Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Black Conservatives

Janice Rogers Brown

My generation came of age in the 1960s, thus, I remember experiencing the transformation in America's attitudes toward race, especially in regards to African-Americans. The differences today compared to the 1950s and 60s are truly dramatic, and few other countries, if any, could have made such a transformation so quickly. Yet, racial issues still divide Americans, and many blacks feel that America has a long way to go to achieve true racial parity. There is empirical evidence aplenty to show that blacks are not yet on an economic par with whites. However, there is much disagreement on the causes of such disparities today. There is also a divide within black America on many of these issues due to the fact that we are seeing an increasing number of blacks identifying themselves as conservatives and taking conservative positions on racial issues. In other words, they are sort of seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. In my opinion, black conservatives represent one of the most intriguing groups in our society, not just because they are going against the ideological grain, but that they are showing so much courage in doing so.

While it is hard to categorize black Americans as to their social attitudes, it is commonly stated that most have strong religious backgrounds and tend to be conservative on many social issues.

Yet. politically, the Democratic Party enjoys overwhelming black support. In recent national elections, some 80-90% of black voters have voted Democratic. Within Congress, virtually every black member of Congress is a Democrat. It is not that Republicans don't want blacks in their party, but they have been thus far unable to overcome the perception that they are hostile to black progress.

Yet there is a growing class of black conservatives in this country who are thinking for themselves and not blindly following the philosophy of the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons, not to mention today's NAACP, a once truly great organization, but now reduced to an arm of the Democratic Party, an organization that, in my view, is still fighting the battles of the 1950s while they neglect greater problems plaguing black America than prejudice and discrimination.

For this apostacy, black conservatives have incurred the wrath of the above figures and had to endure personal insults from other blacks. They are routinely referred to as Uncle Toms, sellouts and Oreos because they reject the politics of victimhood and take the position that anyone can succeed in America if they work at it regardless of race or ethnicity.

Who are these individuals? Well, on the political or judicial level, we have people like Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court. Those of us old enough to remember will never forget the abuse he suffered at the hands of Democrats in his confirmation hearings. What was his great sin? Too conservative. A Republican, who expressed disagreement with Affirmative Action, Thomas got little or no support from other blacks as the Democrats and liberal interest groups literally tried to destroy the man on national television.

More recently, when President Bush tried to elevate Janice Rogers Brown to the Court of Appeals in Washington DC, Democrats and their supporters expressed horror that such a conservative black woman could be nominated. There was absolutely no legitimite reason for opposing her, except for this reason. The Democrats held up her nomination for two years before finally relenting.

Another black conservative political figure who can tell you a thing or two about this experience is Michael Steele, who unsuccessfully ran for US Senator from Maryland, where he had served as Lt. Governor. Steele, a Republican, was greeted on one occasion with Oreo cookies being thrown at his feet during one appearance. No Democratic politician in Maryland came to his defense after this outrage. Nor did the NAACP, headquartered in Baltimore. Their response was pretty much, "If the shoe fits...."

How about Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who in one black publication, was pictured as a house slave on Bush's plantation? Only Republicans and conservatives complained about that one. Ms Rice, in her characteristic graceful way, ignored the ignorance.

America is also graced with outstanding thinkers, commentators and writers such as Shelby Steele, who writes books on race, John McWhorter, a linguist specializing in creole languages, but who also has published books on race, economist, Walter Williams of George Mason University and Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University (who I think is one of the most brilliant men in America).

When it comes to political commentary, few can win a debate with Larry Elder of Los Angeles, who hosts a radio talk show in the afternoons, which is now broadcast nationally. Elder, who calls himself a libertarian, recently joined the Republican party. When it comes to race, Elder firmly rejects the "victicrat mentality", which he feels, holds black people back and keeps them from achieving. He regularly challenges the actions of Jackson, Sharpton and the NAACP. To be sure, he pays a price. Many of his black callers take him to task for "taking white positions" on racial questions. Like others, he has to endure the label of Uncle Tom. It does not silence him.

Also in California, we have activist, Ward Connerly, who has made his mark fighting Affirmative Action in state laws. His reward was to have former California State lawmaker, Diane Watson, an African American Democrat, criticize Connerly for being married to a white woman. After that comment, she was asked if she wished to clarify her remarks. Instead she refused and stood by her comments.

Why do black conservatives arouse so much resentment among liberals, Democrats and black liberal activists such as Jackson and Sharpton? In my view, it is because they threaten the power base of the latter group. indeed their raison d'etre. If black conservatives can demonstrate to the rest of the black community in America that they can succeed on their own efforts without government intervention and without the activism of the Jacksons and the Sharptons, then the latter become irrelevant. The Democratic Party and white liberals have made a living telling blacks and other minorities that they cannot get by in life without their assistance. As for the NAACP, they once filled an important need in this country prior to and during the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, they seem to be fighting the same old battles, trying to uncover that last White Racist. With drugs, gangs, crime and broken families plaguing black America, it would seem that their efforts are now misdirected.

In my opinion, black conservatives are the most intellectually stimulating people in our society. Their voices should be heard, not silenced.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Stars" Over LA

I think I've finally figured out what is wrong with my home town, Los Angeles. Most people complain that there are too many illegal aliens. I respectfully disagree. LA's problem is too many celebrities.

In a recent essay, I described the "crime spree" by socialite, Paris Hilton. Since she served her "hard time" in the LA County Jail, she has more or less kept a low profile-except of course for her appearance on the "Larry King on Life Support" show. Meanwhile, her pal, Nicole Ritchie, has just pleaded guily to DUI and been sentenced to a few days in "Sheriff to the Stars", Lee Baca's guest house. (It took me about three years to figure out who Paris Hilton was. Now I have to educate myself on Nicole Ritchie. I have no clue who she is, but she's famous.)

Then there is the latest "Trial of the Century", the murder trial of music producer, Phil Spector. If you have a good memory, perhaps you recall the night four years ago, when he was arrested for the murder of actress, Lana Clarkson in his home. Well, the trial finally started, and Spector (or I should say his lawyer) is claiming that the lady shot herself in spite of the testimony of Spector's driver that the producer came out of the house and said,"I think I've killed someone."
However, since the driver is Brazilian, the lawyer is trying to convince the jury that he doesn't speak English well enough. Actually, Spector really said,"To know him is to love him." Yeah, that's the ticket. The foreigner just misunderstood.

Remember Henry Lee, the hired-gun criminalist who helped OJ Simpson get off? Well, he has resurfaced, sort of. Lee has hired himself out to Spector's defense team. During a defense inspection tour of the Spector home, Lee reportedly picked up something from the floor (speculated to be a piece of the victim's fingernail), which has not been seen since. Lee recently went to China. Maybe he is still there. Maybe he will stay there rather than explain his actions in court.

Then, just a few days ago, a member of LA's royalty-that's right-we have royalty in America, none other than Prince Friedrich von Anhalt, 9th husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor and pretender to the fatherhood of Anna Nicole Smth's baby girl, wound up on the police blotter. Discovered by police naked on the streets of LA, Prince Friedrich claimed that he had been waylaid (no pun intended) by three mysterious ladies who pretended to ask him for his autograph!!??! Happy to oblige his adoring fans, the prince suddenly found himself being kidnapped and stripped naked by the ladies, who allegedly handcuffed him to the steering wheel of his car. Do I have that right, Prince? Anyway, the cops have no clue as to who these ladies are and no handcuffs were recovered. The intensive mahunt is on-going. Stay tuned for further developments.

Meanwhile, LA's mayor, Tony Villar, er....Villaraigosa, is continuing his PR tour of public appearances to show he is still involved in the day to day operation of the city. Yet, each time his honor dedicates a new manhole cover, the questions about his Telemundo reporter paramour, Mirthala Salinas, persist. In his latest declaration on the affair, Villaraigosa expressed his confidence that the internal Telemundo investigation would exonerate Salinas from any charges of unprofessional conduct!!??! OK, I guess, as they say, it's time to move on.

Meanwhile, Rocky Delgadillo, the City Attorney, continues to hang tough in spite of his scandals involving misappropriation of government vehicles and government employees for personal use. Rumors arose recently that City Councilman, Jack Weiss was poised to take over as City Attorney. Who is Jack Weiss, you ask? ......... You don't want to know.

So let's move on to the mother of all current scandals-Lindsey Lohan. (I'm just learning who she is too-I don't care much about Hollywood.) You know, back in 1966, I was going through US Army MP School at Ft Gordon, Ga. We had an instructor (a sergeant) who taught our traffic accident investigation courses. This guy should have been a stand up comedian because he kept us in stitches. His central theme centered around "Crash" Corrigan, a mythical driver who got into an accident every time he got behind the wheel. In one story, Granny Skaggs was driving to the store when she crossed an intersection and got creamed by "Crash" Corrigan on his way home from the hospital. I mention this because Ms Lohan's misadventures behind the wheel bring back funny memories about Mr Corrigan.

