Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kathleen Carroll, you may resign your post. 
UPDATE: Welcome, InstaPundit Readers!!! For more on how the AP has already demonstrated itself willing to lie and conceal in order to protect itself from criticism, see this post here.

I didn't get out in front of the whole Mystery Captain Jamil Hussein story too early, because it's really easy for Americans to screw up Arabic names. Now that the Iraqi Information Ministry has also come on record saying this Captain Hussein does not exist, it's clear that AP has a problem.

But this bogus source is the least of AP's problems.

Kathleen Carroll, a senior VP and executive editor of Associated Press, is now saying she is "satisfied with AP's reporting."

Yes, only two sources will go on record, and one has recanted his testimony, while the other apparently does not exist, and Kathleen Carroll is "satisfied with the AP's reporting."

She is not putting any pressure on her own staff to produce the cop. He shows up to work every day, but this is too tall an order for AP.

She doesn't name the Iraqi stringer who collected the report. No, "she's satisfied with the reporting."

If Kathleen Carroll's name doesn't ring a bell, it should. It was Kathleen Carroll who lept to the defense of the AP's coverage of Green Helmet Guy and the AP's shameful complicity in the Hezbollah exploitation of images of dead Lebanese children:

“It’s hard to imagine how someone sitting in an air-conditioned office or broadcast studio many thousands of miles from the scene can decide what occurred on the ground with any degree of accuracy,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor.

Carroll said in addition to personally speaking with photo editors, “I also know from 30 years of experience in this business that you can’t get competitive journalists to participate in the kind of (staging) experience that is being described.”

The record, of course, shows Carroll to be a fool or a liar.

In the case at hand, Carroll moves the football forward not one iota. She castigates CENTCOM, sure, and stands behind AP's "on the ground reporting." But doesn't bother to grace the reader with enough transparency to identify just who it is that's doing this so-called "reporting."

Carroll completely sidesteps the issue of Hussein's identity. She defends her position by again asserting that AP reporters talked with a police captain who has been reliable in the past - but simply repeating an assertion is not a defense. It is a gross logical error.

Carroll also claims that CENTCOM suggests the AP pays for information and then denies this. This is naive. The AP may not pay for information. But that does not mean that other entities out there don't pay, or otherwise compensate, blackmail bully people into giving information to the AP to suit their own ends.

Carroll is no reader advocate. She has abandoned the journalist's culture of verification and commitment to the truth long ago. She is now simply a crisis management shill for the AP and an easily duped apologist for sloppy or dishonest journalism.

Consider this a vote of no confidence in the AP and in Kathleen Carroll.

Kathleen Carroll, you may resign your post.

Splash, out


UPDATE: More on Carroll here

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nancy Pelosi is becoming a national disgrace 
...not that it's a surprise to me. But after saying the war in Afghanistan is over, and even denying that we're in a war in Iraq, Pelosi now thinks the 9/11 Commission demonstrated that there is, currently, in 2006, no Al Qaeda in Iraq (which may be news to the members of Al Qaeda in Iraq).

Hat tip: Hot Air

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Testy Exchange 
Senator-elect Webb didn't waste any time asking the President for special treatment for his son in Iraq.

Webb, a decorated former Marine officer, hammered Allen and Bush over the unpopular war in Iraq while wearing his son’s old combat boots on the campaign trail. It seems the president may have some lingering resentment.

At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.

Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t.

I should say.

By the way, I'm sure the words "Webb" and "Decorated former Marine officer" will go together quite a bit in the media in the months to come. A lot more often than, say, "Webb" and "Ineffective former Secretary of the Navy."

Funny. Bob Dole was very highly decorated. But the press sure didn't refer to him as a "highly decorated WWII veteran" very much during the 96 campaign coverage.

Now go away 
...or we shall taunt you a second time!

Denis Prager is off base 
Dennis Prager is writing that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not be allowed to swear his oath on a Koran.

There is no constitutional reason Representative Keith Ellison should not take his oath of office on a Koran. I'm curious to see whether Senator Joe Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, took his oath of office on a Tanakh or Torah, rather than a full Old and New Testament Bible.

This is the kind of thinking that makes it embarrassing to be a right wing whackjob.

The problem isn't Ellison's Koran. It's Ellison.

But he won the election.

Then there's the whole "establishment clause" thing.

Deal with it, Dennis.

Splash, out


Vile watchword 
Here's a new term to me:

"Legal pluralism."

Sounds nice, doesn't it?

It's not.

It's going to be a huge threat to the human rights of women and children who live under these alternative justice systems.

And shame on the Telegraph for reporting so uncritically on it.

Our Reporters: Aching for Defeat 
Our reporters are dying to see us lose. They want it so badly, they can almost taste it. Powerline has footage of one CBS loser, interviewing General Abizaid, that the task at hand is no longer one of victory, but of "managing the defeat."

Fortunately, this is news to Abizaid.

But it's not just her: Check out this frightening obtuseness from some of our other reporters, responding to a general explaining that counterinsurgency is not one of just kinetic operations, but involving a full spectrum of political, military, and economic measures, and that our task is not so much to subdue every bad guy in Iraq, but to teach and develop the Iraqi security forces to be able to carry on the fight themselves.

Read on:

General, this is Bob Burns from AP. I'd like to take you to back to your comments about what's happening in Anbar province. When General Zilmer conducted an interview earlier this week to talk about the report, he said that defeating the insurgents is not his mission.

And my question for you is, whether you're talking about Anbar or any other part of Iraq, when did you reach the point in the counterinsurgency fight where you're not fighting to win?

Ces't wha???

Are we even in the same press conference? Of course defeating the insurgent militarily is not the direct job of the officer in charge of training Iraqi forces. Ultimately, it is Iraq's job to secure their country - not ours. This was the case all along, from the earliest days of the war. Since when does recognizing this fact, and expecting the Iraqi security forces to pull their weight while training and resourcing them to do so mean that "we're not fighting to win?"

Fortunately, General Chiarelli explains what ought to be pretty basic to someone who covers this full-time - that in a counterinsurgency fight, the nonkinetic is to the kinetic what three (or more) is to one.

I don't even think Burns understands what "kinetic" means in this context.

