We gave the president the authority to load the gun, to hold the trigger, so to speak. We didn't tell him to shoot himself in the foot.--John Kerry

In other words, Congress gave the Prez the authorization to go to war in Iraq, but they didn't want him to, nor did they expect him to wage it??? Anybody buying that rickety shtick? We handed him a loaded gun, but we never, ever thought for a minute that he'd go and pull the trigger? Is any of the flatulence escaping Kerry's lips these days credible at all?

Don't sweat it, though. He's got a plan for everything. He shares none of the details of those plans. Rather, he tells us to go to his web site and dredge them up for ourselves. He's literally got a vague plan for dis, dat and everything under the fictional ozone hole. He's got a plan to cure the crippled by putting a stem cell in every pot. He's got a plan to create jobs and spur economic expansion by getting after those "Benedict Arnold CEOs" he apparently despises so much. He's got a plan to repair our relations with "allies" that formed the European Union for no other reason than to weaken our economic and military influence in the world. Then there's his plan to defend us from threats abroad, provided that an obvious anti-American United Nations gives us an A-plus on our "global test." He's got a plan to provide health care to one group by increasing taxation on another group. He's got a plan to add two active divisions to our military, and double our number of special forces but he hints that Dubya might re-institute a draft. He's got a plan to reign in our escalating health care costs, yet he is solidly in bed with trial lawyers. Hit the brakes right there.

The Democratic Party's love -- the word is too weak for the phenomenon -- for lawyers is expressed in countless courtesies, from blocking tort reform to the multiplication of laws and regulations that make it impossible to navigate life without a lawyer in tow. Not surprisingly, as of mid-September lawyers were this year's leading political contributors, with 73 percent of their $132.4 million going to Democrats. In contrast, oil and gas interests, which Democrats demonize and Kerry reflexively deplored Wednesday evening, give 81 percent of their contributions to Republicans, but as of mid-September their total to both parties was only $16.7 million.

Ours has become an overly-litigious society and with that said, Kerry is going to reduce the cost of health care by blocking tort reform? Ain't gonna happen, kiddies.

Look at his Veep choice? If some newborn baby was born without a brain and consequently passed away, a light bulb would instantly illuminate above John Edward's hairdo. If a newborn were suffering from nicotine withdrawal immediately after being born, Edwards could probably figure out a way to blame the doctor and get a gazillion dollar award in court.

There's a reason he choose Super Ambulance Chaser to be his Veep and it had nothing to do with tort reform, or controlling the cost of health care. It had everything to do with filling his campaign war chest.

This guy is so completely full of it, if you stuck him with a Purple Heart pin the resulting explosion would fertilize all of the Sahara Desert.

That reminds me. What's the latest conspiracy theory regarding Bush's oil buddies? First it was a war for Afghan oil pipelines. Then it was a war for oil in Iraq. Then Bush's Saudi buddies were gonna force the price of oil down right before the November election to enhance Bush's re-election chances. The latest seems to be that Bush is fine with oil being $60 a barrel because the profits of "Big Oil" are soaring to record levels. Or have the simple-minded pundits come up with a new oil conspiracy theory?

Face it, your average small town Democrat will never be accused of levelheadedness so long as they are guided by their myopically simplistic perspective on things: Bush must be paid back for what happened in 2000.

I'm a liberal and proud of it.--John Kerry, 1991

Structurally, this should not have been a close election. The country has not elected a self-proclaimed liberal since Lyndon Johnson and hasn't elected a non-Southern Democrat since John F. Kennedy. Both Mondale and Dukakis, who believe all of the same things Kerry does, lost by crushing margins. Further, the savage attack on the United States revived Americans' desire for a muscular foreign policy -- an unequivocal advantage for the president. It should have been short work for the Bush campaign to quickly sketch Kerry's extremely liberal voting record for voters.--Mona Charon

Yeah, but Bush stole the last election and George Soros wants him out.

Did anybody see the latest scurrilous...

