Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Bailout? Detroit?

If we really believe that the 'free market' is the bed rock of our economy, then we should let Detroit, and other organizations that are headed into the dumper, to their own fate.

We, as tax payers, do not have an obligation to save the world from ignorance and greed even thought our own congress seems to have a predominance of both.

Call your Representative and demand they get their collective hands out of our pockets.

Keep the faith.

The Next Bailout: Detroit
August 21, 2008

First came Bear Stearns, then mortgage lenders and borrowers, followed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: They've all looked to Uncle Sam for a bailout, and now the word around Washington is that Detroit will be next on the taxpayer supplicant list.

Earlier this month, the Detroit Free Press reported that the top dogs at Ford, GM and Chrysler had a meeting of the minds and decided that the way out of their current losing streak would be to ask the feds for a lifeline. They figure they'll need $40 billion or so to ride out their current troubles until they reach the promised land of hybrids, the Chevy Volt, and, who knows, maybe even profits.

We've since heard that lobbyists for the car makers are taking their pitch for direct federal loans around Washington, with a goal of unveiling the plan after Labor Day -- conveniently in the frenzy of the fall election campaign. They've briefed Congressman John Dingell, the dean of Michigan Democrats, as well as officials in the Bush White House.[The Next Bailout: Detroit] ^1

The plan is for the government to lend some $25 billion to auto makers in the first year at an interest rate of 4.5%, or about one-third what they're currently paying to borrow. What's more, the government would have the option of deferring any payment at all for up to five years. Meanwhile, Barack Obama recently signaled that he's open to federal money to help the auto makers invest in "renewable" technology, and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and Mr. Dingell are supporting the $25 billion in loans to the not-so-Big Three as part of a second-round economic "stimulus".

Detroit's political calculation is plain: Having seen the way Washington has bowed to rescue the mortgage industry and Wall Street, why shouldn't auto makers give it a try? Michigan is up for grabs in the election, so now is the time to strike with a goal of getting the Bush Administration and both Presidential candidates to agree.The car makers can also claim with justification to have been hurt as badly as anyone by Washington's policy blunders. The weak dollar has contributed to the spike in oil prices that has socked their most profitable vehicles. And the nonsensical way that fuel-economy standards force Detroit to subsidize cars that consumers won't buy has helped put the Big Three in this hole.

Then again, the car makers saddled themselves with a cost structure in flush times that has proved unsustainable as their market share has eroded. They have made great strides of late in shedding legacy pension and health-care costs, but they took decades to do so. The fact that GM's lending arm, now 51% owned by the owners of Chrysler, dipped its toes in mortgage lending hasn't helped either.

There also happens to be a thriving U.S. auto industry outside of Michigan. These plants are owned by foreign companies, but they employ 92,000 Americans and build and sell cars here. Tens of thousands of their shareholders are Americans. Would these companies and plants get equal consideration under any bailout plan? And if Toyota and Honda get help, why not Delphi and other auto suppliers? We're told the low-interest loan proposal would give priority to the "oldest" plants -- which is another way of saying those plants organized by the United Auto Workers.

Bailing out "national champions" because of their long history or politically connected work forces is something you'd expect from France. With rare exceptions -- Chrysler in the 1970s -- the U.S. government has managed to remain immune to that European disease. But as the nearby table shows, Washington has begun to make a habit of bailing out any business or industry that can marshal enough political clout. That's a lot of risk to put on the taxpayer dime, and that's not counting such other runaway liabilities as Medicare. * * *

We wish the Treasury and Federal Reserve hadn't started all this with its Wall Street rescues, but at least Bear Stearns was put out of business and its shareholders lost nearly everything. That's also typically what happens when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. takes over a failing bank, as in the case of IndyMac in July.

If Fannie and Freddie require a taxpayer infusion, we can't believe Treasury wouldn't wipe out their shareholders and fire their managers as well. And if Detroit's executives really want taxpayers to save them, then at a minimum they should suffer the same fate as these other companies and shareholders. Somehow we doubt this is what the Big Three really have in mind.

Regardless of where and why these federal bailouts started, American taxpayers can't save everyone. The only way to stop this parade of supplicants is to start saying no -- and Detroit is as good a place as any.

/See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on/ Opinion Journal ^2 ./And add your comments to the/ Opinion Journal forum ^3 .**

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why are Poor People Almost Always Democrats?

Here is just a little line in the sand that illuminates the shadowy world of socialist Democrats.

Quote of the week from Sir Charles Barkley:

"Poor People have been voting for Democrats for the last 50 years ... and they are still poor."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Important Qustions Obama Must Answer Before November

Here are some important questions that Barack Obama must answer if he can - so far he appears to be totally lost when he answers questions on any subject. It's like he thinks he can say anything and it doesn't matter if the answer makes sense or is absolute nonsense, the press will cover for him.

This man that wants to lead our country appears to be unaware of how we, as average citizens, live our lives. He can not relate. He doesn't know who we are. How can he lead us?

Read and remember these questions from George Will as they illuminate his inability to grasp basic concepts of the American dream.

Keep the faith while we dig for answers in the battle for the truth.

'Questions for Obama'
by George F. Will

"Senator, concerning the criteria by which you will nominate judges, you said: 'We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.' Such sensitivities might serve an admirable legislator, but what have they to do with judging? Should a judge side with whichever party in a controversy stirs his or her empathy? Is such personalization of the judicial function inimical to the rule of law?

. Voting against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, you said: Deciding 'truly difficult cases' should involve 'one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy.' Is that not essentially how Chief Justice Roger Taney decided the Dred Scott case? Should other factors-say, the language of the constitutional or statutory provision at issue-matter?

. You say, 'The insurance companies, the drug companies, they're not going to give up their profits easily when it comes to health care.' Why should they? Who will profit from making those industries unprofitable? When pharmaceutical companies have given up their profits, who will fund pharmaceutical innovations, without which there will be much preventable suffering and death? What other industries should 'give up their profits'?

. ExxonMobil's 2007 profit of $40.6 billion annoys you. Do you know that its profit, relative to its revenue, was smaller than Microsoft's and many other corporations'? And that reducing ExxonMobil's profits will injure people who participate in mutual funds, index funds and pension funds that own 52 percent of the company?

. You say John McCain is content to 'watch [Americans'] home prices decline.' So, government should prop up housing prices generally? How? Why? Were prices ideal before the bubble popped? How does a senator know ideal prices? Have you explained to young couples straining to buy their first house that declining prices are a misfortune?

. Telling young people 'don't go into corporate America ,' your wife, Michelle, urged them to become social workers or others in 'the helping industry,' not 'the moneymaking industry.' Given that the moneymakers pay for 100 percent of American jobs, in both public and private sectors, is it not helpful?

. Michelle, who was born in 1964, says that most Americans' lives have 'gotten progressively worse since I was a little girl.' Since 1960, real per capita income has increased 143 percent, life expectancy has increased by seven years, infant mortality has declined 74 percent, deaths from heart disease have been halved, childhood leukemia has stopped being a death sentence, depression has become a treatable disease, air and water pollution have been drastically reduced, the number of women earning a bachelor's degree has more than doubled, the rate of home ownership has increased 10.2 percent, the size of the average American home has doubled, the percentage of homes with air conditioning has risen from 12 to 77, the portion of Americans who own shares of stock has quintupled. Has your wife perhaps missed some pertinent developments in this country that she calls 'just downright mean'?

. You favor raising the capital gains tax rate to '20 percent or 25 percent.' You say this will not 'distort' economic decision making. Your tax returns on your 2007 income of $4.2 million show that you and Michelle own few stocks. Are you sure you understand how investors make decisions?

. During the ABC debate, you acknowledged that when the capital gains rate was dropped first to 20 percent, then to 15 percent, government revenues from the tax increased and they declined in the 1980s when it was increased to 28 percent. Nevertheless, you said you would consider raising the rate 'for purposes of fairness.' How does decreasing the government's financial resources and punishing investors promote fairness? Are you aware that 20 percent of taxpayers reporting capital gains in 2006 had incomes of less than $50,000?

. You favor eliminating the cap on earnings subject to the 12.4 percent Social Security tax, which now covers only the first $102,000. A Chicago police officer married to a Chicago public-school teacher, each with 20 years on the job, have a household income of $147,501, so you would take another $5,642 from them. Are they undertaxed? Are they too rich?

. This November, electorates in four states will vote on essentially this language: 'The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.' Three states- California , Washington and Michigan -have enacted such language. You made a radio ad opposing the Michigan initiative. Why? Are those states' voters racists?

. You denounce President Bush for arrogance toward other nations. Yet you vow to use a metaphorical 'hammer' to force revisions of trade agreements unless certain weaker nations adjust their labor, environmental and other domestic policies to suit you. Can you define cognitive dissonance?

. You want 'to reduce money in politics.' In February and March you raised $95 million. See prior question.
Cognitive dissonance is a psychological state that describes the uncomfortable feeling when a person begins to understand that something the person believes to be true is, in fact, not true. Similar to ambivalence , the term cognitive dissonance describes conflicting thoughts or beliefs (cognitions) that occur at the same time, or when engaged in behaviors that conflict with one's beliefs. In academic literature, the term refers to attempts to reduce the discomfort of conflicting thoughts, by performing actions that are opposite to one's beliefs.

