12-4-2005 The War on Bloggers?

Yesterday was this web locale's 5th anniversary. The staff and management here at Wilkes-Barre Online held one heckuva anniversary blowout, but I was forced to pull the plug when the entire secretary pool got to dancing topless on the copier machines. No pics will be forthcoming. But I am going to auction off some slightly used and very smallish bras.

Now that the undeclared and illegal War on Bloggers has been launched into by a local radio station, I'm wondering just where we all stand as far as the oft-mentioned "alternative media" is concerned. I keep hearing this hilarious line being repeated whereas FOX NEWS, talk radio and internet bloggers are literally shaking loose the sturdy foundations of the "mainstream media". But if talk radio suddenly gets to poo-pooing the bloggers as folks who "were ignored in high school," you know, the frustrated malcontents, the folks suddenly cognizant of the fact that life's lottery determined them to be life's biggest losers, the frustrated cowards--then I completely fail to see where any revolutionary solidarity actually exists.

To be perfectly frank, I find it kind of ironic that anyone spewing away on talk radio would have a problem with other folks spewing away in a different medium. I suppose those talkers deem internet talking to be inherently inferior to their tried-and-true method of ranting away and being able to silence any perceived backlash against their thoughts with the push of a button. They spew--you disagree--and you get dumped right after you find yourself being insulted at the very last second, or right after being disconnected. But what's a knuckle-dragging drooler to do? Maybe if I stood for nothing, and believed in nothing other than the closest sports bar, I'd be able to understand why I'm such a hopeless drooler, and not a local celebrity of sorts with my finger perpetually poised on the kill button.

Trust me, I don't mean to bore you to death with all of this muckity muck. But I heard a whopper of a statement that Kevin made on WILK yesterday, and a giantic red flag immediately popped up and damn near decapitated me. I wasn't paying too much attention to his utter poppycock being passed off as undeniable facts when he got to making this complete flub of a disclosure, so I'm paraphrasing here, okay? Anywho, the gist of his comment was that while our local bloggers may rant and rave away on the internet, when you meet them, they're all meek and mild all of a sudden.

Now, excuse me for being so bitter and so painfully beaten down by life's endless trail of trials and tribulations, but isn't that the long, contorted version of, 'Our local bloggers are a bunch of pussies?' That's the way it sounded to me. And I'm completely fine with that. If Kevin thinks local bloggers lack mettle, or they lack gonads, I could really care less. Consider the source. But I'm here to tell Kevin that he ain't never met me, so he ought not paint those who he has never met with such a broad brush. The thing is, I seriously doubt that he's ever once come face-to-face with any of our local bloggers and I'll tell you why I believe as much.

The undisputable fact of the matter is, NEPA has an anemic presence when it comes to local folks posting their thoughts on the internet. Tribute sites aside, the number of folks 'ranting and raving' away on the internet in NEPA could be counted on two hands. Maybe even one. Or maybe even on three horribly short fingers.

So, if this entire area lacks serious bloggers blogging away with any frequency, which it obviously does...I'd be really curious to learn just how many of them Kevin has actually met in person. Fact is, I've got a twenty-spot betting on his being so completely full of sh*t, he could power a mid-sized import on methane fumes alone.

Yes, the all-knowing one has stated on many, many occasions that he doesn't even look at the countless internet critiques of his moral relativism run amok on his company's own web site, but...he has no problem at all with doing a serious stare-down whenever he meets any of those mostly non-existant local bloggers in person??? Does anyone honestly believe any of that complete bullsh*t? I know I don't.

I can tell you this much with absolute certainty. He ain't never met me, nor does he want to. And he knows as much.

Meek and mild?

Really? And who is it that continually sucks up to the county judges and local law enforcement officials when called-out on his typically reckless comments whereas their job performances are concerned? No, our newest tough guy, Kevin Lynn, never met a single person in a position of power he wouldn't regularly criticize until they called him on it.

Bloggers are meek and mild?


Yeah. Whatever. Okay.

He's met quite a few?

Yeah! And immediately afterwards, he woke up face down on the wet side of the bed.

Meek this!!!

