Bush lied when he said sovereignty would be handed to the Iraqis on June 30. The handover actually took place June 28. Bush lied!
There will be light blogging over the next couple of days. I'm a little under the weather.
All I can say about today and the hand-off to Iraq is, "This is that the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
Click here to see pictures of The Rock receiving news of the hand-over to Iraq.
Take a look at these incredible ultrasound pictures of babies in the womb at various stages of developement. Current law allows mothers to kill these children up to the point they are born.
The accusation that President Bush was guilty of willful dereliction by not making the United Nations, France and Germany equal partners in the War on Terror is rooted in an inflated conception of their actual importance. Whatever these prestige these hoary old names may conjure, in practical terms their cooperation is probably less vital than that of Pakistan or Israel. The Foreign Affairs article notes how the temples of international diplomacy are infested with discredited gods:
At the international level, Asia's rising powers must be given more representation in key institutions, starting with the UN Security Council. This important body should reflect the emerging configuration of global power, not just the victors of World War II. The same can be said of other key international bodies. A recent Brookings Institution study observed, "There is a fundamental asymmetry between today's global reality and the existing mechanisms of global governance, with the G-7/8 -- an exclusive club of industrialized countries that primarily represents Western culture -- the prime expression of this anachronism."
Some have derided the US coalition against terror, comprised of nontraditional names like Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Kazakhstan as a kind of pickup team fielded by a desperate America only because it couldn't get first-string Germany, France and Belgium to play. But this is unjust; it is not a temporary condition but a harbinger of a new state of the world. It's not that NATO has gotten smaller, just that the world has gotten bigger.
From the Belmont Club. I recommend you read the whole article. As always, it is a thoughtful analysis of world dynamics.
From the photo above, you can see where we were last night – Ocean City, New Jersey. We ate dinner on the boardwalk. Ocean City is one of the things I like about living n South Jersey. One interesting thing about the shore is the automatic trash removal. While we were sitting there, a laughing gull swooped in scooped a dropped French-fry from the floor. If you ever heard the raucous noise they make, you would know why they are called laughing gulls.
I scored an extra point last night. One of my on-going goals is to see if I can meet someone I already know, when I’m out of the house. I would say that about 10% of the time, when we go to Ocean City we do indeed encounter someone either Karol or I or both of us know.
Last night we came across two people. I score that as an extra point. The first was a couple that lives about half a block down the street from us. The other was couple that also attends the same church we do. We saw them again this morning.
The mass media also tends to take seriously proposals to revive the draft. What the media have missed is what most military historians know; the draft is a recent (19th century) innovation that never really worked. Britain dropped conscription in the early 1960s. The United States followed a decade later, and by the end of the 20th century, most nations that had conscription were planning to get rid of it. Conscription was never a popular policy for the simple reason that if you take all the young men that are eligible, you go bankrupt training them well, or, as it more often the case, sort of half train them. That means a lot more of them get killed if called up in wartime and sent straight off to combat. If you don’t call everyone into service, you create a lot of discontent among those called (and their families), who note the many others who are not called. If the Vietnam war had not happened, the students (and non-students of the same age) would still have been out their protesting anyway. Not about the war, but about the seemingly arbitrary way a few were drafted, and the majority were let go. During the 1960s, with the baby boomer generation coming of age, there were 3-4 times as many young men available for the draft each year, as were needed.
But why are all those young men, and women, still volunteering when there’s obviously a war going on, and they stand a chance of getting hurt? There are several reasons. But perhaps the most important one is that better training, tactics and equipment have made the current war much less lethal than past wars. The potential recruits realize this. Far more young people come back from the war, with exciting war stories, than come back dead or mutilated. The casualty rates in Afghanistan and Iraq have been lower than any war in the past. This makes a difference, because the young men who volunteer have, like all young men before them, a somewhat reckless attitude. They want some adventure, they want to prove themselves. And they’ve seen guys their age doing and not dying in large numbers. There’s also the patriotic angle. To these young folks, there’s a war on and they have a chance to play a part.
The recruiters report that they are getting more resistance from parents, but once the kids turn 18, they don’t need parental permission. Kids that age, being what they are, will see rebelling against their parents wishes as a positive thing.
“Hey Jaf,” he heard the pilot ask in a tinny voice through his headset.
“Yes sir?” Jaf replied clicking the little button with his left thumb as he spoke and releasing it as soon as he finished.
“Ask the team chief to come up here and take a look at this LZ (landing zone), I wanna make sure it’s correct.”
So Jaf yelled into the ear of the Special Forces Captain and led him up to the cockpit handing him a spare headset so that he could talk with the pilot-in-command (PIC). The good Captain confirmed the LZ and returned to his seat in the cabin with the other seven members of his team.
“OK guys, this is gonna be tight, I’ll bring it to a hover and we’ll take a look at it from head on and see how we can get these guys in there,” the PIC announced confidently.
The LZ was a small patch of rock surrounded by a thick clump of evergreen trees atop an 8,700-foot mountain. Just as the PIC was going to ask Jaf to get the Captain again to discuss an alternate landing zone, Jaf keyed his mike, “Sir, I think if we slide the ass end around and back her in we can do a “two-wheel” and I can get the ramp lowered enough to get these guys off. They don’t have a lot of heavy shit, should be quick.”
After a momentary pause to think it over, the PIC agreed and swung the large tail of the CH47D around so that only the aft landing gear were hovering directly over the bald spot on the mountain. “OK Jaf, call me in.”
Jaffy lowered the right cabin door, usually only used as an entrance and exit by the crew when on the ground, layed on his stomach, and hung out of the aircraft in such a way that he could see the aft gear as they floated in air some twenty-feet above the ground. He quickly glanced straight down and could see forever into the valley below.
“OK sir, I’ve got the aft gear off twenty,” he began his call. The PIC was on the controls and could see only the next mountain range a dozen miles away and he too could see the valley floor 8,000 plus feet below. Holding this hover was difficult enough without any reference points, now he had to let his flight engineer be his eyes and slowly bring her down onto a patch of earth he trusted Jaf to make sure was there.
“Looking good sir, continue down fifteen…down ten…hold it steady sir, you’re drifting aft, come forward two, down eight…looking good, down five, hold your forward, down three, good...down two, one, aft left wheel contact…looks like a slight slope sir, ease your aft right down one, aft right wheel contact,” Jaf could feel the sweat pooling on his back.
“Looking good sir, how’s it feel?” Jaf asked.
“Good, let’s get ‘em off loaded, quickly,” he replied.
