Memorial Day Photo Essay
(click photo to see tribute)
Excellent photo essay from The Indepundit.
Remember those who gave all for us...
Happy Memorial Day.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
- John Stuart Mill
WASHINGTON – Elite Mexican commandos, trained by U.S. forces to combat the drug cartels have switched sides and are working for the drug smugglers in the border area posing a special hazard to American law enforcement and Border Patrol agents, according to a U.S. Justice Department memo.It's time to pull our troops out of western Europe and South Korea and place them on our southern border.
The commandos, trained by the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Georgia, are known as "Los Zetas."
The Justice Department warning was sent to law enforcement agencies throughout the Southwest.
Using the commando training, Los Zetas are known to be extremely violent and have been blamed for an outbreak of violence along the Mexican border.
There are reports of the commandos making cross-border runs into U.S. territory in military-style vehicles, armed with automatic weapons.
A state senator already under scrutiny for ethical allegations, was indicted today on bribery charges along with three lawmakers, a former lawmaker and two others in a federal probe of his business dealings.And we're supposed to believe that Rep Tom Delay is the Devil Incarnate according to the Democrats (and mainstream media) yet they're unable to bring any criminal charges!
Tennessee state Sen. John Ford, a Memphis Democrat from a powerful political family, is charged with the five others for taking bribes from undercover investigators to influence legislation concerning a sham company set up by the FBI.
Ford and former state Sen. Roscoe Dixon appeared in federal court today handcuffed and shackled at the ankles, according to The Tennessean newspaper.
In its probe of the lawmakers, the FBI established a bogus company called E-Cycle Management Inc. that purported to recycle old electronic equipment.
Ford, alleged to have taken a payoff of $55,000 from E-Cycle Management, also is charged with three counts of attempting to threaten or intimidate potential witnesses.
It seems the Honorable Sen. Ford found himself testifying in a juvenile court hearing recently that he keeps two homes, living with two different women whose five children he has fathered.People, how does he get elected??!
This information was not dragged out of the Honorable Sen. Ford. It was offered willingly in his own defense in a child-support case.
The Honorable Sen. Ford said he sometimes stays with one family and other times he stays with the second. Since he pays nearly all the bills for both families in homes he owns, he wanted to make it clear to the referee in the case that he can't afford to pay any more court ordered support for a third woman, the mother of another 10-year-old girl he fathered. The rest of the story is here.
The commanding officer with the authority to decide the fate of 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano – the U.S. Marine accused of murdering two Iraqi insurgents – has dismissed all charges.
Pantano had faced the possibility of a court-martial and a death sentence.
But his lawyer, Charles Gittins, announced today that after review of an investigating officer's official report and examination of autopsy results, Maj. Gen. Richard Huck "determined that all charges and specifications should be dismissed."
"Down at the unit level, there was never a question about Ilario's conduct and whether or not he did the right thing," Gittins told the Associated Press. "It was up in the higher echelons. The people removed from combat situations needed to put more trust in their officers rather than assuming they're guilty."
The protest was organised by groups including the Muslim Council for Britain and the Muslim Parliamentary Association of the UK. Their protest follows fury in the Islamic world over the claims in a Newsweek magazine that US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay had abused the Koran.
The magazine later withdrew the article and apologised but not before it triggered riots in Afghanistan in which 17 people died and 100 people were injured.
"U.S. Rep. Barney Frank gets a little behind in his work while talking to aspiring politician Mike Evans." (Photo courtesy Washington Blade)
That's U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton) keeping it gay in Philadelphia where he got to the bottom of things with rising political star Mike Evans.
Yesterday, the Web was abuzz with reports our openly gay congressman was openly fondling Evans, who made a brief run for Congress from his native Missouri last year. But Barney, who is, of course, in a longstanding relationship with S.O. Sergio Pombo, told us he was just giving his pal a friendly pat on the behind.
``There was nothing romantic about it,'' Frank told the Track.
Frank said he and Evans were standing outside a roped-off VIP area at Philadelphia's Equality Forum last week. When a bouncer came to admit the congressman, Frank told him to let Evans in, too.
``Mike said, `Are you sure it's OK?' '' Frank said. ``And I smacked him on the ass and said, `Of course it's O.K.' ''
Sadly, there were many cameras on hand to capture the Kodak moment!
Frank said he realizes what his big mistake was. ``People tell me I should be more like President Bush,'' he said. ``I should have held hands with him instead of smacking him on the ass.''
