Friday, March 25, 2011

Royal outing for Michelle Obama in Spain confuses US image of First Lady

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

Already we've admitted that we don't know who or what President Obama is. We don't know where he's from (if Donald Trump wonders, how can we be sure?), we don't know what our Maximum Leader wants to do in Libya, and we don't even know if he eats soul food for breakfast! But now the plot thickens. Who do we think Michelle Obama really is? Is she a modest little lady who likes tending her personal vegetable garden back of the White House? Or is she a flamboyant jet-setter who relishes expensive designer gowns and cavorting with royalty -- with the U.S. taxpayer picking up more than a little of the tab for the glam and glitz? Or a little of both? Well, the real question becomes -- who does she think she is? The next question may be -- do I ask this question because I am a bigot? And the third question is, since I'm not answering that, so whatever do you think? And -- bottom line, who cares? One wag puts us all in our carping place with this: "Michelle Obama is an intelligent, accomplished woman. You, obviously, are not. Maybe you'd prefer the First Lady of the United States spend her vacation time at a monster truck rally!" Good one. Here's the story, and I like it, for those who want some gossip to lighten up the mood in the chaotic arena of public affairs.

By Andrea Tantaros / Torres/AP

Thursday, March 24, 2011

* Michelle Obama's popularity plummets following Spain vacation
* Michelle Obama is a hit with locals on Spain vacation
* State Dept. brushes off travel warning as Michelle Obama visits Spain
* Tantaros: Michelle Obama is modern-day Marie Antoinette on glitzy Spanish vacation

When images of Jean Paul Gaultier-clad First Lady Michelle Obama on a $75,000-a-day Spanish holiday hit the wires, controversy was bound to erupt back home. Her carefully crafted image as "everywoman" was blown.

In addition to the high cost, the evolving justifications for the trip offered by the White House's flack were just as dizzying.

First it was a private, mother-daughter trip that press secretary Robert Gibbs refused to comment on.

Then, the White House said she was paying for most of the trip, but that the taxpayers would pay for some of it because she'd be meeting with the King and Queen of Spain. The East Wing's final justification was that the First Lady traveled to Spain to comfort a friend who'd lost her husband.

The spin revealed that the White House had a public relations problem: After attempting to further the notion that she was just the woman next door, it couldn't help that the First Lady looked positively royal. That only cemented the suspicion that she is far fancier and higher maintenance than she, or her handlers, would like us to believe.

"The First Lady is doing her part - and then some - to be an ambassador of total glam when she travels. Have you ever seen a First Lady looking quite so now?" Glamour magazine asked.

I don't know about Glamour's perception of now, but currently 14.6 million people are unemployed. Now is a time when people are losing their homes. Now should be an era of restraint, a time to spread the wealth around, according to the First Lady's spouse.

The backlash from her vacation also showcased an antithesis to the story line of moderation and humble roots that Michelle Obama has sought to perpetuate.

"We like to joke that the South Side of Chicago is our Kennebunkport," she said to Vogue in 2008. Months later, she stepped out in $540 Lanvin sneakers to volunteer at a food bank. The disconnect was obvious.

In April 2007, she told a crowd that "my life now is not really that much different from many of yours. Every woman that I know, regardless of race, education, income, background, political affiliation, is struggling to keep her head above water."

Staying above water on the luxurious Costa del Sol junket must have been a real challenge. And now, while we eat cake, she eats her words.

Fashion magazines have long displayed two competing theories in their profiles on the First Lady. While they're more than willing to advance the narrative that she's just a down-home gal, some can't help but play up her penchant for the highlife, revealing the persona as fiction.

Andre Leon Talley, an editor for Vogue, wrote after the 2008 election, "She almost seems like any other mom recently relocated to a city because of her husband's new job."

Almost. Until the wardrobe references: Isabel Toledo, Narciso Rodriguez, Jimmy Choo.

Oprah Winfrey has said Obama is "bringing a sense of connection and accessibility to that position that no nation has ever witnessed."

That's what they wanted the country to think. Spain, however, revealed the reality: Obama isn't an average mom and wife, and she doesn't think so of herself, either.

That's why the Marie Antoinette comparison is apt: The trip evokes a similar contempt for the plebeians.

We might expect such detachment from celebrities, but not public servants. A leader shouldn't be living like a monarch when the rest of the country feels like paupers. At least Antoinette was being candid about it. Now it's the First Lady's turn.

"I think that's what's special about Michelle - she maintains a normal life in an extraordinary time," Jill Biden once said.

