He don’t know me too good, do he?

We were originally planning on spending the long weekend at home, so I took on some big, interesting projects that have the promise of long term benefits in terms of work and client relationships.  Mr. Bookworm suddenly realized, though, that he could visit his out-of-town family this weekend, and announced that he’d like to do so.  Because of my projects, I can’t go.  Even if I’m willing to shlep all the papers I need on the trip and camp out for hours in an internet cafe, I’ll still have too much time spent traveling where I can’t work, so meeting my deadlines will be a struggle.  Mr. Bookworm gave in to my absence with good grace, but announced, quite seriously, that I’m going to be “awfully bored” spending all that time alone without him and the kids.  I’ve come to my computer for a good laugh in private.

Over the next three days, I have to write two legal briefs, one legal research memorandum, and update a lengthy document index.  I have to wash two loads of clothes, and fold them, along with the five loads already waiting to be folded.  I have major errands to run to stock up my empty pantry and decayed linen closet.  If I have the time and the energy, I may also use the “alone time” to tidy the house and clean out a couple of cupboards that have been irritating me.

What I will not have to do over the next three days, however, compensates somewhat for all that work:  I will not have to prepare eight meals (along with the shopping and clean-up involved in those meals), I will not have to referee 385,395,304 fights, nor respond to 4,983,848,932 “I wants.”  I will not have to clean up 43,573 messes.  I will not have to supervise as 6 truly delightful neighborhood children stampede through my house.  In other words, I’ll get a short break from the usual tasks of running a home.

Bored?  I don’t think so.

You’d think he could dig into his own pockets for this one

It turns out that President Clinton’s almost compulsive globe trotting costs American taxpayers a lot of money — this year, he’s trying to stick the people for $1.16 million in expenses. His spokespeople justify the cost on the ground that he’s simply a spiffy, wonderful goodwill ambassador for the world. (forget the fact that nobody asked him to take on that job on our dime).

Aside from Clinton’s volunteering to spend your money and my money like water, there are a few tidbits in the same article that make his charge against the American people more than usually irritating. First is the fact that a large part of the bill he’s submitting to us comes from his New York rent, because New York office space is so much more expensive than that in other cities. Now, I personally don’t recall asking him to headquarter himself in the most expensive city in America? Did you? And if he voluntarily chooses to pay a premium to be near the best babes . . . um, I mean business opportunities, should we be forced to pay for that decision?

The other little tidbit was the fact that Clinton has earned nearly $40 million in six and a half years. That’s not Hillary’s money. Just Bill’s. And that doesn’t even count the $191,000 pension the American taxpayers give him annually (money that I’m okay about). And speaking of that nearly $40 million in speaking fees, money he’s pocketed without regard to us, it appears that he’s booked some of those engagements using phones he’s now trying to charge to the American taxpayers. Oh, and did I mention that he wants to have us pay an extra $10,000 a year for added health insurance, a surprising overlay given his wife’s superb Senatorial coverage?

Considering Bill’s huge income, and potential income, not to mention his “I’m one of you little people” position, you’d think that he could donate his costs to the American people. For him, the $1.16 mil he’s sticking us for is a drop in the bucket.

I would say shame on him, but the man clearly has no shame. I guess he’s happy to join John Edwards, John Kerry and the other members of the millionaire and billionaire club that increasingly make up the “ruling class” of the Democratic party. (A point I throw in because I’m just sick of Leno jokes about the Republican’s being the party of the rich.)

More on our wonderful American raff and scaff

I posted yesterday about the “raff and scaff” that make up our military. Here’s more about just one of those people that earn the scorn of Kerry, et al:

Marine Corps Reserve Cpl. Mark A. Camp

In May of 2005, Marines stationed in Anbar province began a week-long hunt to root out insurgents and foreign fighters in the volatile areas around the Syrian border. Dubbed Operation Matador, those tasked with carrying out the mission encountered enemies who had dug in and were ready to fight: deadly roadside bombs, sniper attacks, and several well-planned ambushes.

