Footage shows terrorists using UN-marked vehicle
From the Jerusalem Post:
The Israel Defense Forces released video footage Friday taken by an unmanned aircraft showing what appeared to be Palestinians in the Gaza Strip loading rockets into a vehicle marked "U.N."
The black-and-white footage, taken by a drone - or unmanned aircraft - flying over the Gaza Strip, showed the militants driving off in the white van, with "U.N." marked in black on its roof.
Now, to be fair, from the story, we can't tell if the vehicle actually belonged to the UN, or if it was just painted to look like it did to evade Israeli security. If I was controlling the UAV, I'd have followed the van to see if it went back to the local UN compound.
Israel has, in the past accused the UN folks in Gaza and the West Bank of, at best, turning a blind eye to the activities of Palestinian terrorists, and, at worst, assisting them. Given that, as far as I can tell, the two favorite activites of the UN are bashing the U.S. and bashing Israel, I don't have much problem believing this.
Later in the day, some terrorists got theirs:
Further footage showed other Palestinians loading a rocket into the back of an unmarked van. The terrorists drove off in the vehicle, and then an Israeli missile fired from a helicopter hit the van and blew it up. The incident occurred early Friday, according to the army.
Personally, I would have done the same thing to the UN van.
UPDATE: Junkyard Blog has a link to the video.
Marine LTC Jim Rose, quoted by Tim Chavez in The Tennessean:
"The Najaf shrine — HUNDREDS of dead women and children were brought out after Sadr left,'' Rose wrote. ''They (Sadr's supporters) rounded them up during the battle and brought them in to be executed. Why? Because they anticipated the Americans would eventually enter the shrine and walk into a media ambush. We never went in. The people of Najaf love us right now because of that. They hate Sadr and want him dead.
"Have you heard that one yet (in the media)?"
Come to think of it, I haven't. Oh, THAT liberal media. Once again, the media's bias on Iraq shows as much in what they don't report as in what they do. Anyone out there wonder, if a Democrat president were running for re-election, stuff like this would get reported?
Found via Taranto's Best of the Web.
Photo Blogging MSH
A similar view of Mt. St. Helens as seen in the eruption post. I took this picture in July of 2001. I'll post a couple more later today.
UPDATE: More pics.
View of MSH and Spirit Lake from near the north end of the lake, looking south, Aug 2001. The grey stuff on the surface of the lake is actually logs from trees that were blown down and swept into the lake in 1980.
View of MSH looking down the trial to Windy Ridge, northeast of the mountain, Aug 2001.
View of MSH from Coldwater Ridge, Feb 2002. Was quite cold and windy, but gorgeous crystal clear skies that day. The small lake at the right of the photo, Castle Lake,was created when the debris avalanche from the 1980 eruption dammed up a creek.
Mt. St. Helens Erupts
Just a little one this time.
Orientation to what you see in the picture: The shot is from at or near the Johnston Ridge Observatory, about 5 miles north of the crater, looking south. When MSH blew in 1980, it left a U-shaped crater, with the open end facing north toward Johnston Ridge. What looks like a ridgeline on the left side of the picture is the rim of the crater. Smaller eruptions from 1980-1986 built a lava dome inside the crater. This can be seen at the base of the steam plume. The ash cloud is mostly obscuring the west side of the carter and the mountain.
I made several trips to Mt. St. Helens when I lived in Washington. I'm kind of annoyed that it's doing this after I left. Would have been fun to see.
Another GFW Columnist
I think my report of the death of the D.C. gun ban repeal was premature. Here's a GFW columnist going apeshit over it.
DAN K. THOMASSON: Gunning for Washington, D.C.
Scripps Howard News Service
WASHINGTON (September 30, 1:30 pm PDT) - If 251 members of the House have their way, the most fertile place to look for weapons of mass destruction will not be some Middle Eastern hiding place, but the District of Columbia.
Starts right in with the hyperbole, equating rifles, shotguns and handguns with nukes, VX gas, and anthrax. Reminds me of the state legislator in Washington who tried to get firearms included under the defnintion of WMB in the state's anti-terrorism legislation a couple of years ago.
That's how many lawmakers voted to send to the Senate what can only be described as the most senseless, and in many ways perfidious, piece of legislation for the advancement of violence ever produced, a bill to undo the capital's tough restrictions on firearms.
I had to pull out the dictionary here. Why couldn't this puffed up GFW just say treacherous instead of perfidious? Because that would mean the average Joe could understand him and know he's full of shit? And how exactly is a piece of legislation designed to restore the rights of D.C. residents, rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, senseless and treacherous? And how exactly does it advance violence?