Saddleback Church's Rev Warren Stands Firm on His Faith

A great article on Rev. Warren and how the media is twisting the information to suit their agenda. i.e. the agenda of the Democrat party.

Keep the faith -

What Saddleback's Pastor Really Thinks About Politics
August 23, 2008 WSJ

Lake Forest, Calif.

'Overhyped." That's how the Rev. Rick Warren describes the notion that the evangelical vote is "up for grabs" in this election. But what about the significance of the evangelical left, I asked the pastor of Saddleback Church after his forum with the presidential candidates last weekend. "This big," he says, holding his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart.Sitting on a small stone patio outside the church's "green room," I question him further -- has he heard that the Democratic Party is changing its abortion platform? "Window dressing," he replies. "Too little, too late."

But Rev. Jim Wallis, the self-described progressive evangelical, has been saying that the change is a big victory. "Jim Wallis is a spokesman for the Democratic Party," Mr. Warren responds dismissively. "His book reads like the party platform."

[Rick Warren] ^1 Ismael Roldan

If you've read any of the hundreds of articles about Mr. Warren that have appeared over the past 10 years, perhaps you think I've got the wrong guy. After all, the leader of the fourth-largest church in the U.S. is supposed to be part of a "new breed" of evangelicals, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and dozens of other publications. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof paid him what Mr. Kristof might consider the ultimate compliment earlier this year, referring to Mr. Warren as an "evangelical liberals can love.

"It is true that Mr. Warren, whose book "The Purpose Driven Life" has sold 25 million copies, argues that his community needs to "broaden its agenda" to include issues like environmental conservation and fighting poverty and disease. "I don't just care that the little girl is born," he tells me. "Is she going to be born in poverty? Is she going to be born with AIDS because her mom has AIDS? Is she going to never get an education?" And he adds that there are plenty of evangelicals who are tired of the "combativeness" associated with the religious right.

But there is a misunderstanding by the media, says Mr. Warren. "A lot of people hear [about a broader agenda] and they think, 'Oh, evangelicals are giving up on believing that life begins at conception,'" he explains. "They're not giving up on that at all. Not at all."Democrats might want to keep this in mind next week as their convention tries to welcome this "new breed" of religious folks. And as for the notion that younger evangelicals are ready for rebellion against their parents' ideals, Mr. Warren cites polls showing that the younger evangelical generation is even more concerned about abortion than the older one.

After the Sunday morning service at Saddleback last weekend, I interviewed 15 random attendees. Only two were Obama supporters, one of whom was a British guy on holiday. Almost all of the remaining congregants mentioned abortion as the most significant issue affecting their vote in November. So why is most of the press under the impression that Rick Warren, a Southern Baptist, is so different from, say, Focus on the Family president James Dobson?

"It's a matter of tone," says an amused Mr. Warren, who seems unable to name any particular theological issues on which he and Mr. Dobson disagree. Speaking at the Aspen Institute a few years ago, Mr. Warren was asked by a member of the audience whether he believed that she, a Jew, would be going to hell after she died, since she had not accepted Jesus as her savior. "Yes," he answered, honestly.

But Mr. Warren, a large man whose paunch is emphasized by his penchant for untucked Hawaiian shirts, generally leaves fire and brimstone out of his public statements. He is on a mission to bring civility back to America, he says in the sermon the morning after the presidential forum.

He believes that people can disagree about the issues without demonizing each other. "We are all created in the image of God." In our interview, he recalls that tolerance used to be the idea that you "treat others with respect." Now, he laments, it has come to mean that "all ideas are equally valid."

And so you can begin to understand why some people today are not happy with the idea of tolerance. But Mr. Warren aims to return Americans to that old view. Despite his calm demeanor, his easy laugh and his casual dress, there doesn't seem to be a relativist bone in Mr. Warren's body.

On Saturday night, the pastor introduced both John McCain and Barack Obama as his "friends" and as "patriots." The following day, I ask him about the biggest differences between the two. He mentions their styles of leadership. (Sen. Obama is the "thoughtful consensus builder," while Sen. McCain is the "straightforward, happy warrior.")

But the other important distinction Mr. Warren notes is the candidates' approaches to government, which he says are "totally opposite." "McCain is more of a limited government guy and Obama sees government as the solution to major problems in society."

Mr. Warren falls into the former camp. Over the years, he has repeated the idea that he became a pastor instead of a politician because he does not have a lot of confidence in the ability of government to get things done. In addition to social issues and foreign policy, this is where evangelicals often part ways with more secular types.The media assume that when religious people express interest in the problems of poverty and disease, they must have taken a left turn politically.

But one can be interested in solving such problems without believing that government is the solution. "Our government has spent trillions of dollars in Africa," says Mr. Warren, "and the standard of living is worse now than it was 50 years ago." He knows whereof he speaks, having launched a massive effort to help the country of Rwanda rebuild itself. "There is only one way to get people out of poverty and it's not charity. It's jobs.

"While many pastors admonish their congregants to "teach a man to fish," Mr. Warren says that is "not good enough." He explains, "If all you do is teach a guy to fish, you create a village of fishermen and everybody does the same thing. They all catch the same fish. They all sit on the side of the road. They all sell the same fish. The same fish rots. They go home and they never get above subsistence level."

As if channeling Adam Smith, Mr. Warren continues, "You have to develop a complex economy, where one says I'll make the hooks, I'll catch the fish, I'll can the fish, I'll skin the fish, I'll fry the fish, I'll do the fish accounting, I'll build the boats. I'll franchise the fish markets.

The answer to poverty is business development, not charity. . . . Trade, not aid."As you might expect from someone who counts the late Peter Drucker among the figures he most admires -- and who has grown a church from nothing to a 120-acre campus with 22,000 weekly attendees, 300 ministries and a mailing list of a few hundred thousand laymen and pastors across the world -- Mr. Warren is interested in business. Not because he makes a lot of money off of Saddleback -- he "reverse tithes," giving 90% of his income away. But rather, he is interested in building organizations.

In Africa, his plan has been to use churches to promote literacy, economic growth and public health. Short-term visits from American churchgoers serve to train church leaders. But there are also less tangible tasks -- cultural problems -- which Mr. Warren believes churches can address better than governments or nongovernmental organizations. For instance, we need "to teach men and boys to respect women and children."

No amount of AIDS education is going to help if women are still being raped by men in their villages. "And that is my job as a pastor. No government can do that."Mr. Warren's notion that you can't have "salvation by government" extends to domestic politics as well. When it comes to gay marriage, he says, the government operates "downstream from the culture." If you wanted to change people's ideas about sexuality, you should have been doing it through the culture, "through sports and music and entertainment."

While he notes that religious people often look to the church to help with these efforts, "secular people have to look to the government." Indeed, what struck him most about the Aspen Institute discussions was that the people there thought "the answer to everything was a government program."

Mr. Warren is not opposed to all government programs. On Saturday, he complimented President Bush's efforts to combat AIDS in Africa, and asked whether something similar couldn't be done to help the world's 148 million orphans. Both candidates readily agreed. And no one should expect Mr. Warren to drop the issue, as he has clearly done his research. A lot of people think that you can just put these kids in orphanages, he tells me, but they "don't realize that when you put a kid in an orphanage in many countries . . . they lose the land rights to their parents' property. So, you are ensuring that the kid will be poor the rest of his life because he loses the only inheritance he's had."

From there, Mr. Warren is off on a riff about the importance of property rights.The pastor's performance on Saturday night has been praised by pundits on the left and the right. His questions -- he calls them "heartland questions" -- were straightforward, culled from thousands he received from people on his mailing list. And he seemed friendly to both men without being too chummy.

Unlike some other prominent religious leaders, Mr. Warren won't be endorsing anyone this fall. On Sunday morning, he encouraged his congregation only to participate in the election. "If you don't vote, you are giving up a privilege people die to make possible." Spoken like a man who wants to keep the power with the people.

*Ms. Riley is the Journal's deputy Taste editor.*/S/

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Conservative Law makers Serious About Lowering Gas Prices

I guess it's clear, if you want something done that will actually help the people without raking some of the proceeds off the top, it's going to take the Republicans and Conservatives in the United States House of Representatives to get it done.

Well, at least they have shown that they are will to do the right thing as the House Majority leader Nancy Pelosi shut the house down so the vote can't and won't be taken on the off-shore drilling bill. She sent everyone home on vacation. Everyone except the Republicans - they are serious about doing something that will help lower gas prices. They want an 'up or down' vote on the bill.

Pelosi won't have it - she knows it will pass and make the Democrats, especially her, look like they are the problem as many Democrats in the House would vote for this bill. Where are the Democrats now that we need this vote that will save thousands of jobs and billions of dollars from our saving accounts. I know where they are, home, hiding from their responsibilities as elected officials. But what can you expect - they are Democrats - they aren't like the rest of us.

This is from the Heritage Foundation - keep the faith.

Conservatives push for expanded drilling

While some liberals are now open to domestic energy exploration, many are not, and Congress left for its summer recess without voting on offshore drilling.

Citing recent estimates, Heritage energy expert Ben Lieberman reports that off-limits coastal areas contain “19.1 billion barrels of oil and 83.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—approximately 30 years’ worth of imports from Saudi Arabia and enough natural gas to power America's homes for 17 years.

