Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas: 1 Scrooge: 0

In a resounding victory, Christmas threw off all opposition and was able to make an appearance for the entire day, December 25th 2005.
In a prepared statement, Christmas said:

"Well, it was a tough battle, the enemy was ready and prepared, but in the end, we were just unstoppable."

Christmas went on to say it was ready for the expected battle next year, which it anticipated would be just as bad.

Christmas's opponent, Code Named Scrooge, was disappointed but optimistic, saying:

"We made considerable headway against all that Peace on Earth crap, and everyone should realize right now that Christmas is in for a fight. Wait till next year. Bah Humbug!"

Observers admit the battle was fierce, but still acknowledge that victory was assured. One observer noted that:

"People can say what they will about Christmas, but in reality they just love a time of happiness, a time of peace. The roots to Christmas are inside us, the belief that people when given the chance would do good things. The whole season resonates with the desire to give a little more, and be a little happier".

One critic dissented, saying:
"Happier my butt, have you seen the mall?"
But supporters quickly reminded the critics how one previous opponent had been converted to an ardent supporter:
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr. Seuss
Supporters were also quick to point out how Christmas seems to bring a transformation to people and their environment:

Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself. ~Francis C. Farley

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~Charles Dickens

Idealisitic? Maybe we all see it for our own reasons. Maybe it's just another day and we fool ourselves. Maybe people are this good everyday, and we just don't see it. But it still seems like the world is a little merrier and brighter this time of year.

I wish no disrespect to those who do not observe it, they should be respected for their beliefs. But even in that diversity there is a chance for all to enjoy the season. Perhaps Dave Berry has the clearest vision of the multicultural event, the holiday that has so many meanings, and the battle over correctness:

"In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' "

Maybe so.

Whatever this season means to you, please accept my wishes for a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holiday Season.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Assault on Christmas

Lately I have read a practically constant stream of articles about the assault on Christmas in America. Radio talk shows, tv commentaries and even blog comments all dive into this daily.

What concerns me is the misunderstandings and mischaracterizations being popularized by the various people. To explain my views on this, let me introduce a few popular perceptions as labeled by the various proponents or opponents.

The first groups is commonly the conservatives, and they are made out to be religious zealots, who want Christmas an everyday word and nativity scenes in every yard. They claim that the secular world is stamping out Christmas as a further attempt to stamp out religion.

The liberals are commonly seen as the aggressors and the defenders against the accusations. They are commonly accused of persecuting Christians by making their faith and celebrations essentially illegal, and hidden from sight. For their part they claim that they are trying to improve diversity, by preventing one faith from dominating the season.

Neither side is quite what they appear, and I will come back to that.

The real interesting fact concerns the conservatives. They claim to be in a battle, but the sad truth is that this battle was lost long ago. It was lost when Christmas was more closely associated with Santa Claus then with Baby Jesus. It has lost none of its importance to Christians, it has just grown beyond it to become a day that is locked into place in American culture as a day for all.

In North America, particularly here in the US, Christmas became a secular holiday long ago. This does not take away from the "reasons for the season" as some claim, it merely shows that regardless of faith, people cling to the idea of a season of good will where friends and family take precedence, and giving is encouraged. Sure, some people care more for presents then Christmas Mass, and more for lights and snow men then for nativity scenes but that doesn't necessarily mean it diminishes religion, and these people were likely materialistic before Christmas too.

Many of these people just see a time of joy. Schools are out, the joy is evident for the kids. As a child I always looked forward to Christmas. We made ornaments in gradeschool for our trees at home. Construction paper garlands, remember those? Popcorn strings? I even once made a mini Christmas tree from a readers Digest with its pages folded. Anyone else?

My family never went to church as a family, though eventually we children found our own way there. But well before then, my Christmas memories are strong. The tree, the tree topper, the presents, the sleepless nights to wait up and see Santa, the leaving him a Glass of milk and a cookie.

