The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Archive for January 12th, 2008

CIA Interrogation Tape Destruction: Another Contrived Scandal

Posted by iusbvision on January 12, 2008

It was all over the news when last semester ended. The CIA was destroying “evidence” of interrogations done on high intelligence value prisoners. The media was having a field day; the Democrats made statements saying that the techniques were torture and pretended as if this was all new to them. Democrats started asking for investigations and accusations of cover-up were being thrown around.

Nearly the entire cadre of the leadership of the Democratic Party tried to make political hey out of this story. Ted Kennedy said that the tapes were destroyed as a reaction to the 2006 Democratic victory in the Congress and made accusations that this was the next Watergate.

Curiously, the story vanished from the air not to be heard from again.

So what happened? This story seemed too good to be true for leftists bent on preventing progress on the war.

It started to get out that; believe it or not, the CIA destroys stuff all the time as keeping secrets is their job.  The tapes that were destroyed only had value because they could be used to see what interrogation techniques worked and to make sure that nothing was missed in the questioning. These are prisoners of a war, not people being processed for crimes in civilian courts, so the evidentiary value of the tapes is nil and the identities of the interrogating agents must be kept secret even from members of Congress who would leak the names for political gain. Keeping those agents protected is a matter of national security.

CIA lawyers had approved the destruction of the tapes and many CIA departments have a person who is given the duty of burning materials that can never be released. The media was filled with reports that the CIA burned the tapes in spite of a court order to preserve all interrogation tapes from Guantanamo, but what they often left out was the fact that these interrogations happened in Europe.

The Washington Post dropped the bomb shell on December 9th by reporting that the Democratic Leadership had been briefed and given a tour of the CIA interrogation techniques, including water-boarding, in September of 2002. The leadership who was given oversight included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) and Senators Bob Graham (D-FL) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV).

According to the Post, “Yet long before ‘water boarding’ entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.”

Shortly after leaked reports of water boarding made it in the news in 2005, the Democrats pretended to be shocked, surprised and outraged about it, when the truth was that many in the leadership were very aware of it since 2002.

In fact, according to the Washington Post, after they were given the knowledge of the techniques used, “on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.”

The hypocrisy of the Democratic leadership was now on full display, the outrage was contrived for political gain. The very thing that CIA interrogators feared, that their identities might end up exposed for political gain is now proven to have merit. All of the sudden this story lost its newsworthiness as it began to vanish from the evening news and radio network news broadcasts. It is yet another example of how biased elites in the media and in politics use and abuse national security as a tool for political gain.

Chuck Norton

Posted in Chuck Norton | Leave a Comment »

Are Liberals Ready to Nominate A Black Candidate?

Posted by iusbvision on January 12, 2008

So there I was, watching the election news that Barack Obama had just been declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses. It was a stunning achievement: America’s first African American to win a state primary or caucus that could catapult him into the Presidency.

African Americans had, of course, run for president before, but none, up to now were ever really considered serious candidates to actually win the contest. They were either too polarizing or too narrow in their political appeal to be considered a nominee who could succeed.

Not so with Senator Barack Obama. This is a candidate worthy of the name, not just another pretty face, and certainly not the token of yesteryear to make Democrats feel good about themselves. This guy is for real!

But as I thought about the issue further, it became clear all too soon that there was another question that needed to be asked about the possibility of a black candidate for president. Just what is it that Hillary Clinton is going to do if she continues to lose in the New Hampshire primary and beyond? Will she go negative? Will she trash her competitors, or will she just simply roll over, play dead and support the nominee like the good Democrat that she is?   

These are not questions to be so easily cast off. These are indeed the questions that liberals are going to have to wrestle with and wrestle they most definitely will, like it or not.

You see, if truth be told, Hillary Clinton is not going to play dead for an African American out of party loyalty. Forget the color of his skin, the party affiliation of his heart, or the fact that Barack Obama represents the hopes of so many Americans black and white alike. Forget all of that. Hillary Clinton is indeed the quintessential Hillary Clinton that America has grown to loathe these past wonderful years, and she is not the candidate you would choose in the running for the favorite personality of the year. No, she is most certainly not.

Barack Obama is about to learn what conservatives have known for a generation or more. Hillary Clinton will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and she will in the end flatten him like a pancake in the process. Nay children, Hillary Clinton is not the kind of politician who will roll over for anyone, black or white. If you are in her way, you will pay. That’s reality speaking, not political affiliation.