It should also be noted that these initial estimates tend to be low.”

Even though Congress is formally on recess—the lights are off in the House of Representatives and the C-SPAN cameras are off—several hardy conservatives remained in Washington to press for a vote on offshore drilling. An amateur video of the informal proceedings on the House floor has been posted to Heritage’s Foundry weblog. Heritage’s Rob Bluey reported from the scene that “the debate is going to continue all week on the House floor.” Follow his reporting on Twitter.

Nuclear Power Accepted by A Larger Majority of Public

A large majority of the voting public accepts the fact that nuclear energy is a must if we are to meet our energy needs in the immediate future.

Eight three percent (83%) of the voting public says we must have more fossil fuel to meet our energy needs now and in the immediate future, just like the general public has accepted the fact that nuclear power is part of the future equation as well.

So why haven't we built any new nuclear facilities in thirty years? I wonder who it could be - da - Environmentalists and the Democrat party. Little wonder we pay the price that we do given the demand increase and the refusal by the Democrats to increase the supply. Ever wonder why the approval rating for congress has fallen to the lowest point in history? 9%

If the Democrats stay in power in November, we will be paying larger and larger amounts for energy until our economy grids to a halt. Is it just me or does this seem to be the plan the Democrats have for America? It does seem to fit the agenda they have been using for the last sixty years - 'do what ever you can to cause hardship for the general public and then blame the result on the others'. Anyone that can read or turn on a television can see how this works. The main stream media is part of the Democrat arsenal.

Keep the faith and demand common sense from elected officials that go off the rails.

Maryland Welcomes New Nuclear
Posted By Nick Loris
August 20, 2008 @ 4:26 pm In Energy and Environment

Last night, Heritage Research Fellow Jack Spencer and I drove down to Solomons Island, home of Calvert Cliffs’ 2 nuclear reactor stations – where Constellation Energy is proposing to build a third. It was the third of three hearings held by Maryland’s public service commission in which elected officials and the general public had their chance to voice support or concern about adding a 1600MW reactor – the equivalent of the power produced by the two existing reactors.

Of the 25 people we heard speak, 21 favored building a third reactor while 4 opposed. It should be noted that we only stayed from 7-10 and the hearing finished at 11. More anti-nuclear activists could have been waiting for their turn to speak, but out of the 150 people attending the hearing, I’d guess that for every one person opposed to building a new reactor, there were 10 supporting it.

Those advocating new build included elected officials, operators and engineers at the existing Calvert Cliffs plants, and ordinary, interested citizens of the county. One particularly interesting story came from Bobby Swann, a lifelong resident of Calvert Cliffs and adamant supporter of the third reactor.

Retired now, Swann recalled living in the area when electricity wasn’t present and outhouses were more common than light switches. He reminded those in the audience of the comfort and dramatic increase in prosperity electricity brought to the community. He concluded by saying it was a privilege to have the two existing reactors at Calvert Cliffs provide the community with safe, clean and affordable energy, and it’d be a shame not to commence building a third. (He also mentioned that since he’s retired, he no longer wears socks. I’m not sure where that fits in, but I think it’s worth mentioning.)

The opposition brought the same misperceptions about nuclear energy to the podium that anti-nuclear activists have been arguing for years. Chief among these arguments were that there is a safety and security problem, that nuclear is actually bad for the environment, and that the country should focus on wind, solar and other renewable energy sources rather than nuclear. I’ll address these three briefly.*Safety & Security. *

The primary reasons the minority opposition posited for nuclear energy being a safety and security threat are based on pure misconception and ignorance. Two myths that need dispelling are: Nuclear power releases dangerous amounts of radiation into the atmosphere, and there is no solution to the problem of nuclear waste.

As for radiation, by exploiting public fears of anything radioactive and not educating the public about the true nature of radiation and radiation exposure, anti-nuclear extremists can easily portray any radioactive emissions as a reason to stop nuclear power. However, when radiation is put into the proper context, the safety of nuclear power plants is clear.

Nuclear power plants do emit some radiation, but the amounts are environmentally insignificant and pose no threat. These emissions [1] fall well below the legal safety limit sanctioned by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Waste storage is one of the biggest impediments to an expansion of nuclear power in the public’s mind, and it was certainly echoed at this townhall meeting last night. We do have options for nuclear waste. Spent nuclear fuel can be removed from the reac­tor, reprocessed to separate unused fuel, and then used again. The remaining waste could then be placed in either interim or long-term storage, such as in the Yucca Mountain repository.

For a more comprehensive answer of what nuclear waste actually is and how the problem can be resolved in the U.S., read [2] this

There were also general inquiries about evacuation procedures, which the NRC details [3] here . Even though no one was even injured, another concern was the possibility of [4] another Three Mile Island

One speaker said it extraordinarily well by saying that comparing all nuclear reactors to TMI is like comparing all cruise ships to the Titanic. Accidents can still happen but a lot has changed – the probabilities are much, much lower.

*Bad for the Environment? *

There is sentiment from the anti-nuclear extremists that nuclear energy makes global warming worse because plants are built with fossil fuel and they emit too much heat. [5] As we’ve said before , this is basically a witch-hunt.

Whether the activists like it or not, the world runs on fossil fuel. Until the nation changes its energy profile–which can be done with nuclear energy–almost any activity, even building windmills, will result in CO2 emissions.

The United States has not built a new commer­cial nuclear reactor in over 30 years, but the 104 plants operating today prevented the release of 681.9 million metric tons of CO2 in 2005, which is [6] comparable to taking 96% of cars off the roads

If CO2 is the problem, emissions-free nuclear power must be part of the solution.*Wind, Solar & Ethanol too!* A bulk of the anti-nuclear agenda was promoting wind, solar and ethanol as a replacement for nuclear energy – not a complement. These were some of the most egregious arguments of the night. First, no one suggested it’s a zero sum game; just because we increase our nuclear fleet doesn’t mean we won’t need more energy. As far as I can tell, we’re going to be needing energy for a long time. So, if wind, solar and other renewable fuel sources are economically viable, so be it. It’s true, the costs of building a nuclear plant have been increasing, but [7] wind and solar are having similar issues

The biggest misconception of last night, in my opinion, was the thought that wind and solar are going to solve all our energy problems. According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA) in 2006 [8] wind accounted for 4% of our energy supply and solar accounted for 1%

But this is what really gets me going. People act like wind, solar and ethanol are some new phenomenon that has just been developed in the past few years. In reality, renewable energy sources have been [9] receiving subsidies and tax credits since the ‘70s

The real problem is they can’t compete in the market with other sources of energy, even with these federal handouts. Now I’m not Nostradamus and I’m not pretending to be; wind and solar could very well be the future of America’s energy profile. But I do know this: It’s not feasible right now and we need all the supply of energy we can get, especially a CO2-free supply such as nuclear.

Overall, it’s encouraging to know that the majority of the town, including the elected officials, recognizes the benefits a third reactor will bring to the community. Keep your eye out for updates.------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vladimir Putin Knows War and Brutality Work - He is KGB

The West will have to take a stand someplace in this face-off if we want to have the respect of all the nations that want NATO status and look to America as a leader.

So far in this conflict with Russia and Putin, we are holding the dirty end of the stick. In reality our options are limited due to the distance and magnitude of the problem. The Russians have the high ground. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot an important part of this equation, the Russians and they 'surrogates' the Chechen's will kill with no remorse. They will rob, rape and slaughter all those that get in their way. This is Marxist socialist communists way of gaining power and respect. The tools are death and the threat of death through example. A system beloved by many Democrats, especially Democrats like Jimmy Carter. Jimmy loves Hugo Chavez. Jimmy validated the election for Chavez knowing it was a fraud.

For America and the West, mass murder is not an option.

Ralph Peters always has a good grip on the situation as this article lays out just what Putin has in mind for the rest of the 'break-away' nations in this area. What will our response be? Will we collapse in the face of the threat from Putin about putting defensive missiles in Poland? What about Czechoslovakia and Hungary? Hey, what about Israel? The Democrats hate the Jews!

This election in November is very important by half - vote for freedom and the pride of America. We have to stand for something other than just our possisons. There has to be more to our substance, right?

Keep the faith - the battle never ends.

By RALPH PETERS August 20, 2008

WAR doesn't change anything! How many times have we heard the claim from self-righteous leftists protected by their betters? Tell the dead in Georgia that war changes nothing. Tell it to the 100,000 or so people driven from their homes. For that matter, tell it to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin - he may finally crack a smile.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to Brussels to huff and puff, but NATO isn't about to blow Putin's house down. We'll get an earnest statement of concern, the cancellation of military exercises with the Russians and an easy-to-retract suggestion that, just maybe (if the astrologers approve unanimously), there /might/ be a place in the Atlantic alliance for Georgia and Ukraine in the distant future.

In an act of breathtaking daring, NATO ministers even put down their teacups and agreed to term the Russian invasion "disproportionate." Boy, Putin's scared /now./

Meanwhile, Russian troops and their mercenary auxiliaries remain on Georgian soil - and the West doesn't have a single means of moving them. War doesn't change anything? Wish it were true - but war has been humankind's /preferred/ means of effecting change. We're all - right and left - getting an in-your-face lesson about how the world really works.

