.

"May they rest in peace. They are some of the chosen ones."

Friday, August 22, 2008

A World Without The American Soldier

I found the following video on Knee Deep in the Hooah, who found it on Nice Deb.

It is the creation of a group formed to fight anti-Americanism in the world. The site is very interesting, and has quite a few items about the level of real knowledge that Brits have about America. I think most of my regular readers would agree that I have quite a good grasp and appreciation of all things American....It seems that I am quite a rare . Watch the video (they have another on their site,) then go read about their efforts here.


Patients walk past Iraqi Soldiers providing security from the 11th Iraqi Army Division, Aug. 20, 2008, during the combined medical engagement conducted in Sadr City. Photo by Sgt. Philip Klein, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs.

Iraqi Army Takes Lead, Supports Sadr City Medical Clinic

BAGHDAD — When much needed health care is provided to citizens, it’s a welcome gift. The gift is even more welcome when Iraqi citizens see their own Soldiers taking the lead to help them.

The 11th Iraqi Army (IA) Division delivered medical supplies and provided treatment to the citizens of the Thawra 1 neighborhood of the Sadr City District of Baghdad, Aug. 20.

Coalition Soldiers provided security for the operation, while Iraqi Soldiers and medical personnel met with Iraqi families in need of treatment.

The IA took the lead to provide supplies for the 2nd Health Clinic of Sadr City, provide additional medical attention to the surrounding community and promote an Iraqi face to the operation...

So much of this story is GREAT news on so many levels! (read more here).


Lt. Col. Linda Capobianco, from Salt Lake City, Utah, embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team, checks on the Mahmudiyah water tower which is soon to have a pipeline running to it from Al Rasheed, Aug.17, 2008. Photo by Pfc. Christopher McKenna, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs.

New Fresh Water Pipeline to Extend From Al Rasheed to Mahmudiyah
Thursday, 21 August 2008 By Pfc. Christopher McKenna
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

FOB MAHMUDIYAH — A water pipeline that will connect the city of Al Rasheed to the city of Mahmudiyah is nearing completion.

“People who have been limited on their water supply within the city will soon not have to worry about such issues,” said Sgt. Hamad Ali Kathwan, 25th Brigade, 17th Iraqi Army Division.

The goal in this project is to demonstrate to the Mahmudiyah Qada the local government’s ability to recommend, plan and complete a project, said Maj. Alaric Robinson, a native of Hartford, Conn., Company A, 411th Civil Affairs Battalion.

The project began May 25, and the pipe is expected to provide water to 25 percent of the city of Mahmudiyah by the end of August. The pipe is 20 inches in diameter and will span a distance of nine kilometers.

“The pipeline attaches the Al Rasheed water treatment plant to the water tower in Mahmudiyah in order to bring potable water to the city,” said Lt. Col. Linda Capobianco, from Salt Lake City, embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team deputy team leader.

“This is a shared project between Coalition forces and the Iraqi government,” said Capt. Benjamin Neusse, native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), civil military operations officer.

“The local water director came to us and identified demand [for water] in Mahmudiyah as well as excess supply in Al Rasheed. We provided the pipe, and the GoI is providing the funding for the installation, testing and connection of the pipe – everything but the pipe itself,” he said.

Each section of pipe comes in 9-foot pieces. After the pipe is put together, it will be tested to ensure a steady water pressure is maintained over a 24-hour period.

“The government of Iraq did the technical piece of the project so that it was completed to their standards and their specifications,” Neusse said.

The contractor hired 15 workers from the Mahmudiyah area, providing employment to people from the community for which the pipeline will be providing water.

“If you train and mentor young local leaders, their individual accomplishments will instill confidence to build cities and neighborhoods without the assistance from Coalition forces,” said Robinson.