You see, it is really quite simple when you think about it. Did Hillary ever stand up for those that were victimized by her own husband? Did she ever stand for the oppressed and wounded women that she claims to represent while hubby was groping and exploiting his way toward his next conquest? Do you remember, O black America, what happened to Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Gennifer Flowers, and anyone else who stood in the way of the Clintons before? They were called trailer park trash; they were called liars; they were called every vicious name in the political book by the Clinton attack machine.

And do you really think, O black America, that the Clintons will let an African American stand in their way?  I think not!!  Get ready for Hillary to show America what democrats do with those who stand in their way, minority or not.  Mark my words, folks, you heard it here first, or at least second anyway: Barack Obama is about to get a lesson in hardball liberal politics, while conservatives sit this one out and watch it happen from the sidelines. 

If black America thinks for a moment that Democrats are tolerant, they will get a rude awakening in the next few weeks as to how far that “tolerance” really goes. And they will learn very quickly that it is skin deep indeed. So the question of the hour is not ‘Is America ready for a black President.’ The results from the Iowa caucuses are a resounding “Absolutely yes!”   

Liberal and conservative whites alike have wanted and dreamed it for decades now.  White America has wanted for a generation or more to get the race issue off the table once and for all, to move forward, to get on with the American experiment with this issue behind us. But the question facing liberal democrats in this election is much more appropriate: Are liberals ready to nominate a black candidate?  Not if Hillary Clinton has anything to say about it. Liberal “tolerance” is about to be relegated to the trash heap of history, right where it belongs.

Gerry Rough

Posted in Gerry Rough | Leave a Comment »

Iowa Caucus – Did it really matter?

Posted by iusbvision on January 12, 2008

It is now the weekend after the Iowa caucus. After months of rhetoric, speculation, and polling, all which culminated last Thursday’s victory by the once long-shot Mike Huckabee, the dust has settled, the candidates have moved their entourages away from the bake shops and coffee houses in the Hawkeye state and set their aims at New Hampshire.

(By the way: if you were wondering about the Wyoming primary, it happened on Saturday the 5th. If you blinked, you missed it. And so did the majority of the candidates. Mitt Romney garnered 8 of the 12 delegates, Fred Thompson won 3, and the darkest of all horses in the contest, Duncan Hunter, won one. Romney, Thompson and Hunter were the only GOP candidates to even visit the state prior to the primary.)

So much was said and written about Iowa and just how much meaning one should bestow upon the results there. Candidates poured millions of dollars in campaign advertisements, criss-crossing the state hoping that their message would resonate with Iowans and would compel them to vote. 

The ensuing media circus that preceded the caucus is being called the largest one in the past four presidential election campaigns. Poll after poll, those of us who actually give a hoot about the entire election process were left in a state of complete anticipation and apprehension. After the votes were tallied, we were faced with even more speculation on the meaning behind the Huckabee and Obama victories, and what their successes meant to the Clinton and Romney camps. Both congratulated their respective party’s victors but downplayed the results as merely a first (mis)step, the first battle in the war for the White House. And before the luncheons and pies and late-night lattes even had a chance to cool off, some were even questioning the significance of the Iowa results, if one existed at all.

So, did they mean anything? And the answer is a definite maybe.

It really depends who you ask. For Huckabee, it was a tremendous victory, one that is as conclusive and determining as they come. A few months ago, only a handful of hopeful optimistic supporters gave him a shot at even a third place in Iowa.  The surge that accompanied the Huck-a-Boom grassroots movement translated into a colossal achievement, as his statesman-like oration and composure (qualities honed in his years as a Baptist minister and governor of the state of Arkansas) struck a chord with Iowans who yearn for a change in Washington. But how much of a stretch was it to win Iowa, a state where 80% of those who cast a vote for Huckabee counted themselves as evangelicals’?

That is precisely what critics point out as being Huckabee’s Achylles Heel: his ability to take his message across faith lines and into states considered more ‘secular’ than Iowa. Some pundits even consider him unelectable and called his victory a flash in the pan. But as more and more polls trickle in from South Carolina, Michigan, even California and beyond, the victory in Iowa seems to indicate a tremendous momentum for Huckabee.

However, in his first post-Iowa contest, he is struggling in New Hampshire, where he trails behind Romney and McCain and is tied with none other than Ron Paul in third place. His war chest is not as fat as the other proponents and he will need the endorsement of a major evangelical group in order to receive an injection of much-needed cash.