Passive resistance only has a chance when your opponent believes in the rule of law and respect for human rights. Gandhi was effective against law-abiding Britain, but he would've frozen to death in the Soviet gulag - if he'd lived long enough to reach the camps.

I'd love it if we lived in a world where war truly didn't work. But war /does/ work.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue other means of resolving international crises - but effective idealism has to be grounded in a practical grasp of present reality.

To make the world a better place, we have to begin with a clear-eyed assessment of what kind of place the world /is/. Putin just showed us what stirring words about democracy and freedom are worth in the face of tanks and combat aircraft. The Georgians had the noble ideas and lofty dreams; the Russians had the troops and ammunition. Guess who won?

Over the years, as I've tried to explain the human reality I've encountered, the leftist response has been "Shoot the messenger!" (presumably, with a water gun). When I wrote that a dangerous minority of men enjoy tormenting and killing others, the response was that /I/ obviously believed killing was good. I've never even kicked a cat. But the critics didn't want to face a reality that contradicts their pleasant campus theories.

Berkeley radicals don't take midnight strolls through the toughest streets in Oakland. They /know/ that some human beings are innately violent - but admitting it would be unbearable.

Does it really make you a warmonger if you /recognize/ that war is the collective activity at which human beings are most adept? Does telling the truth make the truth-teller guilty?In the twisted, pretzel-logic world of the hardcore Left, it does.Well, what solutions does the war-doesn't-change-anything Left bring to the party now, in Georgia?

We've seen how earnestly Putin & Co. take negotiations and cease-fire agreements, how carefully the Russians observe UN resolutions and international law. What measures /should/ we take to remove Russia's boot from Georgia's neck? Send yet another diplomat or publicity-hound senator? They've done a great job in Darfur . . .

The bitter truth is, none of us can move Russia. Only force could do the trick - and, brutally put, we don't deem Georgia worth any serious risks.

For the record, I don't think a military response at this point would do any good - only more harm. But the West has no alternative tools that impress the Russians. Putin /believes/ in force. Just because we don't share his values doesn't mean he's going to see the light. (Imagine a President Barack Obama pitted against Putin - the Left's new messiah would be gobbled up in one bite.)

Putin doesn't think we're naive fools. He knows it.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World."/

Monday, August 25, 2008

Marriage Is The Bedrock of Society

This an interest concept when given a little thought - getting married means making a life time commitment to another person - something that requires rational thought and an intimate understanding of ones self.

This carries over into every day life when making decisions that effect your job and your future. You really don't have anything else that effects you personally. A live in guest can leave at any time, nothing is lost except time spent. You always knew, in the back of your mind, it wouldn't last for ever.

If you decide to make a run at life not having to answer to anyone, that is, not having to deal with someone with a different opinion that can effect the outcome of your proposal, you find your responsibilities are half of the married person, but at the same time, the rewards for sharing the responsibilities without a partner are zero. hmmmm

Interesting how that works - keep the faith.

(This is from the Heritage Foundation -)

Family and Religion.

The number of unmarried couples living together has surged to 6.4 million, up from just one million three decades ago.

“It used to be called ‘shacking up,’” Heritage Vice President Rebecca Hagelin writes on “Now it’s just another lifestyle choice.” She points out that growing bodies of social science research reinforce what has been understood for millennia: marriage is the bedrock of society, providing a solid social foundation not just for the husband and wife but for their children as well.

“Society needs a critical mass of intact families to function effectively,” she concludes. “That’s why the debates about same-sex ‘marriage’ and cohabiting couples merit more than a shrug of the shoulders.” Find out more at Heritage’s

Obama's Education and Experience ; Saul Alinsky's Radical Socialism

Once again we have an inside look at what Barack Obama has in store for America. With Saul Alinsky as his teacher and mentor, we don't have to be rocket scientists to figure out he wants to "change" our way of life. Saul Alinsky is a radical socialist.

Barack Obama's background experience with radical socialism in Chicago should tell us all we need to know about who he really is.

The change he has in mind isn't anything like he say he wants, his rhetoric is just a play on words to camouflage his real intent. He wants to change who we are whether we want to give up our lives of self direction and personal freedom or not. We are too stupid and uninformed to understand what is in our best interest.

Make no mistake about this, Obama wants to take what you have in material wealth and divide it up to even the "playing field". Read this as 'taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive". Marxist Socialism that is right out of the book. Freedoms that we now enjoy will be a thing of the past.

This article is pointing out just how Barack Obama has been able to convince the general public that his intentions of 'change' is for a better America and are for our own good -.

Obama does not have our best interests at heart. Everything he says has two meanings and both will ultimately cause damage to our country for generations to come.

Keep the faith - prepare to fight the good fight - stay alert - we can win the battle but it sure won't be easy! Righteous battles are always difficult.

Obama's Radical Roots And Rules

Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008

Most Americans revile socialism, yet Barack Obama's poll numbers remain competitive. One explanation: He's a longtime disciple of a man whose mission was to teach radicals to disguise their ideology.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's choice of the word "change" as his campaign's central slogan is not the product of focus-group studies, or the brainstorming sessions of his political consultants. One of Obama's main inspirations was a man dedicated to revolutionary change that he was convinced "must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, nonchallenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future."

Saul Alinsky, circa 1946: Like Obama, he wanted "change." Like Obama, he wanted "change."

Sen. Obama was trained by Chicago's Industrial Areas Foundation, founded in 1940 by the radical organizer Saul Alinsky. In the 1980s, Obama spent years as director of the Developing Communities Project, which operated using Alinsky's strategies, and was involved with two other Alinsky-oriented entities, Acorn and Project Vote.

On the Obama campaign Web site can be found a photo of him teaching in a University of Chicago classroom with "Power Analysis" and "Relationships Built on Self Interest" written on the blackboard — key terms utilized in the Alinsky method.

The far-left Alinsky had no time for liberalism or liberals, declaring that "a liberal is (someone) who puts his foot down firmly on thin air." He wanted nothing less than transformational radicalism.

"America was begun by its radicals," he wrote. "America was built by its radicals. The hope and future of America lies with its radicals." And so, "This is the job for today's radical — to fan the embers of hopelessness into a flame to fight. To say, '. . . let us change it together!' "Alinsky students ranged "from militant Indians to Chicanos to Puerto Ricans to blacks from all parts of the black power spectrum, from Panthers to radical philosophers, from a variety of campus activists, S.D.S. and others, to a priest who was joining a revolutionary party in South America.

"Capitalism always was considered the enemy. "America's corporations are a spiritual slum," he wrote, "and their arrogance is the major threat to our future as a free society." Is it surprising that an Alinsky disciple such as Obama can promise so blithely to increase taxes on CEOs?Obama calls his years as an Alinskyesque community organizer in Chicago "the best education I ever had, and where I learned the true meaning of my Christian faith."

But as radicalism expert Richard Lawrence Poe has noted, "Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. In organizing coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer."Indeed, Alinsky believed in sacrificing ethics and morals for the great cause. "Ethical standards must be elastic to stretch with the times," Alinsky wrote in his last book, "Rules for Radicals," adding that "all values are relative in a world of political relativity."

Published a year before Alinsky's death in 1972, "Rules for Radicals" includes a dedication in which he gives "an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical . . . who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer."

Alinsky's writings even explain what often seems like Obama's oversized ego.

In New Hampshire in January, for example, the senator told an audience that "a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany . . . and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama."It was a bizarre spectacle, but consider that Alinsky believed that "anyone who is working against the haves is always facing odds, and in many cases heavy odds. If he or she does not have that complete self-confidence (or call it ego) that he can win, then the battle is lost before it is even begun."

According to Alinsky, "Ego must be so all-pervading that the personality of the organizer is contagious, that it converts the people from despair to defiance, creating a mass ego."Alinsky also readily admitted that he didn't trust the people themselves. "It is the schizophrenia of a free society that we outwardly espouse faith in the people but inwardly have strong doubts whether the people can be trusted," he wrote. "Seeking some meaning in life," the middle class, according to Alinsky, "turn to an extreme chauvinism and become defenders of the 'American' faith."

This is evocative of Obama's remark during the primaries that small-town Americans are "bitter" and "cling to guns or religion."Obama is also following Alinsky's instructions to the hard left for attaining power in America. In the last chapter of "Rules for Radicals," titled "The Way Ahead," is found this declaration: "Activists and radicals, on and off our college campuses — people who are committed to change — must make a complete turnabout."

Alinsky noted that "our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and way of life of the middle class. They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized and corrupt."According to Alinsky, "They are right," but he cautioned his comrades that "the power and the people are in the big middle-class majority."

Therefore, an effective radical activist "discards the rhetoric that always says 'pig' " in reference to police officers, plus other forms of disguise, "to radicalize parts of the middle class."

Obama's rhetorical window-dressing is easily recognizable as Alinskyesque camouflage. New annual spending of more than $340 billion, as estimated by the National Taxpayers Union, is merely a wish to "recast" the safety net woven by FDR and LBJ, as Obama describes it in his writings. The free market is disparaged as a "winner-take-all" economy. Big tax increases masquerade as "restoring fairness to the economy.

"Barack Obama's "Change We Can Believe In" is simply socialism — imposed by stratagem because Americans have never believed in Marxist economics. Saul Alinsky understood this, and his ghost is alive and well — and threatening to haunt the White House.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is Vladimir Putin The New Stalin?