According to "reports", Lohan was attending a Malibu party and invited a friend-who invited a couple of other friends-who were sitting in the car in the driveway because (according to the reports) that was as far as they could get to the house where all the "stars" were partying. Lohan, meanwhile, was reportedly getting pretty well oiled inside and proceeded to get into a shouting match with her "assistant" who promptly quit her assistantship and left the party. Lohan then, reportedly, (Hey-I don't want to get sued.) commandeered the car where the friends of the friend were sitting and tore off down Pacific Coast Highway in pursuit of the ex-assistant at speeds of about 100 mph-according to the friends of the friend, who were still unwitting passengers. According to their testimony, they begged her to slow down, whereupon Lohan reportedly answered to the effect that she was a F......... celebrity and nothing was going to happen to her. Eventually losing her target in the chase, Lohan then proceeded to the assistant's mother's house, arriving just as the mother was arriving. Lohan behold, another high-speed chase ensued through the streets of Santa Monica, "Crash Corrigan" in hot pursuit of Granny Skaggs. Somewhere along the way, one of the terrified passengers, jumped out of the car only to get his foot run over by Lohan. Meanwhile, the terrified mother was on her cell phone to the police screaming for help. Finally, Lohan was cornered by Santa Monica Police in the parking lot of the Santa Monica Civic Center. At this point, the f.............celebrity told police that she wasn't driving the car, that "it was the black guy" (one of the passengers). What's more, police found a baggie of cocaine in her pants pocket, which Lohan still insists wasn't hers. But, Lindsey, wasn't the cocaine in your pants pocket? How is this for an ironclad alibi?--- "I was wearing someone else's pants!" If the pants don't fit.........Case dismissed!

So now the local media is all abuzz that Ms Lohan is next in line to enjoy the hospitality of Sheriff Baca. Then, when she gets out, she can do the boo hoo hoo routine on "Larry King on Life Support". At least the stupid shows like Access Hollywood with their boot-licking sycophant announcers like Pat O'Brien can keep their gigs a while longer. Me, I just wish Hollywood would pack up the whole operation and move the movie capital to Peoria. Access Peoria-How does that sound?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Anti-Semitism in America and our Universities

Being born and raised in West Los Angeles, I lived on a street where most of the families were Jewish. Therefore, it followed that many of my childhood friends were Jewish. Nevertheless, I knew that in those days (1950s), Jews were still often objects of stereotypes and jokes that later faded into unacceptable language. However, it wasn't until I joined the Army in 1966 and found myself stationed in Germany, that I saw the results of anti-Semitism and began to form strong opinions about this phenomena. Germany has continued to be a major part of my life even after my military service there ended. As a result, I have been able to observe (and write) about how the German people have dealt with the Nazi period of their history.

With the events in the Middle East, particularly in respect to the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I have recently observed what I consider to be a resurgence of anti-Jewish feeling in my own country. I feel that, not only must it be confronted, but the finger should be pointed squarely at those who are responsible.

First, a little personal background. While in Germany, I was stationed in a small university town called Erlangen, which is located about 20 kilometers north of Nuremberg. Due to its proximity to Erlangen, I got to know Nuremberg quite well and became quite fond of the city due to its old medieval architecture, which was restored to its original style after being destroyed by Allied bombing. However, more than any other German city, with the possible exception of Munich and Berlin, Nuremberg is associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Hitler chose the city as the site of his annual Nazi Party Rallies. During the 1935 Rally, the so-called Nuremberg Laws were announced, which legally relegated Jews to 2nd class citizens in Germany. It was also home to Julius Streicher, the notorious "Jew-Baiter of Nuremberg", who published the anti-Semitic Newspaper-Der Stuermer. (He was hanged at Nuremberg after the war.) Finally, the city was the venue for the War Crimes Trials. To this very day, the city has tried to shake its unsavory image.

Most of the sites in Nuremberg that were seen in old Nazi newsreels are still around. The area where the rallies were held is still there, the white marble tribune slowly deteriorating in isolated solitude except for a few curious visitors. The Courthouse where the top Nazis were brought to justice is still used by the city for legal purposes. In addition, the main square, where newsreels show Hitler saluting his marching troops, is still the center of city life.

After returning to civilian life in the US, I read everything I could on the Nazi era, becoming sort of an amateur scholar on the subject. In my later overseas travels, I have returned to Germany countless times, often to Erlangen. I have also visited several of the old concentration camps, specifically Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Auschwitz (in Poland). To speak of those places making a strong impression on me would be a gross understatement. Suffice to say, all this has made me sensitive to the subject of anti-Semitism.

As for Erlangen, my emotional attachment eventually led me to write an English-language history of the city, which was published in 2005 (Erlangen-An American's History of a German Town). My work on the project enabled me to return there in 2004 to do research and in 2006 to promote the book. It was a fascinating experience to learn about the history of a city in which I had lived so many years before-at a time that I did not really think about its history. Now I have learned about Erlangen during the Nazi era. For example, there was a book-burning ceremony there-as in all university towns. During Kristallnacht in 1938, the town's Jewish inhabitants were rounded up and jailed for a few days. Then during the war, the last remaining 20 or so Jewish residents were arrested and shipped east to the extermination camps. Only a handful survived. There was also a Jewish cemetery in Erlangen-or on the outskirts-which I had no knowledge of during my service time there. Through the help of the local Jewish community center, I was able to visit the place-normally locked up under a caretakers supervision.

The local Erlangen Jewish Community Center is worth mentioning. Established only in the past two decades, it serves a small community of a few dozen Russian immigrants. During my interview with the community leader, she made a very poignant remark, which, while I must have known was true, had never really thought about. She told me that the word "Jew" (Jude) is, to this day, an emotion-laden word in German. The Nazis did not have to resort to ethnic epithets to describe Jews. Simply the word, usually spoken in a derogatory tone of voice, was enough to make their point. To a somewhat lesser extent, I think this is also true in English (You know the old saying. It's not what you say-it's how you say it.) I keep thinking about this point when I hear some voices in the US refer to Jews-or "Zionist Jews".

But enough about Germany. I want to talk now about anti-Semitism here in America. Is it making a comeback? Did it ever go away? People can disagree, but I think there is a growing anti-Jewish trend in some quarters in this country, fueled by the Middle East situation with Israel and the perceived support for Israel by American Jews.

But where do we point the finger of blame? Well, obviously, you can find anti-Semites in all quarters of society. In my opinion, however, this is largely fueled on university campuses, those bastions of left-wing thought. Aside from the preponderance of professors who are antagonistic to traditional American values and conservative thought, there is no question that many of them openly favor the Palestinian cause and have nothing positive to say about Israel. In addition, numerous American campuses are hosts to Muslim Student Associations that also express hostility to Israel. Now let me say that I don't expect many Muslims to take Israel's side. That is fine. While I am no expert on Middle East affairs, I would concede that the Palestinians probably have some legitimite grievances. Where they lost my support is when they embraced terrorism. It also didn't help when many of them danced in the streets on 9-11.

From my own observations at the University of California at Irvine, where I teach part-time, I have been appalled at the events that the Muslim Student Union has put on for the last several years. The speakers they routinely bring to campus bring a message of hate, not only against Israel when they call for its destruction, but hate against Jews and America as well. It has led me to the conclusion that anti-Semitism is a central theme, although they deny that they are against Jews per se. What they do is constantly repeat the phrase "Zionist Jews" over and over again. But what exactly is a Zionist today? The term referred to a 19th century movement by European Jews to return to their original Jewish homeland in order to escape persecution by Europeans. What is a Zionist today? A Jew who lives in Israel? Or an American Jew who supports Israel's right to survive and defend itself? I have heard speakers like Abdel Amir Malik Ali, an imam from Oakland, who appears at UCI on a regular basis. When he is not praising suicide bombers as heroes, he continually uses the phrase "Zionist Jew" in the same derogatory tone that Nazis referred to "Der Jude". It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

I do not wish to paint all American Muslims with the same brush. That would not be fair. However, many activist Muslim students are exhibiting hostility not only to Israel (which is their right), but to Jews in general. Even more alarmingly, many university professors, for whatever motives, are aligning themselves with the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel movement as an aside to their usual hate America diatribes. The lunatic ex-professor, Ward Churchhill appeared as a speaker at the last MSU rally at UCI, joining hands with Malik Ali and other radicals in denouncing Israel and the US.

Then there is former President, Jimmy Carter, who also recently spoke at UCI, taking a completely pro-Palestinian position and criticizing Israel and many of their Jewish supporters in the US. (I was present). Many Jews are coming to the conclusion that Carter is an anti-Semite. I am not ready to make that conclusion yet. I just think that he is a dangerously misguided fool, same as he was as president.

To conclude, it is my opinion that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is leading to an increase in anti-Semitism in this country, largely fueled on university campuses by some young Muslim students and their radical left professorial sympathizers. I suspect that many people, especially in our universities, would just as soon throw Israel and Jews overboard, so to speak, in order to try and placate Muslim opinions. It is very much like what is happening in many European countries. But it should not happen here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

You Want to Impeach Bush? For What?

Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show yesterday, pulled one of his usual tongue-in-cheek news alerts when he announced that there was a new shortage in Washington-a shortage of subpoena forms. Seems the Democrats in Congress have used them all up during the course of their various investigations and hearings into government wrongdoing in the Bush Administration. Seriously though, the Democrats seem to be determined to dog Bush to the end of his presidency if not find enough dirt to start impeachment proceedings against him and most certainly, Dick Cheney. That they are doing this in a time of war strikes me as disgraceful. Yet, I must concede that a war would not suffice to protect a truly criminal president from removal. However, let's look at the so-called scandals that the Dems are investigating.

As for the charge that Bush lied us into a war on Iraq based on false claims of WMD, I say this: If Bush lied about WMD, then a lot of other people lied as well. That long list would include Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Madelyn Albright, Sandy Berger, William Cohen, John Kerry, the inteligence agencies of the Brits, French, Israelis, as well as the CIA. Were they all lying? No, actually. For starters, Saddam used chemical weapons against Iran in his war against that nation. He also used them against his own people after the first Gulf War, killing thousands of innocent men, women and children in one village alone. Bush, in the wake of 9-11, simply was not prepared to wait until Saddam started passing off WMD to terrorists to use against the US and Israel. You can disagree with his reasoning and decision, but there was nothing devious and criminal about it.

Another "scandal" is the NSA wiretapping program that Bush authorized after 9-11 to monitor conversations between Al-Quaida suspects overseas and their contacts in the US. I can't believe the opposition that the Democrats have to this program in the first place. If Bush hadn't done it, he should have been impeached for gross negligence. Do you have any doubt that during World War II, wiretaps were going on all over the country? Besides, what was the reason? So Bush could spy on his political enemies like Nixon did in Watergate? No. It was done to prevent attacks-to save lives.

Now there is the big deal over the firings of eight US Attorneys. So what? It was done for political purposes you say? Of course. So what? US Attorneys are political appointees. They are usually appointed by incoming presidents as political plums. A US Attorney serves at the pleasure of the President. Bill Clinton, when he came into office, replaced 93 US Attorneys with his own people, including the US Attorney in Chicago, who was nearing an indictment of Democrat member of Congress, Dan Rostenkowski for corruption, as well the US Attorney in Little Rock who was investigating Whitewater, replacing him with a former law school student of his. No one said a peep when Clinton canned these 93 people and put his own people in. Now, the Democrats want explanations. The first scalp they are going for is that if Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, who has been raked over the coals and all but called a perjuror by the likes of Schumer. Advice to Gonzalez-tell the truth about the firings. You fired them-tough! Don't become the next Scooter Libby.

The Democrats also want to subpoena Bush's top advisors to testify as to what they ever told Bush about anything at anytime. Bush is claiming "Executive Privilege", and the Democrats (principally Chucky Schumer, John Conyers and Henry Waxman) are waxing indignant over the issue that seems to arise in every administration. Now, Russ Feingold wants to start Censure proceedings against Bush.

My only advice for the Administration is to tell the Democrats to go pound sand. But if anyone does have to testify, just tell the damn truth. If the Democrats really want to push these issues, in the end, they will alienate the public. Bush's approval ratings may be low, but they are head and shoulders above those for Congress. What most people really want to see Congress do is get to work on something constructive, like shutting down the border and supporting our troops who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why the Mainstream News Media is Declining

In the not-so-old days, the news media was defined by the three TV news networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, as well as the major metropolitan newspapers- plus the radio stations. People got their news by reading the daily paper and watching the evening TV news on one of the above TV networks. Radio stations sufficed to give listeners their news as they were driving to and from work. Today, we have other choices due to the advances of technology. During the past generation, there has been a revolution in how people get their news, partly due to technology but also due to other factors as well. People today have other choices, and it is a cause for concern for the traditional mainstream news industry.

First of all, the 24 hour news channel has played a revolutionary role. CNN, pioneered by Ted Turner, gave the news audience the opportunity to get their news 24 hours a day. Other 24 hour channels have followed suit. No longer do TV viewers have to wait for their 6-7 pm, 30 minute presentation of the national and international news. Now, by the time, 6 pm rolls around, most people are up-to-date on what is happening around the world.

Another revolutionary development is the Internet. People can simply go to their computer to find out the breaking news events. They can also tune into news sources around the world in other languages if they are so inclined.

Talk radio has also played a very significant role, especially for conservative listeners. Until Rush Limbaugh came on the scene a couple of decades ago, conservatives were pretty much tied to the mainstream media (which tended to slant to the left on most issues). Conservative listeners had very little opportunity to hear their views articulated on radio. Limbaugh changed all that. Today, he is still the most-listened to radio talk show host in the country with a listenership of about 20 million people. More importantly, he has paved the way for other conservatives to start their own radio talk shows, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Larry Elder, to name a few. Liberal talk radio is still trying to catch up, but so far, without much success.

The most recent phenomena is the advent of the blogs via the Internet. Now, virtually anyone can speak out and voice his/her opinion on the issues of the day and get his/her words disseminated across the Internet. Successful bloggers are even having an influence on public opinion, both on the left and the right. Two of the most successful left-wing blogs are Move On.Org and Daily Kos since they hold considerable influence over the Democratic Party. Many prominant Democrats, such as Al Gore, have spoken before Move-On and later this month, several Democratic candidates for president will attend the annual convention of Daily Kos.

It goes without saying that both parties are paying close attention to blogs on the left and the right. To be sure, blogs are opiniated, contentious-and sometimes vile and out of control. Some blogs monitor and control the dialogue and comments that readers send in. Some do not. Blogs are like everything else on the Internet; they range from intellectual to vile, good to terrible. The reader must be able to separate fact from opinion and decide what to accept or not to accept. For better or worse, however, it is democracy in action.

But it is not only technology that has threatened the mainstream news media. It is (and this is my personal opinion) the decreasing lack of credibility that the public perceives on the part of our major networks and newspapers. Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, you have to be a fool to really believe that the mainstream media is fair and objective. First, look at the three major TV networks: ABC, NBC and CBS. They are beyond question liberal in their orientation-thus, they favor the Democratic Party. As for the cable networks, the same holds true for MSNBC and CNN. Only the Fox News Network slants conservative, and they are the highest rated cable network by far. As for the major metropolitan newspapers, they are overwhelmingly liberal. The biggest-the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Atlanta Journal and Constitution-I could go on forever-overwhelmingly favor the Democratic Party. It is not surprising that they are rapidly losing subscriptions. The public now recognizes that they are getting biased news, and they are turning to alternate sources. Even more to the point, traditional, conservative audiences are coming to the conclusion that there is something offensive in the mainstream media, detecting a tone that is against traditional values, such as religion, what we try to teach our children, our military, our war against terrorism and against our nation itself. Thus, millions of Americans are turning elsewhere for our daily information.

Is this a positive development? I have heard many in the news media decry this trend on the grounds that people are now getting their news and opinions from non-professional sources. I disagree. Of course, every person should ideally have the sophistication to properly evalulate what they are getting as news. However, if the mainstream news media chooses to slant its news reporting in a particular direction and decide which news is worthy of reporting-or not reporting-based on their philosophy, then they don't deserve to keep their audience. They have created a massive void, which, due to technology and their own lack of credibility, is rapidly being filled.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Am I a Fascist/Racist?

Let me give myself a quiz. I'll ask the questions, and you tell me the answer.

I believe that we should defend ourselves against Islamic terrorism, so that we don't suffer any more 9-11s. Am I a fascist/racist?

I want our military to achieve victory in Iraq and Afghanistan and leave behind two responsible nations that will not be a threat to us or the rest of the world. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that most Muslims want to live in peace, but that there is a sizeable fraction that want to force Islam upon the world by any means necessary, and that they must be confronted and defeated. Am I a fascist/racist?

I am trying to believe that true Islam is a religion of peace, but after having read the Qu'ran and the life story of Mohammed, as well as following the current events of the day around the world and the words of Islamic religious leaders, I am losing the battle. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that the UK needs to round up and deport radical Muslims who are preaching Jihad and hatred in that country. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe the same for our own country. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that we will eventually have to go war against Iran unless the people of that nation overthrow their government. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that Israel has the right to exist and defend itself. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that the Palestinian people, while probably having legitimite grievances, have bought into the idea of terrorism, that most are anti-American, and that they are hurting their own cause. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe in legal immigration into the US, but I am opposed to illegal immigration-and immigration for those who refuse to assimilate and who bring hatred with them for others. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that every nation has the sovereign right and the duty to control its borders. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe in equal rights and opportunity for every human being, but I oppose things like quotas, affirmative action and special consideration for certain ethnic groups. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe in the ability of every person in the United States to make the most of their life without the guidance of the government. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that other ethnic groups should be treated as equal responsible people, not as handicapped victimized children who need a helping hand. Am I a fascist/racist?

I admire black conservatives more than any other group in our country because they have the moral and intellectual courage to confront the Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons and Louis Farrakhans of the world at the risk of being called 'Uncle Toms". Am I a fascist/racist?