...television ad from Camp Kerry? This is the only campaign in history reduced to making influenza an issue during a presidential campaign. F**king ridiculous. Here's the text of the ad:

"Three years ago, medical experts warned George Bush that a dangerous shortage loomed. Instead of fixing the problem, production of the vaccine was sent to a factory overseas -- the vaccines were contaminated. Now Bush wants Canada to help, even though his own policies make it illegal for us to import medicine from Canada.

"Seniors and children wait. Not enough vaccines for pregnant women. A George Bush mess."

Oh my God! That damn Dubya again. Check this press release issued on Friday from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta:

“More doses of vaccine will be going out over the next 6-7 weeks so there will be more opportunity for those who need the vaccine to get it in time for this year’s influenza season,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “This shortage is frightening to people and they’re rushing out and standing in long lines thinking they need the vaccine right now before it’s all gone. We want them to know that more is coming, so as hard as it may be, please try and be patient and check with your provider ahead of time for availability of vaccine in your area.”

As a matter of fact, Aventis Pasteur has already produced 54.4 million doses for the upcoming influenza season and estimates it can produce an additional two million doses.

Seniors and children wait. Not enough vaccines for pregnant women. Media-driven hysteria. And a John Kerry lie.

Me? My long-running record is still intact. This will be my 46th consecutive flu season without ...receiving a flu shot. My kids have never gotten one. My pregnant wife never, ever got one. Nor did my Grandkids. My Grandparents. My Mom.

In fact, this mad dash to wait in long lines for a flu shot is a bit embarrassing if you ask me. We as a nation lack the will to fight unless, of course, it's for a flu shot we probably don't need anyway. We look real stupid on this one. The French are most likely laughing at us. If so, we deserve it.

Wait! There's more.

Now John Kerry is warning us of a "January Surprise." According to Super Lib, Dubya has a super-secret plan to privatize social security after being re-elected. Would that be before or after he re-institutes the draft? I'm just curious.

Is this "gotcha politics" in Kerry's dishonest world? You just make sh*t up?

One ticket represents the mentality of 9/10, the other of 9/12. The choice is clear. On November 2, re-elect George W. Bush.--Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va., endorsed Bush on Oct. 17.

Stars and Stripes Magazine...

...surveyed the troops on the ground in Iraq in an effort to provide some insights insofar as morale and such is concerned. Give it a read.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Ground Truth, Day 1: Voices on the ground: Stars and Stripes surveys troops on morale in Iraq

By David Josar, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Day One of a seven-day Stars and Stripes series. Click here to access the series' index page.

Related stories:
¶ Stripes reporters visited nearly 50 camps to gauge servicemembers' sentiment. (Click here)

¶ Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, says troops are focused and back mission. (Click here)

In northern Iraq, just outside Tikrit, a soldier from the 101st Airborne sleeps every night in a sleeping bag under camouflaged netting in an open field. Every meal comes in brown plastic, ready to eat. At Tallil Air Base, about 600 miles to the south, airmen sleep in double beds complete with government-issued comforters and pillows.

Conditions for U.S. troops in Iraq vary widely, and so, too, does the mood and morale of the individual units scattered throughout the country. For months, Stars and Stripes has received scores of letters from troops complaining about one thing or another connected with their service, as well as scores of letters from troops decrying the claims of the complainers and urging them to just do their duty.

In an effort to feel the pulse of U.S. forces firsthand, Stars and Stripes reporters spent three weeks in August fanning across Iraq. Reporters traveled as far south as the enemy prisoner-of-war camp in Umm Qasr, about 15 miles north of the Kuwait border, and as far north as Mosul, about 70 miles from Turkey. To get a firsthand account of what life was like for American forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom, reporters slept, ate, showered and went on patrol with troops.

They handed out and received responses to nearly 2,000 questionnaires. (The U.S. Air Force allowed reporters to visit Air Force bases, but did not allow airmen to complete the surveys at some of its bases. At one base, reporters were allowed to meet with airmen and ask them the questions on the survey.)