Will history repeat itself? Will Putin become the new butcher of humanity enslaving millions under the boot of Communism?

Stalin Killed millions in Russia and else where to cement his power over all things human. Putin seems to be following in Stalin's foot steps and what is the worst part of all this, the West is doing exactly what they did with the rise of the Nazis, wring their collective hands and hoping for the best outcome for themselves.

We obviously have learned nothing from history.

By RALPH PETERS August 14, 2008

--THE Russians are alcohol-sodden bar barians, but now and then they vomit up a genius.Prime Minister - and now generalissimo - Vladimir Putin is Mother Russia's latest world-class wonder.

Let's be honest: Putin's the most effective leader in the world today. That doesn't mean he's good news for anybody - not even for the Russians, in the long run. His ruthless ambition and gambler's audacity may end terribly. But, for now, give the devil his due: After a long string of successes, from his personal mastery of Russia's government and media to his coldblooded energy brinkmanship, Putin has capped his performance with a stunning success in Georgia.

Not a single free-world leader currently in office can measure up to Czar Vladimir the Great. Following his turnaround of Russia from bankrupt kleptocracy to flush-with-cash autocracy, he's now openly determined to restore Moscow's old empire. And he's getting away with it.

As a former intelligence officer, I'm awestruck by the /genius/ with which Putin assessed the strategic environment on the eve of his carefully scripted invasion of Georgia. With his old KGB skills showing (he must've been a formidable operative), Putin not only sized up President Bush humiliatingly well, but precisely anticipated Europe's nonreaction - while taking a perfect-fit measure of Georgia's mercurial president.

Putin not only knew what /he/ was doing - he knew exactly what /others/ would do.This is intelligence work at the hall-of-fame level. (For our part, we had all the intelligence pieces in our hands and failed to assemble the puzzle.) On the military side, the months of meticulous planning and extensive preparations for this invasion were covered by military exercises, disingenuous explanations - and /maskirovka/, the art of deception the Red Army had mastered. The Russians convinced us to see what we wanted to see.

Equally as remarkable was the Kremlin's ability to lead the global media by the nose. (Oblivious to the irony, a BBC broadcast yesterday portrayed tiny, poorhouse Georgia as a propaganda powerhouse and Russia as an information victim - an illustration of the Russian propaganda machine's effectiveness.)

From the start, every Russian ministry was reading from the same script (try to orchestrate /that/ in Washington). Breaking off his phony play date with Bush in Beijing, Putin rushed back to the theater of war. Upon arrival, he publicly consoled "refugees" who had been bused out of South Ossetia days in advance.

Launching the war's Big Lie, Putin deployed dupe-the-rubes code words, such as "genocide" and "response. "Wearing his secret-policeman's stone-face, Putin blamed Georgia for exactly what his storm troopers were doing /to /the Georgians. And lazy journalists around the world served as the Kremlin's ad agency. Strategy and conflict hinge on character.

Putin's character is ugly, but he's certainly got one: On the world stage, he comes across as a man among munchkins. When French President Nicolas Sarkozy flew in to Moscow to demand a cease-fire, Putin - busy with his war - couldn't be bothered. He fobbed Sarko off on Russia's play-pretend president. Sarko thought he was grandstanding as a statesman, but Putin saw him as a "useful idiot" (in Leninist parlance).Carla Bruni's husband got the cease-fire the twittering European Union demanded, all right. He returned to Paris holding in his hands a piece of paper that "guarantees peace in our time." Putin's thugs kept on killing. And they're still killing as I write.

Putin makes promises blithely to make flies go away. But the promises are worthless. Russia's troops will find excuses to stay right where they are - or they'll fake a withdrawal, leaving behind "South Ossetian volunteers" from Russian airborne units. Want a straightforward indication of what the Russians intend? Putin's code-name for this operation is /Chistoye Polye/. Literally translated, that means "clean field." In military parlance, it means "scorched earth."The empire of the czars hasn't produced such a frightening genius since Stalin.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Russian 'Old Style" Brutality On Display - Again

This is from the Heritage Foundation - Russia wants the old power back to where all they had to do was flex their muscles a little and watch the free world collapse in fear.

From what is happening in Georgia, it's working again. Brutality is the only word that fits the situation, other than Marxist socialism - that is, communism at it's best.

Keep the faith, the battle goes on!

What Russia wants in Georgia

Nearly two weeks ago, Russian forces crossed into Georgia, a staunch American ally in the Caucasus. While fighting has largely stopped, Russian forces remain on Georgian soil despite Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s promises the troops would withdraw.

Heritage Foundation expert Ariel Cohen explains that Russia has five goals in its campaign against Georgia.

Expulsion of Georgian troops and termination of Georgian sovereignty in South Ossetia and Abkhazia;

“Regime change” by bringing down President Mikheil Saakashvili and installing a more pro-Russian leadership in Tbilisi;

Preventing Georgia from joining NATO and sending a strong message to Ukraine that its insistence on NATO membership may lead to war and/or its dismemberment;

Shifting control of the Caucasus, and especially over strategic energy pipelines, by controlling Georgia; and

Recreating a 19th-century-style sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union, by the use of force if necessary.

This campaign could serve as a prelude to subsequent actions elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Cohen warns. In particular, Russia could turn its sights on Ukraine, which controls the strategic Crimean peninsula and has a substantial ethnic Russian minority.

Russia’s latest adventurism demonstrates that it wants to reestablish itself as a great power, Heritage’s Peter Brookes argues in his New York Post column. “Today’s Kremlin is cocky, nationalistic, rich and bent on asserting Russia as a great power with distinct interests - not only in its neighborhood or ‘near abroad’ - but across the globe.”

At the bottom of his article, Brookes provides a useful summary of Russia’s interests, alliances and recent troublemaking.

Cohen urges the United States and its allies to continue their opposition to the Russian incursion. They “need to send a strong signal to Moscow that creating 19th-century-style spheres of influence and redrawing the borders of the former Soviet Union is a danger to world peace.”

Georgia’s ambassador speaks at Heritage

“The last few days have shown without a shadow of doubt that Russia is using this moment to project the message to the world that it is back as an imperial power and the free world is powerless to respond,” Georgian Ambassador Vasil Sikharulidze told a standing-room-only crowd in Heritage’s Allison Auditorium Monday.

Sikharulidze urged the free world to stand up to Russia’s aggression, which he said “can and must be resisted. The power of the free world requires unity. Otherwise, if they sense weakness and disunity, we will find ourselves in much direr circumstances very soon.”

During the event, a Georgian government official called in to answer questions from the audience, which included a number of television crews. Sikharulidze also provided up-to-the-minute reports on Russian positions.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Liberal Democrats - Socialists - Deny Energy Problem Solutions

Nancy Pelosi and her liberal socialist cohorts in the assembly left on vacation this August without having a vote on the energy bill that would open new areas of our country to energy exploration and development. Nancy Pelosi refused to allow a vote.

That the Democrats, Marxist socialist progressives, refused to vote on this much needed bill is no surprise to anyone with a third grade education. The people of this country need relief from the high gas prices. The socialists see this, wrongly I might add, as an opportunity to create hardship among the middle classes as the high prices cut into all aspects of the family budget. The Democrats see this translating into anger that can be directed at the Republican administration and ultimately a vote for Obama in November.

Maybe this is why so many people in this country still vote Democrat. They were never taught any common sense when they were in third grade which changed their lives forever. I spoke with a relative of mine that indicated all of the stories about Obama's past with terrorists, racists and religious demagogues are lies fostered by the Republicans - she refuses to believe any of it - she will vote for Obama.

Is it any wonder that 'man made global warming' is beyond rational thought or discussion. I have always maintained the mind of a zealot is frozen in time to believe the script, as written, by the unquestioned leader no matter what facts are presented to the contrary. With no moral compass to guide the believer in unsettled times, they turn to hate of their oppressors, that is, anyone that opposes their view of life or has power to prevent them from obtaining the goals of the omnipresent leader. The alternative to striking out at the oppressor is to scum to the only other alternative, a Jim Jones solution of personal destruction.

I continue to ponder how this complete break down of personal integrity and denial of common sense comes about. What aspect of life has had such a profound effect on the soul to completely change a person from a rational individual to a mere puppet dancing at the end of a string. Maybe it's a series of events or maybe they are born without any moral support, a mentor with real life experiences, or this person just doesn't have the mental capacity to engage in rational thought.

I really don't understand who they are or what they are.

In any event, keep the faith. We are in this battle together and together we will win.

How Not to Lower Gas Prices (Heritage Foundation)

All too often, the left sees government as the solution to today’s problems.
For example, liberals in Congress have long supported misguided policies that would make energy more expensive—in the name of making it more affordable, of course.

Just this week, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) outlined several big-government measures to deal with record-high energy prices. Most of these policies are non-starters, as Heritage Foundation energy expert Nick Loris explains.

Energy “Rebate.” One proposal is to give individuals $500 or families $1,000 of taxpayer money to offset the cost of energy. Such a policy “would reduce supply, increase the demand for gas, and rely on windfall profits taxes on big oil, which have been tried and failed miserably.”

Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Another plan would sell oil from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. While “an extra 3 million to 4 million barrels per day would lower prices” somewhat, the SPR is of limited size and could “maintain that pace for no more than six months.” The plan could also impact our national security, as reported on Heritage’s blog, The Foundry.

Cracking Down on Speculators.

Even though peculators aren’t at the root of high energy prices, another “solution” would impose new restrictions on their investment activity. “Ultimately, speculators do little to affect supply and demand.”

Capping-and-Taxing. The proposal to curb greenhouse gases with new regulations and taxes is also unhelpful. A similar proposal “would have imposed a $4.8 trillion hit to GDP by 2030 and nearly 1 million jobs lost in certain years.” And it would raise prices at the pump.

Renewable Fuels Mandates and Fuel Economy Standards.

Imposing mandates for the use of renewable energy sources has already proved a failure. For example, the ethanol mandate that has made both gasoline and food more expensive.
Fortunately, many liberals seem to be coming around to the common-sense solution: open up America’s vast domestic energy supplies to exploration and extraction. Some liberals have offered lukewarm support for limited offshore drilling. Nevertheless many on the left remain adamantly opposed to opening up ANWR in Alaska, which is estimated to contain ten billion gallons of recoverable oil.

Conservatives push for expanded drilling

While some liberals are now open to domestic energy exploration, many are not, and Congress left for its summer recess without voting on offshore drilling.

Citing recent estimates, Heritage energy expert Ben Lieberman reports that off-limits coastal areas contain “19.1 billion barrels of oil and 83.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—approximately 30 years’ worth of imports from Saudi Arabia and enough natural gas to power America's homes for 17 years. It should also be noted that these initial estimates tend to be low.”

Even though Congress is formally on recess—the lights are off in the House of Representatives and the C-SPAN cameras are off—several hardy conservatives remained in Washington to press for a vote on offshore drilling.

An amateur video of the informal proceedings on the House floor has been posted to Heritage’s Foundry weblog. Heritage’s Rob Bluey reported from the scene that “the debate is going to continue all week on the House floor.” Follow his reporting on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

America Must 'Stand and Deliever' Now in Georgia

Just where do we stop our back sliding on our responsibility to support freedom and Democracy around the world?

We say we will defend other nations that want to be free, but when 'push comes to shove' we take a step back. Just what is it that we are afraid of? Has it all come down to politics or are we just to satisfied with our own circumstance to care what happens to others?

Doesn't the American dream matter anymore? We always say America is the last best chance for others to see the light of freedom, all they have to do fight for freedom and we will come to their aid.

I guess that's just a saying to make us feel good about ourselves. We really don't mean it, as becoming involved in a conflict overseas might threaten us here at home with having to sacrifice some of our way of life, like not being able to board a plane without taking off our new shoes.

Horrors!! Unacceptable! After all we are Americans and we demand to have everything we want and we demand it at anytime we want it. It's our right. It's about me - to hell with others and their petty problems.

That's exactly correct - hundreds of thousands have died to make this possible - but we don't care about them - all we care about is our own little world of greed and possessions.

Maybe we are doing something about these Russian invaders that is below the radar - maybe -but our past record is not good when it comes to standing up to killers and tyrants of late. And you can believe, if the liberal socialists progressive Democrats gain power, these monsters will have free reign. Marxist socialists are all about having power over the individual.

Keep the faith - we can win this battle even though the ground is becoming uneven!


OVER the weekend, photographic proof emerged that the Russians used mur derous Chechen mercenaries to do their dirtiest dirty work in Georgia: The ragtag unit in question is so vicious that, last April, Chechnya's Russian-installed "president" demanded it be disbanded.

War snaps taken by Russian photojournalist Arkady Babchenko have been circulating among intelligence personnel. The shots reveal far more to the West than Babchenko realized. Amid photos of the horrors of war, grateful South Ossetians and triumphant Russian troops, one series leapt out at me as a former intel officer: Bearded irregulars riding atop Russian-built armored vehicles (old BMPs, for the military-hardware buffs). The vehicles had been splashed with white lettering. What did the scrawls announce to the world? These thugs proudly proclaimed that they're Chechens serving in the Vostok ("East") Battalion commanded by Badrudin Yamadaev - who shares a reputation for gangland violence with his brother, Ruslan.

Last spring, mercenaries from the Vostok Battalion indulged in a bloody gangland shoot-'em-up in the city of Gudermes, near their home turf. The mafia-on-steroids brutality was too much even for the Chechens (which is quite a standard). The province's puppet president publicly begged the Kremlin and its generals to disband the unit. The generals refused.

At the time, their stubborn support for the outlaw Yamadaev Brothers seemed baffling - a quiet Chechnya was a longstanding Russian goal. But last week, it all made sense: Putin's military, which had been planning the invasion of Georgia for many months, intended to unleash the worst criminals in uniform it had on the Georgian people. Why?

Two reasons:

First, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wants the Georgians to /suffer/ - to /really/ suffer. And Chechens are the world's subject-matter experts in atrocities.

Second, this gives the Russian army itself a veil of deniability: When Putin's spokesmen insist that the Russian military isn't involved in the worst savagery in Georgia, they're technically telling the truth (if we don't count air attacks and artillery bombardments), since the Chechen thugs on their payroll are on the job. But why would those Chechens paint up their armored vehicles to tell the world they'd arrived in Georgia?

First, they're /proud/ of their fearsome reputation. Second, they didn't want Russian regulars to mistake them for the enemy and pull the trigger. The result? Contrary to Russian claims that "volunteers" from the North Caucasus rushed in to aid their South Ossetian brethren, we now have /proof/ that the Kremlin sent in hired guns.

It's no accident that Putin's code-name for this operation is "Scorched Earth." And there's plenty else to be outraged about - not all of it Russia's fault. Images of dead and disfigured Georgian soldiers show them wearing US-surplus canteens, boots and helmets, or equipped with antique US anti-tank weapons. After the Georgians did all their tiny country could to support us in Iraq, all we gave them was cast-off junk - thanks to Congress and the State Department.

Our military was only allowed to train the Georgians for peacekeeping, anti-terrorism and small-unit tactics. The Georgians gave us all they had, and we gave them crap. The Bush administration should hang its wobbly head in shame.

Meanwhile, Chechen rapists and butchers are celebrating - and picking over the US gear the Russians captured and didn't even want.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army intelligence officer and the author of the new book "Looking for Trouble."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Liberal Democrats Openly Accept Energy Blackmail

If anyone is awake these days while looking at what is happening in congress, it isn't difficult to see who is standing in the way of America becoming energy independent. Liberal Socialist Progressive Democrats.

Nancy Pelosi lead the Democrats out of congress on recess before voting on the energy bill that would have opened new areas expanding our energy resources. She refuses to allow a vote as she knows that all, or all most all of the Republicans will vote for as well as a significant number of Democrats.

The bottom line is the bill would pass which would be a defeat for Marxist liberals Democrats and that is unacceptable. The liberal socialist contingent in our congress doesn't care what happens to the country or it's people as long as they gain and retain power to control us.

I have been down this road many times but I guess it can't be overstated, the Marxist socialists in our government, along with weak moraless Republicans, want to establish a new government based on a big government that will control everything we do, say or think. Marxist socialism.

By not allowing us to open our abundant lands to new resources of energy, Pelosi and her Marxist minions believe the country will suffer economic collapse to such a degree the people will do anything to regain their former lives which, the liberals believe, includes voting them into office in mass. This, of course, can happen if we allow the liberal Democrats to succeed.

Oil effects everything in our lives from food to transportation to jobs. Everything!! With a sound energy policy that opens all avenues to new and old resources of energy to development, our economy and our country will rebound to heights while the socialist, wishing us reduced to 'third world' status, will be defeated.

We need the energy plan to start now and I mean right now - not next week of next year. If the liberal socialist progressives gain power in November, we are in for hard times. We can not allow this to happen for our selves or our offspring as this will effect us for decades to come.

Again, keep the faith in the American dream - never believe it's too late to join the battle for our existence as a free nation. You must believe we are at risk of losing it all in our life time.

Answering Russia

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Russia's bloody invasion of a smaller neighbor whose territory includes a vital oil pipeline has left many people wondering: What can we do? Plenty, it turns out — including some things right here at home.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced he was halting Russia's air and ground attack on Georgia, but someone forgot to tell Russia's military. It has continued its brutal assault, with news reports that Russian troops have started looting, raping and savagely attacking Georgian civilians.

It's clear former President Vladimir Putin, not his handpicked successor Medvedev, is calling the shots. Putin's made no secret of the fact that he wants to depose Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and set up a pliant puppet regime, giving him de facto control of Georgia's oil pipeline — the main conduit to Europe from the oil-rich Caspian Sea that's not on Russian soil.

Why would Russia do this? As we note elsewhere on this page, roughly a quarter of Europe's energy comes from Russia. This tightens Putin's stranglehold on Europe's economy and gives him all the diplomatic leverage he needs. If you don't believe this, look at the EU's weak response to the crisis in Georgia. It "brokered" a cease-fire that is essentially a total capitulation by Georgia to Russian demands. Appeasement is back.

After Putin's bullying, Europe is less likely to object to Russia's profiteering from Iran's nuclear program, or Russia's brutal war against Chechnyan separatists, or its intimidation of Eastern European countries. Europe has no sticks for Russia — only carrots.