I would never question the patriotism of anyone who served in the military for 37 years, especially someone, John Murtha, who served in two shooting wars. But I do find it somewhat interesting (if not perplexing) that whenever a Democrat who happens to be a veteran speaks out against the conflict in Iraq they are immediately promoted to the knower of all things military.

When fellow Democrat Joe Leiberman spoke up in defense of staying the course, his comments received little more than a collective snub from the national press corps. It's true he never spent a single night in some forward fire base trying not to be overrun by the enemy. But, then again, a few short years ago this guy from Connecticut was seemingly poised to be this country's next vice president. They loved him then. But, these days, he's not towing the party line which seems to be "Let's quit." And there's no quicker way of losing a war and creating a bloody power vacuum than to quit. To give up. To run away.

George Bush has been roundly criticized and openly villified for offering us little more than "We're staying the course" in respect to the continued hostilities in Iraq. And I think that goes with the territory while the most selfless Americans continue to come home in body bags. Most Americans are totally casualty-averse, and our enemies understand the lessons learned during Vietnam, whereas the quickest way to defeat our armed forces is to manipulate the public's opinion right here at home. Sadly, the forces fighting against a free and stable Iraq have probably done less in those respects than many of our oft-triangulating elected leaders have.

So Bush upped and provided us with much more detail as to the on-going plan for Iraq is concerned, and, again, he was roundly criticized by his opponents. I thought his speech was reasonable, as is his vision of a free Iraq in the not too distant future. But, at this point in time, with so much political capital having been invested in bashing him no matter what the heck he says, I suspect his words again fell on deaf, partisan ears.

People are fighting and dying, but the effort has been so completely politicized, Bush's words fall on deaf ears. Leiberman's thoughts were summarily dismissed. And John McCain, another combat veteran, was all but ignored when he recently spoke out in defense of completing the mission.

And if remember correctly, Osama and his henchmen are convinced we are a "Paper Tiger" that has not the stomach for a protracted fight against their stone-aged plans for the world. I hate to say as much, but he is being proven correct based on what I'm hearing of late.

Is John Murtha a coward? Certainly not.

Is John Murtha correct? I think not.

You can call it a drawdown, a timetable, an exit strategy, a benchmark for success, or an immediate redeployment. But what all of that really amounts to is turning and running away. Quitting. Pulling-out. Or, in effect, proving Osama right. Are we really that cowardly "Paper Tiger" he believes us to be? Based on the noises emanating from the left side of the political playing field--it sure sounds like it. The way I see it, an immediate withdrawal or anyhting even close to it would be the lynchpin to a bloody and sickening genocide of our own making.

For Immediate Release

November 17, 2005

The Honorable John P. Murtha

War in Iraq

(Washington D.C.)- The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

General Casey said in a September 2005 Hearing, “the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.” General Abizaid said on the same date, “Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is a part of our counterinsurgency strategy.”

For 2 ˝ years I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait – the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction – but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.

We spend more money on Intelligence than all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused.

I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support.

The threat posed by terrorism is real, but we have other threats that cannot be ignored. We must be prepared to face all threats. The future of our military is at risk. Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We can not allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care, to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared. The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls at our bases in the U.S.

Much of our ground equipment is worn out and in need of either serious overhaul or replacement. George Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” We must rebuild our Army. Our deficit is growing out of control. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office recently admitted to being “terrified” about the budget deficit in the coming decades. This is the first prolonged war we have fought with three years of tax cuts, without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft. The burden of this war has not been shared equally; the military and their families are shouldering this burden.

Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.

I just recently visited Anbar Province Iraq in order to assess the conditions on the ground. Last May 2005, as part of the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill, the House included the Moran Amendment, which was accepted in Conference, and which required the Secretary of Defense to submit quarterly reports to Congress in order to more accurately measure stability and security in Iraq. We have now received two reports. I am disturbed by the findings in key indicator areas. Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects has been spent. And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled. An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism.

I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won “militarily.” I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.

Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, and about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.

I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United States occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a “free” Iraq.

My plan calls:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq

This war needs to be personalized. As I said before I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION to speak out for them. That’s why I am speaking out.

Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME.


