Saturday, March 19, 2011

Old folks, Alzheimer's, Tomahawk missiles, and a jaundiced glance back at Black History Month 2011. Wow.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

I went to the doctor recently. I'm 74, and blessed with good health for my age. In fact, there are days when I feel 72 again.

Waiting rooms don't bother me too much. For the most part, I'm happy I can get good medical care.

I waited an hour before I was called in. I often use this lag time to read, or to talk with fellow patients. I'm interested in them, and, without prying, I am able to learn much about them -- not only their problems, but also the whole person that they see in themselves.

This time, I sat down beside an elderly gentleman who was in a wheelchair. He glanced up at me, but lowered his eyes again. I figured he felt I wouldn't be interested in talking with an old man. Hell, I'm one too. He didn't know who he was dealing with.

Claude is 94, native to California. He graduated from Georgia Tech, and had a successful career as a chemical engineer. He lives at Wrightsville Beach with his wife, who quietly observed us at we talked.

He is bright, engaging, and has a rich baritone voice. He has diabetes. His legs have been ravaged. It hasn't hurt his spirit. We had a great chat. I gained more than I gave.

The elderly are not unfeeling or unaware. They are interesting -- and interested -- and have a lifetime of adventures and experience to draw on and share.

Usually they won't initiate a conversation. But they will speak if spoken to, and usually seem quite willing to open up about themselves.

I came in for another reason. My legs work pretty good. It's my brain that's misfiring. Alzheimer's is gnawing at the edges of my mind. I had some recent episodes that indicated it's getting worse. There are some prescription medications that can help out, although the problem can't be cured and its cause is not known.

I'm a writer. It's been my career and is one thing I can do well. Alzheimer's to this point hasn't affected that much, though I can't add stuff very well. But I never could.

I just tell people I have a wonderful memory. It's not very long, it's just wonderful.

I'll shift gears here. After Claude left, I inventoried the rather scant offering of reading material, and came across something that made the search worthwhile. I'll share it here.

In the news, President Obama has high-tailed it way out of town, there to bask in the glow that attends U.S. presidents, whether or not they are worthy of it.

Accompanying him to Brazil is his wife, the bulbous First Lady, in ill-chosen attire that cannot disguise how she fails to practice what she preaches -- eat well, but sparingly. Don't let your fanny exceed your dress size.

I'm way off topic, but maybe I will be forgiven these little wanderings which lead, in a circuitous way, to my sermon for the day.

My reward in the waiting room was the discovery of a column by one Colbert I. King, a conservative writer -- African American, mind you -- who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for distinguished commentary for the Washington Post.

This post by Mr. King, published during Black History Month, was so good that it lives on after the month of February stole sullenly into the history books.

by Colbert King, The Washington Post

Here we are, another Black History Month: time to lionize great black men and women of the past. Twenty-eight days to praise the first African-American to do this. Another month of looking back with pride — as we ignore the calamity in our midst.

When Black History Month was celebrated in 1950, according to State University of New York research, 77.7 percent of black families had two parents. As of January 2010, according to the Census Bureau, the share of two-parent families among African-Americans had fallen to 38 percent.

We know that children, particularly young male African-Americans, benefit from parental marriage and from having a father in the home. Today, the majority of black children are born to single, unmarried mothers.

Celebrate? Let's celebrate.

Three years ago, I wrote about young girls in our city who are not learning what they are really worth, young men who aren't being taught to treat young women with respect, and boys and girls who are learning how to make babies but not how to raise them.

Those conditions, the column suggested, find expression in youth violence, child abuse and neglect, school dropout rates, and the steady stream of young men flowing into the city's detention facilities.

Boys get guns, girls get babies. This pattern isn't new.

An intergenerational cycle of dysfunction is unfolding before our eyes, even as we spend time rhapsodizing about our past.

No less discouraging is the response that has become ingrained.

Sixteen, unmarried and having a baby? No problem. Here are your food stamps, cash assistance and medical coverage. Can't be bothered with the kid? No sweat, there's foster care. Make the young father step up to his responsibilities?

Consider this statement I received from a sexual health coordinator and youth programs coordinator in the District of Columbia concerning a teen mother she is counseling: "She recently had a child by a man who is 24 years old and has 5 other children. He is homeless and does not work but knows how to work young girls very well. . . . This young man is still trying to have more children."