Heck the baking... mom making fudge and divinity, and my helping her make sugar cookies with the cookie cutters....Even one in the shape of angels. The family get togethers, then the next day, trying out the new bike, or the new skateboard. Showing off the new presents.

Christmas was about family. It was about love. It had joy and fun and cheer.

And this is hardly a new concept. It seems obvious that modern Christmas owes as much to Dicken's A Christmas Carol as it does to the manger story in the bible.

The morality play concerning Scrooge goes straight to the heart of how many people see Christmas. Sure, shopping malls and stores are all about Christmas sales, but so many people also see Christmas giving, sharing and love. Part of what moved Scrooge was the family Cratchit, the obvious love even in poverty. Why? It was Christmas

In the movie Scrooged, a modern adaptation of The Dickens tale, Bill Murray, the 'scrooge' has a monologue at the end, and one paragraph sums it up:

"It's the one night when we all act a little nicer. We...we smile a little easier. We...we...Share a little more. For a couple of hours we are the people we always hoped we would be. It's really a miracle because it happens every Christmas Eve."

And that is the other side of the secularization of Christmas in America: The goodness of humanity shines. Rather then diminishing religion, it enhances goodness in humanity overall. So in considering it that way, the war the conservatives are pointing at has already happened, and frankly in some respects, I can't find myself too sad.

What has happened lately is war of political correctness launched by the liberals and progressives. This one we know all about. Governments here have forbidden Christmas display, some decades old. Schools take winter breaks. One local government practically forbid the use of the word, stores will just wish you a Happy Holiday and any mention of it in the public sector seems to raise the specter of law suit.

Schools locally use only secular Christmas Carols, and either call Christmas trees "Holiday Trees, or ban them outright. It's silly. The tree implies nothing. The angel or star on top imply nothing. They are traditional symbols of an American cultural event.

The thing is, the progressives claim they are only preventing people from people offended, and just keeping separation of church and state intact, but the fact is that our government was formed with religious elements, from the ten commandments to the rights our Constitution states are "endowed by their creator". There is no state sanctioned faith or denomination, and there is a long history of religious inclusion. Indeed, Christmas itself is a recognized Federal Holiday. It is not just for Catholics at Christmas Mass, or evangelical with their Christmas pageants. It is also the agnostic family who aren't going to any church, but enjoy the beauty of a Christmas tree, and share the joy of the season. What they are doing is sterilizing American life, by creating offenses where none exist, and working to eliminate any diversity in the name of promoting it.

The war of correctness is against anyone who loves Christmas, not just Christians. The progressives actually are attacking the holiday enjoyment of people who have no religious affiliation, but might still hum along with Away in the Manger when they hear it. Why? Because they love Christmas. They will watch the 24 hour marathon on The Christmas Story, watching Ralphie's desperate attempts to get the perfect present. They will sing along to White Christmas, and think about a time when they dreamed of home over Christmas. They will smile through the trial and vindication of Kris Kringle on Miracle on34th St. They will cry through It's a Wonderful Life. Why? Because it's Christmas.

All of these movies are now traditional Christmas movies, yet aside from the Guardian Angel Clarence, there is not one religious element, And none related to the Christian roots of Christmas.

That's what Christmas means. Maybe not everywhere, but it sure does here.

To me it boils down to this.

The Conservatives who claim they are being singled out are ignoring the others who are likewise being singled out. They are not the only ones being persecuted, and they would do well to remember that. The people who love Christmas need to be recognized also.

The progressives and liberals may use religion as their excuse, but in reality they are attacking as many non religious people by attacking the symbols that are an American tradition. Truly they start out assured in their self righteousness, but in the end, they end up looking like a Scrooge.

Bah Humbug.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The numbers racket

Something has been bothering me for some time now, and that's the game the politicians are playing with numbers, in several different ways.

The first concerns the death toll in Iraq. On one hand you have democrats making it a magic number. As soon as it hit 2000 US troops killed, the bells started tolling. Is there something significant about 2000? Who decided that 2000 was a serious benchmark?