I really got a kick out of his comments about our troops being all but overworked, if not completle worn out. I do not take issue with that assessment of the current situation, but my mind wanders back to when the Soviet Union imploded, and the Democrats halved our military to produce what they called our "peace dividend."

At that time, even a cowardly schmuck such as myself realized how completely short-sighted and dangerous that halving of our military could very easily turn out to be. Here we are little more than a decade later, and as it turns out, the schmuck was dead-on correct, while the Dems were way, way off the mark. The military? Who needs the frickin' military when peace seems to be the order of the day? What we're now learning the hard way is that an absence of shooting does not equate any meaningful peace. Especially while loon-jobs are driving rental trucks filled with explosives into the basements of mammoth skyscrapers.

I don't care how it's phrased, pulling out now amounts to running away from an enemy that has promised to, and previously delivered the war to our shores.

Is Murtha a coward? Certainly not.

Is Murtha correct? I think not.

Assuming he's still alive, Osama watches and bides his time. He's waiting for our answer to his question.

Is America a paper tiger?

We shall see.

On a normal day, the loudest thing going down on Thompson Street is my stereo. And no one has ever complained about it. At least, not to me. But I don't take a match to the expensive thing at too late of an hour, so I suppose the long-time neighbors just tolerate my obvious excesses. I imagine you could do much worse whereas neighbors are concerned.

But we did have us a ruckus yesterday, although, I missed it in it's entirety. Dammit!

And that ruckus had it's origins in the fact that the folks living on this tiny street are sick and tired of being chased after by the two Rotweillers down the corner a ways. We've had so many incidents during the past seven years, I doubt I could even remember all of them. But, a couple of days ago, one of the female residents of this street got knocked on her behind by the offending dogs while trying to get into her car in the morning. Basically, the situation has become completely untenable, and sooner or later, someone is going to get hurt or worse.

I was off to Aldi's to purchase copious amounts of really cheap supplies so that wifey can get into the baking of approximately 3 million Christmas cookies. Did I say Christmas? I apologize if I offended anyone. She's going to bake some Holiday cookies. Okay? All gooder now? Any-freaking-way, Gage and I returned with pallets of flour and such only to learn that the beotch who ignores, if not scoffs at leash laws, decided to march herself up the street a ways and launch into a screaming match with one of the neighbors. And when wifey caught wind of that, they tag-teamed the invading Penn Avenue resident. If you think I'm bad, lock horns with the wifey once or twice. These Polish chickies, the aging tomboys that they are, can bring it.

Turns out, the lady that owns the perpetually loose dogs claimed that the folks on this street have been mean to her and her brood ever since she took up residence in one of Tom McGroarty's cardboard houses. Is that so? The very first words her husband ever uttered in our general direction are as follows: "What the f>ck are you looking at?" My son responded with a less than neighborly response something along the lines of, "Not much, you f>cking asshole." And so it's been ever since. We're mean to her? Stick a leash in it, will you? Plus, these are the only people that ever called the police in response to our yearly block party.

The thing is, not many of us are looking forward to being attacked by two Rotweillers. They've turned and charged in our direction many times, but the Mister always managed to call them back before the bloodletting got to starting. Will there come a day when they won't be denied some human flesh to rip apart? Could be. Fact is, we're kind of expecting a regettable, yet easily avoided incident. Either erect a fence to keep those dogs penned in, or put them on a leash. You know, comply with the laws currently on the books. Is that too much to ask of your neighbors?

Both Wifey and myself have been put in the position of using our bodies as shields to protect our grandchildren when the charge of the loose Rotweillers begins. And trust me, it's not an enviable position to be in. The best scenario being the two dogs rip into you, and the grandkids escape the incident totally unscathed. And that's the best we have to look forward to. But if one of those dogs latches onto a toddler, one of my toddlers, we could looking at a call for a coroner within the blinking of an eye. And some folks wonder why city living is not en vogue these days.

And if all of that isn't troubling enough, this lady is totally defiant. She admitted being fined by the city numerous times, yet maintains that she's doing nothing wrong, and steadfastly maintains that she will not pay those fines. She ignores the leash laws. She has a trampoline on city property, and she has a pool in her back yard with no fence in place to prevent small children from finding their way into it and drowning. Her kids fly up and down the street, completely un-supervised, on those motorized Go-peds, which is illegal in itself. And if that's not dangerous enough, they do so without ever wearing a helmet. Yet another law she could care less about. But if one of her kid's end up crunching their skulls, she could be looking at jail time. And if one of her loose dogs maim, or kill someone, she could find herself facing even more time in a nice comfy cell block.