He's a cause. Our community deals with his consequences. Sure, tackle the consequences. Construct a bigger, better, more humane safety net. I'm for that, especially where children are concerned. And the causes? God forbid, don't mention causes.


V.S. Last Word: Still with me? I survived the visit with my doctor, still have memory problems, and have a new favorite columnist. He's the courageous and scintillating Colbert I. King. I'll go to great lengths to be reading him again -- next time I'm hanging out in my doctor's waiting room. As for Obama? He pushed the button that lit up Libya with U.S. Tomahawk missiles, showing our military might. But Obama had dithered too long. He gets no credit from me -- which won't hurt his ultimate legacy, I'm sure.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reid would rather murder unborn babies than compromise on spending deal!

By Alexander Bolton - THE HILL 03/17/11

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared Thursday that a Republican proposal seeking to ban taxpayer dollars for Planned Parenthood will not be part of any agreement to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

Asked Thursday about the GOP proposal, Reid defended group, which provides abortions, and said the GOP measure will not be part of a long-term funding deal.

“[It] won’t be part of an agreement,” Reid said.

Reid's vow will complicate negotiations on that spending deal. GOP leaders are under intense pressure from their members and outside groups to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who crafted the House amendment, has said it is time to pass his measure. It is one of 67 riders attached to the spending bill cleared by the House last month. Pence's office declined to comment on Reid's remarks.

The Senate on Thursday approved a measure to fund the government for another three weeks, which gives the competing sides a short period of time to reach a new deal.

Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Reid -- who opposes abortion rights -- argue that defunding Planned Parenthood would deprive low-income women of family-planning counseling and cancer screenings.

Nineteen Senate Democrats sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday pledging to defeat Republican efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funds for the rest of the year.

“We wanted to offer our support in rejecting the ideological, divisive riders passed by the House of Representatives, which serve only a purely political agenda,” they wrote.

The senators say the rider would “effectively shut down health centers that serve three million women each year and provide nearly one million lifesaving screenings for cervical cancer, more than 830,000 breast exams and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.”

Aides to Reid and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) met for an hour and a half Wednesday evening to discuss a compromise to keep the government in operation beyond April 8. That’s when a stopgap funding measure passed Thursday by the Senate runs out.

Reid said he reviewed the list of amendments attached to the House-passed bill and found several unacceptable.

"Those that I focused on are not only no, but hell no," Reid said.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, criticized Reid on Thursday evening: "Sen. Reid is wrong. Planned Parenthood is an abortion-centered organization and America's largest. It performs more than 300,000 abortions a year, which constitutes at least 37 percent of its revenue, by conservative estimates.... Planned Parenthood must be defunded and it must be defunded now."

"Imposter Imam" criticized by Pantano, others, at protest by Christian Action Network.

By Dan E. Way

The Herald Sun Mar. 17, 2011;

CHAPEL HILL -- Calling Feisal Abdul Rauf an "imposter imam" who "would again victimize the families of 9/11" by building the Ground Zero mosque in Manhattan, retired New York City firefighter Tim Brown labeled the building a Muslim "victory tower" that should never be built at the site where nearly 3,000 people died.

Brown found a receptive audience for his comments at the Carolina Inn on Wednesday night, delivered as part of a free program offered by the Christian Action Network and ACT! for America.

About 60 people applauded in support of GOP U.S. Rep. Peter King's congressional hearings on Islamic radicalism. They jeered to express their scorn over Rauf's contention that the U.S. Constitution is Sharia law compliant. And they dabbed their eyes during the screening of the emotional documentary movie "Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mega-Mosque," which focused on families of 9/11 victims.

Brown, a decorated first responder whose fire unit colleagues perished in the World Trade Center rescue, said the radical Islamic terrorists who "smashed the planes into the buildings and killed nearly 3,000 innocent people ... have the same belief and same ideology as Imam Rauf, who is speaking across campus right now. They just have different ideas on how to impose that ideology in America, Sharia law.

"Imam Rauf says the United States Constitution is Sharia compliant. ..." Brown said. "They fell for that in England. They fell for that in France, and they fell for that in Germany, and all three of them now say multiculturalism is a failure."