More from CNN's Barbara Starr:

General Chiarelli, Barbara Starr from CNN. I wanted to go back to Bob Burns' very first question and your answer. Understanding what you said about economic and political progress being part of winning, nonetheless General Zilmer's comments that it's not the mission of the U.S. military to win kinetically, I'm still confused.

When was that decided? How was that decided? Was that some conclusion that the military came to at some point? Can you shed any light on it? And is it your feeling that the U.S. troops in the field understand that it's not their job at this point to win as troops kinetically against the insurgents?

No, you drooling moron!!!! Chiarelli never said that, and neither did anyone else. What they were saying was that kinetic operations alone would not produce victory. It is still the mission of U.S. forces to close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver. But absent the full-spectrum counterinsurgency operations, the most that can produce is local and temporary success.

Kinetic operations are one leg on a multi-legged stool. Just because a general acknowledges the critical nature of success in the political and economic facets of the insurgency DOES NOT MEAN WE DON'T WANT TO WIN KINETICALLY!!!

How frigging idiotic do you have to be to be a Pentagon reporter????

Splash, out


ABC News: U.S. May Pull Out of Al Anbar 
Thanks to ABC News for leaking operational plans well ahead of time. Not even lip service is paid to the probability that the very fact that we have news reports that the U.S. is considering pulling troops from Al Anbar will force the sheikhs and tribal elders in the region to adjust their risk calculus to account for the possibility that we will - therefore costing us support, aiding our enemies, and making it less likely that such a pullout will be possible. And costing the lives of our Soldiers and Marines for good measure.

In other news, ABC News has promoted a lowly Colonel - not even a commander, to my knowledge, to the level of "Top Marine" in Al Anbar.

"Top Marine????"

No. He's the senior intelligence officer in Al Anbar. He's not the senior maneuver commander, nor even among them.

Thanks to ABC News for not understanding the distinction.

Oh, and ABC News apparently thinks Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has command authorit-tie. He does not.

Faced with that situation in al-Anbar, and the desperate need to control Iraq's capital, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace is considering turning al-Anbar over to Iraqi security forces and moving U.S. troops from there into Baghdad.

That call does not belong to Peter Pace. That decision belongs to Abizaid, who works directly for the SecDef, not for Pace - and to General Casey, who works directly for Abizaid.

I don't want to see us walk away from the fight in Al Anbar in any way. Al Anbar is the biggest cesspool of Al Qaeda types in the world, and we need to be there and stronger than they are.

On the other hand, while they are less of a player in Baghdad, Baghdad is still Ground Zero in the hypermodern, media-centric facet of the war, which may yet prove decisive. The Generals are stating that the main effort is now Baghdad, not Al Anbar, and so we have already seen a movement of troops from Al Anbar to Iraq - including a battalion of Strykers just a few weeks ago.

I am not convinced that Baghdad can be stabilized without first cutting the sunni insurgent elements off from support via Al Anbar and Syria. I'm not convinced that Baghdad can be stabilized while Al Qaeda grows stronger just a few miles up the road, in Fallujah, Ramadi, Hit, Habbaniya, Haditha, and Qaim. Those are the cities along the Rat Trail - the Ho Chih Minh Trail of the war.

But if the war for the will of the people of the United States is the critical fight (it is for Al Qaeda, and they know it), then the more patient anaconda plan - strangle Baghdad's insurgents first, then destroy them - may not be feasible in a politically acceptable time frame.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The L.A. Times account of an airstrike in Ramadi 
continues to collapse.

MORE: "Contrary to media reports ..."

(Hat tip: The great Greyhawk)

...And not this from CENTCOM: "People posing as [Iraqi] government officials frequently do call the media to make statements."

Check out sourcing very carefully.

Democrats: We support the troops ... 
by belittling and insulting them at every turn.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The dorkwads at CNN couldn't connect two dots if you gave them an arc welder and a jar of superglue.

LA Times: A mouthpiece of propaganda and lies 
Patterico makes an overwhelming case.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 
Travelling and taking a few days off blogging. No internet at Mom's apartment, anyway.

Meanwhile, enjoy this great moment in Thanksgiving television:

All my best.

I've so much to be thankful for. I'm overwhelmed every time this great American tradition rolls around.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"A nation is never truly beaten until it sells its women." 
That's got to be the quote of the year.

More along that line here.

"It's Milton Friedman's Fault. I'm glad he's dead" 
Check out the way the ghouls at the Huffington Post -specifically, Jeff Dorchen - eulogize the late economist, Milton Friedman.

The University of Chicago has developed some great thinkers, and two major intellectual embarrassments. How Strauss and Friedman became the Romulus and Remus of a misbegotten neo-Roman Empire is a question for an expert on the mass psychology of fascism. But at least Strauss has had the good manners to be dead for the last thirty-three years. Noting the enviable status of his doppelganger in the Philosophy Department, Milton Friedman has finally come to his senses.

I don't believe in Hades. But I do believe Milton Friedman is being tortured there by demons that resemble what Penn Gillette might look like naked, or even worse. Good lord, I'm sorry about that image. Anyhow, Friedman's lack of self-doubt is infectious enough that, even in death, he makes me certain he's being tortured in a Hades I don't even believe in. Now, that's one evil economist.

If you don't know what he looks like, picture former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan with a sunny disposition, a slight jowl tuck, and a light sprinkling of Retin A. Then picture Penn Gillette naked again. Which one made you sicker?

In addition to proving himself a pathetic, uncharitable human being, his economic argument concerning Hertz is simply incoherent. If Hertz was privately held while its new owners, the Carlyle Group, leveraged the company and drove down income prior to issuing the IPO, who was hurt? Well, the owners of the company. Who ELSE does he think ought to be hurt if a company is mismanaged?

Further, he's an idiot. I'm a middle-class guy. The most money I've ever made was as a lieutenant on active duty. I'm not one of those guys who makes a ton more money in the private sector than I do in the military. I haven't been able to qualify for a single-family home in South Florida on one income, nor do I expect to any time soon. Them's the breaks.

My single largest asset, then, is my stake in mutual funds that pay qualified dividends - just like those Hertz paid to its owners. That cut in taxes on qualified dividends helps ME.