I've alerted our Animal Enforcement Dude to the goings-on up here and he has followed up on them. But he works in the daytime, and so do the law-breakers down at the end of the street. Chances are, he'll never be able to catch them in the act. We pack knives when heading out for a leisurely walk with the grandkids, and the idiots down the street refuse to admit there is a problem. Is there something wrong with picture? Sure there is. And it needs to be rectified before anyone gets hurt.

So the shouting eventually died out, and here's where we currently find ourselves. Being that Winter has arrived in earnest, things will probably be quiet for a while yet. But when Spring arrives, and everybody gets that hankering for heading back outside, Lil' Ms. Lawbreaker has been put on notice that we will no longer hestitate to call the police every single time she willingly violates the laws in question. We're not trying to gin-up pressure on her. Rather, we're going to demand that she do what the rest of us have always none. Namely, comply with the law and learn to respectfully cohabitate with her neighbors.

I really don't want to add to the workload of our police department, but it seems as is Thompson Street is going to be coming up a lot in Scanner Land in the coming months. Somebody get the mayor on the mayoral hotline and tell him to hire another cop or two. From what I'm hearing from the two loose cannons down the street a ways, we're gonna need 'em.

I'm just sayin'.

Stay tuned.

From the e-mail inbox Hi Markie,

Can't make it Sunday but a few of us are gathering at Mark's Pub Saturday at 4PM. If not, I will be at the Kiby for the Powell event on Tuesday. We will be upstairs, give me a holler and we will hook up.

Just to set the record straight I did work for Carter in 1976 but did not vote for him in 1980 as I didn't think he did a very good job. What can I say, I was 16 years old and bought into the whole love, trust and peanuts thing. You learn from your mistakes.

Anyway, thanks to you and (Wifey) for your hospitality last Sunday. It's fun to watch football, drink beer and discuss "life, the universe, everything." Like you, I will talk politics with anyone but see no reason to get all bent out of shape because people have differing views.

Hope to see you soon,


Dude. I was forced to edit your e-mail as you broke a major rule of engagement. Wifey's name and picture are never to appear on the internet. Trying to get me beaten up? What if I failed to catch that? Be careful, man.

Trust me, you don't have to explain your decision to involve yourself in the Carter campaign. My sole point was that I could hang out with you, despite my obvious loathing of Jimmy Carter. As a matter of fact, I also hung out with an Eagles fan, so it has dawned on me that either my standards are slipping, or I'm mellowing with age. Thank goodness (not God) that my brother didn't catch me swilling a few with a dreaded Eagles fan. It would have shaken his faith in his big brother right down to his toenails. Besides, he's too big to have to fight.

I could be mistaken, but I think the world has noticeably improved since our first summit, so maybe we ought to consider a second summit and invite the press. The Jints are going head-to-head with those Eagles next Sunday, so we might want to work-up some sort of agenda from which to work from. How's this? We make the gay people straight. And just to demonstrate our massive powers, we'll make all of the straight people gay. Well, maybe for a week or two. I'm thinking we cure AIDS, end war forever more, and figure out which mutated gene it is that goes haywire and turns people into anything but Giants fans. Oh, and we need to discuss why bloggers are such complete fraidy cats when confronted by aging tennis pros.

I'd like to teach the world to sing, but I don't know how. The least we could do is teach them why they should be New York Football Giants fans. Right?

Please advise.

And don't tell Klatuu.

That dude scares the bejesus out of me.

No ear plugs for this one

You gotta love this country. I buy one ticket and willingly have my ear drums raped by Def Leppard. And with the very next ticket, I'm going to spend an evening listening to the words of a truly great American.

I can't wait.

By the way, I'll be sitting with the contingent from the Pan-Sexual Peace Party. Just look for the burning flags and the Devo helmets.

I'm just a spud boy. Looking for that real tomato.