More like an extraordinary lifestyle in abnormal times.
rights reserved.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

NC House Panel opposes photo ID cards issued by Mexican consulate. Oh, boy.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

Oh boy -- the Republicans are in Raleigh, and they are doing it up good! They have thrown up a roadblock in the way of liberals who would open the flood gates to state services for illegal immigrants. Stick to your guns. The gravy train is being derailed.

By: The Associated Press 03/23/11 12:46 PM

Photo identification cards issued by the Mexican consulate would no longer be considered valid ID to prove North Carolina residency for state services in legislation going to the House floor.

A judiciary committee agreed Wednesday to remove those cards from a list of documents that can be used to establish residency to get a driver's license, obtain auto insurance or enroll in Medicaid. The change also would apply to similar cards issued by foreign governments.

Illegal immigration opponents say the cards are unreliable to provide identification, pointing to federal law enforcement warnings. Supporters of the cards say they lead to improved relations between governments and Hispanics.

The bill passed on a 7-4 vote. The committee defeated an amendment that would have restored the ID use to get auto insurance.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

The Racial Biases of Duke Hating. Gospel Truth. You Be Frank and I'll Be Earnest.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

Look, I'm no jock. Most of all, I'm not a diehard basketball fan. When football season ends, I not only go into hibernation, I slump into a funk of depression. It's not that I hate basketball. It's just that I'm lonely because I like Duke. One reason I like Duke is because there are some white guys on the team. That gives me comfort. And they're dang good, to the chagrin of most liberals and people of color. Hey, white men can jump!

The general masses don't seem to hate Duke football as much. For one thing, they lose a lot. And, what with the helmets, face masks and gloves, you wouldn't have a racial clue at all except for the pasty white calves that shine below their padded knee pants. But that's another story.

Well, I'm stealing the thunder here of Bob Kirkpatrick, who has done a commendable job of telling it like it is. He is author and editor of this story I found on HUFFPOST AOL News. I think it's funny. It's also sad. A sorry social commentary. The situation perpetuates and inflames racial bias and bigotry. And you know what? It's unfair to white people. Oh my! Enjoy.

By Rob Kirkpatrick

March 23, 2011 11:56 AM

First, a disclosure: I'm a Duke Blue Devils fan. I didn't attend the university, and I've been told by someone from the South that I would have fit in better with the student body on the rival Chapel Hill campus than I would have with the one in Durham. (I think she meant that as a compliment, and as a lifelong state-school guy, I take it as such.)

But I can't help it; I simply enjoy watching Mike Krzyzewski's team win year after year by playing disciplined, fundamentally strong basketball while avoiding the showboating and individual-over-team play, not to mention the NCAA violations, that often mar the college game.

And as a Duke fan, I've become quite familiar with Duke Hating, a favorite pastime of fans of pretty much every other college team in the country. I've heard all the reasons why we should hate Duke: Duke is to be hated for its success -- though, for some reason, we need not hate other winning programs like UCLA or North Carolina.

Duke is to be hated because it's a private school -- though, for some reason, not other private schools like Syracuse or Wake Forest. Or the four-time national champions are to be hated because they're perpetually "overrated" and "get all the calls" -- something that has yet to be quantified, but which seems to stem from a fuzzy conspiracy involving the referees, the Selection Committee, Dick Vitale, and, I think, Oswald's ghost. (For a good piece on the history of Duke hating, see Mike Kline's column for Bleacher Report.)

Duke has been this generation's most successful men's college team, so haters come with the territory. But what's increasingly disconcerting is the racial element that often seems to be at the heart of antipathy toward Duke. Over the past two decades of Duke dominance, the haters have had one thing conspicuously in common: The slick-dishing Bobby Hurley? Hustling overachiever Steve Wojciechowski? Sharp shooter J.J. Reddick? Duke haters especially hated these guys. Yet you almost never heard the haters go after a Grant Hill or a Chris Carrawell or a Nolan Smith. It's been the white players at Duke who've usually drawn the most venom... especially from white fans.

White-on-white fan crime in college hoops is not without precedent. I remember fans at Rutgers would taunt the point guard of the opposing team with chants of "Dork!" -- if and only if he was white. (One television color commentator, so to speak, misunderstood or perhaps intentionally misunderstood this practice and told viewers the home fans were jeering the opposing player because he was a freshman.) This was in the days when hip-hop culture spread into the suburbs and white kids began fronting as ghetto "gangstas." (Straight outta Middletown, yo.) In this climate, Duke's white players would make politically correct targets.

Within the past year, however, we've heard some race-based comments from black sports commentators directed at Duke players.