Further, does this idiot think companies SHOULDN'T pay dividends? What on earth do people start companies for? All stock prices are is simply a claim on future dividends. You can buy for the dividends themselves - or simply for the claims.

This fool - who calls private ownership (economic freedom) a "fetish," can't tell the difference between venture capitalism and Enron. (He even says as much.)

Kellogg, Brown and Root also had an IPO the very same day, and a much more well-received one. What do they do? They sell goods and services to Operation Iraqi Bloody Death Rip-off and then don't deliver them. Then, when Dick Cheney is finally spat out of the public sector like a rancid peanut, they'll put him back on the board of directors so he can teleconference his dispeptic gripes from the comfort of his swimming pool full of human blood.

There is a hell. What Jeff Dorchen doesn't know is this: He's already in it.

I wish him a happy Thanksgiving. He needs it more than he knows.

Hat tip: Memeorandum

Friday, November 17, 2006

Message to Ehren Watada 
You may recall the case of Ehren Watada, a U.S. Army active duty lieutenant who refused to deploy with his unit to Iraq because he believes that the war is illegal and immoral.

Apparently, he expects us to look past the fact that the war was already on when he took his commissioning oath, stating that he makes his commitment freely, without any mental reservation, or purpose of evasion, 'so help me God.'

Well, he's got a website, it turns out, called thankyoult.org.

I just wrote him the following message:

I served as an infantry officer in Ramadi during OIF I, from the spring of 2003 to March of 2004. I have held three company and detachment commands.

In my opinion, Ehren Watada's actions are a betrayal of his oath and his duty towards his unit and the men under his charge.

When he refused deployment with weeks left prior to departure, his platoon sergeant had to do double duty and his unit either had to mobilize someone else to go in his place or his platoon went to face the enemy shorthanded.

Ehren Watada (I will not cheapen the title "lieutenant" with his name) either accepted his commission fraudulently, intending to refuse all along as a publicity stunt, or he is a seditious coward with nothing approaching a soldier's honor.

I fully support the Army's prosecution. Any donations ought to go towards adopting the soldiers in his platoon, and compensating the family of the officer now doing Watada's duty, fighting in his place.

Ehren Watada's actions are disgraceful.

Splash, out


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Six Steps to Victory 
Major E.'s ideas for winning the war in Iraq.

Eric Egland seems to be one of those guys who "gets it" when it comes to nonkinetic operations. Military readers should read the whole thing.

Egland's recommendations:

1. Encourage innovation by emphasizing small-scale technological solutions and rejecting peacetime bureaucracy.

Longtime Countercolumn readers will remember a number of posts from the early days of the blog - you know, back when it was interesting and there were a lot more of you - railing against the peacetime bureaucracy. To the Army's credit, they seemed to pull their heads out of their arses around January of 04 on a lot of things, and things did get better. They must get better still. Our Army can be a gazelle when it chooses to be. Or when it's forced to be.

2. Improve pre-deployment training realism and abandon Cold War-era checklists.

He's referring to the ARTEP Training & Evaluation Outlines. It's not that they were bad. They were a terrific institutional tool for standardizing training and doctrine across a global Army - and necessary for ensuring a soldier from Fort Hood could be transferred to Germany and then cross-attached to a unit from Hawaii and still speak the same doctrinal language. This standardization of doctrine was a powerful advantage - magnified by our magnificent corps of professional NCOs, who held the whole thing together at the grass roots level.

The problem wasn't the cold-war era checklists. They were fine. The problem is that as our junior leaders evolved in the crucible of combat, we outgrew them. We developed doctrine on an ad hoc basis that far, far outstrips the ARTEP manuals - many of which haven't been seriously updated since the Clinton era - in quality and detail.

Much of that was captured by the Center for Army Lessons Learned (but not shared well enough between the Army and Marine Corps). Local manuals were developed and gradually accepted and mass-produced. The Camp Doha convoy operations manual - cobbled together from the experiences and ideas gained by combat leaders from OIF I and still in use today, is a terrific example. Junior leaders shared the ideas through the Army AAR process, and more senior soldiers put the ideas together, standardized them, and published them, even ahead of TRADOC.

CENTCOM seems to be getting ahead of TRADOC in developing warfighting doctrine - as is to be expected. TRADOC's task is to take that doctrine, package it, and then unify the Army again on a common warfighting doctrine.

I miss the old manuals, though. I hate having to print out every bleeding page.

Eric wants to abandon the "train to standard, not to time" watchword. I disagree. Combat operations are complicated. The lower the level, the more crap there is to remember, and the less opportunity there is to use checklists, computers, etc. to remember it. Drills must be executed well. You cannot execute them well at combat speed unless you have first executed them a dozen times slowly and correctly. It's no different than training a musician or football team. I am more familiar with training musicians - and at some point, you must rely on motor memory and instinct. There is too much to remember in real time. But you cannot get there without hours of drills. It's ugly and unglamorous, but it's necessary.

According to one soldier in Iraq, his unit spent days going over how to clear a foxhole, something many had already trained to do numerous times in their careers. The problem is that the enemy we face in Iraq is not entrenched in foxholes, but moves fluidly and blends into the civilian population. While clearing a foxhole is an important capability, he acknowledged, "We probably would have been better off taking that time to work on IEDs."

Training requirements for deploying units should be stripped and rebuilt with a focus on the current threat in Iraq and with significant input from the deploying units themselves.

That's not a problem with the doctrine. That's a problem with the judgement of the leaders on the ground. (I'm not familiar with the 'clear foxhole' drill. There's a "clear a bunker drill" and "clear a trenchline" drill.

Clear Trenchline is prohttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.quote.gif
insert blockquotebably a rare occurence in Iraq (Brian Chontosh notwithstanding.) But given the fight in Fallujah, clear a bunker is still a relevant skill, and if I were a deploying infantry company commander, I would drill it. Even if you never clear a bunker, the task exercizes a number of other critical combat skills, such as the ability to synchronize maneuver and supporting fires at the squad and platoon level, the ability to employ smoke, and the squad leader's ability to plan and rehearse his element's role. You also get to practice processing detainees, evacuating wounded, etc., in the same scenario, leading to good multi-echelon training opportunities.

3. Allow local commanders to buy what they need and nationalize the war effort by connecting the American public with the troops and their mission.

