Posted by at 15:29  Politics
May 312006

That there are actually people out there who believe stuff like this makes me very, very sad (and downright scared)…

There are countless numbers of anti-war zealots on the American Left rooting for failure. They believe the worst about the troops. They’ve blindly embraced frauds who’ve lied about their military service and lied about wartime atrocities. They’ve allied themselves with socialist kooks and coddled murderous dictators. They are looking for any excuse to pull out, abandon military operations and reconstruction, and impeach the president.

They insist on giving suspected foreign terrorists more benefit of the doubt than our own men and women in uniform.

Hate mongering. Pure and simple.

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English or else

 Posted by at 10:25  Lifestyle, Politics
May 312006

I don’t know quite what to make of this guy…

An old struggle to adapt to a new country’s ways

Joseph Vento
Joseph Vento
How do you say cheesesteak with in Spanish?

Joseph Vento, the owner of Geno’s Steaks, doesn’t know. And he doesn’t care.

Just read the laminated signs, festooned with American eagles, at his South Philadelphia cheesesteak emporium: This is America. When Ordering, Speak English.

Vento’s political statement – from a man whose Italian-born grandparents spoke only broken English – captures the anger and discontent felt by many Americans about illegal immigrants.

With a battle looming between the House and Senate on legalizing some immigration violators, the public backlash is framed by two complaints:

One, my grandparents came legally. How come these guys can’t? And, two, my grandparents had to learn English. How come these guys don’t?

Okay… One, when your grandparents came here, it was a lot easier to enter this country legally. They weren’t faced with the quotas we have today. And, two, your grandparents did not learn English overnight. English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. It takes time.

Geno’s sits at Ninth and Passyunk, the hub of Little Italy turned home to thousands of Mexicans.

Some try to order a cheesesteak. And it bugs Vento if they can’t ask for American cheese, provolone or the classic – Cheez Whiz – without pointing.

“If you can’t tell me what you want, I can’t serve you,” he said. “It’s up to you. If you can’t read, if you can’t say the word cheese, how can I communicate with you – and why should I have to bend?

“I got a business to run.”

Vento, who lives in Shamong, put up the signs when the immigration debate seized national headlines six months ago.

This guy strikes me as the kind of person who would travel overseas and demand that everyone cater to him in English. He is very likely part of the reason Americans aren’t so popular and welcome in the rest of the world right now (George W. Bush’s screwed up foreign policy and xenophobia being the biggest reason).

I have very little patience with people who have no tolerance for people who are different from them. I guess that’s one of the reasons I am not a Republican.

Mr. Vento is, of course, one of Michelle Malkin‘s heroes. You know for a certainty that Ms. Malkin’s forebears came to this country already speaking English.

The long way home

 Posted by at 18:30  Politics
May 302006

Bush to see ‘United 93’ with victims’ families

George W. Bush, whose presidency will forever be entwined with the Sept. 11 attacks, gets to relive part of the day Tuesday night by watching the movie, “United 93.”…

Bush was to watch the movie in the White House theater with his wife, Laura, along with some family members of those who died on the flight.

I hope those family members watching that movie with Mr. Bush will remember what he was doing that day…

Bush 9/11 route
Bush 9/11 route

On Air Force One
On Air Force One

He took the long way home.

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Last throes revisited

 Posted by at 18:06  Politics
May 302006

One year ago today, Vice President Dick Cheney had this to say about the war in Iraq:

I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time. But I think the level of activity that we see today, from a military standpoint, I think will clearly decline. I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.

Remember, that was one year ago. Here is today’s shot of reality:

Relentless Violence Kills 54 in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Car bombs targeting Shiite areas devastated a bustling outdoor market and an auto dealership Tuesday, part of a relentless onslaught that killed 54 people and prompted the United States to deploy more troops to combat insurgents in western Iraq.

The bombs also wounded 120 people, officials said. The death toll made Tuesday one of the bloodiest days in Iraq this month, and lawmakers still had not agreed on who should lead the nation’s army and police forces.

Last throes, indeed.

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Snow out, Paulson in

 Posted by at 09:34  Politics
May 302006

Treasury Secretary John Snow has been making noise about resigning for some time now. He finally did it this morning. Mr. Bush was standing by with a replacement: Henry M. Paulson Jr.

Mr. Paulson will have no problem fitting in with the rest of the Millionaire’s Club…

Paulson is a millionaire many times over. Last year, the Goldman Sachs group said it paid Paulson $30 million in total compensation in 2004 – almost a 40 percent gain from the year before. (AP)

Bush and Paulson
Bush and Paulson

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David E.

 Posted by at 20:03  Politics
May 292006

Sometimes you have to wonder…

There is an article in today’s New York Times carrying the headline “Rules Collide With Reality in the Immigration Debate.”

The article begins with a profile of a man named David E.

Like many Mexicans, David — who spoke in Spanish and whose last name is being withheld because he feared being fired or deported — was drawn by the near-certain prospect of work when he made his stealthy passage across the desert border in Arizona to this town among the cucumber fields of eastern North Carolina.

David did not want his last name published because he fears being fired or deported, yet he allows his picture to be published:

David E.
David E.

Mount Olive, North Carolina had a population of 4,474 in 2004.

Somehow I do not believe that locating David E. would be all that difficult. How many poultry plants can there be in Mount Olive, NC?

Sometimes you just have to wonder.

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 Posted by at 14:53  Politics
May 292006

Dean Esmay writes:

Imagine, if you will, that evidence surfaces that the President of the United States, or the Secretary of State, or even some minor member of the White House staff, was committing crimes. Imagine if the Congress declared that they wanted to investigate those allegations, and the White House responded by saying that it would be a violation of the “separation of powers” for the Congress to investigate anything that happens in the White House.