For Romney, the loss in Iowa is particularly disheartening because of his victory in last summer’s GOP Straw Poll. Two months ago, Romney was the candidate to beat according to all major polls. As McCain surges in New Hampshire, a back-to-back knockout could prove to be devastating to the former Massachusetts governor. He will have to concentrate his entire campaign machine to defeat McCain, and in a state that is night-and-day in comparison to Iowa in terms of welcoming mudslinging ads, his campaigning style might prove to be effective.

Both McCain and Giuliani made no secret that they would be putting all their chips on a New Hampshire victory. Giuliani didn’t even campaign in Iowa, and as of the weekend prior to New Hampshire, the polls show him in fifth place. Even in the event of yet another defeat, the former New York mayor shows no signs of hanging up his gloves, determined to fight until the end. McCain has the spotlight in New Hampshire, leading all the polls despite his poor showing in Iowa and will come out swinging at Romney, his closest rival in the state.

On the democratic side, there were significant lessons learned. If on the GOP side, Huckabee has to prove he can gain the ‘secular’ vote, Barack Obama was faced with an even more daunting task: winning the white vote. After Iowa, a state comprised of 95% whites, that uncertainty has all but dissipated. His victory in Iowa was historic and resonant for a candidate that has downplayed the ‘race card’ and who has instead stuck to discussing the issues. The populist John Edwards finished a respectable second place but was counting heavily on a victory in Iowa to give his money-starved campaign a financial boost. With New Hampshire polls showing Edwards trailing Obama and Clinton by double digits, it remains to be seen whether the second place finish in Iowa will do the job.

No other candidate was more deeply and negatively impacted by the results in Iowa than Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former first lady finished third behind Obama and Edwards and her campaign was left scrambling for answers. Once a virtual shoo-in in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and lauded as the inevitable winner of the dems’ nomination, the senator for New York and former first lady has seen her lead evaporate right before her eyes. She brought the entire Clinton electoral machine to Iowa and betted high on a victory there. Finishing a dismal third and now ceding the lead in the polls in New Hampshire, she could be 0-2 going into Michigan, leaving her campaign in utter disarray.

A poor showing in New Hampshire will leave her constituency wondering what went wrong and if the nomination would even be feasible. Could it be that the cult of personality that surrounds the Clinton name may not be enough after all? Or was it the fact that she arrived by helicopter at many of the events in Iowa – a move that could be interpreted as elitist and haughty rather than presidential by voters? But most important of all, if her message is ignored by middle-America, mostly blue-collar Iowa, and by the East-Coast-Ivy-League-Hamptons-bourgeois New Hampshire, who else is left to woo? The hardcore, MoveOn.org crowd? It was proven highly ineffective in 2004 and I doubt it will work this time around.

Still, it is anybody’s game after Iowa. Trend lines seem to indicate it being the case. Ronald Reagan lost in Iowa and went on to win the nomination and consequently the election. Bill Clinton, a veteran of past Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries is the only candidate ever to lose both states and still win the presidency. So if you ask again if Iowa really means anything, I would suggest that it is all a matter of perception. Iowa is the place where the candidates have their first opportunity to showcase their ability to sway a small number of voters in a very specific part of the country. To the victor goes the spoils, like the campaign momentum to continue on to other, more prominent primaries, and the possibility of raising more funds. Iowa is a test of fire, a thermometer that indicates the fever pitch of any given presidential campaign. And if the 2007 caucus is any indication, we are in for an exciting ride.

Ed Lima

Posted in Campaign 2008, Ed Lima | Leave a Comment »

Online Gaming: The New Addiction

Posted by iusbvision on January 12, 2008

If anyone has been paying much attention to gaming in the past few years, they will notice a large epidemic currently taking place. Online gaming was not always as sophisticated as it is now. Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) gaming, in particular, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPGs) has taken online gaming to a whole new level. The premise behind these games is to immerse the gamer into a new world of fantasy, and allow them to build up a character persona, a reputation and pursue their own goals, dreams and fantasies. Critics of these online games wonder whether they lead to an unnatural addicted escape to a world “better” than reality.

As an avid gamer myself, I’ve played MMOs since the original Everquest. Everquest was a fantasy based game that took place in a medieval world and was released in 1999. Often coined the term “Evercrack” or “Neverrest” by its users, many who played the game ditched real life social contacts to participate in their online gaming community for grouping to fight enemies. This appears harmless at first, but what was once a mild social game became dangerous for those few who ditched real life responsibilities to participate in their online gaming community.