Sponsored by a back-bench Republican congressman from Indiana on behalf of the chief gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, the bill would permit residents and, for that matter, visitors to legally own and trundle about everything from semi automatic weapons to concealed handguns in a city already so paranoid about terrorism that one can hardly walk down the street without going through a half-dozen metal detectors. Gone would be any form of registration.
Note how he denigrates the bill's author-describing him as "back bench." (I'm sure to Mr. Thomasson, describing someone as a Republican is also an insult, but I'll let that one go.) As for "legally own and trundle about" that's pretty much what the right to keep and bear arms means. Own and carry. Although I'm not sure there is anything in the bill about concealed weapons. And taking these weapons in specific locations, such a federal buildings, where they are prohibited by other statues would remain illegal.
Are these guys nuts?
No, they just care more about the residents of the District than you do, and they're in a position to do something about it.
Emphasizing the basic insanity of all this is the fact that, this year alone, 21 juveniles have been killed in Washington by firearms. Hardly a day passes without a new report of a gunfight on the streets in some parts of the nation's capital, with the victims often bystanders. Earlier this year, one of these took the life of an innocent 8-year-old girl who caught a stray bullet while visiting her aunt.
Ah, the obligatory "for the children" references. Actually, all those 21 deaths emphasize is the ridiculous ineffectiveness of the current ban.
Never mind that the city's mayor, Anthony Williams, and its police chief, Charles Ramsey, and its school superintendent, Clifford Chaney, vehemently opposed this repeal, arguing convincingly that all it would do is encourage more death and destruction. Never mind that this is blatant interference in the city's affairs by those whose constituencies are elsewhere and another clear example of Congress imposing its will on residents who are without official voting representation in that institution. Never mind that this is absolutely the wrong message about violence to send to the rest of the country and, for that matter, the world.
D.C. home rule...D.C. doesn't get to vote in Congress...blah, blah, blah. As long as D.C. is spending my tax dollars (because there is pretty much no way for D.C. to become revenue self-suffient due to the huge amount of its real estate occupied by Uncle Sam), and those of everyone else in America, our reps get to pass laws for the District when necessary. I reference you to the Constitution, Article I, Section 8:
"The Congress shall have power ...To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States."
That would be Washington, D.C., in case you slept through your U.S. History, Civics, and Geography classes back in high school. And the Constitution says only states get to vote in Congress. D.C. is not a state.
What has to be preserved here is the alleged Second Amendment right to fire away at any perceived threat to life and liberty, to defend one's home by taking the law into one's own hand. "Pass me the AK47, Matilda, there is a new bunch of high-school kids coming here and some of them may be terrorists. Besides, I don't like the way that kid down the street is looking at me."
The Second Amendment protects the right to arms; it says nothing about the right to blast away at any perceived threat. If citizens could go around shooting at any perceived threat to freedom they saw with impunity, there'd be a lot of dead Congresscritters right now. There are laws which define and govern the use of lethal force, whether brought to bear by firearms, baseball bats, or machetes. And you can bet if the neighborhood gang has decided to invode my home, I'll be reaching for the Kalashnikov. My shotgun only holds 7 rounds.
House Republican leader Tom "The Hammer" DeLay of Texas gave this shopworn defense of the proposed bill right out of the NRA handbook: "The homes of this city will be safer when its law-abiding citizens are on an equal footing with its violent criminals. Washington residents are American citizens and therefore deserve the same right to bear arms to defend themselves as much as anyone else."
Well, bully for you, Hammer. As American citizens, don't D.C. residents also have the right to decide their own welfare and to have voting representation in Congress? How do you stand on that issue? The answer seems fairly obvious. So does the outcome of a citywide or even a nationwide referendum on gun toting, if you and yours would allow it. The resounding rejection would sound like one of those cannons some of your nitwit friends would like to put on their lawns.
It's already been noted that the ban has been utterly worthless when it comes to disarming the criminals in D.C.. And the fact that those same criminals know that the District's residents are extremely unlikely to have firearms to defend themselves with allows them to go about their criminal business largely without fear of adverse consequences (unless those consequences come from others of their own kind.)
As for the results of a hypothetical referendum, they don't matter. Rights do not depend on the will of the majority. They are not subject ot negotiation. The Founders, in their wisdom, knowing the inevitiability of folks like Mr. Thomasson gaining positions of power, emplaced theBill of Rights to protects the rights of the people against the tyranny of the majority. Even if your hypothetical referendum came out 99-1 in favor of your position, that one person still retains his right to keep and bear arms.
