Wednesday, October 31, 2007
404th Military Police Company, 4th Armored Division
This September, I was fortunate to attend the 2nd annual reunion of my old Army unit-the 404th Military Police Company (4th Armored Division). I had served in this unit in Germany from 1966-1968. (It no longer exists.) Everyone who attended (along with their wives) were in their 60s or 70s. We spent a weekend together in Hollywood, Maryland, telling old stories about our good times in Germany (some that cannot be repeated here) and looking over old photos. It was striking to compare our pictures taken back in the 60s, when we were young, strong and in good shape with the way we look now.
Most of us, like me, only served for two or three years, and though the Viet Nam War was in progress, were sent to Germany instead of Viet Nam. A few of the others were career military, and thus, served a tour of duty in Viet Nam, either before or after their tours in Germany.
Because we are veterans and because we served during the Viet Nam era, I think each of us had to be thinking of those our age who had gone to Viet Nam and not returned. I knew two from high school who had been killed in Viet Nam, each before their 21st birthday. (I attended the funeral of one of them while I was home on leave from Germany.) I still visit his grave from time to time.
We also had to be thinking of those who are serving today in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. I know I was. Being back with my old Army buddies could not but reinforce my respect and admiration for those young men and women who are serving in uniform today, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. When I served, we had the draft; one way or another, I was going to be in the military in those days. Today, there is no such compulsion. A young man or woman can choose to serve or not to serve in uniform. All the more reason to respect those who choose to put on the uniform of our country. They are the best our nation has to offer. It sickens me to think of those elements in our society that denigrate those in uniform or question what they do in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was rampant during Viet Nam, less so today, but still present in places such as college campuses. It is a disgrace.
My three-day reunion reinforced my belief that my country, with all its faults, is still the greatest country on earth-largely due to our military.
God bless them all.
I caught the last half of the latest Democrat debate last night, and I guess I arrived just in time. Today, most pundits are saying that Hillary Clinton was a dismal flop. It seems that the lady finally got caught talking out of both sides of her mouth for all to see. When asked by Tim Russert about her views on New York State giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens, she acknowledged that it was not a good idea, but defended Governor Elliot Spitzer's move since George Bush had failed to bring about immigration reform and we need to know who these people are. (Never mind that Bush wanted the immigration bill to pass, but Congress voted it down.)
Hillary's opponents, principally Chris Dodd, Barack Obama and John Edwards, pounced on her for her sidewinding response. It was the moment they had long been waiting for (the Got'cha moment, which Hillary acknowledged had come). She knew she was in trouble. Of course, anyone who has followed Hillary's political career knows that pinning her down on a tough question is like catching a greased pig at the county fair. Those who plan to vote for her could probably care less if she was exposed as a phony. I thought it was great how Dodd in particular, nailed her on that one. It seems Dodd is the only one of the candidates who would deny licenses to illegal aliens. Well, Dodd, who is one of Teddy Kennedy's drinking buddies, certainly should know who should not be behind the wheel of a car.
Hillary also did badly when asked if she would allow release of records from the Clinton Administration that pertained to her own actions while in the White House. She danced all over that one, trying to pass it off to the National Archives.
Other than that, I guess the highlight of the evening was when Dennis Kucinich was outed as one who claims to have seen a UFO. Hello!!!! And this guy is running for president?!!?
After the debate, I watched the MSNBC analysis hosted by Chris Matthews, who proceeded to rip into Hillary and Dennis on the above points. I guess Chris, a Democrat, is supporting someone other than Hillary or Kucinich. (Chris had his chance to editorialize on the war in Iraq when some loon stormed behind him with a banner yelling "Out of Iraq". As the guy was getting the bum's rush, Chris, nonplussed, stated that he agreed with the sentiment.)
I also got a kick out of Chris' interview with Rep Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and some beefy guy who Chris referred to as "The Boss of Philadelphia". The guy sure looked the role-right out of central casting. He didn't seem to appreciate the remark, giving me the eery feeling that Vinnie and Sluggo were going to break Matthews' legs after the interview. Meanwhile, Fattah talked as if he had had a few highballs during the debate.
Matthews also interviewed Bill Richardson (D-NM) and asked him about the Kucinich UFO thing. Of course, Richardson admitted that while he didn't believe in UFOs, he had to support the UFO Museum in Roswell-sort of a Clintonesque answer.
Kudos to Tim Russert for asking the right questions and doing the necessary follow-up, something we are not used to seeing from the Mainstream Media in dealing with Democrats. Anyway, it doesn't seem as if Obama and Edwards used the occasion to improve their standing with anyone. Of course, I am biased (being an independent conservative), but to me it was just another "Battle of the Boobs".
Saturday, October 27, 2007
I often wonder if the same thing could happen to America. Obviously, there is no other power or combination of powers that could invade us and defeat us militarily. Yet, could we, like the former Soviet Union, suddenly collapse from within? It is tempting to quickly say no, that our free and democratic system has proven itself to be resilient, even during times of crisis like Watergate and the resignation of Nixon. Yet.......
It is obvious to everyone that we (and the rest of the world) are facing a major new challenge in Islamic fundamentalism that not only threatens to blow up the entire Middle East, but is threatening other nations as well from Europe to Asia to the Americas. Leaving the rest of the world aside for a moment, I feel confident that a united America could face this challenge.
However, we are not a united America. We are divided in a whole host of ways. We are divided by politics and philosophy, even to the point where we talk of red states and blue states. In spite of our best efforts, we are divided by race and class. In spite of the monumental Civil Rights Movement, the situation in the black inner cities is at a crisis point. Many blacks are still disaffected from white society, spurred on by "leaders" such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. The illegal immigration issue is dividing many Latinos from the rest of us as many of them see the demands for border enforcement as being racist. Our Muslim Americans are feeling alienated from mainstream society, especially since 9-11. Many of them feel that Americans distrust them as Muslims. They feel that their religion is under attack here and abroad. The issue of Israel has led to tremendous friction between them and our Jewish citizens.
That last point, of course, relates also to the war in Iraq, which divides us all, much as the Viet Nam War did. As many Americans protest that war and our whole involvement in the Middle East, some even question the War on Terror, wondering how such a war can be won.
More importantly, however, is the growing sentiment among our own people that America is not such a noble country after all, a sentiment with which I entirely disagree, This sentiment is fanned by the left in our society. Who am I talking about? How about Hollywood, the universities, the mainstream news media, many figures in the Democratic Party and the other assorted activist organizations?
In the universities (I teach part-time at the University of California at Irvine) and also now in high schools, we see a left-wing agenda being propagated by teachers and professors, many of whom came of age as students during the volatile 60s. Many of these professors now see their job as teaching their students about all the faults of America-racism, sexism, imperialism, homophobia, Islamophobia and so on. They use their classroom platform to rail against people like President Bush, the Republican Party and conservatives in general. Many of their students, inspired and egged on by their professors, engage in various disruptive campus protests against anything and anyone they disagree with, in many cases, not letting speaking events go on. Radical leftists can walk around and speak freely on campuses, but any conservative speakers need bodyguards.
Hollywood is another interesting example. During World War 2, Hollywood actually participated in the war effort, producing movies that reinforced the public's knowledge that we were the good guys and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were the bad guys. That actually spilled partially over into the Viet Nam War. During the earlier stages of our involvement, John Wayne ( a patriot) starred in The Green Berets, a pro-American movie that carried on the tradition of the movies of World War 2 (and the Korean War as well). But as attitudes changed toward Viet Nam, Hollywood changed as well. Most Viet Nam War movies that have been produced since then have portrayed soldiers and Marines as being drug-using, psycotic misfits betrayed by their generals and the politicians in Washington who sent them there. Witness movies like Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon and many others. Today, movies about current conflicts take a position that we are fighting misguided wars, and treat the whole Islamic terror issue with kid gloves out of political correctness (Rendition for example).
As for our mainstream media, they, like the universities, are almost entirely in the hands of the left-to the point that they are now editorializing under the guise of reporting. They are actually a wing of the Democratic Party. Who am I talking about? I am referring to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle and too many other newspapers to list here. Only Fox News and talk radio can give the public any conservative thought.