“Go Kevin,” Jaf told his crew chief who had already began lowering the ramp and pumping his arms for the SF team to get moving. They did, jumping off the edge of the ramp in succession until all eight were safely on the mountaintop.
Jaf kept his eyes glued to the aft wheels while their precious cargo disembarked, occasionally giving a word or two of encouragement to his pilot, “hold her steady,” “looking good,” “ right there,” etc.
“PAX (passengers and equipment) are off, ramp’s up,” Kevin announced.
“Let me know when you’re ready Jaf,” the PIC said fighting the urge to lurch into flight.
“Sir, there is a large tree dangerously close to our aft right rotor blades so when you come up veer left a little…we’re ready in the rear,” Jaf said.
The crew felt their stomachs rise to their throats as the large Chinook helicopter lept into flight nearly blowing the soldiers they left behind over with its rotor wash. Jaf looked back as they departed and couldn’t help but wonder, “What the hell those guys were going to do up there for the next week or so?”
“That was tight,” Kevin proclaimed over the aircraft intercom system. All nodded in agreement but had nothing to add to the crew chief’s astute observation.
From Sgt. Hook
Amir Taheri just back from Iraq sums up his trip with the following:
Iraq is not about to disintegrate. Nor is it on the verge of civil war. Nor is it about to repeat Iran's mistake by establishing a repressive theocracy. Despite becoming the focus of anti-American energies in the past year, its people still hold the West in high regard. Iraq has difficult months ahead, nobody would dispute that. But it has a chance to create a new society. Its well-wishers should keep the faith and prove the doomsters wrong.
You may want to read the whole article here.
We just bought about 20 Lbs of blueberries and I’m using them in my breakfast drink. I put about two cups of blueberries into my breakfast drink. I’ve discovered a curious phenomenon that occurs, when I use blueberries. If the drink sits for more than five minutes, it congeals. It gets to the point where we are forced to eat it with a spoon instead of drinking it. I don’t know what is in the blueberries (pectin?) that causes this, but it’s a little strange. When I use blueberries, my breakfast drink turns into a breakfast pudding.
I called the lead I got from the telemarketer today. Although it doesn’t appear I’m going to be able to sell them anything, it looks like I’ll get some billable hours of out it. Who knows, another happy client is another source for referrals.
The person is using something called Elliott Software. I have never heard of it, but from a little digging on the web, it appears to be using Pervasive as the database. That’s a little good news. I am familiar with Pervasive and I have warned the prospect of my strengths and shortcomings in relation to her needs.
I’m mentally patting myself on the back. I took a telemarketing call that we meant to sell something to ME and turned it around to generate business for me. It seems my contact with this company could be a good source of referrals. The trick for me will be to find referrals for him.
Four more buy orders kicked in today and only one trade was stopped out. As of tonight, I’m up to 60% invested.
My big one today was NPO. It broke out of sort of a double-bottom base. The stock was up 13.5% on five time’s normal volume and it closed at its high for the day. Both are very positive signs. My buy order was at $20.91. I was filled at $21.00 – not too bad.
My current leaders are CLCT +10.8%, ACF +8.7%, NPO +8.1%, JILL +7.6%, and FOSL +7.1%. Although the market in general has not been particularly enthusiastic this week, I’ve managed to tally a very small profit.
Last night, I ran out of money again. Can I repeat my groan on how governmental regulations prevent me from using margin and are thus thwarting my trading ability? I’m not asking for anything special. All I want is the freedom to trade as I see fit. Is that asking too much? I wonder if I should sue the government on this. Is it legal to restrict my trading freedom?
• "Only a mediocre person is always at his best."
-- W. Somerset Maugham
• "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
-- Herbert Spencer
• "Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."
-- Thomas Sowell
• "Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."
-- Milton Friedman
• "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. "
-- Winston Churchill
• "When a true genius appears in this world you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
-- Jonathan Swift
• "It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil."
-- Friedrich A. Hayek
• "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. "
-- Will Rogers
• "... the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or to forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because in the opinions of others to do so would be wise or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. "
-- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty 
• "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. "
-- Mark Twain (1866)
• "Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; .... The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. "
-- Frederick Douglass
• "The ultimate decision about what is accepted as right and wrong will be made not by individual human wisdom but by the disappearance of the groups that have adhered to the "wrong" beliefs."
-- F.A. Hayek
• "The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection."
-- John Stuart Mill
I went back into my notes on High Probability Selling (HPS) and dug out the questions that want you to ask prospects during the sale process. I think I'd like to soften them a bit, but their goal is to make sure you have a clear sale. Here are the questions.
1) Why do you need this product?
2) Why do you want this product?
3) This product is going to cost approximately X dollars. Are you prepared to invest that much?
4) If you decided to go forward, when would you want this to start?
What if it doesn’t start then?
5) When you’re making a decision like this, who do you usually like to talk it over with?
I need to talk with them before I prepare a proposal. Are you willing to arrange that?
That’s not the way I work. I’m not willing to prepare a proposal unless I talk with them to find out what their concerns and objectives are. I’m not willing to prepare a proposal and have it rejected over a point that could have been handled up front. What do you want me to do?
6) If you decided to go forward, who else would have to agree?
7) What would happen if you don’t purchase the product?
8) Suppose you had to decide right now, without talking to me or anyone else, which brand would you buy?
9) Is there someone you would rather do business with?
10) What’s your procedure for issuing a purchase order?
11) What would it mean to you personally, if you didn’t purchase this product?
12) Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to do business with me?
Something we haven’t covered yet?
An emotional reason?
13) What could be lurking in the background that would prevent this from happening?
14) If I can meet all your criteria (or Conditions of Satisfaction) for this product, what will you do?
Tim Worstall on the Spaceship 1 achievement
So while I congratulate Burt Rutan and Paul Allen on their achievement I'm also remembering the advice of Frederic Bastiat to economists: always look for the hidden. What is important about Spaceship One is not that a private organization has done it once, but that now that it has been done once free markets will continue to make it better, faster, cheaper and someone, one amongst our fellow humans, will work out what to actually do with it, in a manner that none of us today has any inkling of. That's why free markets are important, that's why the first private space trip is important and that's why Paul Allen has done a great deal more than fund a rich man's toy.
The second major point that detractors miss is that free markets are incredibly good at making things cheap. Yes, it has cost $20 million to get this far and put one private individual into space. That's the total program cost of course, the next person to go up will cost a fraction of that. Yet even that is not quite what I mean. Imagine, as I think is virtually certain, that over the next decade someone extends the performance of these private vehicles to Low Earth Orbit. As Jerry Pournelle has repeatedly pointed out, once you are in orbit you are not halfway to the Moon, you are halfway to anywhere. Being able to get to LEO means you can actually stay there, even with a small payload you can send up many cargoes and actually build something. Once that is done, once we have a reasonably safe and reasonably cost effective method of getting to orbit, say $ 1 million a trip and a 1 in 100 chance of disaster, what do you think will happen then? Mass production.
