Bomb Iran? Maybe Not Such A Bad Idea

John McCain caught some flack when he quoted the old “Bomb Iran” parody of the Beach Boys Barbara Ann. But there are some out there that think it might not be such a bad idea. One of those is John Podhoretz, who believes that our very survival may depend upon it.

What follows from this way of looking at the last five years is that the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be understood if they are regarded as self-contained wars in their own right. Instead we have to see them as fronts or theaters that have been opened up in the early stages of a protracted global struggle. The same thing is true of Iran. As the currently main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11, and as (according to the State Department's latest annual report on the subject) the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism's weapon of choice, Iran too is a front in World War IV. Moreover, its effort to build a nuclear arsenal makes it the potentially most dangerous one of all.

The Iranians, of course, never cease denying that they intend to build a nuclear arsenal, and yet in the same breath they openly tell us what they intend to do with it. Their first priority, as repeatedly and unequivocally announced by their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to "wipe Israel off the map"--a feat that could not be accomplished by conventional weapons alone.

It's the old bait and switch routine. As Podhoretz also mentions, Ahmadinejad is pulling a fast one, no different than Adolf Hitler did prior and during World War II. His entire plan was laid out in his book, Mein Kampf. All his territorial ambitions, hos politics, his 'final solution' were all there for everybody to read. But no one paid it any attention. The result was millions dead and a continent laid to waste. We should not ignore what Ahmadinejad has been saying about destroying Israel and a 'world without America' because he means everything he says. He wants to pull it off even if it means the destruction of Iran because it is not Iran he treasures, but a fascist cult of militant Islam.

But listen to what Bernard Lewis, the greatest authority of our time on the Islamic world, has to say in this context on the subject of deterrence:

MAD, mutual assured destruction, [was effective] right through the cold war. Both sides had nuclear weapons. Neither side used them, because both sides knew the other would retaliate in kind. This will not work with a religious fanatic [like Ahmadinejad]. For him, mutual assured destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement. We know already that [Iran's leaders] do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers. We have seen it again and again. In the final scenario, and this applies all the more strongly if they kill large numbers of their own people, they are doing them a favor. They are giving them a quick free pass to heaven and all its delights.

Nor are they inhibited by a love of country:

We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.

These were the words of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who ruled Iran from 1979 to 1989, and there is no reason to suppose that his disciple Ahmadinejad feels any differently.

How do you reason with people with such a death wish? You don't. Instead, you grant them their wish, but on your terms, not theirs.

Some may say that it would be barbaric to do such a thing. So be it. Better Ahmadinejad, the mullahs, and their followers all dead rather than the rest of the Middle East.

To paraphrase one of my favorite philosophers, “They're dead and we're alive, just the way we wanted it.”


Memorial Day 2007

There were many things I could have written about Memorial Day. However I'm they would sound trite or smack of 'me-tooism'. I pondered for some time what to say and realized that I didn't have it in me this year. So what I've done is cheat. I'm going to let someone else say what I wish I could say. I'm going to let Fred Thompson say it instead.


I remember when I was a kid; one thing was clear to me. The more I learned about the rest of the world, the luckier I felt just having been born in America. The more I learned about America, the more I appreciated what those who came before us built; and how exceptional they were.

Not that there aren't other great places to live, but America is unique. It's not just that we are the freest and most prosperous country the world has ever seen. America has also freed more people than any other nation in history.

A lot of people have done their part to see that we are blessed with the advantages we enjoy -- from hardworking pioneer mothers to the Framers of the Constitution. Memorial Day is coming up, though, and I'm thinking more about American soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice -- those who died to protect our way of life and make the world safe for democracy.

There are some people, though, who don't think that's such a good idea. Some people even want to use Memorial Day to protest our military's presence in Iraq. The irony is that their right to protest was paid for by people willing to risk everything to keep the forces of tyranny at bay -- here as well as Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Korea, Burma, Vietnam, the Philippines and dozens of other countries.

Over the years, a lot of people have tried to talk us out of feeling about America the way we do. Instead of pride in what America has done, they want us to feel guilty -- generally because we have so much more than rest of the world. Of course, it wouldn't help the rest of the world one whit if we had less -- either of freedom or of prosperity. On the contrary, it’s our liberties that have made us prosperous and there's no reason the rest of the world couldn't be just as well-off -- if they embraced freedom as well.

Almost always, when I talk to people who see America as the problem, their arguments are based on ignorance or an outright tangling of history. What they thought they knew about America and the world came second- and third-hand through people with axes to grind.

That's why I was troubled recently when I came across a report by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The report's conclusion was that American colleges and universities are failing to increase their students' knowledge of America's history and institutions.

Students polled in a wide range of colleges and universities showed no real improvement in their historical knowledge. Some actually forgot part of what they'd learned in high school by the time they graduated -- and I'm talking about some of our best-known Ivy League schools.

Less than half of college seniors knew that, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal" is from the Declaration of Independence. Less than half knew basic facts about the First Amendment. Half didn't know that the Federalist Papers were written in support of the Constitution's ratification. Only a quarter of seniors knew the purpose of the Monroe Doctrine.

This is our quandary. Memorial Day is about remembering. It’s about remembering those who died for our country; but it's also about remembering why they believed it was worth dying for. Too many Americans, though, have never been taught our own history and heritage. How can you remember something that you’ve never learned?


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a little later than I had planned, but The Boat finally made it into the water today. Better late than never.

Everything went without a hitch and the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout is now safely ensconced in its summer berth.

Let the boating begin!


It didn't take long on this Memorial Day weekend to run across one of the first “summah people” of the season.

Deb and BeezleBub and I were out running some errands this morning when it happened. It was after coming off of a traffic light that traffic started to merge together because two lanes turned into one a couple of hundred yards past the light. Someone in one of those new crossover vehicles came blasting up the right lane, past the merge, and forced the person in front of us to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. The driver of the crossover then signaled their disdain of the person he/she cut off by flipping the bird to the driver of the said car . Typical “summah people” behavior. (It wasn't a local because their crossover had Massachusetts tags.)

I don't know what this jerk was trying to prove. Their stunt didn't buy them any advantage as far as traffic was concerned because they were now behind a line of vehicles that was moving at the speed limit and there was no way they were going to be able to pass them.

A word of advice to this miscreant:

”That type of crap may be the norm on the Southeast Expressway in Boston, but it doesn't play here, jackass.”