Rather than depend on the government to guide me through life and take care of me, I want the government to leave me alone. Am I a fascist/racist?

While I am willing to pay taxes to the government to protect me from crime and invasion, I am not willing to pay taxes to the government to take care of those that are able to take care of themselves but don't. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that Socialism is wrong for America. Am I a fascist/racist?

I accept that minorities and women in America were subjected in the past to serious discrimination, but I believe that America today has progressed beyond that, and that all can achieve according to their own ability and determination. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that all individuals should be held accountable for their actions, especially those who break the law. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that the human fetus is a human life and should not be aborted. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that, while we should have freedom of religion (which we do), that Christianity should not be cast aside from American life as it has in Europe. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that in America, we are sexualizing our children and not dealing harshly enough with sexual predators. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that people who sell and otherwise traffick in illegal drugs are criminals and belong in jail. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that our universities have become bastions of left-wing radical ideology that is anti-American in nature. Am I a fascist/racist?

More specifically, I believe that many American universities are seeing an upsurge in anti-Semitic activity carried out by Muslim student groups, their sponsored speakers and some professors, and that this must be exposed to the public. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that the Democratic Party has been taken over by far-left interests that are against America's best interests. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that the mainstream news media is under the control of the left and is trying to force its agenda on the American public under the guise of reporting. Am I a fascist/racist?

I believe that America, in spite of its shortcomings, is the greatest country on earth.

Am I a fascist/racist?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mitt Romney for President?

At this point, Mitt Romney is battling John McCain for second place in the Republican polls trailing frontrunner, Rudy Giuliani, by a considerable margin. His campaign just hasn't really taken off, and if Fred Thompson gets in, Romney will fall farther back. Why has Romney not made more of a splash with the public? Maybe for the same reason, he hasn't made me excited, at least not yet.

Romney, of course, was most recently the Republican governor of Massachusetts, which is pretty much akin to an Israeli being King of Saudi Arabia. (OK, that's a wild exaggeration.) It seems that he did a credible job holding down the crazies on the left who so dominate that state. Of course, Romney had to take some positions in Massachusetts that would be palatable to the left, such as supporting abortion rights. That, of course, is coming back to haunt him in the Republican primaries. Romney says that he has changed his view and is now pro-life. Many see that as political flip-flopping. He also has come more to the right on the issue of illegal immigration.

That aside, there doesn't seem a whole lot to attack Romney on-unless you have a problem with his Mormon religion. I don't care, but there are some out there who do, unfortunately. One thing that he certainly has going for him is his squeaky clean personal image. Unlike some of his competitors, like McCain, Giuliani and Gingrich, there are no divorces or sexual scandals in
his background. This would also bear him in good stead if he were win the nomination and run against Senator Clinton, who, .........well, you know all about that.

Maybe Romney's clean vanilla image is also a bit of a problem for him. Though he is miles away in philosophy, he kind of seems like the Republican's version of John Edwards, at least physically. You know, young, handsome, Hollywood central casting version of the young politician. A John Edwards with Wildroot. (Do they still make that stuff?)

All kidding aside, Mitt Romney seems a very decent guy with at least a moderate conservative approach. So far, I haven't heard him say anything that bothers me. Would I vote for him in the primaries? Probably not at this point, but there is still a long way to go. It may yet develop that he will ultimately be the one with the best chance of beating Hillary. Then he will get my vote.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

George Bush and the Iraq War- Could He Be Right?

It goes without saying that George Bush's presidency and his role in history revolves around his decision to invade Iraq. Needless to say, this action has brought Bush the wrath of most of the world, as well as the wrath of an increasing number of Americans as disillusionment with the war rises at home. Bush's approval ratings are consistently in the 30s and probably will be when he leaves office. The question is-will he ultimately be vindicated by history? I think it is still possible. Let me play a little Devil's Advocate here.

The Justification for the Invasion

There are several reasons that Bush can point to for the invasion of Iraq:

1 In the aftermath of the first Gulf War, Saddam violated many of the provisions of the surrender, most notably those dealing with no-fly zones and repeatedly shooting at our pilots. Those violations alone justified a resumption of hostilities.

2 Weapons of mass destruction. Contrary to the claims of those who insist that there never were WMD, we do know that Saddam in fact used them, first against the Iranians in the Iran-Iraq War, then against his own people in the north after the first Gulf War. In one village alone, several thousand men, women and children were gassed to death by Iraqi forces. Why did we not find them? There are plenty of scenarios, most probably they were disposed of in the runup to the invasion. They could be at the bottom of the Tigris River or in Syria. But how can one say they never existed when we know he had already used them.

As for the UN weapons inspections, they were a joke. First of all, Saddam never granted full access and cooperation to UN inspectors under the direction of the hapless Hans Blix of the inept UN. Secondly, we now know that Saddam bribed several countries, including France and Russia, as well as a British member of Parliament with lucrative oil vouchers. Even the UN itself, under the corrupt direction of Kofi Annan, was compromised. Annan's own son reportedly got in on the action.

In the wake of 9-11, Bush took the position that we simply could not place our safety solely in the hands of the UN. Let's not forget that the UN is comprised of some 190 nations, only a fraction of which are democracies. Most are corrupt dictatorships, and many are hostile to the US. At best, the UN is ineffective. At worst, it is corrupt. In addition, the UN passed a total of 17 resolutions directed to Saddam and his non-compliance to UN directives concerning inspections. Still, the UN sat and fiddled, taking no real action. Now we know why. Too many palms were greased.

There was also the question of Saddam himself, his rule and the barbaric treatment of dissenters in Iraq. It was unquestioned that Saddam and his two brutal sons had engaged in systematic repression, torture, rape and murder to stay in power. (After the invasion, mass graves were discovered containing bodies by the thousands.) Granted, the US cannot act unilaterally to remove every bad leader, but Bush has come to the conclusion that freedom and democracy in the Middle East are what is needed to bring an end to terrorism. Only time will tell if he is correct or a dreamer.

Let us also not forget that in the runup to the invasion, Congress, including the Democrats, overwhelmingly gave Bush to power he needed to take action against Iraq. Hillary Clinton, herself, voted for the president, and reminded the public of her support when Saddam was captured. Now she talks in circles about "if I knew then what I know now......" Well, what did she know about Saddam when her husband was the president? What did she know back in 1998 when President Clinton was sending out Secretary of State Madelyn Albright, Secretary of Defense, William Cohen and National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger around the country to do speaking engagements to the public educating them to Saddam's WMD, supposedly to prepare the country for war.

But more to the point, the charge has been repeatedly made that Bush lied to get us into the war. Whatever mistakes might have been made, I do not accept that charge. If George Bush lied about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, then so did Bill Clinton, Madelyn Albright, William Cohen, Sandy Berger, John Kerry, the French, the Brits, the Israelis, the UN, the Russians and the various intelligence services of the US, UK, Europe etc. They all believed that Saddam had WMD. Specifically, that he was engaged in the buildup of chemical and biological weapons, as well as rebuilding his nuclear capabilty. The difference was that Bush, in the wake of 9-11, concluded that the risks of Saddam handing WMD off to the terrorists were unacceptable.

Should We Stay?

So now, it is 2007. Defeating the Iraqi Army was relatively quick. Stopping the insurgency that has resulted is another matter. We have now lost over 3,000 soldiers, and the American public is getting very war weary. Instead of the Iraqi Army, our soldiers have to contend with mostly foreign Jihadists and the killing between Sunnis and Shi'ites. Should we stay to try to give Iraqis freedom when their own efforts to secure freedom are questionable? Should we be in the middle of a civil war? Reasonable questions. Another question is this: Aren't those foreign fighters who have come to Iraq the very enemy we are supposed to be fighting? What about Iran? If they are indeed sending in operatives and bombs to use against our soldiers, how do we respond to them? It seems clear to me that, like it or not, we are going to have to confront the Iranians, with their radical leader and his developing nuclear weapons, sooner or later.

Can our military overcome the morass in Iraq? Can the latest "surge" work? Has our news media portrayed the situation much worse than it really is? I don't know the answers to those questions, but I have heard many of our soldiers say that progress is being made, and that many Iraqis appreciate what we have done. It should also be pointed out that the majority of the country is indeed pacified.

So let's say we get out as we did in Viet Nam. What happens to Iraq? First of all, I think it is obvious that the country will be taken over by either the Iranians, radical Jihadists or both. That means that those who supported us will be subject to a massacre, as would the Kurds in the north, who are doing quite well at the present time. In addition, Iran and/or Al Quaida would then have a national base for terrorist operations, supported by the country's great oil resources. Any friendly nation in the region would be put under greater peril than ever.

In addition, America's alliance and word to other allies would be worthless. The entire world would see that we don't have the will to persevere. It would be a great international victory for the bad guys. We would also have to concede that the American lives lost in Iraq were in vain.

I am a veteran, and I don't take our military losses lightly. I am as skeptical as anyone about the ability of the Middle East to build true democracy. Frankly, if we can leave behind a "benevolent dictator" in charge in Iraq who would keep that country from being a threat, that would be good enough for me.