When I was growing up, the Democratic Party was not dramatically different from the Republican Party. Both were fairly conservative and both were Cold Warriors. I guess it started to change during the 1960s, with the division and bitterness brought on by the Viet Nam War. Today, they do have some similarities in the area of corruption, love of power and pork-barrel spending of the public's money. Philosophically, however, there are deep differences. The Democrats have, with few exceptions, drifted solidly to the left with a more socialistic world view. The Republicans have stood for conservatism, on which in many cases they have compromised in recent years. Currently, members of the two parties can barely speak to each other, much less get anything done in Congress (perhaps a good thing?) It alarms me, however, to see how the Democrats cannot even support the president when it comes to our national defense. They don't want any eavesdropping on suspected terrorists without a court order. They want Guantanemo closed down and captured terrorists afforded federal trials with attorneys and all the other rights of criminal defendants. They don't want us to win in Iraq-just pull out- no matter the consequences. Meanwhile, politicians and government leaders on both sides of the aisle continue to bicker and fiddle while the country burns. It is disgraceful, but look at most of the characters we have in Washington and state and local offices around the country. Their one common attribute is ambition and little else. Meanwhile, our youth witness how many of our leaders act. If it's not Mark Foley chasing young pages around Washington, it's Bill Clinton turning the White House into a bordello, committing perjury and somehow remaining in office. If it's not William Jefferson caught on tape accepting a $100,000 bribe from the FBI, it's Larry Craig being busted in an airport men's room for solicitation of sex.
All of this is having an effect on the public, which is badly divided by left and right, forgetting in the process, that we are all threatened by the same enemy. Many people in our society are now starting to accept the idea that 9-11 was an inside job carried out by the Bush Administration to provide an excuse to start wars for oil. That itself is a scary idea that so many people could believe that. But consider that there is a University of Wisconsin professor who is pushing that very position. That is a prime example of how our youth are being educated today. They are not taught the essentials that my generation and my father's generation was taught. Rather they are taught all the historical errors of their country. Now we have a whole generation of young, college-educated people who cannot find the Middle East on a map, but can wax eloquent about gay issues. Sadly, it doesn't take a grade school dropout to swallow the notion that 9-11 was Bush's doing.
Along those same lines, it seems we have raised a whole generation of Americans who have not learned the fact that our freedom has come at a price. They take it for granted and have bought into the notion that they are entitled to everything. Some feel that way out of a sense of victimization; others simply out of a sense of entitlement. Sacrifice, public service and responsibility have gone out the window. It amazes me that in the midst of all this, we have still managed to produce those marvelous young men and women who are willing to wear the uniform of our country and put their lives on the line. They are the very best that our society has to offer. Yet, they get no respect from certain institutions like the universities.
Another factor which must be considered is the coursening of our culture. When did it become ok to sell pornography openly in stores or on the Internet? When did it become commonplace to see convicted child rapists (a rampant phenomenom in America) given probation or light sentences of say, one year, which happens with regularity in states like Vermont and Massachusetts? When did we get the notion that we no longer had the sovereign right to control our borders and decide who may enter our country? When did it become commonplace for hip-hop artists to perform "songs" about violence, rape and killing cops, using a stream of 4-letter words in the process? (In my lifetime, I have witnessed the slow death of one of our great American art forms; black music with actual singing and musical instruments.) When did it become acceptable for a university newspaper (Colorado State University) to display a headline reading-"F--- Bush!"? When did it become acceptable for a high school to invite speakers to explain to a (mandatory) student assembly that unprotected sex and drug experimentation were good ideas to be encouraged? (Boulder High School in Colorado-2007) Maybe, just maybe, it started when we legalized abortion. Since then, babies by the millions have been terminated as a choice. Maybe that was when we lost our soul as a people.
But how easy it is to lose one's soul when God has been driven from the public arena. Now any reference to God is open to attack. The result? We are now starting to emulate the Europeans, who are so proud of the secularization of their societies that ancient churches and cathedrals over there are now little more than museums for tourists. Enter one today and you only see other tourists- no services going on-maybe an old priest walking around a lighting candles. I hope the Europeans enjoy their secularization while it lasts. In another two generations, with present demographic trends, Europe will be majority Muslim-but it will not be secular.
So today, Christians and their faith are under constant attack. Jews are also under attack for their perceived allegiance to Israel; thus, we see anti-Semitic speeches on college campuses, in many cases, by Muslim speakers invited by the Muslim Students Unions. Such is the case at my school-UC Irvine. Meanwhile, university leaders (like ours) wring their hands and talk about freedom of speech being paramount while calling any criticism of these hate-filled speakers as Islamophobia, a moral equivalent of the anti-Semitic speeches themselves. The bottom line is that while our own majority religion ( and that of our Jewish citizens) is being attacked from the left, Islam, with all of its intolerance and violent elements, is being cowtowed to by that very same left.
During the Cold War, one of the goals of the communists was to undermine us from within. Destroy Americans' faith in the country. Do away with religion and its values. Bring down the American economy and all our other advantages over other nations. Make America into just another nation among equals. Divide public opinion. They would be proud today at what has been happening here. Ever wonder what happened to all the American communists and sympathizers when the Soviet Union collapsed and Eastern Europe threw off Communism? They couldn't still proclaim themselves Communists and preach Communism as the ultimate answer lest they be laughed out the country. Where did they go? What are they doing now to help speed up the rotting away of our society and our power? There may be some clues in what I have written above.
So in my opinion, could America collapse from within due to our deep divisions? Absolutely, and I think there is a small but very vocal and active element in our society working to that very end. It is up to us to stand up for our country and our traditional values while at the same time, somehow, come together again. In this essay, I have written from an obviously conservative view, criticizing liberals. My essay is, in fact, divisive because I strongly believe that conservatism must prevail in this country. That in itself shows that our coming together will not be easy.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
First of all, I am proud of the response we have received from our fire-fighters, National Guard and law enforcement. Their work has been nothing short of heroic. Whatever you may have heard elsewhere, coordination between the local, state and federal agencies has been great, a far cry from what happened during Hurricane Katrina, especially in New Orleans.
Governor Schwarzenegger has perfomed admirably. He is on the scene and making sure that everything that should be done is done. The responsible agencies are performing their duties in a professional manner.
The people, those who have been evacuated or lost their homes, have also acted admirably. Everyone has come together and helped each other without complaints. At this time, about 20,000 persons are being sheltered at QualCom Park in San Diego (home of the Chargers). There are no disturbances, no violence-nothing but good citizens who are grateful for the help they are receiving. Nobody has been shot-nobody has been raped. No first-responders have deserted their posts.
At this point, there has been only one report of looting-two teenagers, who were quickly arrested. Arson is now known to be the cause of the fires in Orange County.
As critical as I have been about conditions in my state, today I am proud of the manner in which the authorities and public have responded to this disaster.
Yet, regrettably, some have pounced on this disaster to make political points. Harry Reid, in his usual idiotic way, has stated that the cause of the fires is-Global Warming. The actress, Jamie Lee Curtis, blames Man for living too close to nature's habitat ( I am paraphrasing.) One of our goofy senators, Barbara Boxer, made a statement today criticizing President Bush for the fact that members of the California National Guard are presently serving in Iraq, thus not available to help out in California. Our Lt. Governor, John Garamendi, made a similar statement, adding that when President Bush arrives (Thursday), "we will be polite", but stating that Bush will simply "be in the way".
Today, I watched an interview with the Commander of the California National Guard, who explained that at present, about 2,000 National Guard troops are deployed with over 15,000 standing by and available. (There are about 2,000 in Iraq.) Memo to Senator Boxer of California and Lt Governor Garamendi: Why don't you do your homework? It's your state!
Then there was ABC National News reporter, Claire Shipman, who today corralled Governor Schwarzenegger with a microphone and asked him about "those who complain that not enough resources are reaching those in need quickly enough". To his credit, the Governor put her in her place, explaining that although she was looking for problems, everything was working as it should.
So what we have here is the Democratic Senator of California and a member of the good ol' mainstream news media trying to score political points against Bush and Schwarzenegger at a time when we are still trying to put the flames out. Similarly, the left-wing blogs are all over Bush. The enviromentalists, predictably, are attributing this to Global Warming and the errors of Man living so close to nature, etc. etc,... Never mind that the environmental lobby has prevented the Forest Service from clearing out old, dead trees and underbrush, which in our dry areas, has undoubtedly contributed to the rapid spread of fires in our state.
For those of you not familiar with Southern California, ours is a land with not much rainfall and much dry acreage. We also have the so-called dry Santa Ana winds, that come every year and contribute greatly to the fire hazard. Thus, we have an annual fire season. This is nothing new, just the worst.
At this point, there is absolutely no comparison to Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. Unlike New Orleans and Louisiana, our governor and local leaders have performed in a professional manner. The Feds have learned the lessons of Katrina and are coordinating well with their state and local counterparts. The point is that it should not matter who is liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. We are trying to save lives and property here. Those who are standing on the sidelines and trying to assess blame for political advantage should be ashamed.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia in 1969. The family had to move several times because her father was a political opponent of the regime. They went to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, then settled in Kenya. Her split with Islam began as a result of her desire to escape a forced marriage to a man she did not know. During a 1992 vist to Europe to visit relatives, she found asylum in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, Ali went through a transformation that turned her against Islam. (She now considers herself an atheist.) She was disillusioned to see how many Muslim communities in the Netherlands were practicing their traditional forms of subjugation of women while Dutch police were afraid to even enter Muslim neighborhoods.