It appears that Iranian President Ahmadinejad fancies himself an economist. Witness his boneheaded move to order a cut in bank interest rates, which triggered a sell-off in bank shares in Iran. All this will do is damage Iran's economy more than he and the mullahs already have.

Some have seen this interest rate cut as Ahmadinejad's payoff for groups that have supported him.

In any case, it is the Iranian people that will suffer the most.

(H/T Instapundit)


As house prices drop, the question that begs to be asked is “How will this affect the economy?” It's a question a lot of people in New England have been asking.


Joe Malchow points us to a pair of brothers who make it a point of exercising their Second Amendment rights.


Though I am a bit late to this particular party, I have to agree with Lorie Byrd and The Anchoress:

Let's impeach President Bush!

Let's get all of the “evidence” out there so we can settle this once and for all.


While there's been quite a hubbub about ethanol as a motor fuel, including it's use at the Indy 500, there are some ugly truths about it that we should all be aware of. John Stossel highlights some of the myths and problems that corn-based ethanol present.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the unofficial start of summer has arrived along with the summerfolk, “summah people” have made their presence known, and where tomorrow we will honor those that have died to protect our hard won freedoms.


What Leads To The Fall Of Civilizations

I've been reading Bill Whittle's latest essay, You Are Not Alone.

If you've never read any of his essays, I strongly suggest that you do. He is, to me, one of the best essayists on the web today.

It was while reading his latest that I came across this passage that got the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up on end.

Throughout history, civilizations rise and fall. They fall for the same reason, by my reading of history: the lack of will to defend her, a cancer which starts not from the bottom but invariably from the top. A fish rots from the head, say the Russians, who ought to know. From Nero to Chamberlain, the elites evolve away from an understanding that retaliation against the lawless and the barbaric is not a vice but a virtue. They take the manifest blessings of civilization as a given and foist their own personal guilt and moral cowardice upon the entire city. They open the gates to the savage peoples who have always stood outside of progress and gentleness and culture.

It has always been this way. If you feel you see it happening now, before your very eyes, well… you are not alone. A society unwilling to enforce the laws that civilize it, that is unable or unwilling to see the advantages of civilization, a society led by the pampered, the narcissistic and the corrupt, is not long for this Earth. Our enemies look at us and see precisely these symptoms, and the symptoms are worsening. Our unwillingness to retaliate when retaliation is called for – indeed, the uneasiness with the very idea of retaliation against betrayal – has them licking their lips in anticipation. They see all this decay and they are right to see it, for it is there.

(Emphasis mine)

It is apparent to me that too many of the Democrat Left are the aforementioned elites, taking Western Civilization for granted and not willing to do what's necessary to defend it. Somehow we are always at fault for the attacks against us. Somehow in their eyes our civilization is inferior to others that condone infanticide, beheadings, genital mutilation, slavery, chattelization of women, crushing of dissent, torture, radicalized and violent religions, and a host of other horrors. Yet they see these cultures as somehow more worthy than our own.

They will push multiculturalism to the point that our own culture is drowned out. We have seen the results of this kind of policy in Europe, where the immigrant minority holds the native majority hostage to their own cultural beliefs (France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Norway, and Germany). Some how it is wrong to support our own culture because “it might offend” a non-assimilated immigrant, one with no plans to assimilate.

This nonsense has got to stop.

Real ID Doesn't Fly In New Hampshire

After 9/11, the Real ID bill was passed by Congress, a measure that would 'standardize' drivers licenses across the nation and make it easier to track possible terrorists. But many of the states have decided that it smacks too much of a national ID card, something many see as the first step into restricting our rights and requiring 'papers' in order to travel from state to state. It also lays the burden of managing the requirements of the Real ID bill on the states, basically an unfunded mandate.

New Hampshire has been against Real ID for some time. Legislation that would have banned New Hampshire's participation in Real ID failed during the last legislative session. But the anti-Real ID legislation was resurrected this year (HB 685) and appears to be headed for passage. The bill passed the House, 268-8, and was sent to the Senate.

One thing that may assure the bills passage was an amendment passed 24-0 by the New Hampshire Senate that creates a line-of-duty death benefit for police officers and firefighters. In light of the death of two New Hampshire police officers over the past 8 months, the amendment has a lot of support. These two halves of the Real ID bill should have enough support for the New Hampshire House to pass the amended bill. Both of these issues are a sore spot with legislators and citizens on New Hampshire.

The national Real ID bill, passed in the wake of 9/11 terror attacks, directs states to adopt uniform procedures and document requirements for driver's licenses. The state bill, HB 685, would limit the data the state's Department of Safety could share with other states and the federal government on motor vehicle registrations and driver's licenses.

Sen. Peter Burling, D-Cornish, said no one testified against the Real ID measure at a public hearing, and those who favor keeping the state out of the program addressed a wide variety of reasons, from technology to privacy policies.

"It is clear that the Real ID idea the federal government has put forward was not completely thought out," he said.

Even our governor supports the bill, realizing that Real ID is a burden upon the taxpayers and state employees, and may well endanger the privacy of our citizens.

Real ID should die a much deserved death.


The Media Is Taking Notice Of Fred Thompson

At first I thought it was just my imagination running away, me seeing what I wanted to see. But now I see that I was wrong. Others are seeing it too:

People are paying attention to Fred Thompson, particularly the media.

First, there was this AP blurb in the statewide paper.

There was a time when Fred Thompson suggested that he couldn't see himself running for office again.

"For me, the George Washington example of serving eight years and riding out of town on a horse and never returning has great appeal," the Tennessee Republican said in 2002, the twilight of his Senate career.

Now, five years later, he is a well-known TV actor who finds himself on the verge of a real-life presidential bid, seemingly recruited by activists hungry for someone to fill what they call a conservative void among the top-tier GOP hopefuls.

Numerous signs point to a Thompson candidacy, and a summertime announcement is widely expected, although people close to him caution that he has not made a final decision about running.

Never mind that he basically already is.

And then there's this from Time.

As former Republican Senator Fred Thompson ponders a late entry into the 2008 presidential race, the actor's biggest advantage just might be that people feel they already know exactly what he would be like as Commander in Chief.

Even before his Law & Order depiction of district attorney Arthur Branch, Thompson nearly always played variations on the same character — a straight-talking, tough-minded, wise Southerner — basically a version of what his supporters say is his true political self. And he is often cast as a person in power — a military official, the White House chief of staff, the head of the CIA, a Senator or even the President of the U.S.