What is truly hypocritical is the posturing of the Democrats in Congress, many of whom had once themselves spoken out on Saddam as a growing threat with his WMDs. Now, they are crucifying Bush, criticizing our soldiers and advocating the same retreat they pulled off in Viet Nam a generation ago. Whatever mistakes Bush and his administration have made, he did not lie about WMD.

With the Democrats in charge of Congress, it cannot be predicted that a good outcome will come out of Iraq. I am still hoping for victory-or something that will leave that sad nation out of the hands of Iran or radical Islamist elements.

Victory. What's wrong with that?

*I recommend you read an article by Norman Podhoretz entitled: Who is Lying About Iraq, which appeared in Commentary Magazine, November 11, 2005. It goes into much greater detail on many of the points I have mentioned.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Michael Vick, Dog Fighting and the NFL

"Hi ho, hi ho. It's off to jail I go"

The most disturbing news coming out of the sports world this week has to be the federal indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick on dog-fighting charges in his home state of Virginia. The indictment charges that not only did Vick use his property to stage vicious dog-fights, transporting fighting dogs across state lines for this purpose, but that losing dogs were subsequently killed by various barbaric methods including shooting, drowning, hanging, electrocution and slamming them into the ground multiple times until they were dead, all apparently for the enjoyment of the crowd gathered for this blood sport.

I don't need to add to the public outrage over this barbaric practice-it goes without saying. My questions relate to the responsibility of the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons.

Of course, Mr Vick enjoys the presumption of innocence until he is convicted. But what action should the NFL and his employer, the Atlanta Falcons take at this point. From their public statements, it would appear that both entities prefer to wait until the justice system has settled the question of Mr Vick's guilt or innocence. Perhaps that is a proper view to take before depriving Vick of his livelihood. But in the case of the Falcons, they are his employer. Every player's contract contains a morals clause that puts the player on notice that he is expected to exhibit responsible moral behavior as a citizen. Does it require a criminal conviction before the team invokes that clause? At what point do the Falcons decide that they no longer want Mr Vick as an employee? They are apparently agonizing over that question as I write this piece.

This leads to a deeper moral question that applies to the team itself. When a professional sports team signs a player, they are bringing that player into their community. Does the team bear at least a moral responsibility when the player conducts himself to the detriment of that commun- ity? I think so. By the same token, when a university brings a young athlete onto its campus, doesn't it assume a moral responsibility for the conduct of that person? Yes, in my view. When the athlete commits crimes in that community into which the university or professional team has brought him, then a disservice has been done to the community. Of course, the athlete himself must bear responsibility for his actions, but the school or team also bears a moral responsibility to the community.

Of course in the real world, it all comes down to signing great players (and Vick is in many respects, a great player) , winning games and making lots of money. So universities and professional teams make calculated compromises and gambles when they sign such players. True, many schools and pro teams back away from certain players because they know the probability of an explosion is too great. But there have been too many examples-too many to recite here- of players who cannot act as responsible citizens off the field. How many times have we heard the NFL derisively referred to as the "National Felon League"?

I have an idea that the future of Mr Vick as a player will be decided by the fans. If the Falcons (or any other team) choose to play him next year, what kind of reception do you think he will get as soon as he steps onto the field? Can you imagine three solid hours of booing-game after game-city after city? Maybe the Falcons will release him. Will another team sign him-and import this guy into their community? In spite of his obvious talents as a football player, I have an idea that this (alleged) offense is so outrageous, that Mr Vick's football career is over.

The Flying Imams and Their Supporters

Remember the incident a few months back when a group of Muslim Imams were boarding a flight from Minneapolis and Phoenix and proceeded to draw so much attention to themselves that passengers on the flight alerted airline officials and police? Prior to the boarding, the Imams were observed and overheard not only praising Allah, but praising Saddam Hussein while making derogatory remarks about Bush. So far, OK, but once on board, the Imams drew more attention to themselves by constantly changing seats, exchanging furtive glances and asking for seat belt extenders (which they did not need.) Finally, many of the passengers had enough and complained to flight personnel. As a result, the Imams were taken off the plane by police for further investigation. Once the police were satisfied that there was no threat, they were allowed to board a later flight to Phoenix. Now, the Imams, supported by the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR), are bringing a lawsuit against the airline (US Air). In addition, they are subpoening the names of all those passengers who alerted the authorities. They may have some supporters in Congress, believe it or not.

First, of all, the whole episode smells to me like a set-up. By that, I mean that I suspect these individuals purposely orchestrated the event to get themselves thrown off the plane so that they could bring a lawsuit. Wasn't it unusual that once they finally arrived in Phoenix, they were met by many of their supporters and TV news crews as well?

Not content with their in-your-face behavior at Minneapolis Airport, the "Flying Imams" now are acting to further isolate the American Muslim community as a whole from the rest of the American people by bringing this lawsuit. Even more outrageous, the passengers, who in a post-9-11 world, did what any normal person on an airplane would do in those circumstances, are now faced with subpoenas, harassment and possibly being sued as well. What is the purpose of that? I'll tell you what the purpose is- to make the American public afraid to report suspicious behavior to the authorities.

To counter that very threat, in the wake of the Imam incident, Congress initiated steps to protect the public from legal repercussions from having reported suspicious behavior that could be a terrorist act in the making. Now, believe it or not, just this week, Democratic members of the House of Representatives, led by Nancy Pelosi, are working to remove that portion from Homeland Security legislation.

Remember, this is the same party that is trying to ensure our defeat in Iraq. OK, you say they are only against the war, like at least half of the American public. Yet, they are also against the wiretapping of suspected Al Quaida members calling numbers in the US. "Wiretapping innocent Americans" they call it. Well, who knows? I guess any of us are liable to get a wrong number call from Osama bin Laden. They also think that captured terrorists should enjoy all the rights of our Federal courts, defense attorneys, evidence suppression hearings and all that good stuff.

So why would some Democrats in Congress want to remove any protection from those who alert the police to suspected terrorist activity? Don't ask me. Maybe they are just looking out for their friends in the legal profession. Maybe we should write to them and ask.

As for CAIR and the "Flying Imams" themselves, they should think twice about what they are doing. They are only going to further alienate public opinion against Muslims. CAIR is already suspected by many to have terrorist sympathies. They are always trying to tell us that they are moderates and only want to increase understanding between US Muslims and the public at large in America. This lawsuit is not the way to do it. Even if their intentions are pure, and they only want to protect American Muslims from profiling, they have to recognize that Islamic-inspired terrorism is a fact of life in today's world. If they choose to engage in litigation, they are only sending a message that it is "us vs. them". Is that what they really want?

California Marijuana Clinics

In Febrary 2007, I wrote the below article in the opinion page of the Orange County Register in reply to a February 4 editorial by John Stossel attacking DEA's crackdown on California marijuana clinics.

As a retired DEA agent, I take issue with John Stossel's Feb. 4 column on our drug laws ["Drug legalization decisions are better off left to the states," Commentary]. Stossel's thesis is that drug laws, according to the Constitution, should be left to the individual states as opposed to the federal government. Stossel also opines that the current administration and "DEA goons" are "throwing that idea on the trash heap."

Well, not exactly. The fact is that under the 10th Amendment any laws not covered by federal law are left to the states. Thus, states are free to enact their own laws as long as they do not conflict with federal law.

However, we do have federal law that regulates the manufacture, transportation and sale of controlled substances, including both illegal drugs and those subject to a doctor's prescription.

In the case of marijuana, it is presently categorized as a Schedule I drug, which, among other elements, states that it has no recognized medical use. That means that states that attempt to allow "medical marijuana shops" are in conflict with federal law, as are doctors who prescribe marijuana.

It is not my purpose here to debate the pros and cons of marijuana. Suffice to say that those who want to legalize it or change its category to a lesser schedule can petition through the legislative system. We have the mechanisms in place to change our laws rather than snub our noses at them.

Stossel, as a libertarian, seems to be opposed to all drug laws, at least on the federal level. That is his right. However, leaving the decision to each state would create chaos and do nothing more than attract drug users to those states. It would also hamper law enforcement's efforts to investigate major drug-trafficking organizations that operate across state lines (indeed, national borders). That is a major reason why we have federal law enforcement agencies.

As for the so-called marijuana clinics, I am skeptical about their true purpose. Is it really to provide relief to ordinary citizens like you and me (who could obtain legally-prescribed medications that are much more efficient), or is it just a Trojan horse either to legalize marijuana entirely or at least provide access to the usual potheads? I suspect the latter.

If America as a nation wants to junk its drug laws, that can be done through the legislative process. But for state authorities to ignore federal law as it exists is illegal. The bottom line is that marijuana clinics in California are breaking federal law. If you don't like the law, petition your legislators to change it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cardinal Roger Mahony and the Pedophilia Scandal in LA

This week, the Los Angeles Archdiocese of the Catholic Church agreed to a settlement by which victims of sexual abuse by priests in the archdiocese would receive a total of 660 million dollars to be divided among them (and their attorneys). The agreement was announced on the day before a trial was to begin, in which Archbishop Roger Mahony would have been called as a witness under oath. The central figure in this scandal was Cardinal Mahony, who, for several years, had stonewalled the victims, their attorneys and the LA District Attorney's Office, who had been trying to obtain Church records relating to accused priests. Much like the recent case in the Archdiocese of Boston, in which Cardinal Bernard Law had been accused of resisting investigations and reassigning offending priests, Mahony has brought considerable discredit upon the Church.