It was her work with Dutch film producer, Theo Van Gogh on a film about the subjugation of women in Islam (Submission) that led to Van Gogh's stabbing death in 2004 by a Muslim on a Dutch street and her own life being put in imminent danger. As a result, Ali was placed under Dutch Government protection. While in the Netherlands, Ali became a politician, but as a result of the circumstances of her initial immigration (she used a false name), Ali was eventually forced out of Dutch politics, and her Dutch citizenship was taken away (2006).
Subsequently, Ali was forced to leave the Netherlands due to her situation. In recent years, she has been living and working in the United States for the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, under protection of security paid for by the Dutch Government. Presently, however, she is in the Netherlands due to the fact that the Dutch have stopped paying for security outside of their own country. This situation is still in the process of being resolved.
Ali is the author of a book entitled: Infidel. She has also been awarded several human rights awards and been named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential people in the World (2005).
Nonie Darwish was born in Cairo and has also lived in Gaza, where she was raised in the 1950s. Her father was killed fighting Israelis, which initially caused her to hate everything about Israel. Back in Egypt, she found that this attitude was actively fostered in that country under Nasser.
Events in recent years, such as 9-11, have caused her to break with Islam. She considers herself a supporter of the US, Israel and the War on Terror. She is also critical of the so-called moderate Muslims, who she accuses of being silent after 9-11. Darwish claims that Muslim mosques in the US are preaching a radical, Wahhabi version of Islam.
Darwish appears as a speaker at various locales, including university campuses in the US. She is the author of a book published in 2006 entitled: Now They Call Me Infidel- Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror. Darwish is currently involved with an organization called Arabs for Israel.
Irshad Manji was born in Uganda in 1968, the daughter of an Indian family. At the age of four, her family was forced to leave that country for Canada when dictator Idi Amin expelled all Indians. As a feminist and lesbian, she still considers herself a Muslim though she is an outspoken critic of Islam and orthodox interpretations of the Koran. A friend of writer Salmon Rushdie, Manji calls for reform within the religion. She is the author of a book entitled: The Trouble With Islam Today- A Muslim's Call for Reform in her Faith.
Manji has made numerous appearances to spread her message of reform. She has been interviewed by Al-Jazeera, CBS, CNN, BBC, Fox and the CBC (Canada), among others. For her work, she has received a number of awards, such as the Oprah Winfrey Chutzpah Award (for courage). Ms. Magazine has described her as "a feminist for the 21st century".
Manji's work has come at a price. She has received numerous death threats for her critical comments about Islam. Her residence is equipped with bullet-proof glass.
Why should we care about these three women? We should care not only because they have placed their lives on the line to speak out, but also because they are living among us (the West), no longer being able to survive in their countries of origin. We should care because there are those who have sworn to kill them for their apostacy/heresy-kill them right here in our own countries where we enjoy freedom of religion, the right to change religion or renounce it entirely. This we can never permit or tolerate. We owe it to these women to protect them and support them- not because they are bashing Islam, but because in our societies, death is never the penalty for going against one's religion.
They are not the only ones, only the most prominent. Indeed, there are many more-some nameless-who have lost faith in a version of Islam that preaches death and hate. Many have made steps to break away, only to be intimidated into silence by threats. Sadly, some of these cases are happening in the West-even in America.
One of the reasons that Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to leave the Netherlands was because many of her neighbors protested her presence, afraid that they might be placed in danger by her being in their neighborhood even with all the security. That's about what I would expect from the Dutch, but shame on us if we let it happen here.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) aka "Dingy" Harry
Have you noticed how the mainstream news media, which originally ignored the Rush Limbaugh-Harry Reid Letter flap, now that it has been pointed out, are now giving it a little coverage, but with a positive slant toward Reid? Yesterday, I checked out some of the main news outlets. Here is what I found:
New York Times writer, Stephanie Strom wrote an article (which was printed in the Orange County Register, a libertarian paper in California, on 10-20-07), which started out like this:
" After Rush Limbaugh referred to Iraq war veterans critical of the war as 'phony soldiers' he recieved a letter of complaint signed by 41 Democratic senators." (P A 23)
* Note that Ms Strom presents as fact that Limbaugh's comments were directed at Iraq War veterans opposed to the war, an accusation Limbaugh denies, stating that his comments were directed at Jesse MacBeth, who has been proven to be a fraud.
As the article continues on a back page (A 26), the sub-headline reads:
Limbaugh: "Reid Hails Sale of Letter and Donation of Proceeds"
The article goes on:
"He (Limbaugh) predicted that the sale's success would anger one signer of the letter, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, whom Limbaugh calls Dingy Harry."
" But in a statement on the floor of the Senate on Friday, Reid, D-NV, praised the auction.' I strongly believe that when we can put our differences aside, even Harry Reid and Rush Limbaugh, we should do that and try to accomplish good things for the American people', he said."
The ABC News website on 10-20-07 ran an article by Byron Wolf headed:
"Who says the political fingerpointing in Washington is all for naught?"
Wolf also opened his article by characterizing Limbaugh's comments as calling "soldiers who opposed the war 'phony soldiers'". He continued:
"For their part, Democrats sent a letter calling for Rush Limbaugh to be reprimanded for calling soldiers who opposed the war 'phony soldiers'".
Wolf then goes on to describe Betty Casey, who sent in the winning bid, listing her donations to various Republicans. He also repeated a 2004 characterization of Casey by the Washington Post as "eccentric and press-shy". As to Reid, Wolf describes the senator as conciliatory toward Limbaugh, repeating some of Reid's statements of 10-19-07.
The Washington Post ran this headline:
"Limbaugh Spins Reid's Letter into Charity Gold"
NBC's Web Site ran an article by Thomas Ferraro on 10-19-07 that included this:
"Regardless, Reid, speaking in the Senate, saluted Limbaugh for raising the money on behalf of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which helps children of Marines and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty".
"' What could be a more worthwhile cause?', said Reid, urging support for the fund-raising drive shortly before the bidding closed."
"Limbaugh, in his posting on eBay, did not appear conciliatory with Reid, who is referred to as Dingy Harry."
"Reid spokesman, Jim Manley, declined comment on Limbaugh's challenge, but said, 'Senator Reid is happy something good came from Rush's outrageous comments.'"
Then there was this from LA Times blog editor, Andrew Malcomb, who spun it this way in Reid's favor:
" Turns out that a genuine letter of complaint about Rush Limbaugh's recent on air 'phony soldiers' remark is producing some real money for a good cause."
"Then, Harry Reid did a clever thing right back. He went on the Senate floor and praised Limbaugh's attempt to raise money for a good cause off his letter and said he could have gotten every Democrat senator's signature if he'd had time. To watch video of Senator Reid's statement and Limbaugh's, uh, firm reaction, click here."
"The bidding on the letter closed today. The final price: 2.1 million."
"Makes you want to sit down and write someone right now, doesn't it?"
Note: The above article is by an LA Times writer via the paper's blog page, so I assume it is supposed to be opinion writing.
Thus, we see examples of how the mainstream news media originally chose to ignore how Limbaugh was making Reid and his colleagues look like fools. Then, when conservative bloggers, who were pretty much alone in reporting the story, mocked the media and pointed out their selective reporting, the mainstreamers grudgingly put out selected articles, which pretty much accepted the Democrats' position that Limbaugh was smearing any and all soldiers who were against the Iraq War, and then described Reid as a gracious figure who was only pleased to see a worthy cause get money off the letter. The reading public, especially those who depend on the mainstream news media for their news, should see this as an example of how said MSN is, in reality, an arm of the Democratic Party. In this case, they are doing Harry Reid's spin for him.
It's bad enough when opinion columnists engage in ridiculous spin, but it is infinitely worse when reporters do it in the guise of straight reporting.
Friday, October 19, 2007
.........Sincerely, "Dingy" Harry
" He put the letter up for auction on eBay, and I think very very constructively, let the proceeds of that go to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation that provides scholarship assistance to Marines and federal law enforcement personnel whose parents fall in the line of duty. What could be a more worthwhile cause? I think it's really good that this money on eBay is going to be raised for this purpose. When I spoke to Mark May (sic), he and I thought this probably wouldn't make much."- Senator Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate, 10-19-07.
This is an excerpt from a statement that Harry Reid made today in response to the astounding amount of money made on eBay for a letter from Sen. Reid and 40 other Democratic Senators to Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel, asking Mays to "confer" with Rush Limbaugh about his on-air remarks about so-called "phony soldiers". The final bid came to $2, 100,100, setting an all time record for money raised on eBay for a charitable cause.
For those readers not fully informed on the controversy (which the mainstream news media has conveniently ignored), Limbaugh, in a recent phone conversation on his radio show, made a reference to "phony soldiers", this in reference to Jesse MacBeth, who had fraudulently claimed to be an Iraq War veteran, and who told of witnessing numerous atrocities carried out by fellow soldiers. As it turned out, MacBeth had washed out of boot camp, and, of course had never served in Iraq or anywhere else. He has recently pleaded guilty to fraud against the Veterans Administration. It was MacBeth to whom Limbaugh was referring as an example of "phony soldiers" dragged out by the left to discredit the Iraq War.