On the strength of that visibility and image, Thompson, 64, has vaulted in public-opinion polls to within striking distance of the leading Republican candidates. In the latest Time poll, he's at 10%, matching Mitt Romney. But Thompson is under no illusion that winning the White House would be easy, despite (or perhaps because of) his frequent acknowledgment that "certain doors have opened to me from time to time in my life."

But he won't win the White House unless he runs. And many are expecting him to do just that. It's merely a question of time as to when he will announce.

It is this that has people, and the media, talking. You can't buy publicity like this, but Thompson is getting it free of charge.

Not a bad way to run a campaign...even if he isn't 'campaigning'.


Let The Troops Do The Convincing

Have any you ever wondered if reporters embedded with our troops in Iraq were affected by what they experienced while sharing what the troops experienced day to day? Does what they experience change their opinions about American troops or their mission? Do they come away wondering how it is they could have been so blind as to what was really happening in Iraq? Jeff Emanuel answers the questions in his OpinionJournal piece.

While I was at the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad on my recent trip to Iraq, a pair of Spanish journalists--a newspaper reporter and a photojournalist--walked in, fresh from their embed with the 1-4 Cavalry of the First Infantry Division (the unit with which I embedded only days later). They had spent two weeks amongst the troops there, living and going on missions with them, including house-to-house searches and seizures, and their impressions of these soldiers were extremely clear.

"Absolutely amazing," said David Beriain, the reporter (and the one who spoke English), said of the young Cavalry troops. "In Spain, it is embarrassing--our soldiers are ashamed to be in the army. These young men--and they seem so young!--are so proud of what they do, and do it so well, even though it is dangerous and they could very easily be killed." Mr. Beriain explained that the company he had been embedded with had lost three men in the span of six days while he was there--one to a sniper and two to improvised explosive devices, both of which had blown armored Humvees into the air and flipped them onto their roofs. Despite this, he said, and despite some of the things they might have said in the heat of the moment after seeing another comrade die, the soldiers' resolve and morale was unshaken in the long term, and they remained committed to carrying out their mission to the best of their ability for the duration of their tours in Iraq.

It was in the process of performing that mission, of coping with the loss of loved ones, and of just being themselves as American soldiers that these young men were able to win over the admiration and affection of more than one journalist who had arrived in their midst harboring a less-than-positive opinion of the Iraq war, and of those who were tasked with prosecuting it.

"I love those guys," Mr. Beriain said, looking wistfully out the window of the media cloister in the Green Zone that is the Combined Press Information Center. "From the first time you go kick a door with them, they accept you--you're one of them. I've even got a 'family photo' with them" to remember them by. "I really hated to leave."

Such a radical transformation--and such a strong bond of affection--can rarely be forged in so little time outside of the constant, universal peril of a wartime environment. "It is those common experiences," Mr. Beriain explained, "where you are all in danger, and you go through it together. It builds a relationship instantly."

It doesn't matter how skeptical of the war a journalist might be, according to an Army public affairs officer who spoke with me about it on condition of anonymity. "So often, they come out of that experience and--even if their opinion of the war hasn't changed--they're completely won over by the troops."

"I was one of those," admitted Mr. Beriain, speaking broken English and blinking away tears. "No matter what you think of the war, or what has happened here, you cannot be around the soldiers and not be completely affected. They are amazing people, and they represent themselves and the Army better than anyone could ever imagine." A retired Army officer concurred, telling me that "young troops are some of the best goodwill ambassadors we've ever produced. It would never occur to one to not tell you what he's really thinking, and they are so earnest" that it is almost impossible not to be won over by them if given enough time.

It makes me wonder if spending time with our troops, much as the reporters did, would do some of the members of Congress some good. If nothing else, it might change their minds about the mission in Iraq because they would be face to face with the very people they say they support. I think that many a Democratic vote in the House and Senate would change were they to spend enough time with our men and women on the front lines.

Some of the military veterans in Congress seem to have forgotten what it was like, have forgotten what is truly at stake. I think Representative John Murtha could do with a little refresher course as it seems he's forgotten what it feels like to have your government turn its back on you while you are still fighting an intractable enemy.

On more than one occasion I've heard some of the Vietnam vets say that it would have been nice if Congress had let them win the war. A number of Gulf War and Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans are wondering if they will end up saying the same things as their predecessors. I'd hate to think that we could lose this war against the Islamofascists not because they defeated us, but because Congress wouldn't let us finish the job.

George Santayana once said that those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. It looks like too many in Congress have forgotten the lessons of the history of the 1960's and early 1970's.

Heaven helps us all if that is true.

Hurricane Predictions For 2007

Forecasters have again predicted a busy hurricane season, figuring on 13 to 17 tropical storms and 7 to 10 of them becoming hurricanes. Of those, 3-5 are expected to major storms.

Yeah. Right.

All I can remember is how far off the mark the forecasters were last year.


Covert CIA Ops In Iran?

It's interesting that ABC News announced that the President has ordered the CIA to take covert action to destabilize the Iranian regime. How interesting. How spy-like. How...how...false?

Is this a ploy by the White House to make Mahmoud Ahmahdinejad and the ruling mullahs think we're taking covert action? Such an announcement would certainly play to their paranoia and force them to use up ever decreasing resources to deal with the CIA actions, even if none are taking place.

Of course neither the White House or the CIA will either confirm or deny any such order has been given.

“Us, performing covert operations in Iran? Uh-uh. We wouldn't do that! (wink wink, nudge nudge).”

This is a stroke of genius.

If the 'leak' to ABC was intentional, then the CIA may be just going through the motions of performing covert operations in and around Iran, giving the Iranian government fits. It would be a great feat of misinformation.

If the leak was genuine, then it's quite possible that the Iranians might take it with a grain of salt, believing it is a disinformation campaign designed to cause their government to waste time, money, and manpower to counter a threat that never materializes.

In either case, the Iranians won't know one way or the other whether it's true or not. Knowing their paranoia when it comes to the US (and Israel), they will believe it's true and act accordingly. They will see every little bump in the road, every protest, every economic setback, every bit of unrest as evidence of CIA activity, even if there is none.

It will be interesting to watch what happens in Iran over the next year.


Verizon/FairPoint Deal Not Wowing Consumers

While Verizon is still pushing its FiOS (Fiber To The Home) services to its customers, it is seeking to shed itself of some customers it thinks won't be profitable enough. Many of those customers are in northern New England.