Before becoming too shrill and apoplectic, if that is possible
Too late. Already there.
when it concerns potential urban warfare, it should be noted that the Senate, which now and then is more thoughtful than its sister chamber, is expected at least to put a temporary end to this mischievous garbage. But then, the cynical House lawmakers who voted for this really don't care. They can go home to places like Indiana's 3rd Congressional District, where the bill's sponsor, Mark Souder, is from, and tell local NRA members how they stood up for their rights. Besides, angering the NRA's national leaders can be risky business for a politician. Better one should point a gun at one's own head. One might have a chance of surviving that experience.
Restoring rights to people is "mischevious garbage?" Who is this guy, the Goebbels of the Brady campaign? Honestly, I don't think many of the Representatives who voted for this bill really thought about the motives behind the bill. They just know that the NRA suports it, and being on the NRA's good side gets them votes. What they probably don't know is that the NRA wants this bill in order to subvert a lawsuit, Parker v. D.C., sponsored by the CATO Institute, which seeks to have D.C.'s gun ban declared unconstitutional. The NRA has ignored the plight of the gunowners of D.C. (and Chicago, NYC, and other places) for years. If not for CATO's suit, they would have continued to do so.
Washington should be the last place without gun restrictions. It is a city where members of Congress already are so afraid of being wiped out they have closed many of the streets on Capitol Hill, increased the Capitol police force and spent millions on concrete barriers and other security measures.
Actually, as the capital of our republic, Washington, D.C. should be the last place with gun restrictions. Or is that bit about "shall not be infringed" too complicated for you? Besides which, most of the protective measures you describe do nothing to stop terrorists who might wish to use guns to commit their evil acts. They're there to stop truck bombs, you twit.
I guess packing heat on the House floor is the next step.
Hopefully they direct their fire toward your seat in the press gallery.
Gun maker found not liable in shooting
A judge has ruled that Ruger is not liable for damages in the shooting of two police officers. The ruling a pure common sense-the shooter's gun had passed through at least 4 owners before the shooter acquired it. The suit should have been thrown out without a hearing.
Senator Frist, this is why we needed that bill!
John Kerry Just Doesn't Get It
I watched just a short bit of the debate (my wife turned off the TV to make me stop yelling at it) and he just doesn't get the Big Picture in the War Against Islamofascism. From the way he was answering questions, he seems to think that the central focus of the War is Osama Bin Laden, and if we bag his ass, the whole thing will be over, like some sort of global game of capture the flag or something.
Or maybe, knowing what a cynical, politically calculating, soulless, coreless cretin he is, maybe that's what he thinks the voters think. The problem with John Kerry is that he is so devoid of core principles and solid positions, that I really can't tell if he truly believes something or if he's saying it because he thinks it will win him votes.
Let me give you a clue, Senator, since you obviously slept through those rare Senate Intelligence Committee meetings you actually bothered to attend and don't seem to have read any of the take-home material: this is a war against a movement, an ideology. OBL didn't start it, and it will still be there when he's gone. This ideology is hostile to everything that America stands for. To our Enemy, the only options he offers us is conversion to his worldview, ideology, and way of life, or death. So our options are to either destroy the enemy, submit, or perish. There is no middle ground, no possibility for peaceful coexistence. For myself, and I suspect for the vast majority of my fellow Americans, submission is not an option. There is only victory, or death.
The surest way to victory is to bring functioning constitutional democracy to an Islamic world that since the 12th century has known only despotism. The Enemy knows this, and that is why they are fighting so hard to keep it from gaining footholds in Afghanistan and Iraq. Once the governments of those now free countries have been endorsed by elections, they will not be able to claim to be fighting the 'infidel occupation' but would have to admit that they are fighting to bring back tyranny and oppression against the will of the people.
And they are also fighting hard because they have seen their success in Spain, success in helping bring to power a government of appeasement. They seek to repeat that success here, and replace an administration that has confronted them head on with one that would hide behind the skirts of the United Nations, snivelling and whining like France and Germany. Face it, Senator, those foreign leaders who want you to be President-one of them is Osama bin Laden.
OK, that's enough rambling pontification for one night.
I Love My Wife, Pt II
I wasn't sure to use the title above or "How Cool Is My Wife?" I figured it's best to be safe and say I Love My Wife. Can never go wrong saying that.
Anyway, last night we were watching "Tales of the Gun" on the History Channel. Yes, I know how amazingly lucky I am that she'll watch a show like that with me. She thinks it's cute when I start spewing gun geek factoids when we're watching TV. Anyway, the episode was about the Arms of Israel.
So...now she wants an Uzi. A real one, not a civilianized long barrel, semi-auto version. She says, "It's a cute gun."
Guadalcanal, not Vietnam
Excellent essay by LTC Powl Smith on FoxNews.com.