A military “brat” runs the obstacle course at Operation Purple’s Camp Sandy Cove in High View, W.Va. Operation Purple camps are for children with deployed parents, parents who recently returned from deployment or parents who are about to deploy. Photo by Elizabeth M. Lorge

Military kids go to camp

HIGH VIEW, W.Va. (Army News Service, Aug. 20, 2008) - Kids at Camp Sandy Cove here are spending the week doing typical camp activities such as canoeing, practicing archery, cooking outdoors and even learning the trapeze, but these aren't your typical campers.

The approximately 71 campers here are participating in Operation Purple, summer camps for kids with deployed parents, parents who have recently returned from deployment or parents about to deploy.

Created in 2004 by the National Military Family Association, Operation Purple's free camps are designed to help military "brats" enjoy fun and relaxation while bonding with other kids who understand the rigors of watching parents march off to war and moving every few years. According to organizers, about 10,000 kids are attending 62 camps in 37 states and territories this year, up from last year's 4,000 kids and 37 camps.

"The camp is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said 13-year-old Audrey Zipperer, whose father has deployed twice. "You get to do a lot of things you wouldn't be able to on a normal basis, like horseback riding. It costs quite a bit of money to go horseback riding. Here we get lessons all week long. The kids know how you feel and it's definitely comforting."...

Read the rest here.


Yes, I know, but I had to share this one.:)

Sgt. Michael Daniels, a military police Soldier with the 716th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, and native of Aiken, S.C., hands out school supplies, Aug. 13, 2008, to orphan children in the Salhiya District of Baghdad. U.S. Army photo.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008 By Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger
18th Military Police Brigade

Operation Iraqi Children Delivers in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Anxious but appreciative orphan children in the Salhiya District of Baghdad had something to smile about when Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers arrived, Aug. 13, to hand out school supplies as part of an assistance mission named “Operation Iraqi Children.”

During the engagement, Soldiers from the 18th MP Brigade lent a hand in the delivering of the school supplies to the local orphanage, as Soldiers from the 42nd Field Artillery Regiment and policemen from the Salhiya Iraqi Police teamed up to help the children prepare for school.

Operation Iraqi Children, which began in 2003 and was founded by Laura Hillenbrand and Gary Sinise, is designed to distribute donated school supplies to needy children in Iraq, Afghanistan and Djibouti.

“Operation Iraqi Children is a wonderful way for the people of the U.S. to help the children of Iraq, and by doing so, we are helping our Soldiers, who are working so hard over there,” said Sinise, on the Operation Iraqi Children Web site.

The IP and MND-B Soldiers will hand out more than 3,000 school supply kits that were donated to the children in Baghdad. The kits contain: a pencil bag, composition books, notebook paper, colored pencils, large eraser, a small pencil sharpener, pencils, ruler and scissors.

“The kits have been a huge hit with the local children,” said Capt. Nate Brookshire, 716th MP Bn. “The kits have also given the maneuver units and Police Transition Team a positive avenue to interact with local children with our Iraqi counterparts.”

The 716th PTT has handed out more than 400 kits since mid-July to the children in Salhiya while on community policing patrols with the Salhiya IP...


So many GREAT stories - so little time to tell you them all. And that really IS B*N*S*N!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

NATO forces in Afghanistan: Some Gave all

Sergeant Shawn Eades, Corporal Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden, and Sapper Stephan John Stock, combat engineers with 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment, were killed on August 20. Ottawa, Ontario – (Photo courtesy of the Department of National Defence)

Three Canadian soldiers were killed and one seriously injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle on August 20.

Sergeant Shawn Eades, Corporal Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden, and Sapper Stephan John Stock were combat engineers with 12 Field Squadron, 1 Combat Engineer Regiment.

They were attached to the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia´s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.

The injured soldier is in serious but stable condition.