Troops were asked about their morale and their unit’s morale. They were asked about their living conditions and whether they thought their commanders were doing anything to improve those conditions. They were asked about their unit’s mission and if they felt going to war in Iraq was worthwhile for America.

Of those surveyed:

¶ Many Reserve and National Guard respondents said they were unhappy with a number of things, just as letter writers from those units had said in letters to the newspaper. They said they often felt like second-class soldiers who don’t receive the same equipment, support and treatment as their active-duty counterparts.

¶ When asked how worthwhile they thought the war in Iraq was for the United States, the split among all those responding was 67 percent saying it was “worthwhile,” “probably worthwhile” or “very worthwhile,” with 31 percent saying it was of “little value” or of “no value at all.”

¶ Asked about their personal morale, 34 percent overall rated it as “low” or “very low,” 27 percent said it was “high” or “very high,” and virtually all the rest called it “average.” Perceptions of their unit’s morale ranked heavier on the “low” side. This question of personal morale elicited widely different responses among the services. Reservists ranked their morale as the lowest by far. Marine and Air Force respondents tended to rate their own morale on the high side, while Army respondents were fairly evenly divided between high and low morale, with most falling in the middle, or “average.”

¶ Of all troops surveyed, 72 percent rated living conditions “average” or better. But disparities existed throughout the region. One Army unit could have three hot meals a day and another unit with the same mission subsisted on MREs and rationed bottles of water. Some units, although they had been in Iraq for months, still hadn’t had a day off or access to a hot shower. Other troops had been in Iraq a few weeks and were already being allowed to leave on morale trips.

The numbers show that sometimes camp conditions and morale are not always connected. Some Marines surveyed in southern Iraq live in austere conditions but still had overall high morale.

¶ There is a sharp divide between the Air Force and Army. The Army and Air Force share several bases in Iraq, but the Air Force has separate — and superior — living conditions. The Air Force at Tallil Air Base, for example, brought in a Pizza Hut concession but the Army is barred from using it. The Air Force does deploy differently based on its mission, but soldiers, after seeing the contrast, said the division, which at times is a fence topped with barbed wire, undercuts morale and teamwork. The Air Force has its own gyms, morale tents and mess halls.

¶ Noncommissioned officers predict problems in re-enlistment, although military leaders say enlistment rates historically drop after conflicts. Nearly half of the troops surveyed said they do not plan to re-enlist. No re-enlistment figures from Iraq are available at this point, while generally the overall military re-enlistment rates appear to be satisfactory or better.

¶ While from all indications troops in Iraq are doing what needs to be done, slightly more than one-third of those responding to the questionnaire said their mission was for the most part “not clearly defined” or “not at all defined.” Sixty-three percent said it was. Again, reservists mostly said that the mission was unclear. Marine and Air Force respondents tended to say that the mission was “mostly clear” or “very clear.” As in other questions, Army respondents, the largest group surveyed, were almost evenly split on the question. At the same time, many respondents — mainly from the Reserves and Army — said that what they were doing was not closely related to what they were trained to do. Air Force and Marine respondents mainly tended to see their current mission and their training as more closely aligned. Reporters in the field found that the transition from war-fighting to occupation had led to different tasks. Soldiers in transportation companies were operating equipment they were not trained to drive, for instance. Marines were asked to perform peacekeeping duties they said they had been rarely been asked to do before. In interviews or written responses to the questionnaire, some troops described what they were doing as “busy work.”

¶ While supply problems have not crippled operations, they have stymied some units. Troops had plenty of bullets, grenades, weapons and fuel, but they said they did not have enough of the plates that make flak vests impervious to bullets. Units also complained that they were sent into combat without enough medical supplies, and transportation companies resorted to building their own “gun trucks” because there were not enough to provide security for convoys. More than 60 percent of the troops surveyed rated their chain of command’s ability to get them supplies as “average” or better. Sixty-three percent of Reserve troops rated that ability as “not good” or “poor,” and 27 percent of the Army rated that “not good” or “poor.”