The day after last year's classic championship game between Duke and Butler, ESPN's Rob Parker and Skip Bayless spoke about the unusual number of white players in the game, which boasted (gasp!) five white starters. The Hated vs. The Hoosiers had more than lived up to its billing in showcasing two teams playing tough, smart basketball in a closely fought battle that came down to the last shot as Duke squeaked out a 61-59 victory. It was widely acclaimed as one of the best title games of all time. The nation's First Fan, President Obama, was inspired to call both teams in their locker rooms to congratulate them. But in the context of this discussion of the game's "whiteness," Parker labeled this one-for-the-ages final as being one of the worst NCAA championships ever. Not content with that statement, he added that if Butler -- the mid-major team with two Academic All-Americans that had captured the hearts of every non-Duke fan along with at least one Duke fan in yours truly--had won the game, they would have been the worst championship team ever.
His synopsis seemed a pretty clear code for racial preference: Parker didn't like how these white guys played the game.

Lest you think I'm reading into his comments, Parker drew criticism in March 2008 for questioning the NBA potential of then-prospects Tyler Hansbrough and Kevin Love based on their being white. Although Hansbrough has been slow to establish himself with the Indiana Pacers, Love made the All-Star team as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves this year.

Fast forward to March 2011. In his self-produced documentary for ESPN on his old "Fab Five" team at Michigan, Jalen Rose made a pointed statement about the team that drubbed his Wolverines by 20 points in the 1992 title game: "I hated Duke and I hated everything I felt Duke stood for. Schools like Duke didn't recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms."

When later pressed to expand upon his comments, Rose explained, "Certain schools recruit a typical kind of player whether the world admits it or not. And Duke is one of those schools. They recruit black players from polished families, accomplished families. And that's fine. That's OK. But when you're an inner-city kid playing in a public school league, you know that certain schools aren't going to recruit you. That's one. And I'm OK with it. That's how I felt as an 18-year-old kid."

In a response published in the New York Times, former Duke and current NBA star Grant Hill effectively rebuked Rose's words: "In his garbled but sweeping comment that Duke recruits only 'black players that were 'Uncle Toms,' Jalen seems to change the usual meaning of those very vitriolic words into his own meaning, i.e., blacks from two-parent, middle-class families."

Four days after Hill's response, William Rhoden of the Times noted the eloquence of Hill's letter but nevertheless invoked the language of the slave system to liken elite universities such as Michigan and Duke to symbols of plantation culture: "The reality is that, by the strict standards of black empowerment, neither Hill nor the Fab Five did the black community any favors. Uncle Tomism notwithstanding, Hill and the Fab Five both elected, for their own reasons, to play in the big house."

In the most insightful piece I've seen so far on the ESPN doc and the Rose-Hill feud, Jason Whitlock for Fox Sports agreed that Duke did indeed recruit a certain type of student, though he saw it in more pragmatic terms:

"Coach K recruited kids who had every intention of staying in school for four years [and] who had a good chance of competing academically at Duke and could meet the standardized test score qualifications for entrance." (Imagine, a high-ranking academic institution recruiting students who had a good chance of competing academically!) The Fab Five, meanwhile, "stated it was their intention to win a national championship and turn pro as a group after their sophomore season."

For Whitlock, Rose and crew were only on "the cutting edge of America's unashamed embrace of style over substance," known for their "baggy shorts, black socks, bald heads and trash talk" while never winning a conference championship let alone a national title for their own elite school. (Even their two Final Four appearances have been wiped off the books because of a booster scandal that involved Chris Webber, the best of the Fab Five at Michigan.) Whitlock describes their story as that of "Five super-talented black kids enrolled at a prestigious, white university... and, 20 years later, had the audacity to embark on a media tour preaching about black Duke players being Uncle Toms."

Let's be fair to Rose: He was describing how he felt as a teenage recruit, not today -- even if he didn't exactly back off his "Uncle Tom" comment when asked for clarification in subsequent interviews. We also cannot fault Rose, either then or now, for commenting on the unfairness of a world in which some kids are born into poverty while others into a life of significant advantages. Certainly, the story of kids who aren't from "accomplished" families despising those who are is an ageless one, and a very human one.

But in describing the black players on Duke as "Uncle Toms," Rose left himself open to deserved criticism. The term points to a destructive narrative that has become sadly engrained in our culture: the notion that blacks who are too "polished" or "accomplished" are somehow betraying their race. This, too, is racial code: They are selling out their race. They aren't "black enough." They're "acting white."