It is not my purpose here to launch an assault on Catholics, nor upon the majority of priests who are truly performing God's work in the service of mankind. Nor is it my attention to attack Christian doctrine- I am myself a Christian. I have my own opinions on what is wrong within the Catholic Church that has led to these abuses. In the interest of fair disclosure, I grew up as a Protestant, married a Catholic, and attended Catholic services, raising our children as Catholics. Now, with my children grown and able to make their own decisions, I have chosen not to attend Catholic Church services any further in the light of the priest scandals-especially the Church's refusal to deal meaningfully with the issue overall.

The story of the Archdiocese in Los Angeles under the leadership of Cardinal Mahony is a disgraceful scandal. To be fair, not all of the cases in the above-referenced lawsuit occurred under Mahony's watch, but many did. It is beyond question that as the complaints mounted and the lawsuits were filed, Mahony threw up every roadblock imaginable to thwart the efforts of the plaintiffs to achieve redress. Private investigators were sent out to question and intimidate not only the victims, but their families and other witnesses as well in an effort to discredit the victims. Efforts to obtain Church records on accused priests were resisted, in many cases, until the statute of limitations expired or plaintiffs simply gave up. Subpoenas issued by the District Attorneys Office in LA were resisted to the bitter end. Finally, this week, it came to the point that the cases were going to come to court, and Mahony had to testify under oath. Then came the settlement accompanied with an apology by Mahony to the victims. But an apology for what? Mahony apologized to the victims for what was done to them and for their suffering. Yet, he did not apologize for the all the years of his own fighting their efforts to achieve justice. He did not apologize for all the pedophile priests that came to his attention and whom he simply sent out for treatment and/or reassignment to other parishes. He did not apologize for all the legal efforts he mounted to defeat their complaints. He did not apologize for fighting tooth and nail to keep Church records secret that would have revealed how he and the Church tried to cover up these crimes.

All of this will remind Catholics in Boston of the activities in recent years of their own former Archbishop, Bernard Law, who committed all of the above acts. Now, he is a major domo in the Vatican, most recently having come to public notice as a speaker at the funeral of Pope John Paul II (a great man, who must have been spinning in his coffin).

So now, the question arises-what will become of Cardinal Mahony? Will he resign his position, retire or be transferred by the Vatican to Rome or some other post? Will he be further investigated by Los Angeles DA, Steve Cooley? (I hope so.) Or will he simply survive in his current position. Several observers are already predicting he will come out of this whole affair intact, if not unscathed. Reason? Let us not forget that Mahony enjoys great popularity within the Los Angeles Hispanic community. Mahony is also noted for his support for the illegal alien community in southern California and the US as a whole. He has been very outspoken in favor of amnesty and the status of LA as a sanctuary city. As for the news media in LA, the conservative radio talk shows have been most critical of the Cardinal (especially KFI's talk show hosts, John and Ken). What remains to be seen is the reaction of LA's newspapers-including the Spanish language media- to the settlement. Will they join the call for the removal of Mahony?
That remains to be seen.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What is Wrong on our University Campuses?

Ward Churchill, former professor at University of Colorado, who called victims of 9-11 "Little Eichmanns".

In the interest of full disclosure, I am presently a part-time teacher of English as a Second Language at a major California university. (UC Irvine). I must admit that I enjoy working at UCI. After a first career of working for DEA, this new life is pretty relaxing. The students are congenial (coming from mostly Asian countries, where teachers are respected) and my colleagues are likewise. Some even share my conservative world view. However, one always has to consider what university department is involved. ESL teachers tend to be people who have traveled, lived in other countries, learned other languages, and , in many cases, have married foreign-born spouses. So they tend to spread out along the ideological spectrum. Likewise, teachers in the physical sciences and economics also tend to be more ideologically varied. It is in the humanities that you find an overwhelming presence of not just liberals, but far-out lefties who don't much care for their country. Unfortunately, these characters make the most noise, and thus, bring a lot of bad publicity to their schools. Add that to administrators who either sympathize with radical professors or are afraid to confront them, and you have a pretty sorry state of affairs on our campuses.

So where do I start? How about Ward Churchhill, of the University of Colorado? He's the guy who called the victims of 9-11 "little Eichmann's". How about the character who teaches at the University of Wisconsin who swears that the Bush Administration conducted 9-11? What about Duke, where the university, urged on by a letter signed by 88 professors, expelled the three Lacrosse players (who were later exonerated.) Then there is San Francisco State, where military recruiters were driven off campus by a mob of students, just part of a long tradition of student unrest at that "institution". Let's don't forget Harvard, the "most prestigious university in America", where the president, Larry Summers, was driven to resignation by his own faculty after he had the temerity to question whether women were as adapt at science as men. (Oh the outrage!) At my own school, UCI, each quarter is marred by anti-Israel events sponsored by the Muslim Student Union, a group that has a regular team of radical Muslim imam speakers who spout hatred not only for Israel, but America and Jews in general. Numerous other campuses, such as UCLA, also have activists Muslim Student Unions that warrant the attention of the FBI. Meanwhile, other universities, Like the University of Michigan at Dearborn, are busy installing foot baths for Muslim students.

In addition, while radical left speakers appear and speak freely on campuses across the nation, conservative speakers are met with protests, disruption and sometimes violence. Examples? How about former Justice Department official, John Yoo, when he spoke at UC Irvine a couple of years ago? Ditto for pro-Israel Middle East expert, Daniel Pipes at UCI a few months back. How about Ann Coulter, who had pies thrown at her at one university in Arizona? When President Bush was invited to speak recently at St Vincent's College in Latrobe, students and professors alike cried like spoiled children. In the free marketplace of ideas, pay attention to those who want to silence the other side. That will tell you much about who is right and who is wrong.

I could go on for the next 100 pages with anecdotal examples of far-left, anti-American activity going on at American universities, but you read these stories every day just like me. The question is why? How did you get to this point? I guess one reason is that many of these professors were university students during my generation-the good old 60s. Many of them never left that sad decade. Another reason could be that moderates and conservatives tend to get their bachelor's degrees and go out into the world to make a living and get some real life experience. They tend to become even more conservative during life. Meanwhile, what happens to the student who goes from a BS degree to a masters degree to a PHD and then enters teaching? By the time they have gotten their doctorate, they have been educated out of the last shred of common sense they were born with. They are still stuck in that cocoon of liberal university propaganda. They then take all that "learning" into their classroom and regurgitate the same stuff that they learned. However, where is their life experience, other than maybe getting married and having kids?

In my own case, after getting my BS in 1970 (interrupted by a 3 year stint in the Army), I went into federal law enforcement, first with Customs, then DEA. That job took me all over the world, including assignments in Thailand and Italy for a total of 8 years. In my final assignment at the Office of Training at Quantico, Virginia, I took advantage of a program run by the University of Virginia, where I was able to get a master's degree in Education, paid for by the government. This enabled me to qualify as an ESL teacher at the college level, further enabling me to retire at 50. I mention this only because I think that it allowed me to bring life experience to the classroom.

That does not mean however, that I was about to walk into a classroom and indoctrinate my students with my conservative philosophy. I think it is wrong. My job is to help young students improve their English, not to teach them what they should think about the world. Unfortunately, most leftist professors feel it is their mission to turn out a new generation of leftists. Not content to preach their doctrine in the classroom, many of them engage in protests against this or that outside the classroom, oblivious to any principle of free speech. Even more outrageously, many professors give poor grades to any student who strays from the professor's point of view. Sadly, many young students, concerned about graduating, have succumbed, remaining silent in the classroom and turning in papers in agreement with the professor's philosophy.

In contrast, my master's program was more of an example of adult education. The coordinator, from the University of Virginia, was able to relate to us since we were made up of DEA, FBI and Marines. He knew he was dealing with adults who had life experience and were not liable to be liberal. Where the fun happened is when he brought up young teaching assistants from Charlottesville to give lectures. On one occasion, a young lady in her 20s made the off-hand comment in class that she didn't think it was unpatriotic to burn the American flag! We let her know in no uncertain terms how we felt about that remark. The lady was nearly in a state of shock when she left-and never returned.

So what to do about this situation? Do we conservatives go to court or the Congress to demand a "fairness doctrine" for the universities? Tempting, but I say no. What I think is necessary here is the light of day. We need to make sure the public is aware of what is happening in our universities (and secondary schools as well). We also need to send emails or letters to the heads of these institutions when these outrages occur. They need to know the public is watching. If your alma mater is guilty of far-left bias, refuse to send contributions when solicited-and let them know why. If you are going to foot the bill for your kid's tuition, make sure that he or she doesn't go to one of the offending schools. (Unfortunately, that takes care of most state-run universities-you might have to look at a small private or faith-based school). Eventually, some of these schools will start paying attention to the bottom line.