To read the whole thing, click here.
I'm nearly always impressed with the thoughtful analysis presented at the Belmont Club.
Iraqi blogger Hammorabi's breakdown of the the foreign fighters killed in one US strike on Fallujah.
This is but a snippet. You really need to read the whole thing.
The other day I received a telemarketing call from a company trying to sell me computer-networking services. I turned it around and got hold of their salesman and spoke to him directly. I suggested, that since we have similar clients but don’t compete with each other, that we network and trade leads with each other. We talked for some time and he agreed.
Today he called with a lead.
Nothing may come of it, but it’s more than I had before.
Hi , thanks for dropping a line, so how ya been? Great I hope! For myself well just say I could be doing a lot better. But I would not trade this life for anything else. Well you think the mosquitoes are terrible over there , just trade me places and go to the river it like that old movie "the attack of the mosquitoes"or something.. It is really bad and it does not even rain here. It rained here twice but mixed up with lots of sand and dirt. Sand storm... but every now and than the sky will look dark and the air gets that smell like it is going to rain but it doesn't. How warm do you like the weather? how does 115 to 135 degrees sound to you Mmmmm warm I would say that you would more likely get I sun burn really fast here... just put it this way the temp is going to go a lot higher in these months ahead.. You be sitting down doing nothing and you would be covered from head to toe with your own sweat. So you cannot enjoy the weather either way. And to top it all off you would have to have all your gear on when you go out into the city. Which twice as hot. Right now, I am right at the border of Syria and Iraq in the city of hsaybia.
Well how am I supposed to talk about something that I am not allowed to talk about, let's see what I can do. This situation definitely is something worth talking about and hearing about from someone who experiences it first hand. Well I don't really understand what the family is going through with me being here, but I do know that it is not easy, especially for my mom. I will get back to that. For me on the other hand, I am still the same person that I always have been. Yes, I have seen some things that I could have lived without, but then again I have seen things that are very good. Everyone here with me works their butt off day in and day out. We sleep when we have time. This country has so much potential for success, but nothing is done. This country is so rich, but instead of profiting the people would rather argue about what tribe is better, who deserves what, or just anything, they like to argue about everything. When I walk down the street on a patrol, half the people are happy to see us the other half give us that eat poop look. No matter who we come across, we are always friendly and professional. We hand candy out to the children, say hello, salamalakam, slonic, how are you, shaku maku, what's going on, seba aher, good morning, anything just to show the people that we want to help them and their country, to show them that we care. This country, not the part that is all desert, is so beautiful, but it is not taken care of. When I walk down the street all I see is trash everywhere, children with no shoes kicking a soccer ball, buildings that are only half way built and others half way destroyed from years of war. I get very sad sometimes because we are here to help these people, but they don't let us help them. They are afraid of helping us because of the mugha hadein, the freedom fighters or those who are anticoalitionists. In other words, the people who are killing Americans and friends of mine. I have seen some of my best friends severely injured, and I know several people who have paid the ultimate price, their life. No matter what, every American, if they don't support Bush or the war, they had better support us, the soldier or Marine or corpsman who are here for these people, but more importantly America. I saw the Euphrates River a couple days ago for the first time just as the sun was rising. I took a picture of the sun rising over the cliffs that surround the river. Also in the picture was a sewage pipe draining nasty water into the river. The picture shows a beautiful place being destroyed, that pretty much sums up this country. Back to the people, if they help us and the mugha hadein find out about it, there lives become endangered. Many Iraqis have been murdered by the mugh, by there own people. That is why the people are so tentative to help. The thing is that most people know who the members of the mugh are. If they would only tell us, we could take care of the mugh accordingly if you catch what I am saying. I am going to end on this note, I am happy to be here doing what I am. I have learned so much about myself and the value of life, and I have also learned so much about the guy next to me who is there risking his life when there are bullets flying over our heads or bombs going off right near us. We would do anything for each other, even if it meant dying. Well I have to get going so I hope you drop a line again. Wee ya.
PS thanks again for everything
Lcpl Ybarra, Fermin
I had one trade sold and five more positions opened. Almost everything was up a little. That means I have many stop loss positions to move up. My DKS that did a very nice breakout yesterday sagged substantially. Perhaps I should have just sold it at market.
As of tonight, I’m about 40% invested. Boy, I sure wish I could use margin.
I signed up for a teleseminar on something called “High Probability Selling.” The thesis of this technique is, you only try to sell to people that will buy. What a concept. Only sell to buyers.
As you may know, I believe that classroom training should go the way of the buggy whip. So I’m trying this.
I was sent this. I thought it was rather funny, so I'm passing it along.
A squad of Marines drove up the highway between Basra and Baghdad.
They came upon an Iraqi soldier badly injured and unconscious.
Nearby on the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar state, but he was alert.
As first aid was given to both men, they asked the injured Marine what happened.
The Marine responded "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway.
Coming south was a heavily armed Iraqi soldier".
"What happened then?" the corpsman asked.
"I told him Saddam Hussein was a miserable piece of crap and then the Iraqi told me that Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and John Kerry were miserable pieces of crap!"
"What happened then?" the corpsman asked.
"We were shaking hands when a truck hit us."
From Editor & Publisher
NEW YORK Most press accounts today of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's testimony before the House Armed Services Committee overlooked his slamming the media for acting "afraid" in Iraq and publishing "rumors."
Most coverage has focused on the contentious exchanges between the No. 2 man at the Pentagon and the senior Democrat on the committee, Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri. Skelton charged that the U.S. was falling into "a security quagmire" in Iraq, adding, "We're stuck."
Wolfowitz denied this, though he admitted "it's entirely possible" the U.S. military could remain in Iraq for years.
Gaining less attention was that he identified the media as part of the problem in Iraq. "Frankly, part of our problem," Wolfowitz said, "is a lot of press are afraid to travel very much. So they sit in Baghdad, and they publish rumors."
Click here to see some the GOOD things happening in Iraq.
WARNING: If you're looking for the bad, you won't find it her. This is an endless litany of good news. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.
From the Washington Times
The Army's powerful 1st Armored Division is proclaiming victory over Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr's marauding militia that just a month ago seemed on the verge of conquering southern Iraq.