¶ In interviews, written comments on questionnaires and letters to the editor, a number of troops complained about having to spend more time in Iraq than they thought necessary or were told they would spend. Most of these were reservists.

Over the next week, Stars and Stripes will present its findings on the issues that the troops in Iraq say are important to them. The series also will show creative means troops come up with to do their jobs — and to have some fun or add levity. And it will present what troops say leaders can do to improve morale and some ways troops keep their own morale high. It will conclude with what is next for troops and bases in Iraq.

Staff writers Jon Anderson, Terry Boyd, Lisa Burgess, Steve Liewer, Marni McEntee and Scott Schonauer contributed to this story.

I consider the activities of terrorists in Iraq are not as much aimed at coalition forces but more personally against President Bush. International terrorism has as its goal to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term. If they achieve that goal, then that will give international terrorism a new impulse and extra power.--Vladimir Putin at a news conference after a regional summit in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.


...payable to The City of Wilkes-Barre.

They're tired of me getting in the way of their shenanigans at city hall. The greed that goes on at city hall is just out of hand. This is an example of it. They are trying to get more than $3,000 out of an honest citizen.--Walter Griffith

Yeah! And The Edge is a legendary guitarist!!! As fargin' if.

Pay up you doting wannabe know-it-all. This is what can happen when you set about fighting city hall without dotting any of your numerous Is beforehand.

He previously accused our two council babes of violating campaign finance laws and he was forced to issue a public apology not long afterwards. He practically demanded an audit after the mayor's big inauguration bash, obviously inferring that we were partying at the taxpayer's expense. That was the very last we heard of that potential scandal in the making. He then floated petitions to place referendum questions on our ballots without first consulting "Referendums for Dummies" and his petitions quickly became the ultimate laughing stock of everyone who has ever carried a petition. Is there anything this guy ever got right?

Are we protecting the taxpayers, or what? Pay up.

You can't take the political gloves off over and over again and then wonder aloud what happened to politesse when things don't go as you once envisioned.

I gotta tell ya...

...immediately after my big brush with death, I was happy to still be in relatively one piece and I felt no anger towards anyone. That was little more than two weeks ago.

But after two weeks of near constant pain, not being able to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time, and worrying about what might become of my suddenly challenged lung-I'm in none too good of a mood as of late.

I was listening to the scanner and heard of a motor vehicle accident on Park Avenue where one of the vehicles had rolled over. Normally I would just shake my head in disbelief. How in the muck do we manage to flip vehicles over on these streets? Anywho, when I first heard this tone go out to the fire department, I reacted with vocal and unabashed anger. "How in the hell?" has now been replaced with "Who in the fu*k?" I guess this is what happens when pain persists long enough coupled with the knowledge that the pain is the result of a wrong that I neither deserved, nor wanted. I wanna wander aimlessly on my bike, but a trip to the bathroom without a groan is a good workout at this point. This sucks!

I was yapping away with someone today who was also involved in a car accident through no fault of her own. It turns out, she received a rather nasty bruise to her knee and Nationwide Insurance soothed her pain and suffering with a check for $5,000. I spoke to a nice girl from Nationwide two weeks ago right here at the adobe and she was willing to settle right then and there after her company accepted full liability. I told her to contact me in two weeks and that would mean tomorrow. And if she's still eager to write a settlement check, she had better come here with a very, very heavy hand in tow. Two short weeks ago, paying for my pain and suffering sounded like the fair thing to do. But after two weeks of wondering when the pain will actually end, my expectations of the "pain and suffering" settlement have grown far beyond what I originally had in mind. She either nails me with some serious money, or I go "full tort" on somebody's ass.

I'm sorry to say that. But that's where I'm at right now.

"Whatever, man!" as a general attitude towards life is fine and dandy in most respects, but the fact of the matter is, I've had my every day life taken away from me since October 2. And it's really starting to piss me off.

But even this atrophic vacation of mine still wouldn't cause me to vote for a loser like John Edwards.

I'd bet you didn't see that BANG! coming. Heyna?