In response, the left went crazy, claiming that Limbaugh had been talking about any soldier in Iraq who was against the war. Enter Harry Reid, the Democratic Senator from Nevada and Senate Majority Leader (whom Limbaugh calls, "Dingy" Harry.) Earlier this month, Reid came to the Senate floor to bash Limbaugh and his comments, referring to the fact that Limbaugh himself had never served in uniform. (According to Reid's bio, either has he.) In addition to his remarks, Reid passed around a letter directed to Clear Channel (Limbaugh's broadcast employer) CEO Mark Mays protesting Limbaugh's comments and asking Mays to "confer" with Limbaugh. A total of 41 signatures were obtained, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, all running for president, as well as Ted Kennedy.
Think about that for a moment. The CEO of a broadcast company, regulated by the Federal Government, gets a letter from 41 senators asking him to "confer" with one of his employees (a private citizen no less). What was Mr Mays supposed to infer from such a letter? I'll tell you what: Get Limbaugh under control or your broadcast license may be in danger. (Remember, Dems are trying to get the "Fairness Doctrine" revived.)
Well, Mr Mays turned the letter over to Limbaugh, who promptly put it up for auction on eBay, along with a commitment to match the final bid-proceeds going to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. Bidding ended today (October 19, 2007) and the winning bid was $2,100,100. In the process, Limbaugh made a national laughing stock out of Reid, at least among those who don't depend on the mainstream media for their news. The mainstream media ignored the story, seeing it for what it was-a public relations disaster for the left.
So now, Reid, with egg all over his face, is trying to save some of that face with today's statement:
....."This morning, the bid is more than 2 million dollars for this. We've watched it during the week. It keeps going up and up and up. There's only a little bit of time left on it, but it certainly is going to be more than 2 million. Never did we think that this letter would bring money of this nature. And for the cause, Madam President, it's extremely good..... I don't know what we could do more important than helping to ensure that children of our fallen soldiers and police officers who have fallen in the line of duty have the opportunity for their children to have a good education." (Bold font emphasis added by me).
It gets even better.
"So I would ask those that are wanting to do more, that they can go to the Harry Reid search-actually go on say "Harry Reid letter", this will come up on eBay. I encourage anyone interested in this with the means to do so to consider bidding on this letter and contributing to this worthwhile cause."
" I strongly believe that when we can put our differences aside, even Harry Reid and Rush Limbaugh, we should do that and try to accomplish good things for the American people."
So there it is. Harry Reid now tries to jump in and claim partial credit for this money being raised for a good cause. Notice how he uses the term, "we", as though he and Limbaugh conducted a joint effort to auction off this letter. Of course, as of now, neither Reid nor the other signatories has made any commitment to match funds as has Limbaugh. But minutes before the bidding closed, there was Harry Reid urging others to bid. The man has the testicles of an elephant. What Senate staff aide brought this brilliant idea to Reid? During the auction process, Limbaugh humiliated the Senator from Nevada. Now the senator has doubled his own humiliation with this ridiculous effort at spin, damage control, whatever you want to call it.
So what can we learn from this? What does this say about the credibility of the Democrat Senate Majority Leader? What does it say about the other signees, all Dems? What does it say about their efforts to control speech by their opponents? Finally, what does it say about the mainstream news media that has kept the story under wraps? (As I write this, I have checked the websites for ABC, CBS and NBC News. No mention of the story. CNN has reported it.) Will they say that the story was not worth reporting? Was it not worth reporting that Senate Democrats tried to take action and intimidate a broadcast company in an effort to harm a private citizen for speaking his mind-miscontruing his words in the process? Not worth reporting that the hated Rush Limbaugh turned the letter around on Reid, making him look like a total fool and drawing in a record amount for a worthy charity?
Great job, Rush.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This resolution condemns Turkey for having committed genocide against Armenians in that country in 1915, during World War 1, when an estimated 1.5 million Armenians (suspected as a people of being against the regime) were rounded up, relocated and killed by Turkish troops. A couple of points should be kept in mind:
First, the Turkish Government disputes the actual details of what happened and the numbers killed. Thus, the present-day Turkish Government has, over the years, refused to acknowledge what happened as a deliberate genocide, rather that Armenians died under a variety of circumstances. What is the actual truth? I don't know. There are accounts from the era by outside observers who were present in Turkey in 1915 that confirm that massacres did in fact take place.
It should also be remembered that in 1915, it was a different country-to be exact, we are talking about the former Ottoman Empire, under a regime known as the "Young Turks". Subsequent to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey came under the rule of Kemal Mustafa Ataturk, who instituted numerous reforms and secularized the nation. Today, Turkey is considered a democratic, moderate and secular nation with a majority Muslim population. Though far from perfect, it is considered a modal Islamic country which we hope others would emulate.
More importantly, Turkey has for decades, been a solid NATO ally to the US, one we don't want to lose, especially in these times. Yet, what has been the reaction to this resolution, which is symbolic in nature? Well, for one, the Turkish Ambassador to the US has been recalled. The Turkish Parliament in the last 24 hours has authorized its military to enter northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels who threaten Turkey. Of course, that is the last thing that we need in Iraq, where we already have a host of problems. Now our US military base at Incirlik is in danger of being closed as well as the use of Turkish territory for any US military moves. This puts the lives of US soldiers at added peril. Of course, it goes without saying that public opinion among Turks (who have historically been pro-American), has taken a nose-dive. The fact is that the controversy over the Armenian genocide is a touchy subject for Turkey.
As I said above, I mean no disrespect to Armenians, both in the US and abroad, for whom this matter is an emotional issue, one they hope to keep alive around the world until Turkey acknowledges its culpability. There is a sizable Armenian population in the US, which obviously was a consideration in Congress. If Turkey did, in fact, carry out a planned genocide of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, then they should own up to it and educate their younger generations about it-so as not to see it repeated. That is the course of action that the US has taken in regards to slavery and Germany has taken in regards to the Nazi era. If Turkey has refused to acknowledge the past, they are not the only ones guilty of that. Japan has never fully acknowledged their horrific crimes during the first half of the 20th century, when they occupied countries in Asia like Korea, China and the Philippines. Consequently, the younger generations of Japanese are not really aware of their history. Similarly, many Lithuanians who emigrated to escape Soviet Communism during World War 2, have refused to acknowledge the role many Lithuanian partisans played in massacring Jews when the Germans occupied their country. (Many Lithuanians were killing Jews even before the Germans began in their own systematic fashion. Jews were perceived, rightfully or wrongfully, as being Soviet sympathizers.)
So why have Pelosi and her colleagues come up with this resolution at this time? Some have accused them of deliberately attempting to sabotage our war effort in neighboring Iraq. Whether or not that is true, the results have been catastrophic-so bad, that now, several members of Congress, seeing the damage, are backing away from the resolution.
The hard fact is that this action has placed our entire relationship with a key ally in danger-a foreign policy disaster of the first order. Now, Bush, Secretary of State Rice and the State Department have to drop everything else and scramble around trying to clean up this mess and save our relationship with Turkey. Even if the resolution dies, severe damage has been done, which may not soon be repaired.
There may yet come a time when quiet diplomacy can achieve an agreeable resolution of what happened almost 100 years ago that will serve the cause of morality. Right now, however, is the time for geopolitical considerations to carry the day.
As for Nancy Pelosi, she has forfeited any credibility when she criticizes the foreign policy ineneptness of the Bush Administration. She is a joke, but she is not funny.
I must confess that I didn't even know about Matt Lauer's interview with Senator Larry Craig because I don't watch Lauer, and even if I did, I would have no interest in watching Craig deny that he is gay. Lauer, by most accounts, was lobbing up softballs at Craig, lest he be perceived as bashing homosexuals and probably was most uncomfortable doing the interview. But hey! Craig is a Republican, so he is fair game. He could have gone down to Louisiana and interviewed William "Cool Cash" Jefferson regarding his bribery arrest (a topic Lauer's network has all but ignored). But then, Jefferson is a Democrat. We get it,Matt.
I did listen to excerpts of the interview on the John and Ken radio show on KFI (Los Angeles) because I am a John and Ken fan and I knew it would be good for laughs. And it was. To someone with a cynical sense of humor as mine, Craig's staements were hysterically funny. Other than that, I am ready to turn my attention elsewhere-as long as Craig resigns. I must state, however, that Craig has now made a claim that is laughable on its face and must be addressed. Now he is asserting that he is the victim of profiling, and now he understands the victimization of innocent people by profiling.