The Germany-based division defeated the militia with a mix of American firepower and money paid to informants. Officers today say "Operation Iron Saber" will go down in military history books as one of the most important battles in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.
Read more about how they did it here. Note, if you were hoping the the US would lose that skirmish, then spare yourself reading the article. I wonder how much this will be on the evening news.
I have me networking meeting this morning and have no referrals to give you. There are times that I feel like a complete failure at this networking business. I do a pitiful job of getting referrals for other people.
I had to trades stopped out and to buy orders kicked in. One, DKS, was up almost 20% for the day. My buy put me in at $31.70. That left with an 8.2% profit in DKS. I went through my stock scan and entered orders until I ran out of money. Sigh.
In church this Sunday, we sang the hymn, “This is My Father’s World.” It was written by a Maltbie D. Babcock in 1901. I was struck by its joyous upbeat theme. Here are the words.
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!
What to do? The market has definite trend to move – sideways. Today was a quiet day. One trade was sold and the rest remained intact. My portfolio remains unchanged.
We were in Lowes today and we looked at these solid gutter covers for our rain gutters. The are made of PVC, come in four foot sections and cost about $3.00 for a section. Currently we have a plastic screen over the gutters. These work OK, but we still occasionally get enough small debris to clog the downspout. In addition, we get a lot of water marks on the outside of the rain gutters themselves. This product claims to eliminate that last problem.
They look pretty easy to install. Part of my challenge with our current gutter screens is they interfere with putting up out Christmas lights. I think I can cut notches in these to guards to allow for the small plastic clips that are used to install the Christmas lights. If I give them a try, I'll keep you apprised.
The Islamist jihadist terrorists who wage holy war against us in Iraq and elsewhere represent a system of values exactly the opposite of America's.
There is no better way to know this enemy than to read their words. The father of the jihadist movement, Sayyed Qutb [KUH-tahb] of Egypt, wrote in 1952, “The death of those who are killed for the cause of God gives more impetus to the cause, which continues to thrive on their blood.” The cause of which he speaks is to “establish a [Muslim] state” that “sets moral values,” “abolish[es] man-made laws” and that would impose, by force if necessary, the Islamic system on “all human beings, whether they be rulers or ruled, black or white, poor or rich, ignorant or learned.”
This is a radicalized, violent vision of Islam, as yet embraced by only a minority of Muslims. Pluralism of any kind – a diversity of views or faiths – affronts this radical minority's absolutist vision. Their theological totalitarianism leaves no room for individual freedom.
Restoring the caliphate – the seat of secular and ecclesiastical power that existed for centuries across a wide territory – is their goal. You can read it in their writings: They would create a new evil empire, stretching from Istanbul to Islamabad, from Khartoum to Kabul, from Kuala Lampur to Bangkok, and beyond.
Osama Bin Laden is the leading advocate of this jihadist view in the world today, the current mastermind of this malevolent movement. Every American should carefully read his clearly stated words of intention to know why we must defeat him.
In his “Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad,” issued in February 1998, Bin Laden says that “to kill Americans and their allies, both civil and military, is an individual duty of every Muslim… every Muslim who believes in God and hopes for reward [must] obey God's command to kill the Americans and plunder their possessions wherever he finds them and whenever he can.”
In his November 1998 “Letter to America,” Bin Laden condemned the United States because, he said, like all democracies, it is a “nation who, rather than ruling by the Sharia of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, chooses to invent your own laws as you will and desire.” After September 11th attacks, he gloated triumphantly that “the values of Western civilization… of liberty, human rights, and humanity, have been destroyed.”
In this war of ideas and values, Bin Laden is the quintessential anti-American. . .
The prison abuse scandal has caused many to question our moral standing in Iraq and to use it as an excuse to pull our troops out. That is thoroughly unjustified and profoundly dangerous. As I said earlier, the terrorists will never defeat us militarily. We cannot let them defeat us politically.
Senator Joe Lieberman
Hey! You know how everyone was hot for a Kerry-McCain ticket. They called it a fusion ticket. How about a Bush-Lieberman ticket? Would that not make a fusion ticket?
Everyone is gone and everything has been put away. Everything is as it was - except our refrigerator is now crammed with chicken and ribs. Karol and I are going out for custard.
People started leaving about 6:20. Now it’s just a couple people left. I'm starting to clean up the yard and put tables and chairs away.
Karol's older brother, Rick, just showed up. That puts the count at 15. The weather has been nice.
We've unpacked the food and we’re sitting down to eat. I count 14 people - and that includes Karol and me.
Finally, we're starting to get some people showing up. And they're bringing food - lots of food.
Driving home, I could really smell the chicken and ribs. I almost stopped and helped myself. But I managed to overcome the temptation.
Upon arriving home I found only one car parked in front of our house. It's beginning to look like we're having a party without guests.
OK, I just picked up the food and I am heading home.
I just got six big bags of ice and two jars of salsa. Now I'm at the rib place picking up the ribs, chicken, and coleslaw. It's a real hole-in-the-wall, but they do a great job on ribs. Their chicken is pretty good too.
The weather looks like it's going to co-operate.
We’re about ready for the Orrell Family Reunion to start. It looks like we’ll have about 18 people. I just have to go get ice and then go pick up the chicken, ribs, and coleslaw.
They are predicting scattered thunderstorms, but only about a 30% chance of rain. It’s a bit humid, but the temperature is just under 80°. Our back yard will well shaded by a very large tulip tree, so it should be pleasant.
We are hosting the Orrell Family Reunion tomorrow. There have been quite a few last minute cancellations. It looks like we’ll have about 20 something in attendance. I think we’ll have enough food for 40. I think Karol is a little disappointed the turnout isn’t higher.
As for me, smaller is better. It just means we’ll be throwing out a lot of food. Oh well. The roaches got to eat too.
Here’s a lady, Soso Whaley, that ate exclusively at McDonalds for 30 days. In that time, she lost 10 pounds and lowered her cholesterol. Click here to learn more about her little adventure. She has a file that lists all here receipts.
The recent beheading of Paul Johnson makes me so angry I could spit. You know what these people remind me of? They remind me of the Nazis during World War II when Jews were rounded up and summarily killed.
These animals deserve no mercy. Try to make a case for the moral equivalency between this and the Abu Ghraib prison and you’ll find no sympathy here. There is no moral equivalence between humiliating a few prisoners guilty of crimes and beheading an innocent man.
These people are sick and we need to be destroyed. IF they are captured instead of killed, I’d like to see them stripped naked and forced to live with pigs. Then they should be put on a lease and lead around by a woman. Whatever we can do to cause them pain and retribution.