Amen. In the early days, we had no way of obtaining something as simple as explosive detection swabs with which to screen detainees for evidence of contact with explosive residue. We had a number of city cops who knew about the swabs (I hadn't known they existed at the time) but no way to quickly obtain them. A simple item, worth its weight in gold.

Same with portable handheld digital cameras. We used privately owned ones. But each infantry company should have at least one good one. They are invaluable for conducting reconnaisance, briefing soldiers on what house to raid, what it looks like, what the back alley looks like, what to look for. They are excellent for the quick documenting of evidence on the ground, to use to ensure that bad guys are kept locked up. But they weren't on the MTOE.

I can't count how many times we were turned down for simple things because "it's not on the MTOE."

Commanders were expected to make do with spartan supply-rooms designed for Cold War fights, well prior to the advent of the digital age - and digital-age troopers.

That attitude was penny wise and pound foolish.

4. Strengthen intelligence sharing between tactical and national levels, and develop a national insurgent database.

Agreed. I'd start with a stylebook for S-2 shops, standardizing the spelling of common Arab names, along with standard spellings for all known tribal names and major family groups in Iraq. A lot of bad guys fall through the cracks because the local unit is searching for the name "al-Duri," while the Regimental S-2 shop lists the guy as "al-Douri."

Simple, but it was actually an important issue in the early days.

5. Take the offensive by reducing predictable patterns on the ground while conducting operations that hunt, rather than chase, the enemy.

Agreed. The temptation at Battalion level and above is to template a standard patrol matrix, and then initiate a compliance-based system for tracking them. This encourages exhausted units to underpatrol and submit false patrol reports when the unit doesn't even leave the gate.

Every patrol should have a purpose and a mission. Eliminate the generic "presence patrol." Commanders should ensure their patrols work together to force the enemy into patterns of his own. For example, a company commander could employ two highly visible patrols to deny the enemy access to two likely ambush or IED sites. But their real purpose isn't to kill the enemy, but to channel him into a third identified likely IED or ambush site. The enemy's likely ambush position on this site is covered ambush of our own, and the enemy's escape routes are covered with direct fire and command detonated mines.

The two high visibility patrols know their role, and work to make the killing patrol more effective.

This is just one example - there are hundreds of variations on a theme. It's up to commanders to work them out. But a compliance-based system won't create commanders who will do that. The temptation to simply 'check the block' is strong and wrong.

The key metric isn't the number of patrols, but the number of armed scalps we take down.

6. Accept the realities of warfare in the media age by decentralizing the sharing of information with both the Iraqi and the American public.


It's ridiculous, for example, to expect small-town newspapers to foot the bill for embedding. It ought to be nearly free, except for payroll costs. The DoD should provide for credentialed media to travel to combat zones on a space-A basis on military cargo and transportation aircraft for free. Housing is negligible. The military should be drawing our reporters out of the Green zone by making it much cheaper to operate in the sticks than out of the Al Rashid Hotel.

Here's Egland: Thus, the Pentagon should abandon its reflexive instinct toward control of information that has led it to seek to ban personal cameras and blogs. Instead, a "unit blogger" approach should be applied across Iraq, with appropriate guidance and training to preserve operational security. Tactical units should each have two members who are trained in public relations and equipped with high-quality cameras and laptops with video editing software, and offered incentives and rewards for effective reporting. They should record unit activities in writing and video, and share them with the American people via sites modeled on wildly successful pro-military websites, such as Blackfive.net and MoveAmericaForward.org.

Also, the embed process that helps journalists visit ground units must be streamlined. The general staff in Baghdad should measure the success of its public affairs effort by how many journos get out on the ground, in contrast to recent reports of the staff making life difficult for proven combat communicators like Michael Yon to embed with units. Yon, a former special operator, does so much to report an authoritative, balanced perspective from Iraq that the generals should instead assign him his own helicopter, and perhaps a limo.

The DoD should provide body armor and kevlar to credentialed media with either a hometown interest in a unit (making embedding feasible for hometown paper freelancers, bloggers, and reporters) or with a history of credible coverage of military affairs without regard to ideology (Vogue magazine would be excluded. But The Nation should be welcome.)

Lastly, the military should help with follow-up medical care to reporters who are injured while embedded with coalition units - provided those injuries are NOT sustained within the Green Zone.

The costs incurred by the military for the few reporters who would be injured is miniscule, amortized across the entire military, compared to the strategic benefits gained by better reporting and a more informed populace.

Splash, out


Best. Photoshop. Contest. 

Concerned about lawsuits? 
My latest article, written for an audience of financial advisors on how to help clients shield their assets to deter marauding lawyers is here.

Have we lost our minds? 
The president, according to the Guardian, wants to commit an additional 20 thousand troops (a reinforced division or so, or about 3 brigades' worth, roughly) in a 'last ditch' effort to win the war.

Any "last ditch" effort will fail. Any offensive which is percieved in the enemy's mind to be a "last ditch" effort carries within it the seeds of its own destruction, because the enemy knows he need only last one more big fight and he is victorious.

The sheikhs will adjust their risk calculus, and will not stick their necks out for the coalition or for democracy in Iraq, knowing that the U.S. has lost its will to fight a protracted battle.

Neither will anyone else. The smart sheikhs will flock to our enemies at the critical time. This is madness.

Counterinsurgencies are difficult. They take time. It's a crockpot, not a microwave. A marathon, not a sprint. It is a contest of wills, more than firearms.

The insurgency in Iraq will not be defeated decisively by force of arms alone. This is because the insurgent has no reason at all to ever risk more than he can afford to lose.

The way to defeat the insurgency is to force THEM into a last ditch effort. For all we know, influencing the elections in the United States was their last ditch effort - their final gasp of strength.

If they recieve an unmistakeable message from Washington that we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will never sell out our allies in Iraq - ever, ever, EVER - that their herculean effort to influence the midterms was for naught, and that both parties in the United States are united in their commitment to prosecute the war, uphold Iraq's fledgeling democracy, and find and kill these bastards where they live, you will see the momentum begin to change.