Brigadier-General Dennis Thompson, commander of Headquarters, Joint Task Force – Afghanistan (Rotation 5) issued the following statement after learning of the deaths:

"An engineer reconnaissance team is a tight-knit unit and these men were no exception. They were a well-trained highly motivated crew that believed in the mission. As combat engineers, they were proud, resourceful, and armed with the technical knowledge that they generously used to assist the mission in helping the people of Kandahar province. Sergeant Shawn Eades was respected by his subordinates, his peers, and his superiors for his outstanding professionalism and his operational experience and his competence. He was a veteran soldier and this was his third tour in Afghanistan. He was a devoted father who liked to share stories of his children with his colleagues and his friends."

The four soldiers were on patrol on Highway 1, in Zharey District, when the explosion occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m., Kandahar time. They were evacuated to the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Air Field where three were pronounced dead.

This is the worst one-day death toll for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan since July 4, 2007 when six were killed. (source)

Three Polish soldiers were killed on Wednesday in a roadside blast in central Afghanistan, officials said.

Polish Defence Ministry spokesman Jacek Poplawski said the blast occurred in the central Ghazni province. A fourth soldier was wounded. (CBC)

Soldiers stand to attention as the French flag is flown at half mast at the French 8th marine parachutist regiment headquarters on August 19 in Castres, southern France. French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Kabul on Wednesday in a show of support for French troops after 10 were killed in the deadliest attack yet on international forces in Afghanistan.


Can you help?

From a friend of mine:

One of our good Civil Air Patrol friends, had a fire at their house this
morning and lost everything. I was working with her last week on a Drug
Demand Reduction Program.

She has 13 years old twins. They all got out of the house safe, with a
few minor injuries. Ron (the father) is burned on his upper body (2
degree) and is in the hospital. The Red Cross has put them up at a hotel
for now. We are looking for any kind of donations possible for them.

I am the contact person for this and the email that we are using is if you could send an email out to your people that
would be great.

They are very involved in Civil Air Patrol and been helping out with the
disaster relief (flooding) we had here and many other things.


Looking for Military Wives...

From my inbox:

Hello CJ and Marcus,

I run, a site showcasing the real life experiences of women and
their life-learned advice, and we are searching for a military wife who
wants to get a makeover before her husband or boyfriend returns from being
deployed. I was hoping you might be able to help us find a deserving
candidate by either posting an announcement to your readers/community or
sending this information around to your circle.

We'll be shooting in Los Angeles, hopefully beginning in September or
October and finishing things up when the couple is reunited. The chosen
woman will have her story featured on and will win a complete
mind and body makeover, including a new hairstyle, a new fitness instructor,
a new wardrobe and personal counseling to prepare her mentally for her
husband's return.

Anyone interested is invited to submit a brief note explaining why she wants
to be a part of this project, if she has children, when her husband is
scheduled to return home and which branch of the military he's in. We also
ask that candidates confirm with their husbands that it's okay for them to
participate, since he will have to be on camera during the reunion, and that
they send in a recent photo. Submission materials should be sent to

If you want any additional information, please let me know. Thanks again for
any help you can lend in getting the word out.

And an added note from CJ:

...ensure that you tell people to NEVER give any personal information like Social Security Numbers or credit card numbers to companies they're unsure of. Also, offers like this shouldn't ask for money from those wanting to take part. I'm not saying that is what will happen, I just want people to be cautious ANY TIME they deal with people professionally.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday Hero

Pvt. Nathan Z. Thacker
Pvt. Nathan Z. Thacker
18 years old from Greenbrier, Arkansas
2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
October 12, 2007
U.S. Army

Pvt. Nathan Z. Thacker had only been in the country for two weeks before his death, according to the soldier's father, Stephen Thacker.

Thacker's father said his son felt a duty to enlist. "He said it was his job. Even after he got his orders that he was going over there, he said it's his job."

Thacker had attended Guy-Perkins High School in Guy, Arkansas. He earned his GED in 2006, his father said. Thacker enlisted in the Army in April 2007 and completed his training at Fort Benning, Ga. He arrived at Fort Drum in August 2007. His honors include the Purple Heart.