I don’t know quite what to make of this market. It’s not going anywhere real fast, but I continue to have stocks that reach their buy points. Today I had two trades that were sold and to trades that were bought.
What is also puzzling is my stock scan for potential buys has expanded to 2 ½ pages. So I continue to trade in this market, but cautiously with very tight stops. I don’t say I’m making much money, but I’m not losing any either. Rather a draw.
I had five buy orders kick in today. So I guess my trades a doing a smidgeon better than the overall market. I found four more stock to put buy orders on, so I continue to trade. But I’m keeping my tight stop losses.
THE video only lasts four minutes or so — grue some scenes of torture from the days when Saddam Hussein's thugs ruled Abu Ghraib prison. I couldn't bear to watch, so I walked out until it was over.
Some who stayed wished they hadn't. They told of savage scenes of decapitation, fingers chopped off one by one, tongues hacked out with a razor blade — all while victims shriek in pain and the thugs chant Saddam's praises.
Saddam's henchmen took the videos as newsreels to document their deeds in honor of their leader.
But these awful images didn't show up on American TV news.
In fact, just four or five reporters showed up for the screening at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, which says it got the video via the Pentagon. Fewer wrote about it.
No surprise, since no newscast would air the videos of Nick Berg and Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl getting decapitated, or of U.S. contractors in Fallujah getting torn limb from limb by al Qaeda operatives.
But every TV network has endlessly shown photos of the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib. Why?
"Because most [journalists] want Bush to lose," says AEI scholar Michael Ledeen, who helped host the screening of the Saddam video.
It's not just journalists. The Pentagon has lots of Saddam atrocity footage — but is loathe to release it, possibly for fear it would be taken as a crude attempt to blunt criticism of Abu Ghraib.
So the world sees photos of U.S. interrogators using dogs to scare prisoners at Abu Ghraib. But not the footage of Saddam's prisoners getting fed — alive — to Doberman pinschers on Saddam's watch. (That video's been described by former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.)
Read the whole thing at the New York Post
It seems only reasonable to expect a flare up in violence before the June 30 handover, and though it hasn't happened yet, the storm clouds are gathering. And yet in in this uncertain hour, no one -- not even French Polynesia -- looks to France or the United Nations to steer them through stormy seas. Roger Simon describes a fascinating interview of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President and Ghazi al-Yawar, the new Iraqi President, both of whom are in the US to meet with American officials. Their presence is a reminder of how the power realities of the world really stand and how the unwanted cup that has come at last to the only place it could -- "the last best, hope of earth".
From the Belmont Club
Two more buy orders kicked in today, but my top leader, URBN, was sold for a 13.8% profit. Well it’s now money in the bank instead of at risk. I may yet buy back into it, if I see a buy point.
This is no time to be throwing darts to pick stocks. This market remains dangerous.
George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I'm telling you.
George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
George: I mean the fellow's name.
George: The new leader of China.
George: The Chinaman!
Condi: Hu is leading China.
George: Now what are you asking me for?
Condi: I'm telling you, Hu is leading China.
George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi: That's the man's name.
George: That's whose name?
George: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East.
Condi: That's correct.
George: Then who is in China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir is in China?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Then who is?
Condi: Yes, sir.
Condi: No, sir.
George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
George: No, thanks.
Condi: You want Kofi?
Condi: You don't want Kofi.
George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
George: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi: And call who?
George: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condi: Hu is the guy in China.
George: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.
(Condi picks up the phone.)
Condi: Rice, here.
George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?
Many years ago, a friend said to me, “Man practices selective breeding in all species, but himself.” The more I think about it, the more I think he is right.
Look at how we go about selecting a husband or a wife. We leave it almost completely to chance. Consider that for a moment. One of the most important decisions in life is who should we marry and how do we approach that decision? We just hope we will meet someone compatible. I ask you, does that make any sense? Is it any wonder the divorce rate is so high?
The pastor of our church lost his wife a couple of years ago. After a while, he decided to look for another mate. He went through eharmony.com. He seemed to be very satisfied with them. From his description, it sounds like they go to great lengths to prevent weirdo’s from getting to people.
So if you’re single, based on his experience, I would recommend you give eharmany.com a chance. It’s certainly better that hoping for the right random event to occur in your life.
The market recovered today. I lost one trade to a dip in price and two others became positions as they hit their buy points. My two leaders, URBN and CLCT edged slightly upward. I see more signs the economy could turn into a fright train. That should be good for the market. Now if only we can keep Uncle Al from spoiling the party.
Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? Perhaps you consider yourself a realist. Many pessimists call themselves realists. I think, that they think, it makes them sound smarter. They like to deride optimists as “pie-in-the-sky” people.
An optimist looks at the world, sees good things, and sees an every brighter future. A pessimist looks at the world, sees the bad things and sees a darker future.
I wonder which group of people is happier.
I would ask, if you’re not an optimist, why not? I would further ask, if you’re a pessimist, or a realist, what do you have to live for?
Do you have books you’ve read, but don’t know what to do with? Perhaps you should check out the web site “Books for Soldiers.” Just click here to go to the site.
This site allows soldiers to post books they’d like to receive. Karol has a whole bunch of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Babylon 5 novels she’s read. We’re using the site to find out which soldiers would like them and then we will send them on. It’s a painless low cost way to support our troops in harms way.
If you have any trouble, navigating the site, just email me back and I’ll see if I can help.
When you look at the above graph, you can see the ones that truly are depended on mideast oil. It's not the United States. The Belmont Club makes some interesting observations on this.
I see a new cauliflower has been developed. It’s an orange color. Not surprisingly, it has 25 times the amount of vitamin A as regular cauliflower.
It originally stated as a mutation, but the mutation was not at all tasty. A researcher spent several years hybridizing it with normal cauliflower to get both the orange color and the good taste.
Look for it in your supermarket.
I don’t understand why everyone wants the UN to take over the situation in Iraq. Each passing day reveals another facet on just how corrupt the UN has become.
Why am I not surprised? Unlike democratly elected officials, the UN has to no voters to demand, “Throw the bums out!”
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans seem to have any appetite for truly finding the truth or the depth of corruption. To do that would show the UN for what it is. That would severely dampen any enthusiasm to turn Iraq over to such a worthless organization.
Perhaps the time as come to wipe the slate clean and create a new UN.
The market continues its slide. I am becoming less enthusiastic about the current rally. To me, it looks like it is in trouble. Although my remaining two leaders, CLCT and URBN, have been able to escape the carnage. Also, when I run my stock scans I still get two full pages to examine. I just have this gut feeling the market is going to roll over. I’m down to only 20% invested and have tight stops on all trades, so a further drop should not hurt me too much.