Verizon wants to sell its landlines and customers to FairPoint Communications, a telecommunications company that specializes in providing rural broadband services. At first, it seemed that such a sale might be a good thing for Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont because Verizon wasn't interested in expanding its fiber optic network very deeply into these rural states or providing alternative broadband services like DSL. The sale is contingent upon the blessings of the Public Utilities Commissions and legislatures in each state as well as federal regulators.

At first it seemed that it might be a slam dunk, but recent events may prove to be the undoing of the deal.

A series of public hearings have been scheduled, with many of the public showing their skepticism about the deal. Many have questioned FairPoint's financials, wondering whether the company will have the capital necessary to carry through its plans to bring high speed DSL to all of its customers.

The deal has drawn reactions ranging from wariness to outright opposition from legislators and even from some of the people FairPoint is promising to help.

"Nope," Suzanne Isabelle said to the FairPoint deal in an accent that revealed her French-Canadian roots. In an interview at the Norton, Vt., customs brokerage where she works, she added, "It doesn’t sound as if FairPoint has the backing or the money to change things to improve what we’ve got. We’ll either stay at what it is now or go downhill."

FairPoint has already stated that if one of the three states votes against the sale, the deal is dead in all three. Some skeptics have stated they don't believe that FairPoint will be able to upgrade northern New England's telecommunications systems to a level necessary to provide the services that its customers want, fearing that FairPoint's reliance on DSL alone will mean that the three states will fall farther and farther behind the rest of the nation when it comes to available bandwidth.

"DSL is going to be obsolete technology in five to 10 years," [Vermont State Senator Vincent Illuzzi] said. "We want state-of-the-art technology brought in here."

As do the rest of us. While the cable companies are doing their best to upgrade their systems to accommodate the demand for more bandwidth and for “triple play” services – phone, Internet, and video – cable service is not nearly as universal as telephone service. In many rural towns a number of residents are unable to get cable service because the cable operator won't build out their systems to cover one or two customers living some distance from their coax lines, nor are they required to. Plain old telephone service, however, is required to be provided to everyone wanting it. That's where companies like FairPoint can make a difference, but only if they have the financial ability to do so.

While I was a supporter of the idea initially, I have to say that I now have doubts about this deal and what it means for telephone and broadband service in all three states. This is something everyone in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont will have to think about long and hard before giving the go ahead for such this deal. A wrong decision could end up costing everyone here a great deal of time, money, and aggravation.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been wet here in New Hampshire for most of the week, though at least there hasn't been any flooding.

The rain has kept us from doing any more meaningful yard work or performing any of the last prep work needed before we launch The Boat. I guess it will have to wait until next weekend.


Here's more on Fred Thompson's video slam against Michael Moore. Some are calling it Fred's watershed moment.


Senator Chris Dodd (D -CT) is the latest Democratic presidential hopeful to try the “cut and run” policy in a TV campaign ad. He's sounding little different from Governor Bill Richardson, both of whom believe we should abandon the Iraqi people to the predations of Al Qaeda and Iran. Of course they don't call it that, but that's what the end result will be. But they don't seem to care about that.

How disgusting.


This weekend's Meet The New Press focused entirely on Armed Forces Day, those truly supporting our troops, and those who only give lip service but are working within the halls of Congress to cut the funds needed to finish the job in Iraq. Unfortunately both New Hampshire representatives to the US House have already shown their contempt for our troops and their families.

(Hour 1 here. Hour 2 here)


This is a somewhat abbreviated version of the usual Sunday post. So sue me. I had other things to attend to.


And that's the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where gasoline is at $3 per gallon for regular, the boating season will start in earnest next weekend, and where we still don't have our boat in the water.


Fred Gets It

If there's anyone that understands how to make use of the Internet, and more specifically the blogosphere, it appears to be Fred Thompson. Between his use of web video to respond to Michael Moore, regular columns and posts in various web venues, he's doing a good job laying the groundwork for a possible presidential run. A number of people are noticing, including Peggy Noonan.

Having watched the second Republican debate the other night, it's clear to me the subject today is Fred Thompson, the man who wasn't there. While the other candidates bang away earnestly in a frozen format, Thompson continues to sneak up from the creek and steal their underwear--boxers, briefs and temple garments.

He is running a great campaign. It's just not a declared campaign. It's a guerrilla campaign whose informality is meant to obscure his intent. It has been going on for months and is aimed at the major pleasure zones of the Republican brain. In a series of pointed columns, commentaries and podcasts, Mr. Thompson has been talking about things conservatives actually talk about. Shouldn't homeowners have the right to own a gun? Isn't it bad that colleges don't teach military history? How about that Sarkozy--good news, isn't it? Did you see Tenet on Russert? His book sounds shallow, tell-all-y.

These comments and opinions are being read and forwarded in Internet Nation. They are revealing and interesting, but they're not heavy, not homework. They have an air of "This is the sound of a candidate thinking." That's an unusual sound.

Not that Peggy didn't also point out some problems that Fred may have, but she realizes that he is making the right moves in his low level “non-campaign.”

One of his direct posts in Pajamas Media talks about how the web can make or break a candidate and can bring some reality to potential candidates.

It seems that I ought to respond, at least briefly, to all those who have expressed confidence in me — both here and in other forums. I do not take that confidence lightly.

The Pajamas Media poll is certainly good news, especially when, for a lot of politicians, encouragement to run from three relatives and an unemployed campaign consultant is considered an unstoppable groundswell. When people are saying nice things about me, I try to remember the proverb that compares flattery to a net at your feet. To be sure, the Pajamas poll results are very flattering, so let me return the favor and throw a net at your feet.

Whether or not the Internet can elect any particular candidate in any particular race, it’s clear that all of you and our many friends across the blogosphere and the Web are part of a true information revolution. That’s why so much of my effort has been focused on talking to Americans through this medium. By empowering individuals and building communities, the Internet provides a way of going around the inside-the-beltway crowd to reach people in numbers unheard of not that long ago.

Will this be a new path to the White House? Maybe, at least if there are no major stumbles along the way. This could be far more important than the members of the Old Media may realize. Or it could be far less, particularly if the 'new' media blows it and becomes an echo of the Old Media.

Thompson shows that he understands the problems of the existing partisan divide in the US and cites a couple of examples from our past that illustrate how others have put partisanship aside for the greater good. It's a shame that our present Congress can't seem to show the same kind of magnanimity as their predecessors.

It's going to be interesting over the next few months to see how presidential that Fred Thompson can present himself. It's quite possible that he'll be able to shoot right past Rudy McRomney once he announces.


Is Microsoft Trying To Squash Linux?

It was only a matter of time.