Profiling? Wait a minute. First of all, when we speak of profiling these days, most folks bring up racial profiling, that is, stopping someone based on their race. Is that what happened here? Did the Minneapolis Airport police spot Craig, a 60ish white male, grey hair, dressed in a suit and figure he fit the profile of someone that might be looking for sex in a public bathroom? Obviously not. I doubt that there is a racial component to that activity.
As a retired DEA agent, I have some familarity with the topic of profiling. Law enforcement will tell you (and many people are not convinced) that true profiling is based not on race, but behavior that is typical of a certain type of violator. For example, suspected drug couriers flying around the country carrying drugs and/or cash proceeds have been checked out based on things such as type of ticket they were carrying, luggage, behavior etc. With vehicle stops that lead to a search, it is based on what details the officers develop during the stop that leads them to form reasonable cause to believe there might be drugs in the car. Any stop (in either situation ) based on race would never pass muster in court.
In Craig's case, he was not detained based on any profile, he was detained and arrested based on his actions. Let's remember that it was Craig who initiated contact with the undercover officer-not the other way around. The cop was already in the restroom and in the stall when Craig entered and focused his attention on the cop. Prior to that (as far as we know) the police had not even observed Craig. So for Craig to claim entrapment and profiling is ludicrous.
All in all, this man is continuing to make a laughing stock out of himself and humiliating his wife in the process. No one (except possibly his wife and children) care a whit whether he is gay or not. That is not the point. The point is that such behavior in a public restroom is against the law-and properly so. The public, especially children who use those restrooms, should have the right to enter without having to step over two people having sex in a public place-an activity that even most gays would consider disgusting.
So now Craig is going back on his resignation, trying to get his plea erased and hold on at all costs to his Senate seat. To me, this is typical of the self-centered narcissism of politicians today. But as long as he insists in holding on, the longer he will be the butt of the late night comics.
Monday, October 15, 2007
In the past few days, a number of new developments have come to light:
According to Sheriff's investigation it appears that the girl involved, Pleahje Mervin, began the confrontation when she threw a cake onto the ground (instead of dropping it as originally reported. - See article by Ann Simmons, LA Times, 10-13-07).
The investigation also has indicated that Mervin was placed in a restraining hold, at which time, she flopped herself down on a table. Mervin has claimed that the guard pinned her on the table (Simmons, 10-13-07).
There was an allegation that the guard called Mervin a "nappy-head", an accusation which apparently has also been debunked, according to reports on the John and Ken talk show on 10-15-07.
Ann Simmons, in her LA Times article of 10-13-07, stated that Lancaster Community Hospital authorities declined to comment about their treatment of Mervin. Yet, the doctor involved (speaking with the permission of Mervin's mother) earlier told ABC reporter, Leo Stallworth as well as KFI Radio officials that there were no injuries to Mervin. It now appears that Mervin's mother has lifted permission of medical authorities to comment on Mervin's condition. Therefore, the LA Times, unable to catch up on the story, is not reporting that there were no injuries as claimed by Mervin, her mother, Al Sharpton and numerous other activists.
In connection with that article, KFI has been notified by one of their listeners that she had e-mailed Simmons asking why the Times would continue to state that hospital officials would not comment, and therefore, would not report the apparent fact as reported by ABC News and KFI that the doctor had denied any injuries to the girl (when he had parental permission to speak.) The listener stated that she received a response from Simmons thanking her for her interest;that the hospital had declined to comment, and that the Times would continue to pursue the facts of the story (I am paraphrasing). Well, if accurate, that sounds like the responses I get when I write to a politician.
Meanwhile, according to an ABC News article written 10-12-07, Najee Ali, the principal activist in this story, has reportedly called the black Republican mayor of nearby Lancaster, Henry Hearns, an "Uncle Tom" over the failure of Hearns to speak out in the matter. Great.
So, as the story continues to unfold, a couple of questions are in order:
To Ms Simmons of the LA Times: Are you legally constrained from reporting the previous statements of the doctor that there were no injuries? Do you concede that your readers are not getting an important piece of the story?
To Al Sharpton: Do you still plan to protest in Palmdale in November? Are you prepared to retract your statements made in LA that Mervin's arm was broken, and that the guard was culpable of unnecessary force? (No, I don't really think that Sharpton reads my blog.)
Will Ali, Sharpton et al issue an apology to the guard and everybody else they have slandered? Don't bet on it. In my view, this is a classic case of how racial hucksters like Al Sharpton and Najee Ali are actively hurting race relations in our society.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
In the book, Cosby claims that Stern and former Smith boyfriend, Larry Birkhead (the father of Smith's baby daughter) had a sexual encounter, which was videotaped. The book further claimed that Smith liked to amuse herself by watching the video in bed. The sources for this claim, according to Cosby, were two nannies who worked for Smith in the Bahamas and had allegedly witnessed the video. This statement was provided to another source of Cosby's, and was the basis for her claim in the book. (Cosby had not personally interviewed the nannies.)
Now, in the wake of the lawsuit, it appears that Cosby is frantically looking for direct corroboration from the two nannies involved in the controversy. So she hotfoots it down to the Bahamas with an unidentified male companion and makes contact with an intermediary named Lincoln Bain, who puts her into contact with Elizabeth Thompson, the attorney for the nannies. Just one problem: Cosby is being audio-taped without her knowledge. This week, the tapes became public and were played on Greta Van Susteren's show on Fox News. In the conversations that were recorded, Cosby asks to be introduced to the two nannies and talks of payments to be made to them in the thousands of dollars for their trouble-not to be paid by Cosby, mind you-but by her companion. Throughout the conversations, Cosby is obviously speaking very carefully-like people do when they are afraid what they are saying may be repeated or recorded.
In addition, a former FBI Agent-in-Charge, Don Clark has also surfaced. His role is not clear at this point, though he has acknowledged (on TV of course) that he had spoken to the nannies and been told the same thing regarding the videotape. He denied, however, being Cosby's source for the claim in the book. (Clark is, in fact, acquainted with Cosby, which he acknowledges.)
So now, we get to be treated for the next year with more "sensational" revelations about Anna Nicole Smith, her circle of friends and their sordid life styles. Already, Clark, Bain, Thompson, Stern and his lawyer, hot-shot Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, have been making the rounds of talk shows from Greta to "Larry King on Life Support." Geraldo Rivera has also jumped in bringing in Clark, Thompson and Bain to appear on his show to accuse each other of being liars.
As of this writing, no videotape has surfaced.
Of course, all of the above is being reported on the cable networks and tabloids. What I would like to point out is the apparent similarity between this sorry episode and an earlier one from 2004-the so-called "Rathergate" affair over purported National Guard memos that surfaced just before the 2004 presidential election between George W Bush and John Kerry.
In that matter, Dan Rather and his CBS producer, Mary Mapes were conducting an investigation into Bush's service in the National Guard during the 1970s. It had been alleged for years that Bush got into the Guard through preferential treatment, and that his service was sub-standard, specifically, missing several monthly meetings and failing to take a physical that resulted in his flying status being lifted.
During the investigation, conducted primarily by Mapes, she was provided by documents supposedly from the National Guard in the early 1970s which concerned Bush's service in a negative light. The purveyor of these documents was a former Lt. Colonel named Bill Burkett, who, among other things, requested to be put in touch with Kerry's campaign. (Mapes herself contacted Kerry campaign manager Joe Lockhart regarding the documents, a clear violation of journalistic standards.) The documents in question, which were copies, were supposedly prepared by Bush's superior, Jerry Killian (now deceased).
Subsequent to obtaining the documents, Mapes and her associates had several document examiners look at them to ascertain their authenticity. Since they were not originals, no one could definitively state that they were authentic. Nevertheless, CBS ran with the story, which aired on 60 Minutes Wednesday on September 8.
Almost immediately, some conservative bloggers began questioning the reliability of the documents, questions that CBS dismissed as partisan right-wing blather. Yet, as bloggers and other media began looking into the documents, more red flags were raised. There were serious questions as to the font, type and format of the copies, which indicated that they were probably forgeries. More experts were called in by CBS to authenticate the documents, which they could not do. Eventually CBS backed away from the documents and the story. Rather and Mapes, however, stood by the documents and the accuracy of their story insisting that the documents were authentic. Finally, CBS apologized for its grievous error and appointed two independent investigators to examine the network's errors in running the story. Mapes and a few others were fired and Rather was forced into an early retirement, his credibility as a journalist and TV news anchor in ruins. One expert has concluded that the documents were produced on a computer using Times New Roman font. -not likely in the early 1970s. For Rather, a known liberal partisan, it was the culmination of a long career marked by occasional bizarre episodes.
Now Rather has just filed a 70 million dollar lawsuit against CBS charging that they made him a scapegoat in the whole affair. To this day, both he and Mapes stand by their story. As for the documents, they are now reduced to stating that no one has ever proved they were forged. It seems they have entirely missed the point-that is the burden rests on the investigative journalist to prove that the "evidence " is authentic-not the other way around.