The church had a potluck dinner tonight. It was followed by a “Wellness Workshop.”
The workshop moderator comes from higher up in the church higherarchy. She gave 12 points for a healthy church.
1) Loving Friendships – Members really like being with each other
2) Harmony and Peace – Member journey together in unity and mutual respect.
3) Worship which flows from the heart – Members come prepared to open their hearts to God’s presence and God’s Word.
4) Sacrificial Compassion – Member meet each other’s needs.
5) Hope – Members are forward-looking and are anticipating what God is going to do among them.
6) Recognizing Giftedness – Members encourage each other to use their spiritual gifts.
7) Discipleship – Members have a passion for learning God’s word and growing spiritually.
8) Disciplines – Members practice spiritual disciplines such as prayer, silence and journaling.
9) Pastoral in Spirit – members support and are supported by a pastor with an alive and growing spiritual life.
10) Well-Organized – Members serve within an organizational that enhances the church’s mission.
11) Joy – Members express a deep appreciation for God, life, one another, and the church.
12) Openness – Members open their hearts to other races, cultures, age-levels and to visitors.
In the ensuing discussion it was decided our church does the following well
- Loving friendship
- Pastoral in spirit
- Sorrow & sadness
At about this time the group really started to pour out their feelings on the church split. There is a lot of aguish over the conflict in the congregation. The moderator said the congregation is grieving, but they must move on. They cannot stay where they are.
The discussion stated to digress, but she pulled the discussion back to the straight and narrow.
She came up with two items for the church to work on.
1) Recognizing giftedness
She suggested we re-read Acts 2.
I feel we seldom really appreciate the magnificent structure God has given us – our bodies. Today I was applying some caulk around our newly renovated back porch.
This caulk is made by DAP. It comes out white and then dries to a clear color. The label on the cartridge says it’s guaranteed for 50 years. I hope it lasts for 10 years.
Anyway, my method of applying the caulk is to first lay a bead down from the caulking gun. Then I smooth the bead with my finger.
Fingers are marvelous devices. They are unbeatable for smoothing out a bead of caulk. I just ran my finger down the bead and left behind a beautiful concave fillet. The human finger is so nicely populated with nerves that you can keep a very consistent pressure to achieve your desired results.
Of course then I had to wipe off my finger and wash my hands. Fortunately, the caulk is latex based and easily cleans up with water.
But I still marvel at all the things our bodies can do. What machines we live it.
Goodbye Ronnie. We miss you already.
"It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the Federal Government and those reserved to the States or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the Federal Government did not create the States; the States created the Federal Government."
If it weren’t for Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and the Pope, the Soviet Union would still be in business today. We would still be living under the threat of instant nuclear annihilation.
I had a few more trades stopped out today. I’m down to 25% invested. My current leaders are URBN +15.79%, CLCT +10.5%, and SBUX +6.1%.
They actually closed the market in honor of Reagan's Funeral. What an impact that man has had on this country.
The Iowa Electronic Market has Rock contracts selling for $0.51 while Weathervane contracts are getting $0.47.
I wonder what The Weathervane will have to say about The Rock’s 15 to zip victory in the UN? Perhaps he’ll claim it was his idea and The Rock was only following up on it.
I also wonder how The Weathervane is now going to talk about all those Reagan programs he voted against. Just last week he was extolling how he fought against Reagan. Somehow, that argument doesn’t seem to be very promising now.
Michael Scott Doran writes an article in Foreign Affairs magazine. In his view, Saudi Arabia is in a virtual state of civil war, divided between two "kings". Doran says:
Among the four or five most powerful princes, two stand out: Crown Prince Abdullah and his half-brother Prince Nayef, the interior minister. Relations between these two leaders are visibly tense. In the United States, Abdullah cuts a higher profile. But at home in Saudi Arabia, Nayef, who controls the secret police, casts a longer and darker shadow. Ever since King Fahd's stroke in 1995, the question of succession has been hanging over the entire system, but neither prince has enough clout to capture the throne. Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a crisis. The economy cannot keep pace with population growth, the welfare state is rapidly deteriorating, and regional and sectarian resentments are rising to the fore. These problems have been exacerbated by an upsurge in radical Islamic activism. Many agree that the Saudi political system must somehow evolve, but a profound cultural schizophrenia prevents the elite from agreeing on the specifics of reform.
Saudi Arabia's two most powerful princes have taken opposing sides in this debate: Abdullah tilts toward the liberal reformers and seeks a rapprochement with the United States, whereas Nayef sides with the clerics and takes direction from an anti-American religious establishment that shares many goals with al Qaeda.
This outpouring by the populace over Ronald Reagan has to be driving the liberals nuts. They always hated Reagan. They fought him, but he defeated them at every turn.
It was a tough day in the market today. I had six trades stopped out. Of the six trades, I averaged about a 1.7% gain on those six trades. I missed one, however. I thought I had a stop loss on AVE, but I didn’t. I have since corrected that. One of my trades that was stopped out was OSG. I made almost a 10% gain on that trade. SHFL, which I sold yesterday at a nice profit, continued its decline. I won’t have to worry about adjusting my stops tonight. Only URBN swam against the tide.
My current leaders are URBN +12.9%, CLCT +9.8%, POSS +6.5%, and SBUX +6.4%.
Even with today’s market action, I placed six more buy orders. Every penny is committed. This rally doesn’t look dead yet. But I do wish it had a little more enthusiasm.
Today was rather a wash. Two trades were stopped out: SHFL with an 8% gain and CZR with a 2.8% gain. I held SHFL for only one day. Two other pending trades kicked in. I think I’m going to place another buy order on SHFL at $35.81 and see what happens. It may rebound and I can get back on board for another short profit.
My new leaders are OSG +12.8%, URBN +12.4%, CLCT +10.2%, POSS +10.1%, SBUX +7.3%, and GMR +7.0%.
I placed more buy orders tonight until I ran out of money. I have every penny committed to pending trades.
Six more buy orders kicked in today and I had two trades stopped out. I’m now about 63% invested with every penny committed to pending trades. POSS was my big gainer today. It was up 13.8%. I had a standing buy order on that stock and I got on board at $29.60. My current leaders are SHFL +12.9%, URBN +12.6%, OSG +11.5%, CLCT +10.3%, and POSS +8.2%. As of tonight, I’m up about 3% from my plunge into the market May 27th.
I have placed stop loss orders on all six new trades and moved up my stops on all existing trades.