As Ron Christie demonstrates in his recent book, Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur, the notion that blacks who sought social, cultural or intellectual advancement were "acting white" was a slur that originated during slavery and Reconstruction as a way for whites to keep down so-called "uppity" blacks. (Second disclosure: I was the editor of Mr. Christie's book.) Since then, the stereotype of "acting white" also has taken hold within the African-American community as a form of black-on-black rhetoric that threatens to subvert the social and economic gains for which generations of blacks have fought.

A successful political strategist who happens to be black, Christie writes that he himself has been labeled as someone who "acts white" because he is well-dressed and well-spoken. In one instance while volunteering as a tutor and mentor for at-risk elementary children, one student asked him, "Is it cool to study and act white like you do?" When Christie asked the student what he meant, the student explained that everyone in his school knew that "if you study, pay attention in class, and do well, you're ACTING WHITE."

Christie and Obama are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they share an interest in dispelling the stereotype of "acting white." In addressing the Democratic National Convention in 2004, then-senator Obama urged that we "eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white." His presidential win four years later was hailed, naively, as signaling the beginning of a "post-racial America." But as long as being "polished" or "accomplished" is viewed as the sole domain of white students and families in America, and as long as black students striving for academic success are branded sellouts for going to so-called "white" universities, we will never see a post-racial America.

Sport fan allegiances can run deep; so too can fan hate. It's a fan's right to hate, and for the most part, it's a harmless kind of hate. You might hate Duke because you didn't go there, or because you know someone you did. You might resent them their success on the court or in life, or that the school was endowed with tobacco money. Or you might not care for devils, or the color blue.

But if you hate them because they are an integrated team with "too many" white players or because their white players are "too white" or because their black players aren't "black enough," that kind of hatred isn't the innocent hatred of sports rivalries. It's a much more real kind of hate, and it ultimately says more about where we are as a society than it does about sports.|main5|dl4|sec1_lnk3|51508

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Del Pietro describes Congressman Mike McIntyre: "He proves himself to be a poor leader."

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

"With all the pressing issues before us as a nation, none is more important than
getting Americans back to work," declares Congressman Mike McIntyre in a news
release. "I will be hosting a jobs summit in Southeastern North Carolina geared
towards business owners and management."

Del Pietro, a declared candidate for Congress in the Seventh District, vows he'll be there. He's looking for a job too -- McIntyre's seat in the U.S. House of
Representatives, which the incumbent has held for fourteen years.

A Democrat, 38-year-old Wilmington resident Pietro plans to keep McIntyre on the
defensive during the run-up to the 2012 primary contests. He's getting a good, early start and pledges an honest, aggressive campaign to deny McIntyre participation in the Fall general election.

Pietro is impatient with the fact that McIntyre is promoting a jobs event with such
fanfare at this late date in his career, as his home county of Robeson suffers more
than most from joblessness, poverty and lack of opportunity.

"I want to know why this wasn't done ten years ago," said Pietro in an exclusive interview earlier this week. "I don't know why there wasn't enough forward thinking to see this coming. And I want to know why our Congressman is reactionary instead of being proactive. This is too late to be holding this type of forum, to finally be getting aggressive on jobs.

"Because Mr. McIntyre didn't have that foresight, he proves himself to be a very poor leader. He does only what it takes to keep himself in public office. That's not acceptable. It wouldn't be acceptable on either side of the aisle."

The Wilmington area Job Creation Summit is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, March
29, from 10:00 am to 12 noon at the Cape Fear Community College north campus, 4500 Blue Clay Road in Castle Hayne. The event is free and open to the public.

Congressman McIntyre's statement concluded, "We must plan for the future with an aggressive economic development strategy, investment in workforce training, a strong educational system, and an entrepreneurial community that is actively creating its own innovations and businesses. All of these areas will be discussed with an eye to the future of our nation and southeastern North Carolina."

But candidate Del Pietro dismisses this as mere political rhetoric. "Even now there is no cohesive plan for the Seventh District, and this is Mr. McIntyre's personal failure."

Pietro continued: "I believe in accountability. In this congressman's own backyard, he has lived in the poorest and sickest county in this State, while being in office for the past fourteen years, and this disgrace has not improved one bit. I'm waiting for the census figures to come out. My guess is Robeson County has moved backward. That is staggering for a sitting congressman's home county."

Obscenity gets green light with ‘.xxx’ domain. (Oh, horse feathers!)

SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Mar 22, 2011

For all its benefits and blessings, the World Wide Web harbors a dark side that has ensnared countless men, boys and increasingly women and girls. That realm of darkness is now expanding.

Last Friday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which authorizes Web domains such as .com and .net, voted 9-3 with four abstentions to approve a .xxx domain for pornography.

