May 28, 2011
Allen West firmly believes that the best way to resolve an argument is to subject your opponent to gunfire. Before you turn away and suggest that this statement is merely hyperbole, there are some facts you may want to consider.
“I would take these gentlemen over and let them get shot at a few times and maybe they’d have a different opinion.” - Allen West, referring to Ron Paul and other Congress members who supported ending US involvement in Afghanistan.
When West made the above statement, he was responding to the recent bi-partisan effort in Congress to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. West, a former Lt. Colonel in the Army is no stranger to the effects of persuasion at gunpoint. His military career ended in infamy after he fired his sidearm at an unarmed Iraqi policeman suspected of being involved in an assassination plot..
The National Review in 2003, ran a piece defending West and suggesting (correctly) that his commanding officer should not have been given leniency if West himself was given none (West was fined $5,000 dollars and got to keep his pension). But the details, even though presented by the NRO in the best possible light for West, should give anyone serious misgivings about allowing West any access to authority in government or elsewhere.
Sometime in October of 2002, while stationed in Iraq, West was told by fellow soldiers that they had captured an Iraqi police officer who wouldn’t cooperate. West and his unit took over the interrogation, which for some time did not yield any better results than did the two women interrogators who preceded him.
Two of West’s men beat the policeman while West looked on, but could not get him to reveal any details of his alleged involvement or reveal the names of others who may have been involved. When it was clear that the beating wasn’t having any effect, West finally stepped in and took matters into his own hands.
Drawing his sidearm, he pointed it at the suspect and demanded that he talk. This didn’t have any positive effect so he dragged the suspect outside, making him kneel down on the ground. He then threatened the man two more times before finally discharging his sidearm within a foot of the man’s ear.
Convinced that West was serious, the man started giving out information, though it is unclear that this information was anything other than nonsense designed to appease West and his men. West’s supporters claim that after the incident, attacks against the base ceased and that West’s actions had “saved” his fellow soldiers. The Army hasn't released any specific details that support this claim.
Some months later, when Army brass discovered the incident, West was forced to face a hearing and finally sent back to Fort Hood where he retired after 20 years of service.
History would suggest West would rather his ideological opponents be unarmed. For this reason, West has no business being anywhere near the halls of power. Calling him heroic is not even remotely appropriate.
Over the years West has shown absolutely no remorse for his actions. In interviews and at his hearing(pdf) he claimed that under similar circumstances he'd do it again. Contrary to the NRO's puff piece, West did not inform his superiors of any of the details other than a vague "I discharged my firearm", statement. He also told his subordinates that details were to be kept a secret, according the the testimony of soldiers interviewed.
With enablers like the neoconservative National Review and World Net Daily, why should he feel any remorse?
West’s behavior and his most recent outburst suggests he’s a sociopath. Yet, with the help of an enabling media, he’s been able to craft himself folk-hero status and a seat in Congress.
There are even calls for West to put his hat in the ring for the Presidency. It apparently does not concern anyone that this would give him command of not only the world’s largest military force, but also the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. This is exactly the sort of person they prefer to have in charge of the military.
If that doesn’t scare you, then you have far more courage than Allen West.
UPDATE: (A facebook friend pointed me at some very good information)
"Indeed, it is possible that the abusive interrogation might never have come to light if a sergeant in another battalion had not subsequently written a letter of complaint about the ''command climate'' under Colonel West's superior officer. In that letter, the sergeant mentioned almost as an aside, according to Mr. Puckett, that Colonel West had interrogated a detainee using a pistol. An investigation was set in motion."From the Army Report:
Q: After the incident, did LTC (West) tell you not to tell anyone about the incident?
A: Yes, after he was finished talking to Col. (West) we headed back to our living quarters. He then told us to keep this incident to ourselves and to people we trust. (CID Report: Page 22).
LT. COL. (West) said that this night stays with 2-20 and 2-20 only. We all gave a Hooah and continued to walk to our rooms. (CID report: Page 48 - See 4 of 11).
May 27, 2011
After this past week, It probably isn’t far fetched to say that any trepidation one may have had about Rand Paul’s commitment to the principles of freedom has vanished.
Paul managed to single-handedly take control of the Senate chambers in a heroic attempt to move the Senate to consider and debate the Patriot act - something shockingly absent since it’s first passage. In fact, in 2000, when the Patriot Act was first introduced, a single Senator read the bill before casting a vote. The vote cast was a resounding “NO” by Russ Feingold, coincidentally, the only vote recorded in opposition to the bill.
Rand’s efforts were unsuccessful if you deem passage of the Act’s extension the sole measure of success. However, Rand did far more than capture the imagination and attention of the country for a suspenseful 36 hours, 7 of which were spent on the Senate floor.