Boy do I wish I could be using margin right now. I’d be putting on even more trades. Each trade is about 2.6% of my total equity. As I make gains in the market, my trades get bigger. If I suffer setbacks, my trades grow proportionally smaller.
Gorbachev meanwhile was struggling to halt the Soviet Union's slow but relentless economic deterioration. Trying to initiate a Soviet response to the U.S. missile-shield program was a heavy burden on the Kremlin treasury already strained by the inefficient and corrupt Soviet command economy.
Gennady Gerasimov, the Foreign Ministry spokesman under Gorbachev, told The Associated Press that Star Wars was "very successful blackmail. ... The Soviet economy couldn't endure such competition."
From the AP.
RR’s detractors, the leftists, liberals, and progressives, are conspicuously quiet. I figure this outpouring of praise for the 40th president of the United States has to be driving them crazy. All I have to tell them is, at least its short trip.
My fellow citizens… I want you to know that I have always had the highest respect for you, for your common sense and intelligence and for your decency. I have always believed in you and in what you could accomplish for yourselves and for others.
And whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with Liberty's lamp guiding your steps and Opportunity's arm steadying your way.
My fondest hope for each one of you -- and especially for the young people here -- is that you will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness and her idealism. May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will make the world a little better for your having been here.
May all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never lose your natural, God-given optimism.
And finally, my fellow Americans, may every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring us closer to that Shining City upon a Hill.
Before I go, I would like to ask the person who has made my life's journey so meaningful, someone I have been so proud of through the years, to join me. Nancy…
My fellow Americans, on behalf of both of us, goodbye, and God bless each and every one of you, and God bless this country we love.
It’s getting a little dicey keeping track of my stock trading. I’ve got 14 trades in play and another 17 pending. I reduced my position size from risking 0.25% of my total stash on each trade to risking 0.20%. This allows me to put more trades in play. If I could use margin, I would have to do this. But since I trade only in my IRA account, Uncle Sam won’t let me use margin.
The government restricts IRA account trading in that I can’t do any short selling or use margin. I can, however, trade options all day long. Go figure.
My current leaders are URBN +11.4%, OSG +10.6%, and CLCT + 8.6%.
I just finished watching a Discovery Channel documentary on the battle for Iwo Jima. In the 36 days it took take the island, the Marines suffered 26,000 casulties of which 7,000 died. The Japanese fought tenaciously and virtually never surrendered - even when their defeat was obvious.
The US military thought the battle would take just a few days. One Marine company, H Company, suffered an 82% casualty rate. After Iwo Jima was taken, the Marines went back to Hawaii to train for the invasion of Japan. Many Marines from Iwo Jima figured this would be a battle from which they would not return. They figured they'd used up all their luck on Iwo Jima. They were very pleased when the two atomic bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered.
One Japanese interviewed for the program, thought the death of all the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was terrible. In the same breath, however, he felt that sacrifice saved the lives of millions of Japanese. Had the US invaded Japan, the Japanese would have fought to the last man.
Here’s some facts about the Iwo Jima and the battle that ensued.
It is an island about two miles wide and eight miles long.
Approximately 60,000 Americans and 20,000 Japanese participated in the Battle.
Approximately one-third of all Marines killed in action in World War II were killed at Iwo Jima, making Iwo Jima the battle with the highest number of casualties in Marine Corps history.
Twenty-seven Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded in the Battle - more than were awarded to Marines and Navy in any other Battle in our country's history.
As one of the surviving Marines said, "Freedom isn't free."
Here’s an interesting take on how the press would report the D-Day invasion today. Just click here to read it. Here’s a snippet.
In an as yet unfolding apparent fiasco, Supreme Allied Commander, Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower's troops got a rude awakening this morning at Omaha Beach here in Normandy.
Due to insufficient planning and lack of a workable entrance strategy, soldiers of the 1st and 29th Infantry as well as Army Rangers are now bogged down and sustaining heavy casualties inflicted on them by dug-in insurgent positions located 170 feet above them on cliffs overlooking the beaches which now resemble blood soaked killing fields at the time of this mid-morning filing.
Friday’s market was good. Three trades bit the dust and either broke even or made a small profit. Another position was opened as it hit its buy point. I’m about 50% invested right now. Since my entry back into the market on May 27, my total equity is up about 1.7%. I don’t see that as too bad in a market that appears to be meandering. I’d the wind swing around to my backside. Then I could really sail.
One of the major differences between John Kerry and George Bush is their steadfastness to a position. Kerry has been on more that one side of most issues throughout his career. In honor of the Senator’s “flexibility”, I rename him "Senator Weathervane", or "The Weathervane." A weathervane is a device that constantly changes its position to aim into the wind.
I’ve decided that Bush needs a new moniker also. He needs one that reflects his determination in the face of withering opposition. Henceforth I will call them “The Rock.” He stands like a rock against those that would bring him down.
"If you go back and read what (Bush) said in the campaign, he's just doing what he'd said he'd do. You've got to give him credit for that... No one has the whole truth," Clinton said.
The market sagged today and I had five trades hit their sell points and are now gone. Only one was sold at a modest loss: NATR – 3.6% loss. I had no buy orders kick in. The market did not seem to retreat with much enthusiasm. My leaders were only modestly trimmed. So far, I’m not concerned and will continue to trade heavily.
I have a new toy for my Palm Pilot. It's called the MessagEase Keyboard. Here's a picture of what it looks like. This keyboard replaces the pop-up keyboard that comes with the Palm Pilot. The people that developed this keyboard say it was designed around what letters are used the most. They place those letters with the shortest distance from each other. They claim, once you become proficient on this keyboard, you can key text into the Palm at the rate of 50 to 60 words per minute! All with just the stylus that comes with the Palm.
I'm been playing with this for a day or so and it's been brutal for me. I liken it to trying to eat with your left hand - if you're a righty. But I'm going to give this a try. Entering text at the rate of 50 to 60 words per minute is probably about my typing speed. Best of all, this is a free download. Just click here to go to the web site and try it for yourself.
I was reminded why I don’t like women to wear diamond rings last night. As Toastmaster of the Evening, it is customary to shake hands with speakers as they approach and leave the lectern. One of the speakers was a woman and she wore a diamond ring. Although my skin was not pierced, it was a painful experience. Wrap your hand around the hand of a woman wearing a diamond ring and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
I wrote another letter to the editor of the local Press of Atlantic City. They wrote an editorial about the war. They parsed their criticism as “troubling questions” about not finding WMD, no link between al-Qaeda and Saddam, no clear goals, and no plan. Then they went on to conclude that “hard questions” should be asked about why our troops are still there.