And the Republicans answer by showing how this war is actually cheap, compared to other wars. And looking at the stats, they are right. Compared to the horrorific death toll of WW2 and the Civil War, Iraq even at double the current death rate would have go centuries to achieve parity. But at the same time they also trivialize the deaths of people, by making it sound like no big deal. I don't think this is necessarily an intentional act, but the result is that a couple thousand lives is ok compared to freeing millions. Maybe that is indeed true, but even one life lost is still a loss.

A liberal debate board I post to saw the following comment recently:

"...Before you start waving the bloody flag about the 367 casualty video-game war you are a veteran of... "

The context was actually just a shot across the bow from a liberal poster to a conservative who was a Gulf War vet, but the implication is clear: not enough people died in Desert Shield/Storm to qualify it as a real war, and make it worthy of claiming. Now I don't know if the person this was directed at had ever used his service to make a point, but the fact is that people still died there, and they and those who fought deserve a little respect. Should the 14 people killed on the USS Cole be forgotten because their deaths were smaller in overall tragedy then 9/11?

To me, in evaluating the war in Iraq, the measure of the value of the human lives spent there is based not on some sensationalistic raw numbers, but on comparison to the value achieved. Here the democrats contradict themselves because the seem to deny any value given to anyone for the lives lost. The lives were wasted, they claim, even as the soldiers and Iraqis seem to have a different opinion. Shouldn't those being asked to put their lives on the line, and the ones they are fighting for have a say in this?

The recent polls or soldiers on the ground in Iraq show consistent support for the war, but a stronger number is the amount of troops both enlisting and reenlisting recently. Troop strength is not suffering as is being reported. Those are the survey results of the soldiers: Their continued voluntary service.

There is also an ABC News poll showing that the Iraqi's indeed have strong feelings about the US occupation.

Both sides take the same poll and cherry pick their numbers that they claim represent the facts on the ground in Iraq.

Republicans cite:

"Despite the daily violence there, most living conditions are rated positively, seven in 10 Iraqis say their own lives are going well, and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve in the year ahead."

while Democrats crow:

"Fewer than half, 46 percent, say the country is better off now than it was before the war. And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004. "

Republicans counter:

"There are positive political signs as well. Three-quarters of Iraqis express confidence in the national elections being held this week, 70 percent approve of the new constitution, and 70 percent including most people in Sunni and Shiite areas alike want Iraq to remain a unified country."

Democrats respond with:

"Two-thirds now oppose the presence of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, 14 points higher than in February 2004. Nearly six in 10 disapprove of how the United States has operated in Iraq since the war, and most of them disapprove strongly. And nearly half of Iraqis would like to see U.S. forces leave soon. "

The Republicans retort:

"Specifically, 26 percent of Iraqis say U.S. and other coalition forces should "leave now" and another 19 percent say they should go after the government chosen in this week's election takes office; that adds to 45 percent. Roughly the other half says coalition forces should remain until security is restored (31 percent), until Iraqi security forces can operate independently (16 percent), or longer (5 percent)."

After a while my head hurts.

What I can say definitively is this: This poll, when the raw data is examined could pretty support anyone's position, and both sides display the same measured focus on what they like about it to project their political agenda.

Politics...

Meanwhile they are voting in Iraq today. Their 3rd democratic election in less then 12 months.

That to me is a slightly more impressive set of numbers, and one that is hard to confuse, spin or ignore.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sick....Kid's card to wounded soldier: DIE

This has me SO pissed. I posted links for people with txt readers.

Imagine you were wounded in Iraq, and sitting in a hospital. Imagine you recieved a nice card from a kid.

The front looks like this: http://michellemalkin.com/archives/images/cardfront.JPG

cardfront.JPG

but the back looks like this: http://tinyurl.com/crx6x




Yes, it really says:
Dear, Soldier,
have a great time in the war
and have a great time dieing in the war
From migual Gallier

ps DIE.

aww, doesn't that make you feel all better?