It seems that Microsoft has decided that Linux violates 235 Microsoft patents. Of course, Microsoft has declined to list which of its patents has been violated, making it impossible to determine if their claim is valid. On the other hand, Microsoft is not known for its close adherence to patent law or, in fact, federal laws regarding restraint of trade or anti-trust statutes.

Linus Torvalds, lead developer of the Linux kernel, has a sharp retort to Microsoft executives' statements in a Fortune magazine article that Linux and other open-source code violate 235 Microsoft patents.

"It's certainly a lot more likely that Microsoft violates patents than Linux does," said Torvalds, holder of the Linux trademark. If the source code for Windows could be subjected to the same critical review that Linux has been, Microsoft would find itself in violation of patents held by other companies, said Torvalds.

Torvalds claim is based upon the idea that operating system theory was pretty much complete by the late 1960's, much of it by IBM. If anyone were to look close at Microsoft's code they might find a lot of violations of IBM patents, making their own position far less tenable than that of Linux.

Torvalds thinks that Microsoft's gambit is a bluff, trying to throw a monkey wrench into the ever increasing popularity of Linux.

"Naming [the patents] would make it either clear that Linux isn't infringing at all (which is quite possible, especially if the patents are bad), or would make it possible to avoid infringing by coding around whatever silly thing they claim," he said.

"So the whole, 'We have a list and we're not telling you,' itself should tell you something," Torvalds said of Microsoft's stance in the Fortune story. And for good measure, he added: "Don't you think that if Microsoft actually had some really foolproof patent, they'd just tell us and go, 'nyaah, nyaah, nyaah!'"

So more than anything else it's Microsoft trying to make a dent in Linux's market share. They don't need to sue. All they need to do is make the accusation.

Is Microsoft so afraid of Linux? It appears they are.


A Change In The Wind For Health Care Costs?

It seems like it is time to once again to take on the topic of health care in the US.

This is not a new topic for me, but every so often something goads me into sitting down in front of the computer and yet again point out the folly of someone's 'idea' of how to fix it. More often than not the so-called answer is some form of socialized medicine, something that has failed miserably every place it's been tried. Yet somehow folks here will see it as a panacea that will fix all of our problems....except that it will only end up make things worse. (Remember the definition of insanity that I quote here from time to time? ”Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting the results to be different this time.” I think it applies in this case.)

Does anyone remember HillaryCare? Then First Lady Hillary Clinton pushed a form of health care reform that was nothing more than a conglomeration of the health care systems of France, the UK, and Canada. When the Clinton's were on a state visit to France, Hillary mentioned to the First Lady of France that the US was going to implement a health care system much like France's. Her (paraphrased) reply - “Why would you want to do something like that? Your system is far superior to ours. Ours is crumbling under the strain and health care is becoming universal. Universally poor.”

Yet there are folks out there pushing for something much like that, as if it will somehow magically cure all of the problems in our health care system.

But we have no reason to abandon all hope. Believe it or not, there is a change occurring that bodes well for our system. Simply put, the competitive market is forcing much needed and long overdue changes to be made.

It's Friday evening and you suspect that your child might have strep throat or a worsening ear infection. Do you bundle him up and wait half the night in an emergency room? Or do you suffer through the weekend and hope that you can get an appointment with your pediatrician on Monday -- taking time off your job to drive across town for another wait in the doctor's office?

Every parent has faced this dilemma. But now there are new options, courtesy of the competitive marketplace. You might instead be able to take a quick trip on Friday night to a RediClinic in the nearby Wal-Mart or a MinuteClinic at CVS, where you will be seen by a nurse practitioner within 15 minutes, most likely getting a prescription that you can have filled right there. Cost of the visit? Generally between $40 and $60.

These new retail health clinics are opening in big box stores and local pharmacies around the country to treat common maladies at prices lower than a typical doctor's visit and much lower than the emergency room. No appointment necessary. Open daytime, evenings and weekends. Most take insurance.

Here it is, small clinics providing basic health care for a reasonable cost and kickin' ass when it comes to replacing some of the more traditional means of patient care. Here are a number of private for-profit companies doing what it appears regular medical practices and hospitals can't do without a mountain of paperwork and high costs.

There are other avenues for lower medical costs, one of the more well known being both WalMart and Target offering generic prescription drugs at a $4 flat fee.

But it's only a beginning. There are other factors to look at for the ever climbing costs of medical care. As I've written a number of time before, the two biggest factors in the rising health care costs are health insurance and malpractice lawsuits.

It used to be that the old fashioned General Practitioner had a nurse (or two) who also doubled as receptionist and file clerk. That was all that was needed. But when medical insurance became the norm, the number of people needed to process the paperwork and update patient records grew to the point where you now have more paper pushers than actual health care personnel in the system. Where do you think the money to pay these people comes from?

The fear of malpractice lawsuits, and the malpractice insurance costs, have driven some physicians to close their practices or change their specialties. If you've ever wondered why some doctors will order a series of tests that may have little to do with a condition a patient may have, think of those tests as evidence the doctor is gathering in order to defend his or her diagnosis should they be sued by a patient. Is it any wonder why health care costs have kept rising faster than the rate of inflation.

There are other factors involved as well, such as patients demanding the latest greatest wizbang gee-whiz treatments or technology even if they are inappropriate for the condition they may have. And it goes even beyond that, with so many other causes that I could spend hours listing them all. But very few of them relate to the actual cost of providing treatment.

This is a subject that I'll be revisiting again as the 'crisis' unfolds.


Evil Portents?

I find it interesting that DaimlerChrysler is selling off its Chrysler division for $30 billion less that it paid for it some years ago.

It's even more interesting to find that the investment group buying out Daimler's interest in Chrysler goes by the name Cerberus. Could there have been some kind of demonic influence in this decision?

Can a Dodge Devil or Chrysler Hellfire be far behind?


Thoughts On A Sunday

Early Friday night Franconia, NH police officer Corporal Robert McKay was gunned down during a routine traffic stop on NH Rte 116. McKay's killer had shot him 4 times and then run over his body with his car. Liko Kenney, the shooter, was in turn shot dead by former Marine Gregory Floyd, who witnessed the killing and used Corporal McKay's .45 caliber service weapon to kill Kenney as he was reloading his gun.

Floyd had pulled his truck between Corporal McKay and Kenney, shielding the downed officer. He then picked up the officer's gun and shot Kenney dead.