You also need to counsel your children that it is up to them to decide what they think about the world, that they will be subjected to this indoctrination, and that they should never accept at face value what a professor says in the classroom. There is a bumper sticker that liberals are fond of that reads: "Question Authority". Why not question professors as well?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ken Hubbs- A Real Sports Hero

Ken Hubbs (1941-1964)

The American sports scene has been badly polluted in the last several years by professional athletes who have been caught cheating with steroids and/or getting in trouble with the law. The phenomena has been particularly felt in the NFL and NBA. To a somewhat lesser extent Major League Baseball has also been hit hard. It seems all we read on the sports pages (besides the scores) are the latest transgressions of players who have been arrested for rape, assault, drug possession, gun possession or what have you. Meanwhile, many of the top home run hitters in baseball have apparently been using steroids to pump up their bodies and their statistics. Any day now, Barry Bonds will break Hank Aaron's home run record thanks to a variety of substances that he has (allegedly) put in his body. The American sports public is hungry for real heroes that they, and more importantly, their children can look up to. Well, there is one I have in mind. Unfortunately, he left us several decades ago. Many of you reading this will not recognize his name because his career was cut short by premature death in 1964. His name was Ken Hubbs. His records and accomplishments on the field never were able to rise to the level of greatness or Hall of Fame credentials. However, Ken Hubbs was a Hall of Fame human being.

Who was Ken Hubbs? In 1962, he was the National League Rookie of the Year playing second base for the Chicago Cubs. During his rookie season, he set a major league fielding record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman. By February 1964, he was gone, killed in a private airplane crash.

Hubbs was born in Riverside, California in 1941. He was one of five sons in a Mormon family that resided in nearby Colton. He made his first splash at the age of 13 as the star shortstop of his Colton little league team that made it all the way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsyvania in 1954. Coincidentally, I happened to be present at the regional playoff final game in Santa Monica, California. I was standing beyond the center field fence and still recall seeing the final out of that game. In Williamsport, Ken's team lost to Schenectady in the final game.

Ken's family accompanied their son and the team on the train ride to Pennsylvania. During a stopover in Chicago, they took in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Ernie Banks was still playing shortstop at that time, and he became Ken's idol. Little could anyone imagine that only ten years later, Ken's idol would be a pallbearer at his funeral.

After Little League, Ken went on to become a star athlete at Colton High School, not only in baseball, but he was also an All-American in football and basketball. He was also class president. Ken eventually chose baseball as his career and signed out of high school with the Cubs.

After a short minor league career, Ken joined the Cubs in the latter part of the 1961 team where he was put at second base. Of course, the Cubs in those days were a perennial loser, not having won a pennent since 1945. They were seemingly building the basis of a future with Billy Williams, Ron Santo and another prospect named Lou Brock (who would be traded away in 1964). Ken also fit into the future with the Cubs. He was a solid, smooth fielding second baseman who, with more experience, would have developed into a solid hitter as well according to the Cubs. In 1962, Ken hit 262. That respectable average plus his 78 consecutive errorless games led to his selection as the NL Rookie of the Year. His performance of 418 consecutive errorless fielding chances was also a new record.

It was in August 1963 that I visited Wrigley Field for the first time and became a Cub fan for life. Being an aspiring second baseman in college, I paid particular attention to Hubbs, who was then in his second full season. I saw him play a few weeks later in Los Angeles. That would be the last time I saw him play.

In 1963, Ken's batting fell off, his average dropping to 235. Yet, the Cubs were not concerned. With his solid defense, Ken was expected to be the Cubs' second baseman for the next decade or so. His hitting was expected to get better. Of course, for Ken Hubbs, there would be no 1964 season.

At this point, it is appropriate to turn to Ken Hubbs the person. This was no conceited, narcissistic young athlete. Example: When Ken first went looking for an apartment in Chicago to rent, he encountered a landlady who did not want to rent to a professional athlete. She considered them to be wild and high living. Ken asked her for a chance to prove himself. She gave him that chance and never regretted it. She quickly learned that Ken was a model tenant and a model citizen.

Nor was Ken standoffish. The neighborhood children could look forward to Ken coming home from the ballpark and playing catch with them. (Of course at that time, all games at Wrigley were played in the daylight.) In addition, Ken was known to readily sign autographs before games by the dugout and chat with Wrigley ushers and other employees. Among his teammates, he was universally popular. Everone loved Ken Hubbs.

Ken had suffered from a fear of flying, a definite handicap for a professional athlete. To conquer that fear, he confronted it head on, learning how to fly a plane himself. Subsequently, he bought his own private plane, a Cessna 172. He had had his flying license only a short time when he and his closest friend, Dennis Doyle, flew the Cessna to Provo, Utah for a Church-sponsored basketball clinic in February 1964. Taking off in poor weather for the return flight home to Colton, the plane crashed into frozen Lake Utah. Both were killed instantly. Ken Hubbs was only 22 years old.

The news hit Chicago and Colton especially hard. Ken was (and is to this day) Colton's home town hero. The funeral was held in Colton and attended by the Cubs team. Not only had a promising baseball career been cut short, but also the life of a young man who would have gone on to even greater things outside of baseball.

For the Cubs, a promising 1963 season (82-80) was followed by a disappoining 1964 season. Their other prospect, Lou Brock was traded and went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Cardinals. The Cubs reverted to their old losing ways for the next several years.

For Colton, Ken Hubbs became an icon, whose name lives on to this day. The high school where he starred renamed the gym in his name. The local little league is now the Ken Hubbs Little League. Ken's mother and one of his brothers still live in Colton.

For an older generation of Cubs fans, Ken's name is recalled with a mixture of fondness and sadness for what might have been. A few years ago, the Cubs and the city of Chicago invited the Hubbs family to a 40th anniversary commemoration of Ken's winning the Rookie of the Year Award. His older brother, Keith, told me in a telephone conversation not long ago of how he and
his wife were walking down a Chicago street when they passed a man wearing a White Sox shirt. Keith's wife asked the man why he wasn't wearing a Cubs' shirt. At this point, the man told her that he hated the Cubs and hoped they would lose every game they played. Yet, when he learned that he was in the presence of Ken Hubbs' brother, his tone changed. The man bowed before Keith and told him how much he loved Ken. He added that all White Sox fans, no matter how they hated the Cubs, loved Ken Hubbs.

At this time, there is a book being written on the life of Ken Hubbs by a Chicago writer, David Tenenbaum. When it comes out, I recommend it to any sports fan who wants to be uplifted by the life of a young athlete, who in addition to his sports skills, was also an outstanding young man.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rudy Giuliani for President?

What about the current GOP frontrunner, Rudy Giuliani for president? Or a better question at this stage might be-what about Giuliani as the Republican candidate? While he presently leads in the Republican polls, many conservatives find him lacking in several areas.

In the area that I consider the number one issue-the War on Terror- I find him to be very appealing. The former New York mayor eloquently expresses the need to fight this war on all fronts. Yet, it should be pointed out that most all of his competitors for the nomination, with the notable exception of Ron Paul, share his view. Where Giuliani raises concern among Republican voters lies in other hot-button issues, such as abortion and illegal immigration. In short, Giuliani supports a woman's right to choose, and, with the latter, is less than hard-line on stopping illegal immigration. As mayor, he supported the idea of New York as a sanctuary city. That stance causes me concern.

Others are troubled by his marital history. He is now married to his third wife, with whom he began a relationship even while married to his former wife. If he ends up running for president against Senator Clinton. this would tend to minimize Hillary's disadvantage of being saddled with the history of her own husband's infidelities.

I consider Mr Giuliani to have been a great public servant as US Attorney for the Southern District Court (Manhatten), where he distinguished himself in the prosecution of the Mafia, as well as his term as mayor, where he cut down on crime and generally improved the quality of life in the nation's biggest city. Of course, he won the hearts of America in the aftermath of 9-11, as he showed himself to be totally involved in the tragedy of the city, attending numerous funerals of the victims. There is no question that, if he is nominated, that I would vote for him.

As for the primaries, I am as yet undecided. Like many others, I am still holding out for a more intriguing figure, with whom I can completely identify on both of the two most pressing issues of our time (terrorism and illegal immigration).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Al Gore, Dead Polar Bears and Live Earth

I am usually laughing too hard at Al Gore to actually sit down and write about him, but since he is being touted about as a presidential candidate, I might as well devote some attention to him just for yuks.

I have long since come to the conclusion that Mr Gore has serious issues, in other words, I think he is nuts. But unfortunately many people actually take him seriously even after years of jokes about him having invented the Internet, discovering Love Canal and being the model for the movie "Love Story".