This green light to the information superhighway’s red light district puts society on a fast-track toward more child pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking, objectification of women and breakdown of marriages. It is a moral collision course in waiting. And children, families and society will be its wreckage.

Under ICANN’s decision, online pornographers won’t be required to shift to the .xxx domain. They can continue to nest in the world of .com, for example, or acquire multiple domains. This only gives them more exposure—and profit.

The porn industry already brings in more than $13 billion per year. That dwarfs revenues by the four major professional sports associations—the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball—each of which takes in only single-digit billion-dollar revenues annually.

With the unholy advent of .xxx, porn distributors will continue to prey on the public as many will surf the net under a false assumption of safety from encountering porn outside .xxx sites. Anyone who wants to find online porn will do so—with or without a .xxx domain. The major difference now is that the approval of .xxx sanctions the sewage by giving it a special place.

ICANN’s decision comes amid a muted response from the Obama administration to online porn. “It is premature for us to comment at this time,” said a Commerce Department spokeswoman, concerning the administration’s position on the .xxx domain.

ICANN voted days later. In contrast, the Bush administration maintained strident opposition to the .xxx domain since its relative conception in 2005, when a Florida company began to make a push for its approval.

The irony of it all is that hardcore pornography on the Internet is illegal under U.S. law. Now it’s being legitimized. The tragedy is that the Obama Department of Justice, tasked with enforcing anti-obscenity laws, yawns at the porn industry pervading the Web. Its number of prosecutions stands at none. The answer, it seems, is that the Justice Department must feel the heat from without before it will lay bare the industry and resume prosecutions.

The framework for such pressure is in the offing. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Reps. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Randy Forbes (R-VA) are sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (PDF) urging him to begin vigorous prosecution of major producers and distributors of illegal hardcore pornography. They are asking other members of Congress to join them in co-signing the letter. To date, amazingly few members have done so.

The Justice Department will act as it sees this as important to Congress. In turn, Congress will act as it sees this as important to the American people. The question, then, is whether the public will rise up and declare its seriousness.

If you want the government to implement rather than ignore obscenity laws, please urge your senators and representative to sign onto the congressional letter to Attorney General Holder to restart porn prosecutions.

Doug Carlson is manager for administration and policy communications in the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s Washington, D.C. office. This article first appeared on the ERLC’s website ( and is used here with permission.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Children die in Israeli attack on Gaza, say doctors. Where's the rest of the story?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

VS: Look, call me callous and unfeeling, but the weepy story about kids being killed in Palestine by Israeli artillery just leaves me totally cold.

It does no good for the UK media to ratchet up the boohoo with stories like this. Hell, Palestinians have been shelling Israel non-stop since how long?

But all that’s an aside. I come down in Israel’s camp without exception -- because I am Christian, and we are commanded by our Savior Jesus Christ to support Israel and her people. So I do.

Look, I like the East Carolina University Pirates because I graduated from there. So did three of our kids. I like Jack Daniel’s No. 7 Tennessee Bourbon because I’m a son of the South.

And I follow and support Israel because I love Jesus Christ the Righteous, and I obey Him. When I don’t, I mourn my mistakes, ask His forgiveness, and am graciously pardoned.

Case closed? Probably not. But let’s do an autopsy on this story that came down today (March 21, 2011) from BBC UK World News:

Four Palestinian family members, including two children, have died in Gaza, in an Israeli artillery strike. Several Palestinians were also injured in Tuesday's attack.

VS: Is that the story line then? Palestinian children die? Give me a break. It’s a propaganda moment. Likewise the photo posted of a Palestinian man lying “injured” on a stretcher. Sheer melodrama. He might be sleeping off a hangover. Who’s to know?

An unprovoked attack? Hardly.

Anyway, what do you care? What I think and feel and say makes no difference in the grand scheme of things.

I answer only to my Lord, to my conscience where His Holy Spirit dwells, and – somewhere way down the line – to President Obama, whom I will not judge, while questioning his Muslim-tinged “Christianity”, assumed name, and missing birth certificate by which he claims American citizenship, feigned fealty to his adopted country, and right to the crown of the United States of America.

It pains me to say all this, but in my heart I believe it.

The BBC narrative continues:

Another 12 people were wounded when an Israeli tank shell hit a home on the eastern outskirts of Gaza City.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said it was an unfortunate mistake, but added that was "the price of dealing every day with the terrorists".
In a second attack, three people - all members of Islamic Jihad - were killed during an air strike, medics said.