Not right away. You will still have diehards who don't understand the tectonic tribal shifts happening around them. You will still have people living in a jihadist cocoon. But you will see pragmatic sheikhs jump off the fence to our side. You will see a slow and steady rise in intelligence tips. The enemy will see a gradual decline in recruitment. It will become difficult and increasingly risky for him to raise money within Iraq. His lines of support will lengthen and become more vulnerable. He will slowly be cut off from oxygen - the support of the people.

His collapse will begin slowly. Imperceptively at first. And violence, for a time, will increase, not decrease, as the insurgent is slowly backed into a corner. As he begins to run out of safe houses and room to maneuver, he will be forced to stand and fight more and more. He will be pressured to undertake increasingly foolish operations in order to show off his potency.

That is exactly the corner we want to force him into.

As JFK said:

Let the word go forth from this time and place that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to ensure the survival and success of liberty.

Anything less than a similar commitment in this crucial moment is an embrace of defeat.

The Democrats are already psychologically beaten like so many craven puppies.

Shame on them.

And shame on weak Republicans for buying into it.

Splash, out


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Best. Headline. Ever. 

Thanks, Fox News!!! 
... for turning every major news agency reporter in the world into a walking, talking certified check for $1 million dollars!

Splash, out


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Heeeeere we go again!!! 
National Guard Brigades may see second Iraq tours.

This will be interesting to see, because the Army made the decision NOT to deploy the Brigade headquarters with our infantry battalions. They just wanted the grunts, and didn't want any troublesome National Guard brigadier generals running around making trouble for Regular Army Colonels.

Well, that was problematic, because they wound up sending the Brigade headquarters and support battalions on a separate mission to Afghanistan, without the infantry battalions. They've only recently returned. So while the Infantry battalions of the 53rd Infantry Brigade were one of the first Guard units into Iraq, and we've been home for two and a half years, the HQ company and support battalion troops would be turned right around.

Meanwhile, we have a lot of soldiers who came into the Guard from active duty, and signed on to a 1 or 2 year stabilization policy -- basically exempting them from federal activations for the period. It was part of the deal to get them into the Guard. In order to make up the difference, there will probably be another dose of IRR-mobilizations.

Recruiting and retention figures are still very strong, but the personnel people have a dicey problem to figure out. The Guard is not designed for multiple rotations in short time periods.

From National Guard Bureau Chief LTG Blum:

He said the first units to deploy in the war -- such as the 30th Infantry Brigade from North Carolina, the 76th Infantry Brigade from Indiana, the 53rd Infantry Brigade from Florida and the 39th Infantry Brigade from Arkansas -- would probably be among those first called for a second tour.

"Logic would lead you to go back to the ones that went first, and start going around again," said Blum. "But that's probably not exactly how we'll do it" because the decision will depend partly on what types of units are needed.

Blum also said the Pentagon would no longer break up the brigades and send them to war in smaller units. He said Guard brigades are more effective working as teams.

Well, we said that all along. But, you know, the regular Army has to learn things the hard way.

Splash, out


A Pig in a Blanket: The Democrats Plan to Roll Back the AMT 
...So the Democrats are planning to undertake what will undoubtably be a popular measure: roll back the Alternative Minimum Tax.

This is not exactly good news for Middle America, for reasons I'll get to in a moment. But then again, the Democrats hate middle America.

Don't have time to get too in depth, but here's the gist of it: The Alternative Minimum Tax was created in the late 1960s after a couple of hundred super wealthy individuals, through a combination of tax deductions and shelters, were able to avoid paying any income tax at all. This was obviously not what congress intended, so they created a separate way of calculating income tax, that disregards a number of key exemptions, such as home mortgage interest and dependency deductions, certain municipal bonds (no, they are not all federally tax-free for AMT payers) as well as screwing you on certain kinds of stock options. If you want the technical details, click here. Yes, I wrote the article, way back when. I was young! I needed the money!!!!

At any rate, one of the biggest factors in determining whether taxpayers are subject to the AMT is the size of their home mortgage deduction. All other things being equal, the more house a family has, the more likely they are to pay AMT, and the higher the amount.

Now, stop to think where the highest home prices are? That's right: San Francisco, the California coast, New England, South Florida, and Hawaii. All big blue areas, and reliable Democrat constituencies. Oh, don't forget Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., which is where all these Congressmen live for much of the year. Washington, D.C., will be a huge beneficiary of the tax move.

The Alternative Minimum Tax represents a substantial piece of federal revenue. If the Democrats mean to eliminate the AMT, they will no doubt attempt to make up for the revenue somehow: Most likely by allowing EGGTRA to sunset and raising income taxes across the board - even on the 10% tax bracket that was created by EGGTRA - but also by raising income taxes levied on everyone else, nationwide. Look for an increase in capital gains taxes as well: Long term CG taxes will probably rise from 15% to 20%. Short term CG taxes will match the Clinton-era tax brackets, if not go higher. Annuity companies will make out like bandits.

The result: A massive transfer of the federal tax burden from the coastal areas to the heartland - by perhaps 500 to 700 billion dollars over the next decade by my own back-of-the-envelope calculations. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi's and Hillary Clinton's constituents will make out with a tax savings bonanza. They'll probably get a nice property value boost as well.

Who will pay for it? Middle America, that's who. Every area with more modest home prices. Including Mississippi. But as Charlie Rangel said, "who wants to live in Mississippi?"

Charlie Rangel probably understands what's coming.

Splash, out


Friday, November 10, 2006

Army Stupid 

No greater love ... 
Cpl Jason Dunham, USMC, will receive the Medal of Honor.

Khameini calls US elections "A victory for Iran" 
Well, duh.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday called U.S. President George W. Bush's defeat in congressional elections a victory for Iran.

Bush has accused Iran of trying to make a nuclear bomb, being a state sponsor of terrorism and stoking sectarian conflict in Iraq, all charges Tehran denies.

"This issue (the elections) is not a purely domestic issue for America, but it is the defeat of Bush's hawkish policies in the world," Khamenei said in remarks reported by Iran's student news agency ISNA on Friday.

"Since Washington's hostile and hawkish policies have always been against the Iranian nation, this defeat is actually an obvious victory for the Iranian nation."

In other news, "Al Qaeda gloats over Rumsfeld", and claims they're winning the war.

Since presumptive speaker Nancy ("Top Dhimmi") Pelosi's already psychologically defeated (that wasn't very hard), it's hard to argue with that assessment now.