One day after the operation began, then-Lance Cpl. Camp and his company were sent to New Ubaydi on a house-clearing mission. As Camp’s squad entered one of the houses, insurgents hiding in a closet and in an underground crawlspace opened fire, shooting four Marines. Camp, outside, heard the gunfight and immediately ran inside to help. Three separate times he entered and exited the building to recover his squad members and clear the house of insurgents.

On May 11, Camp was again tested. This time, his company was heading to another small town to clear other insurgent strongholds. Camp was standing at the top hatch of his amphibious assault vehicle when he noticed an eerie silence. Camp was instantly on alert – but that could not stop the roadside bomb that detonated at that moment, hitting the vehicle and throwing the man standing next to Camp into a nearby field.

Shrapnel dug into Camp’s right thigh, and the explosion lit his hands and face on fire. He was thrown back into the burning vehicle, and he began beating out the fires all over his body and head.

Then, Camp heard the call of one of his teammates still trapped inside.

As he crawled back into the wreckage, heat was cooking off ammunition all around him, ammunition that ricocheted inside even as insurgents continued to fire from outside. And then there was another explosion. Camp fell back out of the vehicle, on fire once more. Again, he beat his body until the flames subsided.

His comrade was still in the vehicle. So Camp went back inside and tried to grip the Marine’s pack, his helmet – anything – but by then Camp’s skin was melting from his hands. Camp later told the Columbus Dispatch, “I [was] screaming for someone to help me . . . someone with fresh hands.” Finally, some Marines answered his calls, and pulled Camp and the other Marine free.

As an admitted coward, I’m always awed by the type of bravery that sees a man put aside his own safety to save others.  Reserve Cpl. Mark A. Camp is obviously the best type of human being.

A cry from the heart

In the wake of the ludicrous Amnesty International report ranking the US as the world’s worst violator of human rights, Ralph Peters gets righteously mad:

Each year, Amnesty International releases what purports to be an objective global survey of the state of human rights. Sounds like a great idea, but the report has long since degenerated into an effort to protect terrorists and mass murderers from justice – and bash America.

In its latest report, Amnesty International denounces the United States again. This time, it seems we’re the foremost global abuser of human rights.

Oh, if you keep reading, rogue states such as Zimbabwe, China, Sudan, Russia and Iran get tut-tut mentions, although North Korea just sounds like a weight-loss spa. Except for our democratic ally, Colombia, only the United Kingdom appears remotely as savage as the United States.

Reading about American heartlessness made me want to move to Saudi Arabia, where women never see their rights abused and believers of every faith are free to worship. And if I want a beer, I can hop over to Venezuela, where everything’s free.

The sad truth is that the misnamed “human-rights community” just may be the worst enemy of human rights without a country of its own. There are real human-rights tragedies unfolding every day, from Harare to Havana, but activists don’t give a damn about the average Joe or Miguel or Ali.

***

How can anyone who pretends to have a conscience attack the United States for violating human rights and engaging in “fear-mongering,” while looking away as millions of Zimbabweans live on the brink of starvation in a police-state, hundreds of thousands lie dead in Darfur, all of North Korea makes Guantanamo look like Martha’s Vineyard – and Islamist fanatics kill tens of thousands of Muslims?

Apart from the fact that there really are things worth fearing in this world, all that matters to the human-rights phonies is that, if you twist things sufficiently, you can blame America for the Muslim victims of Muslim terrorism.

And I keep missing the mass demonstrations against female circumcision, in which little girls and young women endure unspeakable agony as each has her clitoris sliced away. Guess that’s just a quaint expression of cultures uncorrupted by the West.

Human rights shouldn’t be an issue of the political left or right. We should all be in this fight together. But to make meaningful progress, you have to take on the butchers who prey upon the masses – as we’ve tried to do in Iraq. Activists prefer protecting the killers.