At 6:30 p.m., McKay pulled over the 1984 Toyota Celica Kenney was driving on Route 116 in Franconia for speeding and a problem with the car's registration. Caleb Macaulay, 21, Kenney's best friend and co-worker at Merrill's Agway in Littleton, was in the passenger seat.

Kenney asked for another officer to handle the traffic stop when he saw it was McKay who pulled him over, according to Conte and friends of Kenney.

McKay and Kenney had a long-standing dislike of each other, according to Kenney's friends and family. Kenney was convicted in 2003 of assaulting a police officer -- McKay -- and resisting arrest, [NH Attorney General Kelly] Ayotte said.

This time Kenney did more than assault McKay. He killed him. He then paid the price for his act of murder, felled by the gun of the very officer he'd just murdered.

Some might say it was poetic justice.


BeezleBub, Deb and I headed down to the WP In-Laws yesterday. BeezleBub and I spent time helping the WP Dad-In-Law split and stack firewood. He already had a good start on his firewood, with 3 cords already cut, split and stacked. Only 10 more to go!

Deb and her mom spent a couple of hours shopping in nearby Keene.

Then our friend and Official Weekend Pundit Real Estate Agent Wes showed up for a visit. He arrived in style in his new BMW Z3 sports car. Deb and I had the opportunity to take it out for a spin. What an incredible rush! As Deb told me, “I've never seen this side of you before! What brought this on? You usually drive like an old man!” She'd forgotten that I'd raced sports cars for a number of years with the SCCA. As I told her, “I wouldn't dare drive the Intrepid like this. It wallows like a garbage scow. But this car is awesome! Daddy likes!

I can see some kind of sports car in my future.


Today was a day for yard work around The Manse for all three of us.

I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say that we made a pretty good dent in the work that needed to get done. I figure we'll finish off the remainder during the week.


Pam warns us about 'Moonbats masquerading as Republicans'. Though a commenter to one of Pam's earlier posts claimed to be a disgruntled Republican, the language and terminology used is of the type that we've only seen coming from Democrats suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Read it and decide for yourself.


I don't know about you, but maybe I'm starting to suffer from premature-election hype. I have my favorite possible presidential candidate, but at least he hasn't announced yet and may not until September. In the mean time I am quickly getting tired of the seemingly endless TV ads that have been running here in New Hampshire for the past few months, Republican and Democrat both. It's getting so bad that every time I hear a Mitt Romney or Bill Richardson ad I'm tempted to stick my fingers in my ear and say “La-la-la-la-la I'm not listening!” over and over again. ( I pick on these two because they seem to be the most prevalent ads so far. I'm sure the others won't be all that far behind.)


One of the biggest problems we're facing in New Hampshire is the push by the state's Democrats to turn New Hampshire into an ersatz version of Massachusetts, with all of the problems that go with it. And it seems they don't care about the consequences of such actions as long as they get their way.

Whether it's school funding, transfats in food, helium balloons being released into the air, or banning smoking in restaurants, bars, and so on, they've got a hard on for making sure that we will no longer be allowed to make these decisions for ourselves. To quote Fergus Cullen, “That's not the new Hampshire way.”

What's worse is that the state's Republicans seem powerless to stop the expanded spending – the state budget saw a 16% increase – and the ever more intrusive legislation that seeks to take away the rights of New Hampshire citizens to decide for themselves what they will or will not do when it comes to their private lives.

The Democrats appear to be working very hard to remove the so-called New Hampshire Advantage when to comes to the state's economy by making it more expensive to do business here by unrestrained state spending and a push to institute some form of broadbased tax to fund this ever increasing spending. As history shows, this kind of tax and spend methodology has never benefited the citizens and has almost always hurt the economy.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summerfolk have been seen opening the summer camps, the kids are counting down the days until summer vacation, and where the taxpayers are holding onto their wallets while the legislature is in session.


Iran's Economy In Shambles And Getting Worse

Color me unsurprised.

For the past five weeks, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Islamic Moral Brigades have been clashing with groups of young Iranians on the streets of Tehran and other major cities over the government's crackdown on "immodest dress." The crackdown is seen by many Iranians as another step toward an even more suffocating social atmosphere in the crisis-stricken country. Both Mr. Ahmadinejad and his mentor, the "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claim that the way young Iranians dress is the most immediate threat to their Islamist dystopia.

While this may seem like the mullahs trying to crack down on exuberant Iranian youth, what it is is a symptom of a greater problem in Iran: its economy.

Even as oil prices spiked, Iran did not gain as much advantage form those prices as did other oil exporting countries. Iran's oil infrastructure is falling apart and neither Ahmadinejad nor the mullahs seem willing to invest the capital needed to fix things up. Unemployment is high, around 30%, and inflation is almost 20%. To make matters worse, Ahmadinejad appears to be doing everything he can to make sure Iran's economy stays in decline.

The president's favorite catchword is "khodkafa'I" or "self sufficiency." To the horror of most Iranians, especially the millions connected with the bazaars, who regard trade as the noblest of pursuits, Mr. Ahmadinejad insists that the only way Iran can preserve its "Islamic purity" is to reduce dependence on foreign commerce.

Khodkafa'i has had catastrophic results on many sectors of the Iranian industry. Unable to reduce, let alone stop, imports of mass consumer goods (including almost half of the nation's food) controlled by powerful mullahs and Revolutionary Guard commanders, President Ahmadinejad has tightened import rules for a range of raw materials and spare parts needed by factories across the nation. The policy has already all but killed the once-buoyant textile industry, destroying tens of thousands of jobs. It has also affected hundreds of small and medium-size businesses that, in some cases, have been unable to pay their employees for months.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has also used khodkafa'i as an excuse to freeze a number of business deals aimed at preventing the collapse of Iran's aging and semi-derelict oil and gas fields. He has also vetoed foreign participation in building oil refineries, forcing the Islamic Republic to import more than 40% of the refined petroleum products consumed in Iran.

It appears that Ahmadinejad fancies himself an economist. Unfortunately the economic model he's using will only lead to misery, except of course for the ruling class in Iran. Iran is quickly becoming a second rate economic power within the Third World, and that's saying something. Eventually something will have to give and unfortunately when it does a lot of innocent Iranian blood will be spilled.

There are ever more signs appearing that the Iranian people have had just about enough of the theocratic shenanigans of the mullahs. It has stopped short of open rebellion, but it may eventually come to that. All it will take is some spark that will push the Iranian population over the edge and the protests and strikes will quickly become armed rebellion. That day is one that Ahmadinjad and the mullahs fear more than anything else and they will do everything in their power to prevent it. Unfortunately for them the very things they are doing may very well provide that spark that will bring about the very thing they seek to quell.