VS: These are the bad boys – the evil ones – whose “religion” compels them to kill “infidels” (you, me, our families, our friends, our countrymen, all Christians and Jews) merely because we are unbelievers. So they kill. And in this instance they are killed.

We again rejoin the narrative:

On Saturday, Palestinian militants fired a barrage of rockets over the frontier, prompting Israeli retaliation.

VS: Got that? The militants provoked return fire, which killed some killers, and, unfortunately, some innocents as well.

Back to the wire story:

The BBC's Jon Donnison, in Gaza City, says the exchanges are among the most serious since Israel's major offensive in the coastal strip between December 2008 and January 2009.

Our correspondent adds that, unusually, the militant wing of Hamas claimed responsibility for at least a dozen of the mortars fired at Israel over the weekend.

VS: Wasn’t that very large of the provocateurs? How could they deny it? Hamas is habitually using Israeli settlements for target practice. Payback comes in due time.

More of the BBC wire story:

In Tuesday's first attack, a grandfather and two of his grandchildren were among those killed when artillery was fired at a house, reports said. Witnesses said they were playing football when they died.

The Israeli defence minister said: "We were not glad of it but that's the price of dealing every day with the terrorists attacking our civilian population from within civilian population on the other side."

Palestinian emergency services said the second attack struck the Zeitun quarter of eastern Gaza City, AFP news agency reports. Doctors from the health ministry in Gaza say those who died are believed to have been militants from the Islamic Jihad group.

VS: Partisan killers, soldiers for Islamic mayhem, terrorists, jihadists, rabid zealots, bad-asses. Anything left unsaid?

And finally, the BBC signs off:

The latest deaths came a day after Palestinian doctors said at least 17 people were injured in Israeli air strikes in Gaza.

VS: Oh. Well, crap happens, don’t it?

Monday, March 21, 2011

USMC Lt. Gen. Chuck Pitman (Ret.), unloads on UN, Muslim extremists, and the 'virgins' that await.

Offered courtesy of Andrew Koeppel
March 21, 2011

Semper Fi!

This "Letter of Apology" was written by Lieutenant General Chuck Pitman, US Marine Corps, Retired:

For good and ill, the Iraqi prisoner abuse mess will remain an issue. On the one hand, right thinking Americans will abhor the stupidity of the actions while on the other hand, political glee will take control and fashion this minor event into some modern day massacre.

I humbly offer my opinions here:

I am sorry that the last seven times we Americans took up arms and sacrificed the blood of our youth, it was in the defense of Muslims
(Bosnia , Kosovo, Gulf War 1, Kuwait , etc.)

I am sorry that no such call for an apology upon the extremists came after 9/11.

I am sorry that all of the murderers on 9/11 were Islamic Arabs.

I am sorry that most Arabs and Muslims have to live in squalor under savage dictatorships.

I am sorry that their leaders squander their wealth.

I am sorry that their governments breed hate for the US in their religious schools, mosques, and government-controlled media.

I am sorry that Yassar Arafat was kicked out of every Arab country and high-jacked the Palestinian "cause."

I am sorry that no other Arab country will take in or offer more than a token amount of financial help to those same Palestinians.

I am sorry that the U.S.A. has to step in and be the biggest financial supporter of poverty stricken Arabs while the insanely wealthy Arabs blame the USA for all their problems.

I am sorry that our own left wing, our media, and our own brainwashed masses do not understand any of this (from the misleading vocal elements of our society like radical professors, CNN and the NY TIMES).

I am sorry the United Nations scammed the poor people of Iraq out of the "food for oil" money so they could get rich while the common folk suffered.

I am sorry that some Arab governments pay the families of homicide bombers upon their death

I am sorry that those same bombers are brainwashed thinking they will receive 72 virgins in "paradise."

I am sorry that the homicide bombers think pregnant women, babies, children, the elderly and other noncombatant civilians are legitimate targets.

I am sorry that our troops die to free more Arabs from the gang rape rooms and the filling of mass graves of dissidents of their own making.

I am sorry that Muslim extremists have killed more Arabs than any other group.

I am sorry that foreign trained terrorists are trying to seize control of Iraq and return it to a terrorist state.

I am sorry we don't drop a few dozen Daisy cutters on Fallujah.

I am sorry every time terrorists hide they find a convenient "Holy Site."

I am sorry they didn't apologize for driving a jet into the World Trade Center that collapsed and severely damaged Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - one of our Holy Sites.

I am sorry they didn't apologize for flight 93 and 175, the USS Cole, the embassy bombings, the murders and beheadings of Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl, etc....etc!