There is an online support system called gamerwidow.com dedicated to those who have loved ones with an addictive problem to these games. A Gamer Widow, according to the site “is a term for those who have a relationship with a Gamer (one who plays video games, be it on a console or on the computer) who pays more attention to the game than to their partner…” One case within the site of an individual addicted to their games describes his situation, “Eventually I could not tear myself away from the screen even to greet family at the door.  My wife started referring to herself as a Video Game Widow. My finances were going down the toilet.” It is clear there are certain individuals who struggle with the capacity to prioritize real life responsibilities over digital ones.

There was always a draw for an individual such as myself to these games. The encapsulation of a social network and community within a realm of fantasy and entertainment is a wonderfully enticing concept. Within this social framework, one can make friends and enemies where the rules and subject matter of the game bring to the table a social structure normally not allowed in real life confrontations. Gamer anonymity even furthers the ability to create social networks and comfort zones. As an individual, one can make “friends” by representing their personality behind an avatar (or character profile) and maintain these relationships with little to no risk of rejection. All players already share their love of the game and their love of games in general, allowing a generalized topic to discuss and grow on.

The reality hits hard, however, when people realize these online relationships rarely if ever come to some kind of tangible fruition.  Almost all, if not all, of my online social relationships established through an online game rarely last longer than a couple months. I had a personal short term stint of online gaming addiction with Everquest, where a few of my good friends were lost until I quit and gave them a phone call with an apology. The realization of the damage these online games caused to my own relationships did not occur until the game was removed as an option from my gaming repertoire.

Now the epidemic branches out to the wide-spread popularity of World of Warcraft who recently reached over 8.5 million subscriptions. According to Wikipedia.org even China has seen the dangers of countless individuals spending a majority of their time contributing to a digital world. “In August of [2005], the government of the People’s Republic of China proposed new rules to curb what they perceived to be social and financial costs brought on by the popularity of games such as World of Warcraft. 

The measure would enforce a time limit on China’s estimated total of 20 million gamers.” Although government regulation is far from what I would suggest as a solution to online gaming addictions, it illustrates the severity of the digital “escape”. Furthermore, Wikipedia also states “Dr. Maressa Orzack, a clinical psychologist at McLean Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts, was interviewed August 8, 2006, stating that of the 6 million subscribers “I’d say that 40 percent of the players are addicted.””

There have also been cases as well of individuals dying from exhaustion after playing days straight on some of these games, locking their children in closets, skipping meals, skipping work and not paying bills. Moderation is the key to enjoying these games without putting harm to social relationships. If one finds themselves in the realm of gaming far more hours than making contact with real life social contacts, perhaps it is wise to shift away for a bit and put a little more work in maintaining those real life relationships. If you find yourself struggling with online gaming addiction, or want to learn more about what it is, you can visit OLGA (On-Line Gamers Anonymous) online at: http://www.olganonboard.org/.

Craig Chamberlin
 

Posted in Craig Chamberlin | 1 Comment »

It’s Not Too Late To Get On The Bandwagon.

Posted by iusbvision on January 12, 2008

You may have missed it over the Christmas break, but our Titans and Lady Titans have made vast improvements over last season. Both the men’s and women’s teams have already eclipsed their win totals from last year.

Most recently, the men  defeated McKendree University of Lebannon, Illinois 93-91 on a three-pointer by Qdar Owens with 6 seconds left. The win, their 12th on the season, places them in third place in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, just three games behind Robert Morris College, who the Titans will play on Feb. 9th. Last year, the Titans finished with an 11-18 record.

The Lady Titans have also been equally successful over the Christmas break. The women have won 7 of their last 9 games including a 63 point beat down of Mt. Marty College and a 36 point victory over the University of Michigan-Dearborn in the Marian College Classic.

Katie Hacker led five Lady Titans with double figures, scoring 21 in the victory over Mt. Marty. Jennifer VanderZanden scored 24 to lead the Lady Titans over UM-Dearborn.

The Lady Titans have won 10 games on the season putting them into third place in the CCAC, just two games back of Olivet Nazarene and St. Xavier whom the women will play on January 19th and February 5th respectively.

It is not too late to jump on the Titan bandwagon. The Titans still have plenty of time to win the conference in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Jarrod Brigham

Posted in Jarrod Brigham | Leave a Comment »