"Nathan was an excellent man," sister Sabrina Black said. "He loved me, I loved him, and I’d give anything to have him back."

Pvt. Thacker was killed when an IED was detonated near his vehicle near Kirkuk. Three other soldiers were injured in the attack.

Pvt. Thacker is survived by his parents, siblings and his grandfather.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

*Much Ado*

Written by SC Eagle. Posted with his permission:

There's much ado this election year, as there is every four years, it
seems. And there's plenty ado to be had, irregardless with which side
you identify, or even if you're 'undecided'. Are you a Republican? If
so, Senator Barack Obama scares the bejeezus out of you - he's going to
completely ruin the country, destroy the world, and it's quite possible
that the "Anointed One" is really the Anti-Christ. If you're a
Democrat, Senator McCain is worse - he's four more years (everyone knows
he'll never live two terms, right?) of President Bush, who IS the

The undecided voters, that crucial bloc whom both campaigns are
desperately courting, are either trying to find at least one good
reason to choose either of these poor choices, or trying to find
something to watch on TV that isn't about the Olympics.

If you listen to the campaigns, this election is the most critical
election in all history. Is it? Really?

It is a fundamental lack of civics knowledge permeating our nation which
convinces us that the President of the United States is the most
important man (sorry, Hillary) in the world.

And, he is. Or at least, in the Free world as we still distinguish.
Here at home, what has the President done to you lately?

One election issue that will likely never go away - Abortion. People
will base their vote on this issue alone - is the candidate pro Life or
pro Choice?! Does it matter? Well, the President does get to name
Judges to the Supreme Court, but not without the Senate's assent. And
is anyone truly expecting /Roe v. Wade/ to be overturned? It's been law
for 35 years now, and I predict that another 35 is a safe bet. We've
elected both pro Choice and Life candidates, and truth be told, I'm not
sure it's easy to say which had an impact on the local abortion clinic.

How about another issue... Hmmm, lessee... The Poor. Every four years,
the Poor are trotted out as the bain of the Republicans and the
Democrats are their Saviors. Nevermind that since the Great Society
/forty/ years ago, not much has changed. There are still poor, still
some rich, and some folks in the middle. And thus, it shall always be.

Drugs. Want some? Go to your local high school (junior high if you
want bonus points) and pick three kids at random. You should be able to
fill your order in no time.

Ok, I'll be fair. Let's examine this year's "new issue". It's a
surprise, and is predicted to possibly give the Republicans the edge
they need. Energy Freedom. We've been discussing this one, folks, for
forty years. Car still runs on gas, right?

The point is that our two parties' are bringing out the same issues,
same /crises/ as they do each time.

So, let's *IGNORE* what they want us to see! We don't need to blindly
follow along from their dog-eared playbook.

(Note: I started this before recent events in Georgia took hold.)

First, the President should be a Leader. That is his #1 function. To
shape the direction the country should turn to, and say, "Follow me!"
Presidents should never be bogged down in the minutiae - there are more
than enough personnel on Uncle Sam's payroll to staff that.

Also, Presidents should find ways to /exit/ our lives. While I have
concrete philosophical reasons for this belief, let me share a practical
one. There are over /three _hundred_ million /citizens currently. How
can one person, or even one government, insert itself into each of those
detailed lives successfully and consistently?

If we're honest with ourselves (a rare enough event), we'll acknowledge
the likelihood is nil.

Our President should focus on affairs of the whole - defense, trade,
international relations, and occasionally posing for pictures with the
Girl Scout who sold the most cookies.

Let's practice minimizing. Neither party wants to do that (both parties
are spending hundreds of /millions /of dollars on their nominating
conventions for candidates whom are already chosen - don't think that
money could be better spent on any of their agendas rather than confetti
and balloons?).

Oh, lastly, to the undecideds - take your time. We'll have the same
issues four years from now.