No one knows if a kid really sent it, but the fact is that regardless it was a sick and bitter piece of crap to do.

The poor guy's name is

Joshua Sparlingc/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center6900 Georgia Avenue N.W.Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

A group of Brownies have already sent him some friendlier messages:

http://tinyurl.com/dlhh9


Joshua_1_1

Josh_2

Josh_3

Josh_4

Josh_6

Josh_5




I think discussions on the war are legit, as are criticisms. But I draw the line at slamming some poor kid in a hospital with your hate filled spewing.

That was uncalled for and wrong.

Thanks to the brownie troop for taking up the slack.

Sorry...had to rant.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Intolerance...No one is safe.

I have just about had it with religious intolerance in the name of political correctness. It seems like you cannot turn around without seeing something in the paper about it, and frankly it's approaching the point of ridiculousness.

Here are a couple examples.

First we go to Medina, WA:

http://www.kingcountyjournal.com/sited/story/html/224577

Medina Elementary School officials took down a Christmas-themed "giving tree" Monday after a parent complained about its religious connotations.

Chris Metzger, office manager at Medina, said the spiral, lighted Christmas tree with a star on top was up for about a week before it was removed.

The tree had mittens on it with a different gift idea attached to each. The idea was for students to take a mitten, get the gift listed, wrap it up and return it to school along with the mitten.

After the tree was taken down, the mittens were taped to a counter in the main office so the gift-giving could continue.

"Now we just have a giving counter," joked Metzger, who knew that putting up the tree was "kind of iffy" because of a district policy that provides direction on the place of religion in the curriculum.

It was a friggin tree, not a nativity scene, not an alter....A tree. Oh My GOD, it had a star on top!

Last time I looked you didn't have to be a member of a Christian church to have one, and this was for a good purpose: Giving. Well hopefully the table stays, unless maybe someone objects to it being a Professional wrestling prop and complains its too violent.

Next we go to Glendale, WI:

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47749

Religious-liberty attorneys have contacted a Wisconsin school district that consistently forbids Christian Christmas carols from being sung in music programs but finds nothing wrong with Hanukkah songs.

A statement from Liberty Counsel tells the story of Barbara Wheeler, whose 9-year-old daughter attends school in the district. In 2003, when the district's music programs excluded religious Christmas songs, Wheeler complained about their absence. School officials said they would get back to her, but they reportedly never did.

Last year, Wheeler voiced complaints to the district in mid-November, but school officials said the songs already were set.

This year, when the school's music program contained Hanukkah and secular Christmas songs but no religious Christmas songs, Wheeler again objected.

That's when the mother was referred to the district's written policy:
"Music programs given at times close to religious holidays should not use the religious aspect of these holidays as the underlying motive or theme. No songs should be sung which contain dogmatic religious statements."

According to Liberty Counsel, Frances Smith, the district administrator, says the Hanukkah songs are more cultural than spiritual and thus are OK to sing.

Tell that to a practicing Jew, that his or her faith is just cultural. Even as their songs are permitted, they are subtly insulted.

Last, we go to the UK:

http://tinyurl.com/9qyhw

School bans girl from wearing cross.

A mother accused her daughter's school of discriminating against Christians yesterday after the teenager was suspended for refusing to take off a crucifix necklace.

Sam Morris, 16, was sent home from Sinfin Community School in Derby for breaking a school policy that bans jewelry.

Last night her mother, Debra, said that Sikh children were allowed to wear a steel bracelet, known as a kara, for religious reasons and said her daughter had every right to express her faith.

Education officials were unrepentant, however, and said that Sikhs are required by religion to wear items of jewelry, whereas Christians are not.

Mrs Morris, 37, said: "Sam has worn this necklace for more than three years. No one has told her to take it off before, and she doesn't want to remove it.