A Breakthrough In Photovoltaic Efficiencies?

A new design for photovoltaic cells may be the answer so many have been looking for in the quest for ever higher conversion efficiencies.

Georgia Tech has developed a PV cell with a three dimensional structure that captures nearly all the light illuminating its surface.

Unique three-dimensional solar cells that capture nearly all of the light that strikes them could boost the efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) systems while reducing their size, weight, and mechanical complexity.

The new 3D solar cells capture photons from sunlight using an array of miniature “tower” structures that resemble high-rise buildings in a city street grid. The cells could find near-term applications for powering spacecraft, and by enabling efficiency improvements in photovoltaic coating materials, could also change the way solar cells are designed for a broad range of applications.

The ability of the 3D cells to absorb virtually all of the light that strikes them could also enable improvements in the efficiency with which the cells convert the photons they absorb into electrical current.

Being able to capture all of the light can be a major leap in the use of solar cells. At present, photovoltaics are sensitive to only one portion of the light spectrum, usually green, while efficiencies fall off on either side, meaning that the solar cells don't easily convert light from either the red or blue part of the visible spectrum into electricity. Much of it either passes through or is reflected by the cell. Being able to capture all of the light striking the cell means being able to convert almost all of it into electricity.

If this cell can be made in commercial quantities at a low enough price and the conversion efficiencies are as high as the developers believe they can be, then photovoltaic cells may come to the forefront of alternative energy sources.


Sub-Prime Mortgages Coming Home To Roost

It's not surprising to me that a large percentage of what are called sub-prime mortgages go into foreclosure after the introductory low payments end and the mortgagees have to start paying at higher interest rates and start paying on the principal. Here in New Hampshire hundreds of homeowners are losing their homes to foreclosure or will sometime in the near future as their payments outstrip their ability to make their mortgage payments. With the softness of the real estate market, the option to sell before the mortgage converts or before foreclosure is not there for many sub-prime homeowners.

This is an echo of what happened back during the recession and housing bust back in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Banks by the hundreds failed because of mortgages that were issued to borrowers that were not really qualified to get them. The housing boom blinded a lot of banks to the dangers they were facing by giving out mortgages like someone at a supermarket handing out free samples. The end result here in the Granite State was the failure of five major banks, none of which exist any more. And so it was across the country.

When people lost their jobs as the recession became deeper, many homeowners walked away from their homes, handing the keys to the bank and saying “Good luck!”. People that had bought during the height of the housing boom saw the value of their properties plummet to the point where they owed more for them than their market value, meaning they couldn't sell them without still owing thousands to the bank. The housing market collapsed, and particularly the condo market, which saw some values drop 60% in a little over a year. Before it was over $1.3 billion in real estate was foreclosed upon in New Hampshire.

When I say that the present foreclosure crisis is an echo of the one in the 1980's/90's, I mean that there are a number of financial institutions that are feeling the effects of the foreclosures. But this time around it is not the banks. They seemed to have learned the lesson of the last time. This time it is other financial institutions taking the heat, and rightfully so. This is only the beginning.

... experts say it's going to get worse before it gets better.

"We're in for a Nantucket sleigh ride," declared Ben Niles, past president of the Mortgage Bankers and Brokers Association of New Hampshire.

He explained the metaphor: Picture a whaling ship that has just harpooned a whale. "The harpoon would stick and the whale would take off and take them for a ride. That's a Nantucket sleigh ride."

One of the biggest clues that the sub-prime mortgage market is rapidly crumbling is the number of foreclosures on this kind of loan. As stated in the article linked above, only 10 percent of the mortgages in New Hampshire are sub-prime, but 60 percent of the foreclosures are on sub-prime mortgages. It would not be a surprise to find that those numbers are probably the same throughout most of the country.

This 'crisis' is yet another reminder of the old Latin saying: Caveat emptor.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We got a good start in cutting back the brush on the lower 40 here at The Manse. Now if we can stay ahead of it it should stay pretty spiffy looking all summer.


We've been trying out a different diner over the past couple of weekends at the urging of the WP Parents. While not as classic as the ever popular Paugus Diner, the food is good, there's plenty of it, and it's less expensive than the Paugus.

Another thing that led us to try a different diner was the departure of our favorite waitress, Colleen.

This will in no way affect the Paugus Diner Poll™, which is still planned for a restart some time in September. Because we'll be adding a small number of other diners to the poll, I think I'm going to have to rename it the Lakes Region Diner Poll™


Gas prices have been in the news lately (no surprise there). While a few stations here and there are above $3 per gallon here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, most I've seen are still in the $2.79 to $2.89 range for 87 octane.

Quite a few folks up this way are wondering if the high gas prices will affect the summer tourist season. I have no doubt that will be the case, but I don't know if it will be a positive or negative effect. The Lakes Region may lose some out of state visitors, but it's quite possible that in-state visits will go up to make up the difference.

Then again, maybe not.

In any case, people are driving less as prices go up.


John Stossel points his spotlight at school vouchers and the forces arrayed against the idea even though time and again vouchers have been shown to work when it comes to the quality of education. Who is it that is so vehemently against vouchers? Teachers unions, of course.


Saturday's Meet The New press had this from Jennifer Ruben about Fred Thompson.


I checked in on the progress the marina is making on The Boat. It requires a little bit of work that neither BeezleBub or I were capable of performing due to the lack of the proper tools.

It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.


I don't know about the state of the housing market in other parts of the country, but in New Hampshire many are seeing a 'soft' landing rather than a crash. Prices have declined 2.5 percent and sales are down 6.1 percent as compared to this time last year. It's not easy for sellers but it does give buyers more leverage than they've had for some time.


The first real signs of the summerfolk returning has appeared, with a number of summer cottages and camps being reopened by their owners. I've already seen a few of the seasonal residents with which I am acquainted, one or two of them working on getting their summer places squared away.

It won't be too soon before the cursed “summah people” make an appearance as well.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer weather is returning, yard work is all too plentiful and where the rest of us are cringing at the thought of the return of the “summah people”.


Fred Thompson Roundup

For a 'non' candidate, Fred Thompson is getting a lot of press and more “air time”, for lack of a better term.

I've made no bones about my beliefs that Thompson may be the best hope that the GOP has for retaining the White House. The more I hear, read, and see about the former US Senator only strengthens those beliefs.