I’ve been wondering the same thing. Would the FBI (or the Capitol Police) be allowed to stage a “Saturday night raid” in the Oval Office?

Somehow I doubt it. See “State Secrets Privilege.”

Time to go

 Posted by at 10:52  Politics
May 272006

Gonzales Said He Would Quit in Raid Dispute

WASHINGTON, May 26 — Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member’s office, government officials said Friday.

Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress.

Is that what they said? Really? Both Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty said that they would be unwilling to carry out an order from the White House?

If that is truly what they said, their resignations are not sufficient. Both men need to be discharged immediately.

It’s sad that George W. Bush does not have enough respect for the office he holds, nor the courage, to send them packing.

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 Posted by at 09:40  Politics
May 272006

In Haditha, Memories of a Massacre

BAGHDAD, May 26 — Witnesses to the slaying of 24 Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in the western town of Haditha say the Americans shot men, women and children at close range in retaliation for the death of a Marine lance corporal in a roadside bombing.

Aws Fahmi, a Haditha resident who said he watched and listened from his home as Marines went from house to house killing members of three families, recalled hearing his neighbor across the street, Younis Salim Khafif, plead in English for his life and the lives of his family members. “I heard Younis speaking to the Americans, saying: ‘I am a friend. I am good,’ ” Fahmi said. “But they killed him, and his wife and daughters.”

The 24 Iraqi civilians killed on Nov. 19 included children and the women who were trying to shield them, witnesses told a Washington Post special correspondent in Haditha this week and U.S. investigators said in Washington. The girls killed inside Khafif’s house were ages 14, 10, 5, 3 and 1, according to death certificates…

The incident was touched off when a roadside bomb struck a Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment supply convoy. The explosion killed Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, 20, of El Paso, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. Following in the footsteps of two Marine uncles and a Marine grandfather, Terrazas had planned to go to college when it was all done, his family said.

Insurgents planted the bomb on a side road off one of Haditha’s main streets, placing it between two vacant lots to try to avoid killing — and further alienating — Haditha’s civilians, residents said. It went off at 7:15 a.m. Terrazas was driving the Humvee, and he died instantly. Two other Marines in the convoy were wounded.

“Everybody agrees that this was the triggering event. The question is: What happened afterward?” said Paul Hackett, an attorney for a Marine officer with a slight connection to the case.

The descriptions of events provided to The Post by witnesses in Haditha could not be independently verified, although their accounts of the number of casualties and their identities were corroborated by death certificates.

In the first minutes after the shock of the blast, residents said, silence reigned on the street of walled courtyards, brick homes and tiny palm groves. Marines appeared stunned, or purposeful, as they moved around the burning Humvee, witnesses said.

Then one of the Marines took charge and began shouting, said Fahmi, who was watching from his roof. Fahmi said he saw the Marine direct other Marines into the house closest to the blast, about 50 yards away.

It was the home of 76-year-old Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali. Although he had used a wheelchair since diabetes forced a leg amputation years ago, Ali was always one of the first on his block to go out every morning, scattering scraps for his chickens and hosing the dust of the arid western town from his driveway, neighbors said.

In the house with Ali and his 66-year-old wife, Khamisa Tuma Ali, were three of the middle-aged male members of their family, at least one daughter-in-law and four children — 4-year-old Abdullah, 8-year-old Iman, 5-year-old Abdul Rahman and 2-month-old Asia.

Marines entered shooting, witnesses recalled. Most of the shots — in Ali’s house and two others — were fired at such close range that they went through the bodies of the family members and plowed into walls or the floor, physicians at Haditha’s hospital said.

A daughter-in-law, identified as Hibbah, escaped with Asia, survivors and neighbors said. Iman and Abdul Rahman were shot but survived. Four-year-old Abdullah, Ali and the rest died.

Ali took nine rounds in the chest and abdomen, leaving his intestines spilling out of the exit wounds in his back, according to his death certificate.

The Marines moved to the house next door, Fahmi said.

Inside were 43-year-old Khafif, 41-year-old Aeda Yasin Ahmed, an 8-year-old son, five young daughters and a 1-year-old girl staying with the family, according to death certificates and neighbors.

The Marines shot them at close range and hurled grenades into the kitchen and bathroom, survivors and neighbors said later. Khafif’s pleas could be heard across the neighborhood. Four of the girls died screaming.

Only 13-year-old Safa Younis lived — saved, she said, by her mother’s blood spilling onto her, making her look dead when she fell, limp, in a faint.

Townspeople led a Washington Post reporter this week to the girl they identified as Safa. Wearing a ponytail and tracksuit, the girl said her mother died trying to gather the girls. The girl burst into tears after a few words. The older couple caring for her apologized and asked the reporter to leave.

Moving to a third house in the row, Marines burst in on four brothers, Marwan, Qahtan, Chasib and Jamal Ahmed. Neighbors said the Marines killed them together.

Marine officials said later that one of the brothers had the only gun found among the three families, although there has been no known allegation that the weapon was fired.

Meanwhile, a separate group of Marines found at least one other house full of young men. The Marines led the men in that house outside, some still in their underwear, and away to detention.

The final victims of the day happened upon the scene inadvertently, witnesses said. Four male college students — Khalid Ayada al-Zawi, Wajdi Ayada al-Zawi, Mohammed Battal Mahmoud and Akram Hamid Flayeh — had left the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah for the weekend to stay with one of their families on the street, said Fahmi, a friend of the young men.

A Haditha taxi driver, Ahmed Khidher, was bringing them home, Fahmi said.

According to Fahmi, the young men and their driver turned onto the street and saw the wrecked Humvee and the Marines. Khidher threw the car into reverse, trying to back away at full speed, Fahmi said, and the Marines opened fire from about 30 yards away, killing all the men inside the taxi.