I am sorry Michael Moore is American; he could feed a medium sized village in Africa .

America will get past this latest absurdity. We will punish those responsible because that is what we do.

We hang out our dirty laundry for the entire world to see. We move on. That's one of the reasons we are hated so much. We don't hide this stuff like all those Arab countries that are now demanding an apology.

Deep down inside, when most Americans saw this reported in the news, we were like - so what? We lost hundreds and made fun of a few prisoners. Sure, it was wrong, sure, it dramatically hurts our cause, but until captured we were trying to kill these same prisoners. Now we're supposed to wring our hands because a few were humiliated?

Our compassion is tempered with the vivid memories of our own people killed, mutilated and burnt amongst a joyous crowd of celebrating Fallujahans.

If you want an apology from this American, you're going to have a long wait! You have a better chance of finding those seventy-two virgins.

Chuck Pitman

Lieutenant General, USMC

Pass this on to your friends if you agree.

If not, I hate you are offended by these facts.


VS: By heaven, Chuck, you are right on! God bless you for this outpouring of straight talk, American-style. You're welcome at this podium any time. God bless you, sir!

Ted Kennedy: Declassified files detail his connections to the KGB! Just another Kennedy?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

The Ted Kennedy Chronicles:
A Look at the Latest Declassified FBI Files

By Dr. Paul Kengor

Editor’s note: A longer version of this article first appeared at American Thinker.

Another round of declassified FBI files on Senator Ted Kennedy has been released . Fittingly, in Kennedy’s case, they once again raise all sorts of questions, from the moral to the political to issues of national security.

First, however, allow me to pause with a sympathetic note. Among the documents within Kennedy’s 2,200-page FBI file are materials from the mid-1960s on various lunatics threatening to shoot the young senator. Reading those pages is sad, particularly as they move from not only Ted as a target but also his brother Bobby. And then, it all struck home—like a punch to the gut—when I suddenly happened upon a June 6, 1968 Western Union telegram, sent directly to J. Edgar Hoover, which stated simply: “PLEASE MAKE CERTAIN THAT TED KENNEDY GETS ALL THE PROTECTION HE NEEDS WE ARE DOWN TO ONE KENNEDY.”

Bobby was gone, the same manner as John before him, and now Ted was left as a living target. I don’t care how much of a beef you have against Ted Kennedy and his actions and politics; that telegram chills your bones.

As to the politics, however, once again we have more declassified files on Ted Kennedy producing yet more unsettling questions. As readers of my previous columns and books (click here and here) know, Ted Kennedy made a confidential outreach to Soviet despot Yuri Andropov in May 1983, evidenced by a stunning KGB memo. The goal was to undermine Ronald Reagan’s defense policies and, in my view, Reagan’s re-election prospects as well. That document, which has since been resealed in Russian archives, is published in full in Dupes.

Do the latest FBI files produce anything at this level? Well, it’s hard to equate degrees of outrage, but these items jump out:

Most serious are the documents relating to a July-August 1961 “familiarization tour” by Kennedy of several Latin American countries. Throughout, Kennedy expressed a curious desire to meet with “Leftists,” wanting to know what made them “think the way they do.” The documents note that Kennedy “met with a number of individuals” with “communist sympathies.” Kennedy asked ambassadors and State Department officials in these countries to help arrange interviews. One official was annoyed, describing Kennedy as a “pompous and spoiled brat.”

Ted’s behavior was not exactly angelic. Among his unique extracurricular activities, according to two of these documents (dated December 28, 1961 and October 20, 1964), was to attempt to “‘rent’ a brothel for an entire night.”

This aspect of the files fits with the roguish-philandering image of the late senator. More serious, however, is a particularly sobering item: Among the Leftists that Kennedy reportedly met with was none other than Lauchlin Currie, former close aide to FDR. As one of these documents dryly notes, “Currie’s name had been mentioned in Washington investigations of Soviet spy rings.”

That’s an understatement. As we now know, Currie was one of the most duplicitous Roosevelt advisers, widely suspected of Soviet espionage.

Why did Ted Kennedy want to meet with Lauchlin Currie?

Unfortunately, the FBI files provide no answers.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t witnesses who could be contacted for further information. Among the living is John Tunney, a former Democratic senator from California who was Ted Kennedy’s law-school roommate and close pal. Tunney was Kennedy’s liaison to the Soviets in May 1983. In this FBI file, he is listed as one of the individuals who joined Kennedy on this Latin America tour.