But just to show that intolerance is an equal opportunity employer, here is an odd bit of intolerance from the other side of the faith aisle.

From Palm Coast FL;

http://tinyurl.com/8emre

Witch says fellow pagan out to get her

It was close to midnight on Sunday and Jill Pagan -- who practices paganism and calls herself a witch -- was getting settled into bed when she heard a crash. It sounded like something might have fallen.

Upon investigation, Pagan discovered that her home's white aluminum door had a large gash in it. And just to the right, a large chunk of concrete was sitting in a flowerpot with a note attached to it by rubber bands. She immediately recognized a handwritten note in an ancient language called Theban, which she said is used almost exclusively by witches.

Pagan called a Flagler County sheriff's deputy to her family's home, but no report has been filed on the incident, sheriff's office spokeswoman Debra Johnson said Monday.

Pagan later translated the message as, " 'You've been warned. Stop what you're doing,' " she said Monday. And it was a way to scare her, her husband and daughter.

Pagan thinks the suspect is someone known to the local pagan community ---- perhaps another pagan familiar with Theban script.

Interesting twist.

All I can say is that bigotry is on the rise in the world. In the name of tolerance it has become vogue to be intolerant. The last example may not totally fit that definition, but in practically all arenas there is this stubborn streak of bigotry and hatred towards those who disagree with you, and I refuse to marginalize it by claiming its the liberals, or the conservatives, or the atheists or the Christians or whatever identifiable affiliation you want. The trouble is that rather then trying to live together in harmony and respect, it is turning into a titanic shoving match, where every new move sets Newton's 3rd law into operation: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, which is similar to my last blog, on action and consequence. These all may seem like trivial and harmless examples, but as they build up we get to a point where the reactions become retribution and revenge, otherwise known as overreaction, and take on a life of their own increasing in scope and magnitude. That draws amplified counteractions and on we go. Lather, Rinse and Repeat.

And all of this is ironically happening while they take down signs that say "Peace on earth and good will to mankind"...that's too religious of a message.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Letter from Iraq Part 2

Letters and Blogs from the people actually there paint such a different picture of the war in Iraq, that I plan to post as many as I can find to as many places as I can.

Prefacing this letter, I give you a few interesting articles (links only)

First, this report from the Army on why a pullout timetable is a bad idea:
http://tinyurl.com/1hs

Of course Senator Murtha would surely dismiss it as faulty, as he has stated publicly that the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth"...
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/01/D8E7H2EG0.html

The next link is from Sen Joe Liberman, (D Conn) where he makes the case for staying to finish the job, proving that not all Democrats are willing to recant their votes for the war.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007611

The Liberal Blogsphere is ready to hamstring him and turn him to the Lions, all because he won't toe the party line. A second link concerning Joe reports his comments about WMDS:
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/12/2/132602.shtml

Now on to the letter from Iraq. This is from a blogger named Capt B, apparently a Marine Corps officer in Iraq. As I noted before, I cannot verify the authenticity of this person. I just felt his account deserved to be heard, albeit with that caveat for accuracies sake.
He is cynical, frank and graphic. Be warned.

Here is his post, unedited.
http://shepherdaway.blogspot.com/2005/12/news-stooper-so-there-we-are-watching.html

THE NEWS STOOPER

So there we are watching good ol reliable CNN....well it was worth a shot to fool you but you are all too smart for that and know its not reliable. A continuous replaying report came on how multiple government facilities and bases were attacked in downtown Ramadi, Iraq on Thursday. They continued to show video of masked men shooting down a street (which should be criminal, if a US reporter cooperates with and films the enemy at their location and aides them in any way, he should be tried for treason and executed in public if found guilty). But wait a second, the report and video don't match, but who back in the states would notice so lets role this footage and fool the sheep who follow our every word. They are too stupid and they won't know. Its video of anywhere but Ramadi. How do we know?? oh because we were downtown Ramadi when all the "attacks" were suppose to have happened. The markets were active and small children were out and about even yes, around the US bases. No bases were attacked and nothing was out of the ordinary as the BIG time news station was reporting. But, they weren't alone. Yahoo reports like this one http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/iraq with little to no meat to the story was also released but now has been altered to read different as they know they were taken to the cleaners. "Insurgents attack government facilities" what a wad of monkey crap!!