Ilario Pantano, a Republican who failed in a bid last year to unseat longtime incumbent N.C. Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre, is a combat veteran of both the Gulf War and Iraq War, and said Rauf still declines to say where the $4.58 million came from to fund the Islamic center, but his ties to questionable Islamic organizations should be cause for investigation.

He criticized the Department of Homeland Security for holding hearings on things such as victimization on social networks, civil rights services and diversity in the Coast Guard instead of national security concerns such as radical Islam.

In praising King for the courage to hold hearings on the latter subject, Pantano elicited a burst of applause.

"I fought two wars for the freedom of religion," he said, "but not at the expense of my own freedom of speech" in speaking out against the Ground Zero mosque, stirring the crowd to another round of applause.
Gadi Adelman, a counter-terror expert, author and radio host who has studied terror and Islam for more than 35 years, said Rauf "has strong and unrefuted ties to the Muslim Brotherhood," a violence-prone Islamist political movement with paramilitary branches.

"It's not a question of whether he has the right [to build the Ground Zero mosque] but a question of what is right," Adelman said.

Kathy and Don Hatton, former Governor's Club residents now living in Cary, agreed with the speakers' assessments. Their nephew, New York City Fire Capt. Terry Hatton, perished during rescue operations at the World Trade Center. Terry Hatton and Brown were best friends.

"We're very opposed to it. We think it's very disrespectful," Kathy Hatton said of the Ground Zero mosque. "We're not opposed to a mosque being built, we're just opposed to where they want to put it."

"I have a hard time viewing it as bridge building between the communities," said Don Hatton. "It just seems like there's a lot of kid gloves tip-toeing around radical Islamists trying to stamp their beliefs on our society."
Copyright 2011 The Herald-Sun. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pantano questions use of endowment money for controversial UNC speaker

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

Mar 15, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Former Republican Congressional Candidate Ilario Pantano is criticizing the UNC system for spending $20,000 to bring in a controversial speaker.

Officials with the UNC system say they are using private funds to pay for the speaker. The money comes from the Weil Lecture on American Citizenship.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has promoted the building of a mosque near Ground Zero, will speak at UNC Chapel Hill on March 16. Pantano has been invited by the Christian Action Network to speak at an opposition rally and candlelight vigil that night.

Pantano spoke at a rally opposing the mosque on September 11 last year at Ground Zero.

"While I have fought two wars to protect our God-given rights, including the Freedom of Speech, I cannot understand why the Governor and the chancellors of North Carolina's public university system thought it prudent to award $20,000 to Imam Rauf, an individual that has done so much to hurt so many," Ilario Pantano said in an emailed statement.

"Given the budgetary crisis we are facing in South Eastern North Carolina, there could not be a less compelling use of scarce educational funding," he asserted. "Wouldn't that $20,000 be better spent as a merit scholarship or as a contribution in support relief efforts to a tsunami ravaged Japan?"

Pantano has announced his intentions to run for the 7th District Congressional Seat next year. He lost to current Congressman Mike McIntyre in the general election in 2010.
Copyright 2011 WECT. All rights reserved.

House approves another short-term funding bill as frustration grows.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

By Pete Kasperowicz THE HILL 03/15/11

The House on Tuesday approved a sixth short-term spending resolution for the current fiscal year by a 271-158 vote, despite opposition from a group of conservative lawmakers who called for deeper cuts and social policy riders.

Senate consideration of the measure could come as early as Wednesday amid growing frustration over the partisan stalemate on a longer-term bill to fund the government through September.

The frustration with the three-week spending bill was apparent on two fronts: 54 Republicans defected on the measure, far more than the six who voted against the last stopgap. That temporary measure, which expires Friday, passed 335-91.

Fewer Democrats also crossed party lines to support the new continuing resolution. This time, 85 Democrats voted with Republicans, compared to 104 in the earlier vote.

Republicans acknowledged that a longer-term funding bill is preferable, but blamed Senate Democrats and President Obama for failing to put forth an alternative budget that can pass the Senate. The GOP said the three-week spending resolution, which expires April 8, should give the Senate plenty of time to figure out what can pass there.