Splash, out


Troop reaction to Rumsfeld's departure 
Apparently, I'm not the only one who was sorry to see him go.

Via Captain's Quarters:

Half of America and the upper echelons of the US military may be cheering Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation from the post of Defence Secretary, but there was no rejoicing yesterday among those most directly affected by his decisions: the frontline soldiers in Iraq.
Troops expressed little pleasure at the departure of the man responsible for their protracted deployment to a hostile country where 2,839 of their comrades have died.

Indeed, some members of the 101st Airborne Division and other troops approached by The Times as they prepared to fly home from Baghdad airport yesterday expressed concern that Robert Gates, Mr Rumsfeld’s successor, and the Democrat-controlled Congress, might seek to wind down their mission before it was finished.

Mr Rumsfeld “made decisions, he stuck with them and he did what he thought was right, whether people agreed with it, liked it, or not”, Staff Sergeant Frank Notaro said. He insisted that Iraq was better off now than before the war.

Staff Sergeant Michael Howard said: “It’s a blow to the military. He was a good Secretary of Defence. He kept us focused. He kept the leaders focused. It’s going to be hard to fill his shoes.”

But then get this:

But one US army colonel, who did not want to be named, said that such positive views were uncommon in the higher ranks of the US military. “We are the ones closer to the problem. We are the ones who have the broader picture,” he said.

The colonel criticised Mr Rumsfeld for sending too few troops to Iraq, and for refusing to listen to the advice of his generals. He noted that General Eric Shinseki, the former US Army Chief of Staff, was dismissed for demanding more troops, while General John Abizaid, the commander of Central Command, was the sole general to have differed publicly with Mr Rumsfeld and survived.

This Army colonel - Army with a capital "A", thank you, London Times, apparently doesn't have a "broader picture" of much more than his own arse, because if he did, he would have realized that Shinseki was not dismissed. This is a longstanding liberal lie and is easily demonstrated false:

Shinseki was appointed to a four year term as Chief of Staff. He served his full term. Every day of it. His departure was planned long before his remarks to Congress. He was not going to serve longer. Nobody has served longer than a 4-year term as CoS of the Army since General Marshall in WWII.


Of course, the Times of London can't be bothered to check its facts. Instead, they implicitly endorse this Colonel's remarks by characterizing them as "notes" rather than "asserts" or "claims."

And as for troop levels, how about we check with General Abizaid, the CENTCOM Commander, who stated, on September 20, 2006:

“[T]he tension in this mission has always been between how much we do and how much we ask the Iraqis to do. The longer we stay, the more we must ask the Iraqis to do. Putting another 100,000 American troops in Iraq is something that I don’t think would be good for the mission overall, because it would certainly cause Americans to go to the front, [cause] Americans to take responsibility. And we’re at the point in the mission where it’s got to fall upon the Iraqis. They know that; they want responsibility. The key question is having the right balance, and I believe we’re maintaining the right balance.”

General Tommy Franks also falsifies the Colonel's position. From page 333 of his memoir:

“As I concluded my summary of the existing 1003 plan, I noted that we’d trimmed planned force levels from 500,000 troops to around 400,000. But even that was still way too large, I told the secretary.”

And my own point, which I've been trying to hammer in this space for years, is that had we committed 4 to 5 hundred thousand troops in OIF I, we would not have been able to sustain any kind of presence in out years. An insurgency could guarantee victory simply by laying low for a year, maybe two, and waiting until the U.S exhausted itself.

That would have been folly.

Meanwhile, U.S. logistics with a presence that large would become a drain on itself - the ultimate "self-licking ice cream cone." Much of the added force would be diverted to sustaining and securing nothing more than its own point-blank presence. The law of diminishing returns takes effect very quickly at echelons above Brigade.

Further, from Frank's own testimony before Congress in July of 2003 - in the early days of the occupation:

“There has been [the] suggestion that perhaps there should be more troops. And in fact, I can tell you, in the presence of [Secretary Rumsfeld], that if more troops are necessary, this secretary’s going to say ‘yes.’ I mean, we have talked about this on a number of occasions. And when the tactical commanders on the ground determine that they need to raise force levels, then those forces in fact will be provided.”

The newspapers are writing the story as if everybody but Rumsfeld was screaming for more troops in 2003. Nothing could be further from the truth. There were very good reasons to go in with a relatively small footprint - and broadly speaking, Franks and Abizaid were in agreement. The Times of London and the Drive-By-Media (DBM) can't be bothered with reporting context or, you know, checking facts.

Splash, out


Happy Birthday ... 

...To the best bunch of brothers and sisters anybody ever had.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Response to a commenter 
A commenter writes in chastising me for observing that as of 9:13 PM on election day, CNN had made 13 calls for Democrats and not a single call for Republicans.

"Dude, that's 'cause the Republicans were getting shellacked!" he writes.

Umm ... no.

Republicans were not shellacked in every race or in every seat.

Take Florida, alone, for example:

Republicans shellacked Democrats in Florida districts 1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,12,24,12,15,13,14,18,21, and 25. Many of those margins were not even close: Jeff Miller, a Republican, beat Joe Roberts, a Democratic challenger, in Florida District 1 68.6 to 31.4 percent! They couldn't call that one?

Republicans beat Democrats in five congressional races in South Carolina. Some of them by significant margins. Joe Wilson beat Michal Ray Ellisor 63-37 in District 2.

Republicans won two races in Georgia. None of them were called as of my writing - despite Lynn Westmoreland reciving 67.4 percent in Georgia District 3. Was that too close to call until midnight? I don't think so.

Republicans won five House races in North Carolina. Eight races in Delaware. Three in Maryland. Not one of them could have been called with early results?

Hell, Randy Forbes got 76.4 percent of the vote in Virginia District 4, running unopposed. If CNN were willing to call Maryland's Senate race with zero percent of precincts reporting, just why, oh, why couldn't they figure this one out?

And so on up the coast. You get the idea.

Splash, out


Pelosi moving to block Dem hawks 
That's right - if you voted for a moderate Democrat thinking you were going to steer the party in a more moderate direction, you've been pwn3d, bitch.

