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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Passing Thoughts In Life's Rearview Mirror: The YEAR That Was

No, we didn't lose our column at Common Conservative. That will be up later tonight in time for tomorrow. No, this was a column idea that Marcie and I had for the 16 January column we were working on. But relevance is key in our columns, and 16 days late with this analysis doesn't equate to being very relevant. So, we decided to make this a special Passing Thoughts column for our regular readers.

2006 was indeed a year with joy and sorrow; good news and bad. And this is our year-end round up of the year's most compelling stories that drifted through the news and across the blogs. They are in no particular order, but their relevance to the world over this past year makes them all equally important.

Number One--Ariel Sharon Steps Down; Ehud Olmert Steps In

Why is this a significant story? Because we saw the loss of a great man who was Israel's last good leader. Ariel Sharon had a stroke in January, and Ehud Olmert stepped in as the interim prime minister. When Sharon slipped into a coma, Olmert was installed as the new, reigning prime minister. And while we all had high hopes that he would maintain a firm stance for Israel on the world stage, we were soon disappointed. A moderate by nature, Olmert began making advances for peace in Israel--he was one of the proponents for a withdrawal from Gaza; a prospect that Sharon wasn't happy with but conceded to nonetheless. What Olmert didn't get, and still doesn't to this day, is that you can't make peace with a tiger that wants to eat you. That is what the Palestinians want, and they proved that by ratcheting up their attacks once Israel withdrew. But his biggest test came when Hezbollah made an incursion into Israel, and snatched an IDF soldier. The war began, but Olmert never waged it to win. A fact that was more than evident with how his soldiers revolted when the cease-fire was put into place at the behest of the UN. To this day, Hezbollah still lobs rockets into Israel, and the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon does nothing to stop it. Olmert had a lot of promise taking over for Sharon, and the Israeli people are definitely not impressed with this man's leadership.

Number Two--Reutersgate-All The News That Is Fit To Fake

Reuters was caught red-handed peddling phony photos of the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict. They were caught by numerous bloggers, but it was Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs that led the charge of the blogger brigades.And at first this scandal looked like one, little contrived image--extra smoke being photo-shopped into a a stock photo--but it was anything but that as more and more images were disseminated by bloggers. Buildings being cut-and-pasted into other images, different angles of similar pictures to make people think that the devestation in Labanon was worse than what it really was. There were also a number of people used in several photos, including the infamous Green Helmet Guy who admitted to staging photos of the rescue work. Zombie put together/li> a comprehensive report on it, detailing the sort of fraud. Once caught, Reuters removed ALL of the photos from their site, and from cached image galleries through Google and Yahoo, but the evidence was there that they had no problem faking photos to push an agenda.

Number Three--Iran And North Korea: Moving In Time Together

No year would be complete without having a couple of nutter regimes barreling headlong towards the aquisition of nuclear weapons, and both nations were taking their steps this year. Both executed similar overtures this year: They both conducted missile tests, though North Korea's was a complete failure; Both tested new military hardware. North Korea conducted a nuclear test that's hardly worth mentioning for the sheer fact that it took the nuclear watchdog agencies at least a week to verify it, and when they did they concluded it was about one megaton; a far cry from the fifteen-to-twenty megaton detonation that Russia claimed it was. Iran announced to the world that it had enriched uranium, and planned on bringing 3000 more centrifuges on line by summer of 2007 to continue it's enrichment program. Kim Jong-Il returned to the six nation talks making demands. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thumbed his nose at the weak UN sanctions slapped on Iran, and continued his call for the destruction of Israel. If it weren't for the comedy of errors between these two nuts, there wouldn't have been as many laughs this year. But we shouldn't forget how dangerous these two regimes can be. China is considering a possible regime change in North Korea because they clearly can't control their little doggy, and Japan is moving towards remilitarizing. Nations in the Middle East are uneasy as Iran quietly continues it's work on nuclear weapons. And all the while, the world holds it's breath, hoping that someone will do something to stop both nations.

Number Four--Dems Win The Midterms; GOP Goes Back To The Drawing Board

To say that we were elated at the Dem win in November would be a lie. We did not want to see them take power back in Congress, but the GOP made mistakes that the voters held them accountable for. What went wrong? The voters did not like the fact that the GOP strayed from its conservative roots, spent like drunken sailors in port for the first night of shore leave, failed to get comprehensive immigration reform passed, and failed to fulfill a single promise made in 2004. Hugh Hewitt warned about such tomfoolery on the part of the GOP in his book Painting the Map Red, and disaster followed their dawdling as he predicted it would. Also losing out in this last election was Donald Rumsfeld, who filed his resignation with the president after the midterm debacle, and Bob Gates was brought in to replace the embattled defense secretary. But if everyone was looking for change from the Democrats, they had to be saddened to see the same mistakes being made by the new party in power. Nancy Pelosi was slapped down twice--once over her backing of John Murtha for Majority Leader in the House (her caucus opted for Steny Hoyer, instead), and over Alcee Hastings being considered to take over the House Intelligence Committee chairmanship (which booted Jane Harman out of the seat, who should be there as her right of ascension). Hastings was jettisoned when it became apparent he was bringing to much controversy, and she settled on Silvestre Reyes, who quickly proved how inept he was in an interview with Congressional Quaterly's Jeff Stein. Furthermore, the Democrats are working to break up the immigration bill passed last session--including the removal of funding for the border fence--and "streamlining" the process for illegal aliens to gain US citizenship. As painful as it may be for the country to swallow, the power changes hands, but nothing really changes in Congress.

Number Five--The Year Of Perpetual Outrage

That's what Michelle Malkin called 2006 as we saw the "religion of peace" come unglued. It started with the Danish cartoon fiasco where a number of Danish cartoonists were approached to draw cartoons reflecting their opinion of Islam. Muslims around the world rioted. Embassies were torched, the cartoonists were threatened with death, and the UN demanded that the Danes be more tolerant of a "peaceful" religion. Obviously the UN wasn't paying too much attention to the news, and the amount of people injured or killed during these riots. Over 800 people were injured, and 130 people were killed, among them Father Andrea Santoro who was gunned down in Turkey by a teenage boy upset over the cartoons. But the violence didn't stop there. In Pakistan, they burned down fast-food restaurants, and in Jakarta they assaulted the offices of Playboy magazine. Pope Benedict XVI was threatened, as well, and all because he referenced a conversation from the 14th Century about holy wars and jihad. They burned him in effigy, and called for his head to be separated from his shoulders. Nice, and tolerant, huh? Yes, so tolerant that Christian churches were torched in Gaza City, and a nun--Sister Leonella Sgorbati--was murdered; shot in the back by a Somali man. All of this closed out the year with six imams being removed from a flight for their suspicious behavior. And while no rioting ensued, they have filed a lawsuit against the airline for racially profiling them. As we stated then, this event seemed more like it was staged than anything else. But their rage continues to seethe, making it harder and harder for people to buy the "religion of peace" line peddled by the apologists.

Those were the big stories of 2006, as we saw them. There are, of course, no shortage in events that tops other people's lists, and I am sure the blogosphere will be full of recaps like this. For a fairly comprehensive list of ALL the events of 2006, you can check out Wikipedia's entry for the year 2006, which also includes a list of those who passed onto their eternal reward this year. One thing is certain: Next year is already shaping up to be a humdinger of a year as all eyes turn to the Middle East, and all minds question what will happen next in our war on terror.

Marcie & Thomas


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