"I rise today … to support this rule that will bring to the floor a continuing resolution that will give the Senate three more weeks to get its house in order to do the business that the American people sent the Senate here to do, to join us in doing the good work that we have done, and to move a bill to the president's desk," said Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.).

Republicans also blamed Democrats for failing to approve a budget last year, and said that failure means they have no right to complain about GOP budget proposals. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) was particularly harsh in his criticism of Democrats on this point.

"They left the American people and this country with this pile of crap, they should not complain about how we try to clean this up," he said.

But Democrats rejected these arguments and said Republicans need to restart negotiations with the Senate and abandon the earlier House-passed bill, H.R. 1, as a starting point.

"Their ideological and rigid loyalty to H.R. 1 is what is holding up these negotiations," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) added that Republicans are effectively saying, "Take it or leave it."

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who warned last week that this is the last continuing resolution he would support, stressed that temporary spending bills are not good governance.

"This is a lousy way to run a railroad," Hoyer said. "We are trying to run the largest enterprise in the world in two-week segments. This ought to be the last of this type."

But the lack of a Senate consensus was on the minds of many in the House, including Democrats. Hoyer was interrupted by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), who asked: "Would the gentleman talk to his colleagues over in the other body and tell them to pass something we can begin to negotiate on?"

Laughing, Hoyer replied, "Four-hundred-thirty-five of us have tried to talk to the people in the other body."

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the short-term measure gives Congress "some breathing room" to work on a longer-term measure. He said Obama is urging the Senate to pass the bill to prevent a shutdown.

"But the President has been clear: with the wide range of issues facing our nation, we cannot keep funding the government in two or three week increments," Carney said. "It is time for us to come together, find common ground and resolve this issue in a sensible way. There is no disagreement on whether to cut spending to put us on a path to live within our means, but we can’t sacrifice critical investments that will help us out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build our global competitors to win the future. We have already met Republicans halfway, and we are optimistic that Congress can get this done."

Pantano to speak at rally protesting UNC-CH appearance by mosque Imam

March 15, 2011

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial cleric behind the mega mosque at Ground Zero, is being paid $20,000 by a public North Carolina university to speak on March 16th, 2011.

The Christian Action Network is staging an opposition rally and candlelight vigil and has invited a number of speakers including US Marine combat veteran and congressional candidate Ilario Pantano.

The Christian Action Network (CAN) will show its groundbreaking documentary opposing the controversial Ground Zero Mosque on March 16 (5-8pm) at the Carolina Hotel just a short distance from where Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will be lecturing at UNC-Chapel Hill. CAN is conducting a nationwide tour with the film and survivors of 9/11 targeting cities specifically where Imam Rauf is visiting.

Pantano’s advocacy for the 9/11-victim families and opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Times-owned regional papers.

On September 11, 2010 Pantano spoke at a demonstration organized by activist Pamela Geller which included 9/11 family members, first responders and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. 40,000 citizens rallied at the site of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in NYC and after his speech Pantano discussed the mosque on FOX News’ “Sean Hannity Show.”

Today Pantano issued the following statement:

“While I have fought two wars to protect our God-given rights, including the Freedom of Speech, I cannot understand why the Governor and the chancellors of North Carolina’s public university system thought it prudent to award $20,000 to Imam Rauf, an individual that has done so much to hurt so many. Given the budgetary crisis we are facing in South Eastern North Carolina, there could not be a less compelling use of scarce educational funding. Wouldn’t that $20,000 be better spent as a merit scholarship or as a contribution in support relief efforts to a tsunami ravaged Japan?”

Ilario Pantano has also been invited to speak at Ground Zero on September 11, 2011 on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks and is currently a 2012 candidate for the US Congress.

On the morning of September 11th 2001, Pantano was on his way to work in downtown Manhattan when he saw the twin towers burning. Having previously worked at 4 World Trade Center, Pantano lost friends in the attacks and since he fought as a US Marine infantryman in Desert Storm (1991), he knew immediately that America was at war.

Pantano rejoined the Marines as a 32-year old officer and commanded a platoon of Infantry Marines during the insurgent uprising in Fallujah 2004. Pantano chronicled both his war and 9/11 experiences in "Warlord," a memoir published by Simon and Schuster (2006) and he has served as a Sheriff's deputy in North Carolina. In 2010 he ran against a 7-term incumbent democrat for the US Congress in what was one of the most closely watched races in North Carolina (NC7).