Nancy Pelosi, the woman who claimed "The war in Afghanistan is over" two years ago, and the woman who says that Iraq is "not a war to be won but a situation to be resolved" is going to push for Alcee Hastings, an impeached judge, to take the lead on the intelligence committee, even though if he weren't a member of Congress his sorry ass couldn't qualify for a TS clearance. (Neither could Nancy Pelosi, thanks to her writing tens of thousands of dollars in bad checks in the early 90s, while still a representative from CA. And if you think that's too old to be relevant, watch these self-righteous blowhards question Robert Gates on Iran Contra, from even earlier.)

Yes, even though it was moderates who, by and large, who took seats from Republican incumbents, they've all lined up to hand power to the nutcase wing of the Democrat party, despite their (professed) disagreement on the most important issue of our time - the importance of lasting, decisive victory over jihadist elements in Iraq.

Good move, you independents.

By the way - I hope you Libertarians enjoy the socialized health care, entitlement benefits, and higher taxes you're going to see after EGTRRA expires.

Way to be true to your principles.

Of course, at even greater fault are the dumbasses like Ted Stevens R-AK, who couldn't figure out that the Bridge to Nowhere, for many Republican lawmakers, leads back home in defeat.

Good riddance.

Maybe the GOP can wake up and bring us some real conservatives.

Splash, out


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld to resign 
I'm sorry to see him go. I still believe he was the best SecDef we've had in recent memory, and easily the strongest member of the Bush cabinet.

That said, if there was ever any doubt, I'm sure the President would rather hold the confirmation hearings under the current Senate, rather than wait for Harry Reid to preside.

Thank you for your service, Mr. Secretary.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's 10 p.m. 
CNN has yet to call a single solitary race for a Republican in any race. Again, was there not a single solitary safe incumbent Republican in the East?

Talent's got a 9 point lead in Missouri 
Still to early to call. Just duly noted that CNN will call for a Democrat in New Jersey when he's 7 points behind with fewer precincts reporting than in Missouri. Jus' sayin, y'all.

Steele still beating Cardin in MD 
He's up 52 to 46. CNN still calling it for Cardin.

Rocky Top 
Corker's still up in TN, but it's close.

Chaffee goes down in Rhode Island 
That's what you get for being a weak-ass Republican. The base simply didn't bother to show up for the useless turd: only 18% of voters were GOP, as opposed to the Donks, who turned out at 38% of the vote. That's right, the Donks managed TWICE the turnout as the GOP.

(They did even worse in MA, though. I just think New England Republicans must be pussies.)

Rhode Island has no business having two senators, anyway.

Lieberman defeats Lamont 
Suck it, libs!!!

Republican Crist is ahead of Democratic Davis, 52-45, with 49% of precincts reporting. Palm Beach and Broward are already in, with a lot of Panhandle counties and North Florida precincts still in play. CNN hasn't called it yet. They could still be waiting on Dade county, which breaks Democrat, even with all the Cubanos. Dade's our most populous county. If Dade comes in, and Davis still doesn't have the votes, and CNN doesn't call for Crist, you know it's rigged.

Splash, out


Republican Crist is ahead of Democratic Davis, 52-45, with 49% of precincts reporting. Palm Beach and Broward are already in, with a lot of Panhandle counties and North Florida precincts still in play. CNN hasn't called it yet. They could still be waiting on Dade county, which breaks Democrat, even with all the Cubanos. Dade's our most populous county. If Dade comes in, and Davis still doesn't have the votes, and CNN doesn't call for Crist, you know it's rigged.

Splash, out


Olde Virginia 
Allen's been beating Webb all night, but it's close.

Republicans outshowed Democrats, 39% to 35%. But independents broke for Webb 53-44. If Allen wins, it's because Mehlman and Rove hit the assassin big "D" Defense at the 5 yard line, and got the Republican base to show up.

Where the fuck were they in PA?

The fucktards at CNN 
have already called Maryland for the Democrat Cardin over Republican Bob Steele.

Steele is up 57 to 41.

Oh, and with only zero. That's right. Zero percent of precincts reporting.

I hope these bastards get soundly humiliated by the actual results.

Splash, out


Foley's only down by 1 point - 49 to 48, in Florida #16.

Some music buddies of mine last night figured out that that middle-aged guy who used to come up and sing "Danny Boy" in a pub up in Delray was actually Foley. Yep, it was. He was pretty good!!!

We shared a chuckle at the title of the song he used to choose.

Splash, out


It's 9:13 pm 
CNN hasn't called a single, solitary race for a Republican yet. Yes, they've called 13 for Democrats. Is not a single Republican in a safe seat?

In fairness to them, Menendez has opened up a small lead.

Corn Don't Grow On Old Rocky Top 
The MSM will call a race for a Democrat in New Jersey when he's down by two points. Bob Corker's got a 9 point lead in Tennessee over Ford as I write this, with 11% of precincts reporting. Ain't nobody calling the race for him yet.

Splash out


Washington Post projects Menendez the winner ... 
Kean's beating him 51-48 as I write this, with 8% of precincts reporting.

Independents are breaking slightly for the Republican.

41% of voters in that race are self-identifying as Democrats, vs. 28% Republicans in that race according to CNN data.

The mainstream media are doing their absolute damnedest to discourage Republican turnout in the West.

The penisheads at CNN 
are projecting the Democrat Menendez the winner in the New Jersey Senate race.

Menendez is down 50-48 as I write this.

Splash, out


The fartsuckers at CBS ... 
already projected Bob Casey (D) defeats incumbent Republican Senator Rick Santorum, with only 39 of 9732 precincts reporting AND THE POLLS STILL OPEN!

Thanks, Katy!

Splash, out


Webb and Allen are wrestling each other off their racehorses crossing the finish line in Virginia!!!!

49.39%. EACH!!!!

(lisp) The suspense is palpable! (/lisp)

It's not the end of the world if Allen comes up short. Webb is not an ideological enemy of God, King and Country, the way Kennedy, Kerry and Pelosi are. Webb's a good old fashioned blue-dog in the Sam Nunn sense. We need more Sam Nunns.

That said, in many cases my objection isn't to a candidate. It's to the knuckleheads the candidate will caucus with.