That's not the case with the U.S. Start with President Bush's pledge Wednesday to support Georgia, an ally in the war on terror, and send it aid. Bush warned Russia the U.S. might not support its "aspirations" to join diplomatic, economic and security groups. We've already canceled joint NATO-Russia naval exercises, scheduled for this weekend. And we can turn the G-8 nations back into the G-7.

Russia has shown that it doesn't deserve to be counted among democratic, economically free nations. But there's more we can do:

• Russia wants badly to join the World Trade Organization. Put that on a back burner until it starts behaving.

• Russia is scheduled to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics at the resort of Sochi, 15 miles from Abkhazia, the other Georgian province that Russia just invaded. Cancel it, and give it to a more deserving host.

• We're building a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. We should accelerate our plans, and broaden participation.

• Russia took in about $27 billion in foreign investment last year. We should limit capital flows to make sure Western capital and technology aren't used to build Russia's military. In short, if Russia wants a Cold War, we can give them one.

One other thing: Congress should, as a matter of national security, pass a broad energy bill that includes drilling on all federal lands and offshore, plus the development of alternative energy.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats deny the U.S. badly needed sources of new energy, they make America more vulnerable to energy blackmail. Russia's gambit should remind us that energy policy is too important to be held hostage to special interests and domestic politics.

We have huge amounts of potential energy to be developed — at least 130 billion barrels of conventional oil reserves, 800 billion more in oil shale, massive supplies of natural gas, coal, burgeoning solar and wind technologies, and the technological ability to build the world's most efficient and safe nuclear power plants.

Yet today, Americans get nearly 70% of their oil from overseas, making us vulnerable to blackmail by the likes of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iran and now even Russia. Developing the full range of energy sources we have available may be the single most effective way of ensuring our nation's security.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Global Warming : A World Gone Crazy

I just don't know how so many people can deny reality but willing and completely accepting the premise that man is causing a 1500 year, .07 degree rinse in surface temperature. Even on the face of hard science that the actual temperature this year is showing a decrease from last year.

How is this possible? How can so many people and entire governments be taken in by such insanity? Are we just sheep following the insane piper, Al Gore?

A Heritage Foundation Report

“Seven Western states are joining four Canadian provinces to propose a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions through use of a ‘cap and trade’ system,” the AP reports. In a time of economic sluggishness, imposing a plan premised on limiting economic activity may not improve matters.

Hydrogen Research Promising for Future Fuel

This new research looks very promising. The article is a little technical but you can get the gist of it without having to understand the science behind the development.

Keep the faith - America is on the field of battle!

New Catalyst Marks Major Step in the March Toward Hydrogen Fuel
/Science/ 1 August 2008:

*Robert F. Service*

Climate change concerns, high gas prices, and a good deal of international friction would fade if scientists could learn a trick every houseplant knows: how to absorb sunlight and store its energy in chemical bonds.

What's needed are catalysts capable of taking electricity and using it to split water to generate hydrogen gas, a clean fuel. Unfortunately, the catalysts discovered so far work under harsh chemical conditions, and the best ones are made from platinum, a rare and expensive metal. No more.

This week, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge led by chemist Daniel Nocera report online in /Science/ a new water-splitting catalyst that works under environmentally friendly conditions. More important, it's made from cobalt and phosphorus, fairly cheap and abundant elements. The new catalyst needs improvements before it can solve the world's energy problems, but several outside researchers say it's a crucial development.

"This is a great result," says John Turner, an electrochemist and water-splitting expert at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Thomas Moore, a chemist at Arizona State University in Tempe, goes further. "It's a big-to-giant step" in the direction of powering industrial societies with renewable fuels, he says. "I'd say it's a breakthrough."

Meanwhile, other groups report related advances--a cheap plastic fuel cell catalyst that converts hydrogen to electricity, and a solid oxide fuel cell catalyst that operates at lower temperatures--that affect another vital component of any future solar hydrogen system.

English chemists first used electricity to split water more than 200 years ago. The reaction requires two separate catalytic steps. The first, the positively charged electrode, or anode, swipes electrons from hydrogen atoms in water molecules. The result is that protons (hydrogen atoms minus their electrons) break away from their oxygen atoms. The anode catalyst then grabs two oxygen atoms and welds them together to make O_2 . Meanwhile, the free protons drift through the solution to the negatively charged electrode, or cathode, where they hook up with electrons to make molecular hydrogen (H_2 ). Water power.* Cobalt-phosphorus catalyst opens the way to using sunlight to extract hydrogen from water.


The hard part is finding catalysts that can orchestrate this dance of electrons and protons. The anode, which links oxygens together, has been a particularly difficult challenge. Platinum works but is too expensive and rare to be viable on an industrial scale. "If we are going to use solar energy in a direct conversion process, we need to cover large areas," Turner says. "That makes a low-cost catalyst a must." Other metals and metal oxides can do the job but not at a neutral pH--another key to keeping costs down.

In 2004, Nocera's team reported in the /Journal of the American Chemical Society/ a cobalt-based catalyst that did the reverse reaction, catalyzing the production of water from O_2 , protons, and electrons. "That told us cobalt could manage multielectron and proton-coupled reactions," Nocera says.

Unfortunately, cobalt is useless as a standalone water-splitting anode because it dissolves in water. Nocera and his Ph.D. student Matthew Kanan knew they couldn't get over this hurdle. So they went around it instead. For their anode, they started with a stable electrode material known as indium tin oxide (ITO).

They then placed their anode in a beaker of water, which they spiked with cobalt (Co^2+ ) and potassium phosphate. When they flipped on the current, this created a positive charge in the ITO. Kanan and Nocera believe this initially pulls electrons from the Co^2+ , turning it first to Co^3+ , which pairs up with negatively charged phosphate ions and precipitates out of solution, forming a film of rocklike cobalt phosphate atop the ITO. Another electron is yanked from the Co^3+ in the film to make Co^4+ , although the mechanism has not yet been nailed down.

The film forms the critical water-splitting catalyst. As it does so, it swipes electrons from hydrogen atoms in water and then grabs hold of lone oxygen atoms and welds them together. In the process, the Co^4+ returns to Co^2+ and again dissolves into the water, and the cycle is repeated.The catalyst isn't perfect. It still requires excess electricity to start the water-splitting reaction, energy that isn't recovered and stored in the fuel. And for now, the catalyst can accept only low levels of electrical current.

Nocera says he's hopeful that both problems can be solved, and because the catalysts are so easy to make, he expects progress will be swift. Further work is also needed to reduce the cost of cathodes and to link the electrodes to solar cells to provide clean electricity. A final big push will be to see if the catalyst or others like it can operate in seawater.

If so, future societies could use sunlight to generate hydrogen from seawater and then pipe it to large banks of fuel cells on shore that could convert it into electricity and fresh water, thereby using the sun and oceans to fill two of the world's greatest needs

Saturday, August 16, 2008

America Means Freedom for All - But Are We Committed to Freedom for All

What an outrage! America on the side lines again - what happened to our pride? Where is the men and women that will stand up and say " we won't tolerate this attack on one of our allies that is a free nation". But it seems that it is always easier to abandon our friends than to take the responsibility for our own words and philosophies. How did we get to this point?

I don't have the right words to express my disappointment and frustration in how my country is turning it's back on all of the basic fundamentals of freedom and Democracy. How our own government harbors Marxist socialists and pawns them off as senators and representatives of the people - upholders of our sacred constitution. Here again, are the people rising up to protest these monsters in our congress?

Witness the house of representatives refusing to vote on the energy bill - Democrats. socialists, Nancy Pelosi, want the country to disintegrate into kos to gain votes in the fall. Do they care that thousands of jobs that are being lost and savings accounts are running on empty? Hell no! Remember- it's all about gaining power - the people are only puppets to be manipulated.

I never thought we would come to this place in time where, we as Americans, didn't care who or what we stand for. We seem to lost our way.

Ralph Peters does a great job here, as always, pointing out our responsibilities to the country and the free world. We do have these responsibilities as the only real 'super power' in the world. It is imperative the we demonstrate to the world that we are still the best chance for freedom that exists for anyone that wants to be free.

Right now we are a disgrace and it's not all the governments fault. It really falls mostly on the us, the people that supposedly have the power to tell the government what to do. Apparently we just don't care enough or we are just to ignorant of past our history.

Keep the faith, we have to fight the good fight every day to make things happen for our country.

August 12, 2008 --

IT'S impossible to overstate the importance of what's unfolding as we watch. Russia's invasion of Georgia - a calculated, unprovoked aggression - is a crisis that may have more important strategic implications than Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

We're seeing the emergence of a rogue military power with a nuclear arsenal.
The response of our own government has been pathetic - and our media's uncritical acceptance of Moscow's version of events is infuriating.

LATEST NEWS: Russia Calls for Halt in Action

This is the "new" Russia announcing - in blood - that it won't tolerate freedom and self-determination along its borders. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is putting it bluntly: Today, Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine (and the Baltic states had better pay attention).

Georgia's affiliation with the European Union, its status as a would-be NATO member, its working democracy - none of it deterred Putin.