Pantano was among the first to sound the alarm with his June 2010 editorial* and has joined with many 9/11 families in opposition of this insensitive martyr marker at Ground Zero.


Ilario Pantano
Republican Candidate, NC-7

Campaign mailing address:
PO Box 11280
Wilmington, NC 28404

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan stunned, battered -- where's the looting, rioting, rape, plunder and pillage?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

Respect for property even in the middle of disaster (Photo: EPA)
(Photo: EPA)

By Ed West   March 14, 2011

The landscape of parts of Japan looks like the aftermath of World War Two; no industrialised country since then has suffered such a death toll. The one tiny, tiny consolation is the extent to which it shows how humanity can rally round in times of adversity, with heroic British rescue teams joining colleagues from the US and elsewhere to fly out.

And solidarity seems especially strong in Japan itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting, and I’m not the only one curious about this.

This is quite unusual among human cultures, and it’s unlikely it would be the case in Britain. During the 2007 floods in the West Country abandoned cars were broken into and free packs of bottled water were stolen. There was looting in Chile after the earthquake last year – so much so that troops were sent in; in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale.

Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others – especially the Japanese – display altruism even in adversity?


Ed West of The Telegraph, UK, beat me to the punch with this salient blog on Japanese response to a natural disaster worse than anything witnessed in modern times.

So where were the looting, rioting, rape, plunder and pillage we've come to expect in other countries, other cultures, including our own, in the face of such natural disasters?

What the hell happened? Where is the incivility, the boorish, selfish behavior, the hateful attacks on the weak and the defenseless?

Well, this is Japan. And the Japanese, God bless them, are the world's most insufferable, arrogant winners -- and the most respectful, patient and generous losers on earth.

In a dozen or more visits to Japan over the years, I have seen and befriended them in both character extremes. They are remarkable people, and, despite the ugly, militaristic face they showed before and during World War II in the Pacific, we can draw much from them in terms of their resilience and forbearance, their intelligence, pride and work ethic.

My trips there were foraging missions by a writer and television journalist hungry to see the world. That wanderlust took me to over thirty countries over a period of some 25 years. But Japan was the one country that drew me back, over and over.

I became comfortable in the teeming sophisticated cities, as well as the rural villages and the pristine
family farms where an intensive agriculture is practiced. I studied the Japanese language at N.C. State University, produced several documentary films on Japanese culture, and, when in Japan, got outside the Western cocoon that insulates so many Americans from the society they have come to experience.

There are superlatives and criticisms that can be applied to every culture. The Japanese deserve some of both. But there may be no country, no people, who handle diversity with more aplomb and dignity than the Japanese.

Of course, there was Pearl Harbor, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As an American, I cannot forget that. But I like to believe that all of that is behind us, and that Americans and Japanese today are fast friends, trusted and trusting allies. We are both part of the Free World, which we both vehemently defend.

So at this time, we have an obligation, and a privilege, to support this stricken country in every way that we can. May God help them. And may we do the same.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ilario Pantano: Stay Focused on Iran

Ilario Pantano, a Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina's 7th district, published this editorial criticizing the White House's garbled and ineffectual foreign policy during the latest upheavals in the Middle East.  In it, Pantano calls for a refocus on and prioritization of the Iranian problem and recommends immediate action in Iran now, before it's too late.

By Ilario Pantano
March 10, 2011
Also published at

I feel for the Libyan freedom fighters and for the Egyptians, Omanis, Yemenis and Tunisians. I fought a war to liberate Kuwaitis and then another to liberate Iraqis.  And while I believe in compassion, this is not the time for bleeding hearts but rather steely resolve and focus.

American national interest demands that the distractions be put aside and the real threat be brought front and center which is why I call on the President and the congress to use every instrument of our national power to topple the Iranian regime, today.  This is our last best chance to stop Iran with only limited military intervention. Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain are afterthoughts compared to the menace of the Iranian regime on the verge of going nuclear.