America if you didn't believe us in the past, this should do nothing but reinforce how we are saying that the enemy is trying to get to you all at home to go south and demand us to come home before the job is done and that the media is soooo off mark. This just proves we are making huge gains here. Why? Because the real blind sheep...the big time news agencies bought the trick, line and sinker from the terrorists. They fell for the oldest trick in the book, taking news tips from the enemy and paying them big cash to allow camera men to tag along with them. Yea great idea because a camera might look like an RPG to a Marine far enough away. It's a clever technique that the US invented. Counter pysops is one way to buy out "reliable" sources to submit story's to the press. This is now proof of how desperate the big time news agencies are for bad gauge on the US campaign in Iraq. They have no news so they pay for whatever may come down the line. Lowering their contacts and standards they knowingly purchase news reports and film events from the enemy. Their fat ass reporters that never leave Baghdad buildings sit in a nice protected building and never come where the fighting is. But when its time for their 45 seconds of fame interview on Clown Network News they walk outside and record a breaking news update. Ever notice how clean those reporters are? You don't stay clean running around while bullets are being fired at you. When they do come out for more than a day they hide themselves in hummers and under their ill fitting helmets that slope down and cover their eyes, that is if they don't have it on backwards, that's a sight to see (I got to get a picture of one of them for ya). I swear they must eat big bowls of dumbass before they depart so that they can ask the most retarded questions to troops. They sound like Jane Freaking Fonda herself when they open their mouths. There are a couple reporters that "live" with the troops to get stories, not many but Im quickly loosing confidence in their ability as well since MSNNBC ran the above story as "Breaking News" and then had some cluster screwball that was an "embedded reporter" (traitor) living with the troops, talking about how Iraqi forces arnt even materializing. Holy BAT shit Robin, Im in the wrong work. I should start a news agency called "No shit news" and when I don't have anything to report I would print "I no shit don't have a damn thing to say" at least it would be honest news unlike these walking frauds.

But nope these brainiacks are vomiting so much crap faster than they can validate it. Seems to be a reoccurring event huh? I can just hear two bonehead reporters talking now... "hey bob I hear there were attacks in Ramdi today, really I didn't get up until noon so Im not sure and you know we haven't had a story in awhile so let me call a guy I met last week carrying an AK47. He gave me this Iraqi cell phone and he will give us the word on the street. You know we need to send some material back to the clown network so our ass's can continue to grow while we are out here playing Nintendo." Hand me that box of Twinkies would ya? Great I'll bring my camera and get some footage of them shooting at American troops! Great idea you're a swell guy bob". Music from the "Leave it to Beaver" TV show begins to play in the background.

Its now so very obvious that the president has just landed a size twelve Monkey Stomp on the insurgents and wayward sheep's chest. With his release of the Iraq Plan the media is dumbfounded and the ones that can read are now scratching their fat asses and saying hummmm sounds like a good plan. Well no kidding Dick Tracy, wake up get on a weight loss plan and smell the freaking roses. If you haven't read the plan do so by clicking here.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/iraq_strategy_nov2005.html I'm going to print off hard copies and mail them to all of the news agencies in huge romper room style print just so they cant say they don't know what we are talking about. They can have nap time after they read it.

Apparently, now every time you see a news story, your going to have to ask yourself. "I wonder what really happened" because as you already know, they have lost their most valuable characteristic, credibility and this proves your continuously getting news from the enemy!

We got small arms fire just off the base, gotta go help Marines that are making real news....if you see any reporters tell them to drop the Twinkies, follow the cigar smoke and head this way!

Semper-

Capt B out....