Tunney likewise might be able to comment on another stunner in these files: A claim that Ted and his brother, Bobby, were looking to parade around America a group of 100 Vietnamese children maimed by American napalm. A March 1967 memo contends that the Kennedy brothers were “plotting” such a scheme as a way to humiliate President Lyndon Johnson.

Finally, a November 21, 1962 memo in these files reports a fascinating tidbit: the muckraking columnist Drew Pearson was planning to report that 19-year-old Teddy had been rejected from attending “a school at Fort Holabird, Maryland, while in the U.S. Army” because of “an adverse FBI report which linked him to a group of ‘pinkos.’” According to this memo, when Teddy’s dad, Joseph P. Kennedy, heard of this, he threatened to sue Pearson for libel if he dared to print one word. The memo gives specific names and is grounded in what seems a very credible source (click here).

Of course, Joseph P. Kennedy has been dead for decades. He’s no longer a threat to our “journalists” doing their job. Will those journalists now, at long last, two years after Senator Ted Kennedy’s death, pause to investigate some hard questions?

This latest FBI file begs yet more answers on the doings of Ted Kennedy.

— Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism" and the newly released "Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Heather Harrison, Christian conservative Constitutionalist, elected to head Cumberland County GOP.

By Verne Strickland
March 20, 2011

"We truly need new people in leadership in the Cumberland County GOP," said Heather
Harrison prior to the party convention March 19 at Terry Sanford High School in

She got her wish. The 43-year-old grandmother, who describes herself as "just a
housewife", was elected to the top post of the county party on Saturday, ousting
Suzanne Rucker, who had served as chairperson for the past two years.

The final tally -- 82-80 -- could be mistaken for a NCAA basketball nail-biter. But this was politics -- and politics is serious business in Cumberland County.

Heather is philosophical about the close vote, but a win, she concludes, is a win. "This was no mandate, I know. I did have very solid support from Tea Partiers. On the other side, there were a lot of people who were extremely upset that I won. I am not aware of the GOP establishment supporting me in any way."

The GOP landscape in Cumberland seems to sit astride a political fault line, where
establishment politicians and Tea Partyers grind away at each other like opposing
techtonic plates. The close vote for party chair is indicative of the deep philosophical divide that splits the Republican membership.

While she speaks with humility of her decision to throw her hat into the ring, Harrison is no political novice. A solid conservative Christian Constituionalist, she is serving as president of the "We the People of the Sandhills" group.

"I was actually surprised that I got in the race, because this really puts me out of my comfort zone," she said on Sunday. "I was nervous going into the election, and just extremely surprised at the results.

"I am surrounded by some awesome people -- some very well-grounded people with wonderful ideas, and this is extremely reassuring. Ralph Reagan, outgoing vice chair, has been very helpful"

Why did she do it? Easy answer: "I have always been a political junkie, and, because of Obama, I was motivated to get involved. I saw freedoms I thought I had eroding completely away. and was scared to death what my children and my grandbaby will face as they grow up."

She believes honest political involvement -- activism, if you will -- is the antidote for what ails America -- and Cumberland County.

"My hope, first and foremost, is to get in contact with each and every Republican in the area and help them get informed about what's going on locally. Whether they're here for two years or their entire life, whatever the city and the county do affects you. So you need to pay attention to what the party leaders are doing."

Lest we forget, Cumberland County is Army to the core. Fort Bragg, located just west of Fayetteville, is one of the largest military complexes in the world -- home of the Army's only Airborne Corps, the 82d Airborne Division, the elite Special Forces and the Army's largest Support Command.

These unusual demographics complicate political cohesiveness. Deployments, in particular, keep the population in a state of perpetual motion, and constant turnover. It's tough in these circumstances to shape a political coalition that
is lasting.

"I believe it's because of the transient nature of Cumberland County that a lot of
regular folks don't get involved in politics. We have so many active duty citizens, and people working full-time so it's tough for them to get involved."

It's all part and parcel of the life of a U.S. Army wife, and Heather has no problem with it. Her husband Brian, 47, is career Army -- a Command Sergeant with over 24 years in uniform. An artilleryman, Brian has had four overseas combat deployments -- the most recent to Afghanistan in 2009.

Heather states the obvious: "I'm an Army brat and an Army wife. And I love my man."

On the personal side, she has this to say about one of her pet peeves: "I have heartburn with people who are politicians who claim Christ but do not behave in a manner that demonstrates this."

As to her own faith, and how it will guide her over the coming year, Heather says simply: "I will conduct myself with integrity and dignity and treat people with respect."

The new chairperson of the Cumberland County Republic Party will waste no time getting down to business. The first board meeting is slated for Saturday, March 26. "We'll be setting our agenda then," she says.