I agree fully with Ari Shavit as he wrote in Haaretz that the US should direct the mideast storm of change towards Iran. "Take the Google, Facebook and Twitter revolts and bring them to the Ayatollahs. Topple Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tyranny as you toppled Hosni Mubarak's."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's decisions to meet with the Libyan resistance misses the mark. If there was to be a no fly zone anywhere in the world, it should be over Tehran, not Tripoli.  While the U.S. sluggishly works to tamp out flames, the Iranians nimbly jump from place to place with matches (and money).  It is time for the U.S. to start a controlled burn of our own and retake the initiative.
Let me be blunt: Not one additional American dollar nor one additional American life should be risked in the Middle East unless it is part of a bold grand strategy to topple the mullahs and stop Iranian nuclear weapon development, cold.

The facts of the case are simple.  Iran is dangerously close to becoming a nuclear power and as such will threaten the Middle East, Europe and beyond. The Stuxnet virus, which has temporarily slowed Iran's centrifuge progress and delayed uranium enrichment is a blessing, but it only offers a brief pause.
Furthermore, what little is left of Iranian credibility is damaged by the recent revelation that a 62-year old American citizen has been held in secret captivity for the past three years.  What leader could possibly trust a government that publicly and privately conspires to kill our citizens as Iran has done in both Iraq and Afghanistan?

Sanctions did not work with Korea and will not work with Iran, especially not with $100-a-barrel crude. Holding the presidency of OPEC, Iran has once again put a gun to western temples as evidenced by Iranian OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi telling Reuters: "There is no need for OPEC to boost oil production because consumer worries over supply are mostly "psychological." With the threat of $120-crude the mullahs hold the global economic recovery hostage.
Additionally, the 2010 Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA) is being flagrantly violated by Venezuela, but the Obama administration's restrictive domestic energy policy has made us reluctant to challenge Chavez.

Iran and its proxies are actively working to destabilize the region and are thus far the biggest beneficiaries of this "Arab Spring." Secretary Clinton rang the alarm bell last week when she told senators that Iran has made efforts to "influence events" and coordinate with opposition movements in Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen through their proxies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

"So either directly or through proxies, they are constantly trying to influence events," she said.  Meanwhile Iranian warships staged a show of force in the Mediterranean for the first time since 1979. For the Ayatollahs, it's morning in Iran, but for the free world it is two minutes to midnight.

The Iranian people are seething and are ripe for revolution. They just need some help and confidence that America will support them.  President Obama blinked and missed his window in 2009 when Tehran exploded and he chose to "evaluate" the situation.
Young beautiful 27-year old Neda was shot dead on the street. The world was mesmerized by the tragedy and brutality of the mullah's crackdown. The White House whimpered.  "It took only one bullet to kill Neda. It will take only one Neda to stop Iranian tyranny," was one posting from an Iranian on Twitter.

Why did we let that opportunity slip away, and why are we letting this one go too? Why have we not used our electronic warfare capability to rebroadcast the video of blood flowing from Neda's nose and mouth to every single Iranian home and computer? Every single Iranian radio should have a message of hope and resistance and a call for release of jailed activists.

And while I firmly believe the wiki-leaks disclosures have been a traitorous attack on our national security, there are two revelations that further hasten the call for action on Iran: apparently the Middle East, or what's left of it, is as sickened and frightened by the mullahs in Tehran as we are and would likely be supportive of U.S. efforts.

Iran has been working with Al-Qaeda.  Collaboration of Sunni Al-Qaeda and Iranian Shiias is particularly alarming for those of us that have witnessed the carnage of sectarian violence first hand. The Iranian connection to Al-Qaeda has been independently verified in New York Times' reports and in Marc Thiessen's book Courting Disaster in which he names Mustafa Hamid as Al Qaeda's " emir" in Iran and chief liaison with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Abu Dhahak al Yemeni as Al Qaeda's logistical chief in Iran. 
Now is the time for Congressional leaders to stand up and speak out.Now is the time to be bold, not later when Iran holds Europe hostage with a nuclear menace.  This may be our last best chance to stop Iranian nuclear ambition without igniting a broader regional war.

We can help the Iranians do it for themselves or at much greater cost in lives and treasure we will eventually do it for them.  Dealing with Iran is going to hurt, the only question is when and how much.