Read the whole thing here.

Keeping a close eye on Weasels

Time for the weekly Weasel Watcher winner roundup. This week’s winners, as always, make for great reading. On the Council side of things, the winners are Israel Faces Its Choices In Gaza by Joshuapundit, and Musings on a Late Spring Afternoon, by Right Wing Nut House. On the non-Council side the winners are On Dehumanizing the Enemy In War and the Nature of Victory, by TigerHawk, and The Inbetween War by Seraphic Secret.  Read ‘em.  They’re good, really good.  Indeed, I voted for three of them.

Progress in Iraq

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a little short on time this morning. However, I wanted to take a moment to report on one of the stories that’s not getting reported — the progress the surge is seeing in Iraq. Fortunately, considering that I haven’t burrowed deep into this story, I know people who are keeping an eye on things. If you surf over to the Strata-Sphere, AJ has a nice post about all the good things happening in that sadly benighted land.

And to the extent that the truth is out there, but that the media leaves it lying around like soggy noodles, while putting its energy into trumpeting disinformation and misinformation, Lorie Byrd asks Republicans, whenever they can, to start speaking the truth more and more loudly.

UPDATE:  I’m involved in a project that has to do with calling the press on its dishonesty, dishonesty that manifests itself both through silence when it should speak and through out and out misinformation.  (I’ll keep you updated on the project when there’s something to report.)

One of the things I’ve been examining as part of this project is the so-called Jenin massacre.  As you may recall, when the Israelis moved on Jenin, which was a terrorist stronghold, word very quickly emerged that there was a terrible massacre going on, with Israelis savaging the civilian population.  The story quickly took hold in the world media, with the BBC doing more than its bit to flog the story.  The whole thing, of course, was a lie.  There was no massacre and, in fact, the Israeli Army sacrificed many of its soldiers in order to keep down the number of civilian deaths.

My research on the subject, however, has revealed something disturbing.  The BBC was awful, and continued to promote the story of a massacre long after the truth emerged.  However, in the early phases of the Jenin campaign, there was no doubt that the Israeli Army, by securing the area, made it impossible for the truth to emerge.  The Israeli Army’s absolute silence provided a perfect petri dish for the BBC’s campaign of disinformation, since they could publish Palestinian “reports” with impunity, always adding at the end of the report that “Israeli Army spokesmen declined to comment” or “No reporters have been allowed on the scene to confirm the number of deaths.”  By the time the Israelis finally opened the area to reporters, they already had their paradigm in place, and would no longer recognize the reality on the ground.  I’ve therefore been struggling with the fact that the BBC’s one-sidedness could only have happened because the Israeli Army allowed it to happen.

The fact is, I’ve been aware for years that the Israelis, by being tight lipped about information (a military necessity, I know), have allowed falsities to flourish.  Nature may abhor a vacuum, but lies live for those empty moments, and move in swiftly to fill them.

In this way, the Jenin massacre becomes a reminder, not only of the media’s propensity to push an agenda, but also of the fact that it can do so when people with accurate information fail to speak or fail to speak loudly.  So, keep this in mind if (when) you read Lorie Byrd’s column.

Whatever you’re for, I’m against it

Okay, let me clarify my post title: I’m not against everything. I’m just against everything that George Soros is for. And yes, I’ll admit that’s a bit of an oversimplification. I’m not going to stop eating ice cream if I discover George Soros happens to like ice cream too. But in the political arena, if George Soros is backing an initiative, I’m going to look long and hard at his position — and I’m almost certainly going to disagree with it. To that end, I find it extremely concerning to learn that George Soros is one of the funders of a special hotline that allows people who support the amnesty bill to bypass the endless Congressional switchboard and get connected directly to their Senators. There’s nothing wrong, of course, with speaking to your Senator — but there is something wrong with a system that allows certain political interest groups more and better access than others.

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