Splash, out


Yeah, it's been light. My apologies if you're regular. The good news is it's been light because the music's flowing like crazy. Yeah, that does you a lot of good. But I'm happiest when I'm playing lots of music with friends, and a couple of people have met me away from music and commented that I've never seemed so upbeat and happy.

Yeah, I feel pretty good, whatever happens in the election.

Last night I got to play with someone I hardly ever get to play with... My friend George is about 80 years old, and a TERRIFIC fiddler, with a keen sense of time, and who makes everything fun. George and I, and Eamonn Dillon (from John McDermott's band) and a fantastic guitar player visiting from San Jose closed down a pub in Delray beach, doing nothing but playing the traditional jigs and reels, and telling people who requested Fields of Athenrye to f*ck off!!!

Life is too short to play sappy tunes.

Night before that we closed down a pub in North Lauderdale.

Yes, I'm addicted. It's like a drug to me.

Plus, apparently I'm not the same fiddler I was a year ago. Which is a good thing, because hopefully I've been getting better.

'Ere's a pint to yas.

And for God's sake, whoever wins, if you've got the loser's bumper sticker on your car two days after the election, you're wrong. The winners represent all of us, and all of us are represented by the winners.

Yes, that means you, dipshits with the Kerry stickers still on your cars.

Splash, out


Republican resurgence? 
The Iowa Futures Market didn't buy into any Republican resurgence at all.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday Fiddle Blogging 
Here's Scottish fiddler Sarah Jane with a hauntingly beautiful march.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Shown to wild applause at the Army-Air Force game.

Hat tip: The Paratrooper of Love

Not news: Gannett Military Times calls for Rumsfeld to be replaced. 
News: The editorial will come out on Monday, the day prior to the midterm election.

Countercolumn: The editor says the timing of the piece is coincidental.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's election time again ... 
Time for Democrats to do their utmost to cast doubt on the authenticity of military ballots.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Open letter to NY Times reporter Kate Zernicke 
I have a few questions regarding your article on the fallout over the Kerry "stuck in Iraq" gaffe.

1.) Why should it take 18 paragraphs to actually learn what Kerry said?

2.) Why should we have to learn what Gun Toting Liberal thinks about Kerry before learning what it was that Kerry said?

3.) Why do you choose to quote what Kerry WISHES he said, rather than what he actually said? Does the advertising/marketing department at the New York Times charge a premium for that kind of writing?

I'm in PR. Just curious. I didn't know the Times offered that service.

3.) You indirectly Kerry as saying "just ask President Bush." What is your source?

4.) You quote Kerry as saying he never meant to say anything negative about troops. But his Winter Soldier testimony is well known - as is his quote on Meet the Press saying US troops are "terrorizing women and children" "in the dead of night."

Is this not contextualizing? How did you miss this? Kerry has a long history of wrongly implying negative things about US troops. Indeed, he made his public name by doing just that. Is this not relevant background information? Certainly at least as relevant as the words of an obscure blogger at Gun Toting Liberal, no?

Any comments?


Jason Van Steenwyk

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Why we vote 
Because we love to watch idiots like this run to therapy and Canada when they lose again.

The meltdown of a once great reporter is nearly complete 
Sy Hersh is now saying that today's U.S. military is the most violent and murderous in our country's history.

If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.
“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”

But they support the troops.

Hot Air predicts the video he cites, portraying a massacre at a soccer game, will never surface.

Will the New Yorker keep this dinosaur around? I don't see why he's entitled to a job at the premier writer's mag in the country anymore.

Their major advertisers on their Web Page right now are American Express and Sony. I'm sure their marketing departments would love to hear from you. You can call American Express marketing at (800) 297-8378 and opt out of any marketing materials you recieve. Tell them precisely why. Ask to be forwarded to John Hayes, the head of Marketing and Advertising for American Express. (I'm still looking for direct contact info.)

You can write the New Yorker publisher here and let him know what you think of Sy.

Notice Sy Hersh feels he's above getting at the five Ws. THere's no Who. No what. No where. No when. There's nothing any editor or reader could use to verify his story. Journalism without a culture of verification is worse than useless. It's a cancer on the body politic. Hersh has become such a cancer. He cares for nothing except bringing down this Administration. He doesn't care a whit about the truth. He spits in the face of his readers. And he obviously loathes the troops.

I'm returning the favor.

I demand he produce the other three W's. If it happened and Hersh doesn't reveal his information, then he's accessory to murder. If not, then Hersh is nothing more than a liar and propagandist. We ought to be giving this the Rathergate treatment. Let this be a career-ender for Hersh.

Where is the evidence?

Splash, out


Funny how things affect me ... 
I went to dinner last night at a nice French restaurant in the Miracle Mile area of Miami with some family, and it being Halloween, there were a lot of children running from business to business trick-or-treating. The staff at the restauraunt was dressed out in costume - the French waitress was dressed like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and another waitress was dressed like a Turkish harem girl. Then there was the bus boy.

The bus boy was dressed in black pajamas, with a black belt with a dagger in it, and a black bandana tied over his face. He was supposed to be a ninja, but he looked for all the world like Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, working a day job, or something. Definitely had some Jihadist chic going on. He was possibly middle-eastern, anyway. Brownish/black eyes, black hair, brown skin - would have fit in just fine in Ramadi.

I was laughing at myself, because as this guy came around refilling our water glasses, I was getting seriously creeped out. I mean, a major case of the 'get-this-f*cker-away from me's.'

I have enough self-awareness to keep things in perspective, and actually got a kick out of it, in my own perverse way.

I always notice roadside debris to this day. I always notice things that are out of place on the street, and it wasn't so long ago the sound of a trash can lid crashing down on top of a trash bin in an office right outside my door created a heavy, percussive sound and even an overpressure that sent my adrenaline soaring so fast I had to take a break and walk around the building.

Then there's the Fourth of July craziness, but it wasn't so bad last year. It's not the fireworks displays at night - though I never hear them with the same ears I used to. It's the lone bottle rocket that whizzes overhead out of nowhere in the middle of the day and then explodes that's kind of freaky.

No, I'm not debilitated, and no, I don't need years of 'group therapy' to 'process it.' It is what it is, and it's not a negative thing. Mostly, I find it sort of amusing.

Splash, out


Halp!!!! Haaaaaaalp!!!!!! Halp!!!!! 

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