Do you see a possible similarity here? In 2004, we had documents which appeared to have been forged and could not be corroborated. These were used by partisan media (Rather and CBS) to affect an up and coming election. It has been established that Mapes made contact with the Kerry campaign while the show was being prepared. In the case of Cosby (who has yet to be fully heard on this matter), it appears that she printed a second-hand statement as fact and is now trying to obtain first-hand corroboration-after her book has been published. As yet, no videotape has surfaced.
Finally, let me make a point. I don't know what the facts are in either case. In the Cosby matter, we have an ugly squabble over a matter that no one should be concerned about. In the Rather case, we have what was a rather obvious attempt to affect a presidential election. Maybe Bush did get into the Guard through political connections. Maybe he did miss meetings. Maybe he did fail to take a physical, and maybe his pilot status was taken away as a result. That doesn't justify using suspect evidence that may have been forged to make the case. In the Cosby matter, I don't know if there is such a videotape showing Stern and Birkhead having sex-nor do I care. I wish all these characters would just go away. What is important is that a book was written and published containing embarrassing details about two people based on second-hand statements allegedly from two other people who have yet to be heard from publicly about a videotape which has not yet been produced.
As I said, we have not yet heard Rita Cosby's full side of the story. This is yet to play out. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Cosby may be a proud graduate from the Dan Rather School of Journalism. The lesson for the rest of us? Don't believe everything you read or hear from the News Media.
These are the details as we know them to date: On September 18, Pleajhai Mervin, 15, dropped a cake on the on the floor of the Knight High School lunch area and refused to pick it up when requested by campus security guards. (Cakes, balloons and other party items are not allowed on campus.) According to numerous witnesses, the girl became increasingly belligerent, yelling and swearing as the guards repeated their request over 20 times. Finally, one guard placed the girl in a wrist lock pinning her over a table to control her. At this point, another student, Joshua Lockett, 14, began recording the scene with a video camera, which are not allowed on campus and which he refused to hand over when asked. In the process, he was restrained by other security personnel and pinned to the ground. At this point, Lockett's sister, Kenngela Lockett, jumped on the back of one of the guards and began hitting him on the back. Eventually, deputies arrived at the scene and arrested the three students. Subsequently, Mervin's mother, Letrisha Majors, having been notified of the incident arrived at the school and was arrested for hitting three persons, the school principal, vice-principal and a security guard.
In the wake of the incident, black civil rights leaders in Los Angeles have become involved in the controversy charging the school and authorities with brutality and racism over the incident. This week, Najee Ali, an activist who is executive director of Project Islamic Hope, enlisted Al Sharpton, who happened to be in LA on unrelated business to participate. Sharpton and Ali then held a news conference on Wilshire Blvd in LA to protest the incident and announce a larger demonstration to be held in Palmdale on November 19 outside of the Antelope Valley Courthouse. Also present with Sharpton were Majors and Mervin, who had her right arm in a sling. According to Sharpton, Mervin's arm was broken. (Both Mervin and Kenngela Lockett have claimed that their wrists were broken.)
On October 11, about 60 protestors gathered in front of the above courthouse, chanting and holding up signs that read, "No justice-no peace". They demanded the firing and prosecution of the guard who had restrained Mervin. The previous evening, Charles Steele Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, had stated that the protestors would "raise hell and go to jail". (Valley Press article by Amira Seyoum dated 10-12-07). Nonetheless, no violence broke out during the demonstration.
In the midst of this controversy, the LA Times has written a series of articles, based largely on statements from members of Palmdale's black community who say the incident is part of a pattern of discrimination in the Palmdale area. Comparisons have been made to the Jena 6 case in Louisiana. The Times' theme seems to be that the students were "victims", and that the school and local community were habitually too quick to discipline black students in many cases causing black students to end up with arrest records. In one article, black parents described school principal, Susan Mc Dougal as "dismissive and rude". (LA Times article by Ann Simmons,10-11-07).
Yet, other inquiries are pointing to a different conclusion. This week, when KFI's talk-jocks, John and Ken, began discussing the allegations made against the security guard, they received numerous calls from employees and families from Knight High School. According to their accounts, Mervin was completely out of control, and that the guard had exercised a great amount of patience until the point that it was necessary to restrain her.
Meanwhile, the Sheriff's Department, after interviewing witnesses and viewing video of the incident have determined that the action of the guards was not excessive, and that appropriate measures were used. (Valley Press article by Veronica Rocha, 10-12-07)
In addition, deputies who had custody of Mervin and Kenngela Lockett stated that they had no injuries, showed no signs of pain and declined going to a hospital. (Rocha) Upon being released, both signed their release forms with no difficulty.
Finally, ABC News reporter Leo Stallworth (himself an African-American) spoke on the phone with Mervin's doctor (with the permission of Mervin's mother) who informed him that during his examination of the girl, there was no injury to her wrist.
Last night, KFI talk show host John Ziegler spoke on the phone with Najee Ali during Ziegler's show. When confronted with the fact that there were no injuries, Ali tried to switch the theme to "emotional damage". When asked about the fact that an African-American reporter (Stallworth) was debunking the charges of injury, Ali dismissed Stallworth as an African-American by comparing him to Condoleeza Rice and other black conservative figures.
So that is where we stand today. It remains to be seen if Sharpton and other black activists continue to push this case, or if they will drop it like a hot potato. Unfortunately, as it stands now, we have another racial controversy that threatens to further divide whites and blacks in a part of the country (greater LA) that is already badly divided. Al Sharpton, in his brief LA appearnce this week, has already fanned the flames by essentially convicting the guard who restrained Mervin. This is taking on the appearance of Tawana Brawley all over again (although in the Brawley case, there was no underlying incident to begin with). Here, there was clearly an incident, but as cooler heads prevail, it looks more and more that the three youths and the mother were guilty of creating a disturbance and assault which justified the actions of the school guards.
We will have to wait and see if Sharpton returns to California to lead more demonstrations.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Jimmy Carter at a Recent Appearance at the University of California at Irvine
Nothing that Jimmy Carter says can surprise me anymore, but his comments on this week's CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer are deserving of the widest dissemination to Americans. Blitzer asked Carter if he thought America was practicing torture (on terrorist prisoners). Carter's response was that he didn't think we were using torture, he knew it.
Think about that statement for a moment. Who is it exactly that is carrying out this torture? Our military? The CIA? In making this charge, Carter is attacking one or both of these institutions. Now, I know that our military is respected by the overwhelming majority of the public in America, while the CIA is often under attack. But both of these entities are putting their lives on the line to conduct the war on terror on our behalf. Most likely, Carter is only trying to attack President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and the whole administration, but he also attacks the military and the CIA with his statements.
At this point, we should admit that there is disagreement on what constitutes actual torture. For example, are we practicing torture by sleep deprivation, harsh interrogation techniques, psychological measures, waterboarding, subjecting prisoners to cold weather or loud music? If so, we may be guilty- I don't know. Is yelling at someone torture? To me, beating prisoners or subjecting them to excruciating pain is certainly torture, but I have no information that we are doing those things. I am not prepared to make those charges, but apparently former President Carter is.
What is worse is that when Carter makes these statements about our country, this is being spread to audiences around the world and especially among our adversaries in the Middle East. It gives our enemies justification for their inhuman treatment of our soldiers when taken prisoner. In these cases, our soldiers are routinely beaten, tortured, slaughtered and /or beheaded, atrocities they carry out no matter how humanely we treat our prisoners.
Jimmy Carter has walked right up to the line of betraying his own country, which is magnified a hundred times over by nature of the fact that he is a former president.
It was disappointing but not surprising that Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Carter on his charges. All Blitzer had to do was ask Carter for specific instances when Americans had engaged in torture. He did not do that.
In addition, Carter had the unmitigated gall to critique Bush on his handling of Iran and warn the administration against any military action against that rogue nation. Talk about Chutzpah. Maybe Carter thinks that so many years have passed that he is the only living survivor from the time when Iran took our diplomats hostage, held them for a year and a half and completely humiliated our nation in the process. This is a former president who helped grease the skids for the Shah, bring in the Ayatollah Khomeini and witness the birth of a radical Islamic regime that now threatens the whole region and is now developing nuclear weapons. And he deigns to give Bush advice on how to handle Iran?
In addition to Iran, Carter's entire administration was marked by total incompetence-to the extent that even Democrats describe his 4-year term as " a failed presidency". I have yet to hear any Democrat figure describe Jimmy Carter as even a "good" president. Yet, here he is running around the world criticizing Bush and his own country to foreign audiences.
Carter certainly has the constitutional right to speak his mind even though he is breaking a long-standing protocol against former presidents criticizing their successors. If Carter had been a more successful president, his words might have more resonance. As it is, he makes himself a laughing stock and a hypocrite. Worse yet, while our military is making great sacrifices to fight the war against a murderous and barbaric enemy to protect us, he stabs them in the back.