Here's what's been making the rounds on the blogsphere over the past week:

First is Fred Cagle's piece about Fred Thompson, where one thing he shows us is to not underestimate the former senator.

The myth has arisen that Thompson has never had a hard political race. At the beginning of the 1994 Senate campaign he was down 20 points to Cooper, and East Tennessee conservatives were just not that impressed. Tennessee had had two Democratic senators in Al Gore and Jim Sasser; it appeared that would not change. What people remember at the end of the campaign is that Thompson led the ticket, won with 61 percent of the vote.

Then there's the poll numbers showing that Thompson is doing pretty well considering he hasn't even announced his intention to run.

After that, Fred's take on Michael Moore, Hollywood, Fidel Castro, and the myth of Cuban health care.

Then he follows up with an op ed piece about America's efforts to save Muslim women's lives.

He's been expanding his presence on the Internet through blogging, including this opinion about the NFL draft that I find poignant:

"Why do these teams keep drafting players with character defects you can see at 100 yards in the dark with your back turned?"

After that, there's the speech he gave at the Lincoln Club Annual Dinner in Orange County, California

And finally, an interview given after the Republican debate the other night. Fred lets us know his thoughts about the declared candidates, his intentions, how he is different from the existing candidates, his qualifications, his track record, and criticisms aimed at him. It's well worth the time required to download the video. (If it doesn't download and play, click here and select the Fred Thompson interview - “I've Never Casually Run For Anything”.)

Fred is certainly sounding more and more like a candidate. I have a feeling that he's going to wait until the American people are getting bored with the current field and then announce his candidacy, probably sometime around September. That still leaves him plenty of time to raise funds before the caucuses and primaries. In the mean time he can keep up the increased visibility without having to declare, something that may ultimately work in his favor. However, I do have one bit of advice for him that I've also heard voiced by Doug from GraniteGrok:

He won't win in New Hampshire unless he does slog through the cold and snow and press the flesh prior to the primary.

Let's hope he heeds the advice.


One Possible Future

A possible future newscast:

“It's July 4th, 2036, a day of celebration and remembrance. We celebrate the 260th anniversary of the founding of the Republic. We also remember the 20th anniversary of the deadly attacks in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston that left 11 million dead and many times that wounded.”

“It was during the traditional Fourth of July fireworks in those cities that Al Qaeda struck our nation. In those cities, each a symbol of the American Revolution that brought us our freedoms, the Islamist terrorists unleashed the power of the nuclear weapons they'd smuggled into the US, detonating them at the height of the fireworks displays.”

“First it was Boston, destroyed as the Boston Pops was playing the traditional end of their concert at the Hatch Memorial Shell, The Stars And Stripes Forever. It was as the stirring rendition of John Philip Sousa's classic was coming to a close that the 250 kiloton fusion warhead was detonated on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building.”

“Minutes later a similar bomb was detonated just outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, followed shortly after that by a third bomb in New York City that had been placed on the roof of the Metlife Building in Manhattan.”

“In less than 10 minutes, millions of Americans lay dead or dying. Three of our great cities were destroyed. And less than half an hour later, our nation went mad.”

“After a spokesman for Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks, the National Command Authority unleashed a retaliatory strike against the Islamist regime, destroying every major city throughout the former Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, and a number of other countries and political entities allied with them. The first targets were some of the holiest cities in Islam – Mecca, Medina, and Qom, just to name a few. The death toll may never be known but it estimated that well over 250 million people throughout the Middle East were annihilated.”

“American allies Great Britain, Russia, Israel, Poland, and other NATO members were apprised of the nuclear retaliation strike before it was launched. Records show that all of the remaining signatories of NATO agreed the strikes were justified. British, Polish, and Russian troops were mobilized and sealed their borders with the Islamic Republic of Europe.”

“The President let it be known to the fundamentalist Islamic government of Europe that any actions taken by the IRE's military would be seen as a hostile act and a full scale military strike would be launched by NATO. As then-President Thompson said in a speech from an undisclosed location after the strikes in the Middle East, “We've been tolerant long enough, allowing these vile creatures to spread their hateful ideology for too long. This has been the result. I am serving notice that we will no longer be tolerant, we will no longer negotiate with those whose only wish is our destruction. This is an ultimatum: cease all hostile actions against the US and its allies, or we will end it for you.” The government of the IRE made no response to President Thompson's ultimatum.”

“However, just two weeks after the President's ultimatum, the IRE launched an air strike against a NATO naval task force in the Mediterranean enroute to Israel. According to IRE spokesmen it was to prevent any further reinforcement of “the thieving Zionist regime”. The task force was escorting three new Israeli destroyers to their home port of Haifa when the IRE attacked.”

“Though the task force suffered some casualties, the attacking aircraft were either destroyed or driven off. This attack elicited a response by NATO, with missile attacks and heavy air strikes against the IRE capitol in Madrid as part of the opening salvo of the North Atlantic War.”

“After six years of heavy fighting, NATO defeated the last of the IRE's military forces and occupied all IRE territory, from the Atlantic Coast of what was once again Spain, Portugal, and France to the eastern border starting at Poland and all the way down through Turkey and into southwestern Russia. The hunt for IRE holdouts and former regime members was swift and, even by our standards, brutal. NATO did not want a repeat of what happened during the Second Gulf War.”

“Shortly after the fall of the IRE, millions of European expatriates petitioned the League of Democracies for the right to return to their homelands. Many had fled Europe after the Islamist coup that had overthrown the European Union government in the summer of 2011. They feared their new masters, a fear that turned out to be well founded. Forced conversions to Islam and beheadings became the norm. Slavery, once considered a thing of the past, returned with a vengeance, with non-Muslims being imprisoned and enslaved. Many fled. Many died. Those that survived and waited in exile wanted to return to their homes.”

“Over the years many have asked what brought the world to the state we experienced all those years ago. Many pundits have tried over the years to point to one cause or another, but few were willing or able to point to one moment in history and say “Aha! This is the cause of the horrors we experienced all those years ago!” But looking over the history of the past 100 years it became evident to everyone what the tipping point was that sent the world to the brink of destruction.”

“A job that should have been finished was abandoned. A people looking to us to help keep them free were left with no hope. The blind in our government couldn't or wouldn't look far enough ahead to realize that they were handing an intractable enemy a victory that would embolden them to commit even greater acts of violence. The blood of millions is upon the hands of those members of Congress that chose surrender over victory. Let us never forget the lessons they failed to learn.”

“We'll check on the weather after the commercial break. Stay tuned.”