Rand’s actions were quite shrewd for someone with so little working experience in Washington. If Rand couldn’t achieve a total sunset of the Patriot Act’s “temporary” provisions, he would settle on a compromise that would allow Senators to propose and debate amendments, having plenty of his own that would be brought forth.
Harry Reid, a Senator with far more experience in the art of chicanery, had to work overtime to scuttle the upstart’s efforts. But not without first exposing his intent to keep government power in place, and simultaneously his hypocrisy in carrying water for neoconservative Senate Republicans who didn’t want to openly oppose Paul. Rand won that battle and quite possibly the war, the passage of the act notwithstanding.
Reid’s was not the only hypocrisy exposed. One of Rand’s amendment’s would have placed strict restrictions on the government’s ability to use Patriot Act provisions to inspect gun-owner records. To kill the filibuster, Reid finally succumbed to allowing amendments to be debated and Rand’s proposal was killed in an 85-10 floor vote. But not before Reid uttered statements such as this one that sounded as if he had David Frum’s hand up his back:
"If the senator from Kentucky refuses to relent," Reid said earlier Wednesday, "that would increase the risk of a retaliatory terrorist strike against the homeland and hamper our ability to deal a truly fatal blow to al-Qaida."By introducing his gun-records amendment, Rand also managed to twist so-called pro-gun Republicans in knots trying to get the Patriot Act extension passed.
Mitch McConnel, who is up for re-election in 2012, was forced to openly oppose Rand’s amendment. . If he previously thought he might avoid a primary challenge in 2011, all hope is now lost.
There are some very tired arms in Washington heading into the weekend. Even the NRA was forced to carry water for McConnel by coming out against Rand’s amendment. In a bizarre twist, the NRA had to defend itself using an explanation that sullied its credibility (and McConnel’s) even further. As Mike Riggs reported regarding an email he received from the NRA:
“If the Paul amendment were adopted, the FBI would have used other ways to access whatever firearms records it might need for intelligence or anti-terrorism investigations. This is especially troublesome for gun owners.
What the NRA is saying is that if we bar the intelligence agencies and the FBI from using the Patriot Act to rifle through gun-owner records, they will just use other means, already at their disposal, to get access.
This would result in United States Attorneys simply demanding the same records through grand jury subpoenas, which require no judicial approval before issuance. Fighting a subpoena after the fact can be very costly and carries legal risks of its own, including possible charges for obstruction of justice.”
Not only does the NRA come out against gun-owner privacy, it does so to ensure that the Patriot Act continues to live. Both the NRA and McConnel have been forced to take desperately risky measures that in previous years would have gone un-noticed while the media and pundits whistled past, but it doesn’t seem likely that this will happen now.
Maybe some people will even note that if it weren’t for the NRA, there wouldn’t be millions of gun-owner records for the government to examine and their alleged devotion to liberty will be seen for the farce that it is.
Some hours after the Senate fiasco ended, the house took up its vote to extend the Patriot Act and the majority Republican house voted it into Obama’s care with little dissent. From the ranks of the House, that is. Very shortly after recording her vote, Michelle Bachmann, a Republican “hopeful” for the 2012 Presidential election, urgently took to the floor to defend herself and calm the obviously bad reaction from constituents and supporters.
It gets better though. The blogosphere went nuts. Even Free Republic, a site known for supporting teocons like Bachmann and Andy West and smearing Rand’s father at every opportunity, was supporting Rand’s efforts.
Raising the issue of gun records was utterly brilliant. Rank and file Republicans do not have the luxury of hiding in Washington with equally sleazy politicians who condone, nay encourage them to preach principles while campaigning but undermine them while in office. Real people have to face their friends and their mirrors.
Rand took the Patriot Act, something that was a foregone and forever destruction of liberty, considered a necessity to keep us safe, and turned it into a gun-rights issue, something a significant number of Republican voters consider their only issue.
He’s also shown us how true and wise the following words, spoken by the Prince of Peace:
“By their fruits, ye shall know them”
May 26, 2011
But spying and wiretapping? No Problem. Bachmann recently spent 5 minutes on the house floor attempting to assuage constituents and tea-partiers. Bachmann did a poor job in suggesting that her recent vote in favor of extending the Patriot Act was for your own good. When the government starts going after those "lone wolves" who probably sport Ron Paul stickers, the
gangsters patriots are doing it to screw protect you.
After Rand Paul's heroic effort in the Senate to kill the inappropriately named assault on the people's liberties, and the overwhelmingly positive reaction to it, I think this may become one of the seminal issues of 2012. Bachmann was clearly nervous given the negative feedback she's already received regarding her vote and the backlash on Facebook is overwhelmingly against the gangsters.
"I want to look at what they’ve given us and examine what they’ve withheld and see why it’s been withheld,” Mr. Marshall told The Washington Times. “The more they stonewall, the more they’re making Richard Nixon look like a choirboy.”
Just what's so secret?