Jimmy Carter is beyond contempt.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Former National Security Advisor Sandy "Burglar" Leaving the National Archives
Just when you thought a Clinton couldn't be any more brazen, Hillary goes out and outdoes herself. This week it has been announced that former National Security Advisor (under Bill Clinton), Sandy Berger has joined Hillary's team as a foreign policy advisor. This news has provoked a storm of outcry from the right considering Mr Berger's performance in the Clinton cabinet, and more importantly, his actions after leaving office.
You may remember that Berger is the hapless character who, according to a recent movie dealing with pre-911 events, squashed the killing of Osama bin Laden when American forces had in him literally in their gun sights. (Berger denies this charge.) As National Security Advisor, he was pretty much a lackluster figure. In 1998, he joined with Madelyn Albright and William Cohen to go on a speaking tour to alert the nation to Saddam Hussein's program to develop weapons of mass destruction. That hit a snag at Ohio State University when, during a CNN hosted appearance, anti-war students disrupted the event. The push to win public support for war against Saddam pretty much ended at that point.
What really makes the Berger hiring shocking is his actions in 2003 while preparing to testify before the 9-11 Ccmmission. Berger made vists to the National Archives to review Clinton Administration documents pertaining to terror. While inspecting the documents, which were classified, Berger invented excuses to get the Archives employees to leave the room, whereupon he proceeded to stuff documents down his pants and beneath his socks. On one occasion, he laid the documents he had smuggled out of the building under a trash dumpster while he went back into the Archives to get more. (This is the former National Security Advisor, folks!). He then took said documents home and shredded them. When contacted a couple of days later by the Archives, who confronted him with his theft, he initially denied it. Confronted with undeniable proof, he eventually fessed up.
In 2004, Berger (now referred to by many as Sandy Burglar), pleaded guilty to the charges, got probation and a fine, then had the effrontery to go before the press cameras and state that he had made "an honest mistake". Honest mistake? Mr Berger, an honest mistake is like when you cross the street on a red light because you are color-blind and you thought it was green. Stuffing classified documents down your pants and under your socks and hiding them under a dumpster for later retrieval (if some homeless person doesn't find them first) is not an honest mistake.
So the stupid question of the day is why did Berger do this? Well, part of his plea agreement was that he would submit to a polygraph test for investigators. As of this writing, this has not been done to my knowledge. So "conspiracy theorists" like myself have to assume that it was done to protect Bill Clinton against charges that he was negligent in protecting the country against terrorists. Others have suggested that many of the documents may have had handwritten notes on the margins from Berger, Clinton et al, a frequent practice within administrations-notes that would have embarrassed someone.
Alas, as things stand now, we will never know the whole truth, for example, who asked Berger to do this. Remember John Huang and the other Clinton money men who arranged all those illegal campaign contributions in 96? Same thing. Come in, plead guilty, accept a fine and probation, a little community service maybe-and oh, don't worry about ratting out on your higher ups. When it comes to the corruption of the Clinton gang, not even the Bush Administration wants to investigate it. That would be perceived as being politically motivated. Can't have that.
At the time that the scandal broke in 1994, Berger was acting as a foreign policy advisor to presidential candidate, John Kerry, who at least had the decency and common sense to cut him loose. Now Ms Clinton brings this totally discredited character back. Of course, the famed Clinton Spin Machine has now stated that Berger is only an "unofficial advisor"- a casual acquaintance if you will. Nonsense. Is this the kind of person we can expect to see in a Clinton Administration? Old Bill pretended to be a moderate, but look at the worker bees he put into cabinet positions and on the bench. Big time liberals, and in many cases, crooks. Hillary wants us to think she is a moderate too, so pay attention to her underlings.
Watch carefully as this story plays out. Will Hillary stand by Berger under the heat, hide him, make him Secretary of State, or just ask him to disappear when she finally realizes that this doesn't pass the smell test.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
This is the first time I have actually watched one of the debates on TV. The main reason I watched this one was the hubbub about Chris Matthews being a moderator. Many had predicted that Matthews could not be fair and impartial because he is a liberal Democrat, and more specifically, he has made recent public statements blasting the "criminality" of the Bush administration and their "efforts to silence" him.
All in all, I think the questions from Matthews and Maria Bartiromo weren't that bad. The main exception was when Matthews made an obvious effort to make Fred Thompson look bad by asking him who the Prime Minister of Canada was. Thompson answered the question without blinking, making Matthews look bad instead.(Hey, Chris-Who is the Prime Minister of Denmark- You're a reporter-You should know, right?)
My main complaint was the post-debate coverage, specifically when Matthews was engaged in an analysis of the candidates performances with his liberal colleagues. They were basically sneering at the candidates, which is their speciality. It was akin to watching the "always fair and balanced" Keith Olbermann tearing apart Republicans with his smug liberal friends on "Countdown".
One would hope that most viewers could watch political coverage on any particular network and see the obvious bias that passes for reporting these days. Unfortunately, many can't, which is why the news media gets away with so many of their outrages.
But back to the debates. It was just a few months back when the Democratic candidates refused en masse to appear in a debate hosted by the "evil" Fox News network, preferring instead to go before friendlier groups with moderators like the aforementioned Keith Olbermann throwing up such softballs as this: "So, if you are elected, will it be hard for you in your first week in office knowing that everybody is trying to take your job away?". (I am paraphrasing.) Every candidate got a chance to knock that one out of the park, eating up precious debate time in the process.) Yet, the Republicans agreed to take questions from the likes of Chris Matthews. To be accurate, most of the Republican candidates shied away from a recent black issues forum hosted by liberal talk show host Tavis Smiley, who naturally publicly condemned the missing candidates at the start of the debate.
As for the candidates themselves: I came away thinking that maybe the two best were Duncan Hunter and Mike Huckabee. Unfortunately, neither has much of a chance. I thought Rudy did alright and did nothing to hurt his front-runner status. Mitt Romney was prepared, but still comes across as a polished guy who knows exactly what he is going to say (scripted perhaps?) He made one significant gaffe when he referred to consulting with his lawyers before taking any military action against Iran. Fred Thompson seemed initially a bit uncomfortable and overall, lethargic, but he is not a guy to pound the podium as we know. I like Tom Tancredo, but he showed that he is pretty much a one-trick pony (illegal immigration). Every time he spoke, he came back to that theme. I agree with his stance, but I need to hear more of his views. The one guy who I wish would go away was Ron Paul, the libertarian. He gives me the impression that he is one bad day away from climbing to the top of a tower with a high-powered rifle.
So, to be honest, I am still undecided who I would vote for in the primary. I do know that whoever gets the nomination will have my vote, with the possible exception of Ron Paul. No, on second thought, even Paul has my vote over Hillary or any of the other Democrats. Just think of it: President Paul on top of the White House with a high-powered rifle after a bad day in the Oval Office. Wouldn't that be bizarre? Almost as bizarre as President (Bill) Clinton having sex with....
Oh never mind!
Monday, October 8, 2007
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) "Turn off that radio, Fousesquawk!"
We pretty much knew this was going to happen when the Democrats took over Congress. Now the move is beginning. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the head of the House Reform Committee, has tasked his staffers to monitor conservative talk radio hosts, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and report their findings back to him. Waxman is looking for "irregularities" in the comments made by these three most prominent conservative voices. It has also been announced that Waxman is calling in the head of the FCC to discuss re-instituting the so-called Fairness Doctrine that would require political talk show hosts to "balance" their programs with opposing opinions. This would be the most chilling assault on free speech since the "Political Correctness" that reigns on our university campuses.
Why is talk radio being singled out for the "Fairness Doctrine"? Simple. Talk Radio is overwhelmingly dominated by conservatives. Most all liberal talk radio shows have flopped due a lack of listeners. Examples? How about Phil Donahue, Mario Cuomo and Air America? I could go on and on. The fact is that most listeners have turned to conservative talk radio because it offers one of the few alternatives to the liberal-dominated mainstream news media. When you look at the mainstream media, what do you see? Nothing but liberal/Democratic propaganda. I am talking about ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, plus the overwhelming majority of the largest newspapers (NY Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Journal and Constitution etc.) I could go on and on, but do you want me to list most of the newspapers in the US?
Aside from the news media, the liberals also have Hollywood and most of the public universities, the latter dominated by radical-left professors who detest their own country and feel it is their job to indoctrinate their students.
So what does that leave us conservatives? Talk radio, Fox News and the conservative blogosphere. That's it. But rather than let us have the few crumbs of the media industry, liberals have to attack and try to eliminate any opposing viewpoint. How many times have you heard liberals refer to talk radio as "Hate Radio"? How many times a day do you hear Fox News attacked? And for what? Because they (conservative outlets) want us to win in Iraq and win the War on Terror? Because they are patriotic and wear their love of America on their sleeve? Or is it because they offer an alternative, traditional viewpoint that liberals don't want you to be exposed to?