Nor does Putin's ambition stop with the former Soviet territories. His air force has been trying (unsuccessfully) to hit the new gas pipeline running from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. The Kremlin is telling Europe: We not only have the power to turn off Siberian gas, we can turn off every tap in the region, any time we choose.

Let's be clear: For all that US commentators and diplomats are still chattering about Russia's "response" to Georgia's actions, the Kremlin spent months planning and preparing this operation. Any soldier above the grade of private can tell you that there's absolutely no way Moscow could've launched this huge ground, air and sea offensive in an instantaneous "response" to alleged Georgian actions.

As I pointed out Saturday, even to get one armored brigade over the Caucasus Mountains required extensive preparations. Since then, Russia has sent in the equivalent of almost two divisions - not only in South Ossetia, the scene of the original fighting, but also in separatist Abkhazia on the Black Sea coast.

The Russians also managed to arrange the instant appearance of a squadron of warships to blockade Georgia. And they launched hundreds of air strikes against preplanned targets.
Every one of these things required careful preparations. In the words of one US officer, "Just to line up the airlift sorties would've taken weeks."

Working through their mercenaries in South Ossetia, Russia staged brutal provocations against Georgia from late July onward. Last Thursday, Georgia's president finally had to act to defend his own people.

But when the mouse stirred, the cat pounced.

The Russians know that we know this was a setup. But Moscow's Big Lie propagandists still blame Georgia - even as Russian aircraft bomb Georgian homes and Russian troops seize the vital city of Gori in the country's heart.
And Russian troops also grabbed the Georgian city of Zugdidi to the west - invading from Abkhazia on a second axis.

Make no mistake: Moscow intends to dismember Georgia.

This is the most cynical military operation by a "European" power since Moscow invaded Afghanistan in 1979. (Sad to say, President Bush seems as bewildered now as President Jimmy Carter did then.)

This attack's worse, though. Georgia is an independent, functioning democracy tied to the European Union and striving to join NATO. It also has backed our Iraq efforts with 2,000 troops. (We're airlifting them back home.)

This invasion recalls Hitler's march into Czechoslovakia - to protect ethnic Germans, he claimed, just as Putin claims to be protecting Russian citizens - complete BS.

It also resembles Hitler's invasion of Poland - with the difference that, in September '39, European democracies drew the line. (To France's credit, its leaders abandoned their August vacations to call Putin out - only Sen. Barack Obama remains on the beach.)

Yet our media gave Putin the benefit of the doubt.

Not one major news outlet even bothers to take issue with Putin's wild claim that the Georgians were engaged in genocide.

I lack sufficiently powerful words to express my outrage over Russia's bloody cynicism in attacking a small, free people, or to castigate our media for their inane coverage - or to condemn our own government's shameful flight from responsibility.

Just as Moscow has reverted to its old habit of sending in tanks to snuff out freedom, Washington has defaulted to form by abandoning Georgia to the invasion - after encouraging Georgia to stand up to the Kremlin.

Reminds me of 1956, when we encouraged the Hungarians to defy Moscow - then abandoned them.

And of 1991, when we prodded Iraq's Shia to rise up against Saddam - then abandoned them.

We've called Georgia a "friend and ally." Well, honorable men and states stand by their friends and allies. We haven't.

Oh, we sure are giving those Russians a tongue-lashing. I'll bet Putin's just shaking as he faces the awesome verbal rage of Condi Rice. President Bush? He went to a basketball game.

The only decent thing we've done was to reveal, at the UN, that the Russians tried to cut a deal with us to remove Georgia's president.
Shame on us.

Ralph Peters' latest book, "Looking for Trouble," details his own adventures in Georgia.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Americans Must Take a Stand Some Place!

What does it mean to us if we sit on our hands and let George fall to Russian aggression? What will it do to harm our way of life? Why should we care what happens to such a small country that is so far away?

It has looked to the West for help ever since it decided to become independent and a Democracy.

They are about to have their faith in the American dream shoved into a dumpster. What will we do? What will we do when Iran attacks Israel?

Keep the faith.

Author Unknown -

*Russian aggression meets "anticipatory capitulation"posted 08/11/08

Why won't the West help Georgia -- say, by immediately admitting the nation to NATO? How to explain the West's impotent tsk-tsking in the face of this latest Russian aggression?

The answer lies in what I call the "anticipatory capitulation" factor. The greatest terror of postmodern Westerners is "confrontation": to be compelled into situations in which they must actually face down a bully. And, of course, taking a moral stand may sometimes lead to such "confrontations."

So, in anticipation of any course of action that could possibly lead to a "confrontation," postmoderns never take a moral stand. They look into the future, at where such a stand might lead them -- and, terrified by the prospect, they back down /pre-emptively/. Often, they seek some sort of "compromise" with thugs that takes the "confrontation" option off the table.

"Compromise" here means: anticipatory capitulation. This is the policy that Border's Books, Comedy Central, and the entire MSM adopted when contemplating even a /hypothetical/ "confrontation" with Islamists who /might/ become angry about their circulation of those Muhammad cartoons: They capitulated and refused to publish the cartoons, in mere /anticipation/ of a possible showdown.

This is the policy that has, in fact, lay beneath much of Western foreign policy -- as in endless, toothless UN resolutions (when they can even agree on one), and in our State Department's anemic practice of tepidly voicing "concern" about this or that international bully's actions, while evading any "provocative" language of condemnation that might "escalate" to a direct confrontation.

And this is the same policy we see in the "international community's" moral, rhetorical, economic, and (of course) military paralysis in the face of naked Russian aggression in Georgia -- including the U.S.'s muted, invertebrate response. President Bush spoke of his "grave concern about the disproportionate response" by the Russians. In fact, we have U.S. diplomats openly acknowledging that we won't do a damned thing about it.

Bullies, of course, can always smell fear: It's their special talent. They accurately perceive the cowardice that underlies responses of whining, pleading, dithering, and mollycoddling, and know that they will confront no barriers on the paths of aggression.

One could make a very good argument that the war in Iraq was the result of the West's long history of accommodating tyrannical bullies generally, and Saddam Hussein in particular. Consider the years and years of empty rhetoric and vacuous UN resolutions that had followed Saddam's flagrant defiance of international demands. Based on that history, Saddam no doubt calculated that, despite tough talk, we would /never/ respond with force. He miscalculated and continued to thumb his nose right up until the invasion -- but who gave him good reason to do so? How has the West responded to the threat of North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons?

With "anticipatory capitulation." The lone exception to this cowardly policy has been -- so far, and somewhat sporadically -- Israel (as Syria learned recently). Now, we're giving Vladimir Putin similar signals that his invasion of a province in neighboring Georgia will have absolutely no downside for him. The West will just sit on its hands, avoiding even the "provocation" of using "inflammatory rhetoric" to condemn him. This collective cowardice gives his tanks a bright green light to thunder down the highways of the rest of Georgia, unopposed , annexing the nation back into a new Russian empire. Where next? The Ukraine? I think you can bank on it -- or count on the Ukraine to engage in its own "anticipatory capitulation," acceding to Russian demands since it now realizes that, as in Georgia, no Western allies will stand by its side. And where after that? Just about anywhere else Putin wants to dispatch them. Who will stand up to him? The French?Doesn't this scenario sound familiar? Remember the international response to Hitler's early aggressions in the run-up to World War II? Europe sat on its collective hands while he annexed first one neighbor, then another. Well, who gave him grounds to believe he could get away with it?I'll have more to say about "the politics of 'anticipatory calculation'" in the future.*UPDATE* -

- Uh oh. Insta-lanche!!! UPDATE #2* -- Hate to say "I told you so," but the electrons of this post had no sooner settled on the Web page than news comes of Russia invading the rest of Georgia. So much for Russia's lame excuse that its invasion was only in response to Georgian "aggression" against its two breakaway provinces. Thanks to the policy of "anticipatory capitulation" in the West, push has come to shove. This is about conquest, folks. The question: What will the West now do about it? (So far, it hasn't dared even to pass a UN resolution.)

*UPDATE #3* -- Even these former Clinton officials have a more realistic perspective, and advocate a tougher position against Russia, than we have seen to date from the current administration. (And believe me, I'm no fan of the Clintonistas.)

*UPDATE #4* -- Refreshingly, John McCain is distinguishing himself by taking a much harder line on the Russian aggression than is the Bush administration or Obama: John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, on Monday upstaged George W. Bush’s administration over the Georgia crisis with his strongest statement so far calling on the US and its allies to come together in "universal condemnation of Russian aggression". . . ."Russia’s aggression against Georgia is both a matter of urgent moral and strategic importance to the United States," said Mr. McCain. "The implications go beyond their threat to . . .  a democratic Georgia. Russia is using violence against Georgia, in part, to intimidate other neighbors such as Ukraine, for choosing to associate with the West.

"Mr. McCain’s statement -- his third since the crisis began -- stood in clear contrast on Monday to the relatively low-key response of the Bush administration and the Obama campaign. . . .Mr. McCain’s response, which included recommended policy actions for the administration, has also enabled his campaign to restate its support for a "league of democracies," which would exclude Russia and include countries such as Georgia. Mr. McCain pointed out at the weekend that Russia’s membership of the United Nations Security Council had prevented that body from taking any "meaningful action.

"Mr. McCain also called on the Bush administration to redouble its efforts to offer Georgia and Ukraine a membership action plan to join NATO.