I was ticked. These are newspaper people pretending to be in the dark about knowing items in the news. I responded thusly.
I read your editorial in the Monday paper with a little dismay. You obviously need a little bucking up and that’s what this is.
You say you don’t know what the goal in Iraq is, so here it is: The goal is to drain the swamp that produces terrorism. If Iraq can be made a functioning democracy, it will weigh heavily on Syria, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It could start a whole domino effect in the region. This has the possibility to bring freedom, peace and prosperity to a long-suffering population.
We have yet to find large quantities of WMD in Iraq. However, we found lots, especially nuclear, in Libya that we didn’t even know was there.
You say there is no evidence of a link between Saddam and al-Qaida. Perhaps you should read Stephen Hayes' book about the links between Saddam and al-Qaida.
As for the plan, the president presented his five-step plan. If you missed the president’s speech, you can download it at www.whitehouse.gov.
If you were hoping for nothing but good news, I’m sorry you were disappointed. Don’t let the bad new get you down. We’re Americans. We can do anything we set our minds to. Our only problem is getting all the sidewalk superintendents out of the way so we can get the job done.
You worry how history will judge the United States. I would suggest the history is not some perfect impersonal judge. History is written by people with political agenda’s and axes to grind. For every successful person, there are always 100 people that will tell you it won’t work.
We have invested too much blood and treasure to let Iraq fail. Our troops can be successful, but only if we stand behind them and the mission. Give them the support that will give them victory – not an ignominious defeat.
Here is some GREAT news out of Iraq you won't find on the evening news from David Warren. Is it a quagmire yet?
Yesterday, in defiance of all pessimists, Iraq resumed its life as a sovereign country, in a manner no one outside Iraq has the right to gainsay. We have a secular Shia prime minister (Iyad Alawi), and a ceremonial Sunni President (Ghazi al-Yawar). Both are acceptable to all reasonable parties, including the United States. We have a ministry of all the talents, such as they are: with every available regional, ethnic, and religious affiliation.
The formal transfer of power from Paul Bremer's occupation authority to the new Iraqi government waits till the end of the month, but with the self-dissolution of the interim Iraqi Governing Council, we have witnessed an effective transfer. From now on, American advisers won't be running Iraqi ministries -- won't dare try -- and allied troops on the ground will be consulting Iraqis before launching new raids on assorted bad guys. Best of all, the region's governments, including nefarious Iran and Syria (up to their eyeballs fomenting trouble within Iraq), will know it's too late to sabotage the hand-off -- because it has already occurred, by surprise, ahead of deadline.
No one else will say this, so I will. The Bush administration has handled the transfer of power in Iraq more cleverly than anyone expected, including me. The summoning of the U.N. envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, looked like very bad news (a poisonous old Arab League chauvinist who brokered the sell-out of Lebanon to Syria in 1982). In grim moments, I believed the Bush people were cynically using him to wash their hands of Iraq, and as it were, dump the quagmire back in the swamp of the U.N. Instead, they froze the ground beneath Brahimi's feet, and skated rings around him, haggling behind his back with Iraq's new political heavyweights to leave him endorsing a fait accompli. If it were not vulgar, I would say the Bushies suckered the U.N. into signing on to the New Iraq through Brahimi. A sovereign, free Iraq which will, incidentally, have a few things to say about the U.N.'s $100-billion "oil-for-food" scam, in due course.
Will this new Iraq be plausibly democratic? Too soon to count chickens. An Iraqi government that includes all non-violent factions, with or without elections, is already better than that for which we could have plausibly hoped. Elections on top of this will be gravy.
That self-dissolved Governing Council seems to have served its purpose as a public incubator of a new Iraqi political class, wonderfully unlike those in adjoining countries. The Americans have moreover done a superb job of playing politics, intra-Iraqis: a job of horse-trading beyond anything achieved by British imperialists in the past. I didn't agree with all the dirty tricks (and especially not with the CIA's unconscionable settling of accounts with Ahmed Chalabi, getting the Iraqis to raid his headquarters to bring him down to size), but we have a presentably benign government at the end of the day.
Real praise ought to be showered on the Iraqis. This new political class -- consisting of returned Sunni and Shia exiles, Kurds, tribal lords, Shia clerical henchmen, and the odd, semi-halal, Baath-party "technocrat", has proved capable of forming workable coalitions whenever something has had to be achieved. If you read your history of American constitutional wranglings in the 18th-century, you will appreciate how far they came in how little time.
Can they stand up to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Wahabi terrorists, and Muqtada al-Sadr's Shia blackshirts? Yes, with continuing American help. These are every bit as much America's enemies as Saddam Hussein was, and I daresay the U.S. Marines will continue to oblige. They have done a magnificent job of reducing the numbers of psychopaths loose in Fallujah, Najaf, Kufa, and elsewhere, for much too little praise.
On the ground in Iraq, it is obvious from the range of sources the Western media do not bother with, that things are still going exceedingly well. There are more than 8,000 municipalities in Iraq, and serious violence in only five or six. Free elections for local governments have taken place or probably will in most of the others. The foreign troops are already out of sight and out of mind in much of the country, where crops are growing, generators are humming, and people are going about their lives.
My philosophy is, we do not know what tomorrow will bring, so let us celebrate today. Iraqis, Americans, allies, and all men of goodwill have reason to be happy about what has been accomplished in Iraq. Pray, pray, it continues.
I had another good day in the market. I had only one trade be stopped out and six more buy orders kicked in. I’m now about 70% invested and making a little money. Here are my current leaders: URBN +10.5%, OSG +9.5%, CLCT +5%, GMR +4.7%, HIBB +4.1%, and TK +4%. By my measure, the market is doing better than what the indicators show. My total equity is up about 1.4% from a week ago. Now I just need to tighten up my stop loss points and protect my downside.
The market was good to me today. About seven more buy orders kicked in while three were stopped out. I’m now about 50 percent invested. URBN (+9.4%) continues to be my leader, but not too far behind are CMC (+4.3%), GMR (+4.9%), HIBB (+5%), and OSG (+7.6%). I’ll be moving up my stop loss orders and putting stops on my new buys. With over 20 trades either pending or in play, it’s getting a little dicey staying on top of things. But that’s the price one has to pay if one wants to play the game.
UPDATE: Have you seen the University of Phoenix stock? Sales are increasing at the rate of 57 – 60% each quarter and earnings are growing at the rate of 60 – 90% a quarter. Now that’s how to run a school.