Which brings us to the next lesson of World War II: Totalitarian enemies have to be bludgeoned into submission, and the populations that support them have to be convinced they can't win. This is a bloody and difficult business.
Iraq isn't Vietnam, it's Guadalcanal—one campaign of many in a global war to defeat the terrorists and their sponsors. Like the United States in the Pacific in 1943, we are in a war of national survival that will be long, hard, and fraught with casualties. We lost the first battle of that war on Sept. 11, 2001, and we cannot now afford to walk away from the critical battle we are fighting in Iraq any more than we could afford to walk away from Guadalcanal.
In Iraq, like on Guadalcanal, the U.S. achieved stunningly fast initial success. On Guadalcanal, the remaining enemy faded away into the jungle; in Iraq, they melted into the population. Now as then, we face a long, grinding campaign to annihilate the enemy. In 1943, the Japanese brought in troopships at night. Today, jihadis come across the borders of Syria and Iran. Now, as then, we are slowly bleeding the enemy of their best troops.
Now, as then, we need only the will to continue the fight.
Walter Williams has an excellent column on the topic today. Moeny quote, actually from John Adams:
"The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."
If I were to win the lottery, I'd have to go to George Mason University just to take classes from Professor Williams.
No End to DC Gun Ban
The bad news is, the bill to end the ban on guns in the District of
Columbia, which passed the House, died in the Senate.
Now for the silver lining: with the ban still in place, the lawsuit seeking
to have the ban declared unconstitutional can proceed. (Sorry for the lack
of links. I'm still web deprived and posting by email.) If the ban had
been repealed, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals could have (and SCOTUS for
sure would have) declared the case moot. With the ban still in place, the
case is still germane
We still have a chance to get the courts to say that banning guns is an
affront to the Contsitution.
How to Checkmate Socialized Medicine
Patent-protected prescription medications (for purposes of this piece, the
terms 'drugs', 'medications,' and 'pharmecuticals,' will refer to those
protected by patents) are less expensive in Canada, as well as other
socialist socialized nationalized government
provided health care, for one simple reason: the government, as the sole
provider of health care services, has monopoly buying power and can dictate
price to drug companies. If a company wants to sell their drugs in Canada,
they have to do so at the price the Canadian government wants to pay.
What's unsaid in this is that such behavior by Canada and other nations
increases the cost of prescription medications for American consumers.
Developing new drugs, and securing FDA approval to sell them, is a hugely
expensive endeavor. And the patents for new drugs have a limited lifespan,
at the end of which anybody can produce the drug and sell it. Therefore,
drug companies have only a limited time in which they can recover the
massive investment they made to develop the drug, and so they charge high
prices for their new product.
By refusing to pay a drug company's asking price for a drug and instead only
offering a lower one, countries like Canada are, in effect, getting the
benefit of the new drug without paying their share of the development cost.
That share must then be shifted to a segment of the world drug market where
prices are allowed to float. That segment is, more or less, the U.S. So
U.S. consumers pay higher prices for prescription drugs, effectively giving
a subsidy to the governments of Canada and other countries so they can enjoy
the benfits of new drugs at below market cost.
But do American consumers call for other countries to pay their share? Heck
no. They call for the U.S. government to force the drug companies to sell
their products at a lower price. This is stupid, and would lead to the
supply of new drugs drying up for lack of development money.
But the drug companies have the power to destroy the socialized medical
systems of countries such as Canada, if they chose to use it. How? Simple:
just refuse to sell their new drugs unless those countries meet their asking
price. This would force those countries to choose from several unpleasant
options: First, they could simply refuse to buy the drugs and not offer
them in their health care system, at least while the drugs remain under
patent. This would cause the standard of care they offer to their citizens
to fall still further behind what is offered in the United States. How long
would their citizens continue to accept sub-standard health care from their
Second, they could pay the drug companies asking price. This would probably
do one of two things: either the government would go bankrupt paying for
health care, or, to avoid that, they would have to impose such high taxes to
pay for it that they would strangle their economy. Either way, their system
would eventually collapse due to costs.
Finally, they could produce the drugs domestically, in violation of
international patent law. These are industrialized nations, and they are
capable of prodcing the drugs. Th only thing stopping them is the patent
law. Should they do this, the American drug companies and the U.S.
government could go to the WTO. Assuming that the WTO is actually
interested in enforcing international trade law, they would order the
governments to cease and desist or face sanctions from the U.S. If they
cease production, they're back to options 1 or 2; if they choose to accept
sanctions instead, their economies would suffer.
That's the way I see it. The only thing stopping U.S. pharmecutical
companies from putting governments like Canada in checkmate is their
willingness to do so. If they did, it would in the end mean lower drug
prices here in America. If only they had the guts.