Let me say a word here about Rep. Waxman. For years, he has been quick to pounce upon any Republican misdeed, real or imagined with howls of outrage and investigations. Yet, when Bill Clinton was president for 8 years and involved in some new scandal every week, Mr. Waxman had a ready comment: :"So what?"
So Mr Clinton was selling nuclear technology to the Chinese?
So Mr Clinton was playing "hide the baloney" with an intern in the Oval Office?
So Mr Clinton was committing perjury over said intern?
So Mr Clinton sold pardons out of the Oval Office?
900 Republican personnel files in the White House, you say?
Clearly, Mr Waxman's sense of outrage is highly selective and political. But this latest attempt to silence opposing voices is against every principle of freedom this country stands for. Mr Waxman, do you really intend to bring pressure on news outlets to reign in conservative voices, possibly by holding their broadcast licenses hostage? I am sure you remember just recently when Hugo Chavez shut down an opposition media outlet in Venezuela because it had dared to criticize him. Is that what you want to do here? Do you want to create an atmosphere of self-censureship by broadcasters for fear they will lose their licenses? And final question: Will you impose the same standards on TV news, Hollywood and universities? Of course you won't.
Mr Waxman. If you are so confident that your party and your ideology are correct, then don't be afraid to debate in the open marketplace of ideas. It is your task to convince the public of the righteousness of your views, not destroy your adversaries. History has always shown us that the side that attempts to silence the other side is the wrong side. The tactics you suggest are not the tactics of a free and democratic country. They are the tactic of every dictatorship that we can think of.
If the readers of this blog agree with me, I would strongly suggest that you let Mr Waxman know your views. A copy of this post is being emailed to him tonight.
Friday, October 5, 2007
One doesn't have to travel outside of the US to see a third world banana republic in action these days. We have a real banana republic right here at home. It is called California. I take no delight in pointing this out since I am a native of California, born and raised in LA. After a hiatus of 16 years living elsewhere as a government employee, I returned to my home state in 1998, just in time to see it sliding off into the abyss. There are too many problems here to count, from crime to illegal immigration to collapsing infrastructure to schools that have become a national disgrace. How has it all come to this? Part of the problem is a burgeoning population of folks that depend on government largesse to get through their lives. An even bigger part of the problem is our corrupt political leadership, which is eager to pander to that population-and feather their own nests in the process.
I have written several times about LA's mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, as cynical and brazen a politician as they come. Since being elected, Villaraigosa has squandered the taxpayers money on things such as services to illegal aliens. To take it a step further, Villaraigosa even appears at illegal alien demonstrations and marches with them as well, accompanied by his police chief William Bratton, who throws his own officers under the bus if they so much as lay a hand on illegal alien protesters when they throw rocks and bottles at the police. (LA is a "sanctuary city" for illegal aliens, and on one occasion, Chief Bratton, an import from the Big Apple, told his critics that if they didn't like it, they could leave the city and the state.) Of course, Villaraigosa's biggest embarrassment has been the recent revelation that he was in the middle of a divorce and was playing "hide the baloney" with Telemundo reporter Mirthala Salinas.
At the same time, the city attorney, Rocky Delgadillo is involved in a misappropriation scandal of his own since it was revealed that his wife had crashed a city car running personal errands and the bill was charged to the city. (That's illegal folks.) In addition, Delgadillo's subordinates have been used to baby sit the little Rockies-a misappropriation of city resources also. Nevertheless, Delgadillo still sits in the City Attorney's chair.
As for LA's schools, they no longer deserve the designation of school. For the most part, they are half-filled with kids who don't speak English, drugs, violence and gang members. When I attended University High School in the early 1960s, it was ranked as the number 2 high school in the nation. It also had one of the most beautiful campuses imaginable. Well, the ranking went away years ago and the campus is now cluttered with weeds, broken pavement and grass that rarely gets cut. In short, it is crumbling.
But don't worry. The LAUSD (LA Unified School District) is never short of administrative talent. The current administrator is a guy named Brewster, who can't even pronounce the mayor's name right ("Vilagarosa"). Before him, there was the political hack Roy Romer, former governor of Colorado and DNC Chairman who was hiding out after a publicized extra-marital affair in Washington. Under his "leadership", the LAUSD sank another 100 meters into the muck.
Well, so much for LA-what about San Francisco? This is a place that spits in the face of the military every chance it gets, from turning down the chance to have a battleship retired in San Francisco Bay to chasing recruiters out of the city. For San Francisco, illegals are welcome (also a sanctuary city), but our military is not. So who is running this place you ask? His name is Mayor Gavon Newsome, another slick operator out of the mold of Tony V. to the south. Want to know how slick Newsome is? Well, about a year ago, it was revealed that he was having an affair with the wife of one of his top aides, but of course, by SF standards, that's pretty mild.
Well, you say, can't Sacramento do anything about this mess? That's like saying, "If only Der Fuehrer knew what was going on. He would stop all these abuses." Sacramento is the problem. Schwarzenegger initially wanted to rein in all the madness, but he is an army of one, and he has caved in to the Democrats who control the capital. It must be stated here, that not only is Sacramento controlled by the Democrats, it is controlled by the far-left, activist wing of the Democratic party. You have characters like the former Lt Governor, Cruz Bustamante, who now occupies another musical chairs post in the state capital, namely Insurance Commissioner. He was involved in an ethics scandal when running for governor and playing musical chairs with different campaign accounts. You have Bill Lockyear, formerly attorney general-who basically was only worried about prosecuting corporations and polluters-never mind street criminals. He now sits in the musical chair (Treasurer) next to Bustamante. The current attorney general is that grizzled old crime-fighter, Jerry Brown. Yes, that Jerry Brown, who had been hiding out as mayor of Oakland and counting murder victims. He is following in Lockyer's footsteps, looking under every bed for some polluter to put in jail. It's all one big incestuous system in California. These characters switch jobs like Kenny Lofton switches baseball teams.
Then there is the Speaker of the Assembly, Fabian Nunez (also like Villaraigosa, a former "co-respondant" of Ms Salinas). In today's LA Times, there is an article outlining the recent travels and expenditures of Speaker Nunez. As part of his duties conducting the "Business of the People" of California, this guy has traveled the world in style- first class air fares, five star hotels, thousand dollar dinners, you name it.
Try these on for size; $47, 412 on airlines such as United, Lufthansa and Air France; $8, 745 at the exclusive Hotel Arts in Barcelona; $ 5, 149 for a "meeting" at Cave L'Avant Garde, a wine cellar in the Bordeaux region of France; $2, 562 for two separate "office expenses" at Louis Vuitton; $1,795 for a "meeting" at Le Grand Colbert, a Parisian restaurant; a $1,715 "meeting" at Asia de Cuba Restaurant in West Hollywood and a $2, 428 "meeting" at 58 Degrees and Holding, a Sacramento Wine Bar and Bistro. (LA Times, 10-5-07) There is more, but I think you get the point. We have a school crisis in California? Well, we must go to Paris to find solutions. Let's see how the French do it in the Bordeaux region. Then we can go to Spain and compare the two.
When asked about these expenditures, Mr Nunez stated, "For me, it's a question of; is my perspective on issues broad enough? Do I have enough context when I make decisions? This is a big state to run. You've got to know what you're doing". (ibid)
"These trips, at least the ones I've taken-I feel very confident and comfortable that they're not only justified but necessary for the decisions I need to make on a daily basis." (ibid)
" There's not too big a difference between how I live and how most middle-class people live", added Nunez (ibid).
The funding for these boondoggles came from his "Friends of Fabian Nunez campaign account", which were disclosed in a mandatory filing with the state. The account was listed as having a balance of $5.3 million.(ibid)
This is the nature of the leadership that we have in California. Of course, we should vote them out of office and get some honest and competent people in there. The problem is we can't. It has gotten to the point where the voters who depend on government largesse outnumber the voters who are footing the bill. Not enough people even care about the obvious corruption going on here. I hate to make this a partison issue folks-after, all, I am an independent- but California is solidly in the hands of the Democratic Party, and they are running it into the ground. Productive and hard-working people are leaving every day, and in many cases, taking their companies and jobs with them. They are replaced mostly by illegal aliens and welfare recipients. (San Francisco lured many homeless people to that city by giving them a $400 monthly stipend.) One would think that any responsible politician would want to fight that trend. Keep in mind, Villaraigosa, Nunez and Bustamante were all members in college of Mecha- a radical Hispanic Student group whose principle goal is the reinstatement of the American southwest to Mexico.
Well, you say- maybe the National Democratic Party would see the radicalization of California politics by their own party and try to moderate what is happening in our state. Consider this: Guess who is the National Co-Chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Answer: Antonio Villaraigosa.