May 24, 2011
Oh, and of course we need to examine the response of the local police over time because they are so interested in protecting the rights of those in their jurisdiction.
Police acknowledged that these incidents occurred but have made no arrests in any of them. They also said they have no known motive for Sunday's attempted firebombing.
But he also said that he wouldn't give away all his possessions ahead of Oct 21. "I still have to live in a house, I still have to drive a car," he said. "What would be the value of that? If it is Judgment Day why would I give it away?"Of course, he's also still taking donations from people, more proof that he doesn't believe his own prediction.
Camping offered no clues about Family Radio's finances Monday, saying he could not estimate how much had been spent advertising his prediction nor how much money the nonprofit had taken in as a result. In 2009, the nonprofit reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.
May 23, 2011
It is a real-world social network, a web of friendships forged through decades of early mornings and bad jokes. For some who lost their shops in the tsunami, it also is a place to rent a spot on the pavement for 300 yen ($3.70) and sell a few items to help make ends meet. "I thought it would be months before people came back. But 20 days later, they just naturally started showing up again," says Yoshihiro Suzuki, 63, whose family has run the market for at least four generations. "The market gives people strength to go on with their lives."
May 21, 2011
"From the beginning of the U.S. military intervention in Libya, the Obama administration has cited the 1973 War Powers Act as the legal basis of its ability to conduct military activities for 60 days without first seeking a declaration of war from Congress. The military intervention started on March 19; Congress was notified on March 21. Those 60 days expire today." - Jake Tapper
The President has come out swinging against the constitution but to my addled brain he's really tripped himself up by mentioning the words "declaration of war". We've been in Afghanistan and Iraq for almost 10 years (20 in Iraq) and as of yet, no declaration of war. Obama admits that after 6 months he needs a declaration of war. Where is that pesky thing anyway?
May 15, 2011
I find that many of my friends have been in the same “car” mode after Obama was elected. The strides made by the Congressman and his Campaign for Liberty are of interest, but it seems as if the time has been passed trying to find ways around the ever-increasing bureaucracy and regulatory encroachments enacted since 2008. Most of them a reaction to inept government
policies that Ron Paul so presciently highlighted during his previous Presidential campaign.
A little less than 4 years ago, I remember writing about Ron Paul’s chances of winning. The one thing I was wrong about, was that the majority of the US was ready to accept what Ron Paul was saying. I over-estimated the public’s ability to see how far the US had devolved from its heady days of the late 18th century. However, that has changed dramatically since just after the primary battle ended. Bush signed a 700 billion dollar extortion demand written by former executives (and some would say current) of Goldman Sacs and which Obama extended after his own election.
Since that time, Bloomberg was able to extract details of the Federal Reserve’s obscene actions in the wake of the bi-partisan TARP bills which are beyond the pale. Hundreds of billions went to foreign banks while their “discount window” offered cheap dollars to domestic banks in exchange for their virtually worthless “assets”.
The situation for the US is dire. While we have had some movement in the right direction, it is apparent that the US has devolved into an unsustainable world police-state that if left unchecked will not only bankrupt those living today but generations to come. The freedoms which are our birthright have been eroding at an accelerated pace as unemployment and the dollar’s debasement march in side-long fashion.
It is almost a shame that Ron Paul’s predictions weren’t realized until after he had already dropped out of the last race, but it may be just as well. Since the bailouts were passed and budgets containing trillions in deficits have been passed since, it is obvious that the status-quo and conventional wisdom achieve no justice or remedy to the problems they are purported to correct. The American people had to see for themselves that the cure proposed is to give us more of the disease and that party labels are utterly meaningless in this regard.
In fact, because Ron Paul was able to predict the poor results of our ill-conceived federal monetary , foreign and legislative policy, he has removed the most potent weapon the opposition used against him during the last cycle. His opposition blew off his warnings as the ramblings of a conspiracy nut while they were claiming that the economy was sound and growing. Oops. In the words of Tyler Durden, “How’s that working out for you?”
This is why more and more pundits are realizing that this truly is the “Age of Ron Paul”.
But beyond the fact that Ron Paul’s credibility has soared amongst those who were previously skeptics, we can look to the man himself for a reason to hope. Not only has he never shied from controversy but he has also never compromised his beliefs merely to make short term political gains. Because his goal is not personal power and influence, but to educate in principles that transcend his own personal desires, he has achieved both without meaning to.
Shortly after announcing his candidacy on Friday, I received an email from Dr. Paul discussing the unprecedented media attention he’s received and some of the day's details. You may have received it as well. In it he suggested that it would be up to us, those who believe that individual freedom is the only way to restore our nation to some semblance of its lofty ideals, to make his Presidency a reality.
It also contained a pledge which, if you haven’t already read, I feel compelled to share.
Given recent events, I hope you’ll join me in running out into the streets and screaming to anyone who wants to come back and play: “GAME ON!”