Bush was, of course, snapped last week holding hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah on his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid. Judge Young:
"Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon
On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the
custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive with the other.
That's 80 years. On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines. The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment.
The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.
Let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.
You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.
So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were, and he said: "You're no big deal."
You are no big deal.
What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?
I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.
It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.
We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bare any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that
evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.
See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will.
Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.
Clear skies end global dimming
by, Quirin Schiermeier
Earth's air is cleaner, but this may worsen the greenhouse effect.
Cleaner air could make the world warmer.
Our planet's air has cleared up in the past decade or two, allowing more sunshine to reach the ground, say two studies in Science this week.
Reductions in industrial emissions in many countries, along with the use of particulate filters for car exhausts and smoke stacks, seem to have reduced the amount of dirt in the atmosphere and made the sky more transparent.
That sounds like very good news. But the researchers say that more solar energy arriving on the ground will also make the surface warmer, and this may add to the problems of global warming. More sunlight will also have knock-on effects on cloud cover, winds, rainfall and air temperature that are difficult to predict.
The results suggest that a downward trend in the amount of sunlight reaching the surface, which has been observed since measurements began in the late 1950s, is now over.
The researchers argue that this trend, commonly called 'global dimming', reversed more than a decade ago, probably following the collapse of communist economies and the consequent decrease in industrial pollutants.
The widespread brightening has remained unnoticed until now simply because there wasn't enough data for a statistically significant analysis, says Martin Wild, an atmospheric scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and an author on one of the reports.
Wild and his team looked at data on surface sunshine levels from hundreds of devices around the planet. They found that since the 1980s there has been a transition from decreasing to increasing solar radiation nearly everywhere, except in heavily polluted areas such as India and at scattered sites in Australia, Africa, and South America.
A second study, led by Rachel Pinker from the University of Maryland, College Park, found a similar trend by looking at satellite data, although their research suggests the extent of the brightening is smaller. Unlike ground stations, satellites can sample the whole planet, including the oceans. However, satellite data are difficult to calibrate, and so are considered less accurate than measurements from the ground.
Surprisingly, Wild's study shows a brightening trend in China, despite the fact that there is a booming, fossil-fuel-intensive industry in that country. Wild says he can only speculate that the use of clean-air technologies in China might be more widespread and efficient than has been thought.
In contrast, India's vast brown clouds of smog, which result from wildfires and the use of fossil fuels, have reduced the sunlight reaching the ground.
Just warming up
Researchers will now focus on working out the long-term effects of clearer air. One thing they do know is that black particulate matter in the air has been contributing a cooling effect to the ground. "It is clear that the greenhouse effect has been partly masked in the past by air pollution," says Andreas Macke, a meteorologist at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany.
Uncertainties remain part of the game because scientists have only a limited ability to track cloud cover and particulates, says Macke. Increased cooperation in programmes such as the NASA-led International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project should help to close the gaps in our knowledge of how dirty air affects climate, he says.
Witness Given Immunity in Marine Hearing
By JOHN DESANTIS
Published: May 1, 2005
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., April 30 - A military prosecutor pressed the claim Saturday that the shootings of two Iraqis by a Marine officer last year were executions, and said the officer should be court-martialed for premeditated murder and related charges.
But lawyers for the officer, Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano, insisted at a hearing that the shootings, which occurred during a search outside a suspected insurgent hideout, had been self-defense. They said the accusations arose because of a sergeant who had an ax to grind against Lieutenant Pantano, the sergeant's platoon commander. The sergeant, Daniel Coburn, was Lieutenant Pantano's primary accuser, and described the shootings as executions in a letter to his wife.
Charles Gittins, a civilian defense lawyer, spent close to six hours Saturday - the conclusion of a five-day hearing - trying to debunk Sergeant Coburn's earlier testimony.
Sergeant Coburn, testifying under a grant of immunity, acknowledged under questioning that his position about what had happened in Iraq was an opinion. He also said he had never formally notified superiors because he had not thought they would take the claim seriously.
"I do not recall my state of mind when I wrote this letter," Sergeant Coburn said under intense questioning by Mr. Gittins. "I never intended this letter to be part of a court hearing."
Prosecutors pressed for the case to go forward, but said Saturday that they would not seek the death penalty, even though the top charge, premeditated murder, allows that option.
"Marines are the most fearsome warriors on this planet," Maj. Stephen Keane, the lead prosecutor in the case, said. "The world must also know that we fight with honor."
Major Keane said: "We know the accused shot these people 50 or 60 times. We know he shot them so many times because he intended to send a message."