Now, as we all know, Mr Gore is involved in the Environmental Movement, having won an Oscar for his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" and now awaiting the inevitable Nobel Prize for Something. One would have thought that with the revelation that Mr Gore lives in a Tara style mansion in Tennessee that uses about 20 times the amount of energy of a normal household plus the knowledge that the former Veep travels around the world in a Gulf Stream jet to promote his Green message that this boob would be totally discredited. Well, although conservatives have long ago laughed him out of town, a lot of young people and liberal Green-minded people actually take him seriously. (Did you see that movie producer sycophant hanging on Gore's collar at the Oscars? Good thing Al didn't make a sharp left turn on his way off the stage- You know the joke about the broken nose.)

Now remember, when, during the Oscars, he was asked about his own profligate life style, Mr Gore actually had the "huevos" to talk about his "carbon neutral lifestyle" and the carbon credits that he purchases to make himself "carbon neutral". Initially, we wondered what that was all about. But now we know. Seems that Mr Gore invests or pays into a company that promotes environmental issues around the globe, in this case a company called Generation Investment Management. You see, it works this way: If you, Gore or any of his high-living Hollywood friends are leaving a big carbon footprint by using a lot of energy, flying around in private jets or living in huge mansions, you can make it all good by purchasing carbon credits from companies like GIM. Kind of like in medieval times when the Catholic Church sold Indulgences to sinners to absolve them of their sins. Really no difference at all. (It was practices like these that inspired Martin Luther to launch the Reformation.) Such a deal! But wait! What is the deal with this outfit, GIM? Guess who founded the company and is a co-owner. AL GORE!!

So now you figure the whole world is laughing at Al Gore, right? Wrong! Now Carbon Neutral Man has launched a new venture, which stole the attention of the world this past weekend. Live Earth. That's right, multiple concerts held worldwide featuring singers like Madonna and other loons like Robert F Kennedy Jr. haranging audiences to save the planet by walking to work, getting rid of their SUVs, dismantling corporations and capitalism ad nauseum. Never mind the energy used by these turkeys flying in their private jets to venues all over the world. Never mind the fact that these people are not about to give up their own lives of luxury. Never mind the trash left by the thousands of concert goers. As long as you are Raising Awareness, that's all that counts.

Meanwhile, liberal teachers all over the country are forcing pupils and in some cases, even their parents to watch Gore's movie in class. Some parents are complaining that their children are coming home from school crying and having nightmares about drowned polar bears floating down Main Street.

Anyway, I'll keep laughing at Al Gore unless he actually becomes president. He may be a hero, prophet or a saint to some on the left, but to me, he is still "Weird Al". Every time I think about this blowhard, I keep wondering how many bodies he could have buried in that huge basement of his in Tennessee. Wouldn't that make a hell of a carbon footprint?

Antonio Villaraigosa- Fixing LA's Potholes

Antonio Villaraigosa, aka Tony Villar, LA Mayor and National Co-chair of Hillary Clinton's Presidential Campaign

A few days ago, word leaked out of City Hall in Los Angeles that embattled mayor, Tony Villaraigosa, was planning a series of initiatives to demonstrate that he was fully engaged in the business of running the nation's 2nd largest city in spite of the scandal surrounding his affair with Telemundo reporter, Mirthala Salinas. On Monday, July 9, the mayor reemerged in the public spotlight but not in the way he envisioned.

Yesterday (July 9) His Honor appeared in Eagle Rock (an LA neighborhood) to announce his great "pothole initiative". As the mayor attempted to describe the filling of 300,000 of the city's potholes, he was stunned to learn that no one cared. Instead, the mayor was inundated with questions about Salinas, which he proceeded to deflect. Today, he appeared in Chinatown to announce a summer jobs program, but once again, reporters only wanted to ask about Salinas and the mayor's love life.

In addition, a new name has surfaced in connection with Villaraigosa. Reporters are now asking about his relationship with Sabrina Kay, a Korean-American fashion designer that Villaraigosa had appointed to the LA City Planning Commission and who had accompanied the mayor on a junket to Korea. Villaraigosa has denied any improper relationship, and Ms Kay has issued a statement on her website vehemently denying reports, which had originated in a Korean-language tabloid.

As for the other embattled LA official, Rocky Delgadillo, it appears that at least one group is about to start a recall initiative against the City Attorney if he does not resign. Stay tuned-but don't hold your breath.

By the way, just as a footnote: One of the questions raised by the Villaraigosa scandal is the manner in which the news media has chosen to cover-or not cover the story. Example: This week, it was revealed that one of the names in the phone records of the so-called DC Madame, was none other than David Vitter, Republican Senator from Louisiana. Vitter also happens to be the southern regional campaign chairman for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign. CNN's Wolf Blitzer wasted no time in asking Giuliani if Vitter will remain in the campaign. Meanwhile, Villaraigosa is the National Co-Chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Question: Has anybody asked-or will they ask Ms Clinton about Villaraigosa's remaining as Co-Chair?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Just a Few Questions

Of all the articles I have written on lately, I have a few questions remaining.

For Duke University: What has happened to the 88 professors who issued a public statement condemning the 3 accused lacrosse players prior to any trial and prior to their exoneration? Have they apologized? Have they been reprimanded in any way?

For LA Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa and LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo: Why have you both not resigned?

For Telemundo: Why place your reporter, Mirthala Salinas, on leave now? Why didn't you do it when you learned months ago that she was having an affair with Villaraigosa while she was covering him? Also, what broadcasting advantages did Telemundo gain from this relationship?

For the LA Times: How did you let your smaller competitor, the Daily News, beat you out of this story? Was it because you knew but chose not to report it?

For LA's other mainstream news outlets: Same question.

For LA's Spanish-language media: Same question.

For Bill and Hillary Clinton: Where do you get the chutzpah to criticize Bushes' commutation of Scotter Libby's prison sentence in the light of Bill's questionable pardons of fugitive, Marc Rich, drug dealers whose families gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary's brother, and the Hasidic Jews of New York, embezzlers whose community voted almost 100% for Hillary in her Senate campaign (among others)?

For John Conyers, who wants to launch a congressional probe of the Libby commutation: Where were you when Bill issued all those pardons?

For President Bush: After the Libby commutation, how about a similar commutation for Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean?

For Trent Lott and Lindsey Graham: Who is going to vote for your reelection after your efforts to push the Immigration amnesty bill?

For John McCain: Same question plus your presidential hopes.

For John Edwards: Which America do you live in?

Finally, for all the Muslims and their US supporters who want to see the destruction of Israel. What do you say after seeing all those Palestinians fleeing to the Israel border to escape the killing in Gaza?

Just a few lingering questions.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Newt Gingrich for President?

There are a lot of observers out there that don't think much about Newt Gingrich as a presidential candidate. To many, he is a tired, old-and not very attractive face. Others point out that Gingrich has a lot of negatives and high public disapprovals. All that is true, but to me, the idea of Newt jumping into the race is rather intriguing, and I think it would enhance the Republican field, especially during debates.

Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House, jumped into prominance in the 1990s as the architect of the Republican "Contract with America", that laid out his party's platform and priorities, enabling the party to take over control of Congress. Later, his star sank in Congress, especially during the Clinton impeachment proceedings, as his own personal failings started coming to light. Now out of public office, Gingrich contemplates jumping into the Republican race with no decision on the immediate horizon. What is he waiting for? Why the indecision? If he really wants the job, and he thinks he is the best person for it, why not make the decision and announce?

It seems to me that Newt, a Civil War buff (and author), is quite the strategician. This reminds me of the time he was Speaker of the House, one day going after Clinton and his scandals with a vengeance, the next day backing off, the day after, back on the hunt, much like a general deciding when to attack and when to make a strategic retreat. So now on the outside, he sits and watches the other candidates before he makes his final decision. In the meantime, he keeps himself in public view with TV appearances, conferences and other initiatives.

It is easy to ridicule Gingrich, especially since his marital failings have become public knowledge. Remember the ex-wife who was recovering in the hospital from cancer surgery when Newt asked for a divorce? If you have not heard about that one, you will hear plenty about it if Gingrich runs and becomes the nominee. That would also remove a key Republican advantage if Hillary is the Democratic nominee as most predict; that advantage being the public's fatigue with the Clinton marital soap opera.

Personally, I don't think Gingrich has a snowball's chance of being elected president or even getting the Republican nomination. However, I hope he decides to run, and here is why: Not only is Gingrich an experienced insider in Washington politics, which has its advantages. He is also a historian, former college teacher and a damn intelligent person. Most importantly, no one in the Republican field is as eloquent in articulating conservative principles as Gingrich. From talking about the War On Terror, Illegal Immigration, taxes or what have you, no one can match him for making his case in a manner that would appeal to both brain surgeons and blue collar workers. Whether he would always carry out his principles in office or do what is politically more prudent at the moment is another question.

At any rate, if Gingrich joins the race, he will be a forceful presence in any debate. Further, he will improve the quality of the debates, and force some candidates to better articulate their own plans for running this country. If for no other reason, I hope he will decide to get in.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall....." Hillary Clinton for President?

I've been holding off on writing on Hillary Clinton's candidacy for a simple reason. With so much to write about, where do I start? Her history as a political force in the US goes back to 1992 with her husband's election as president and her ascent to being the First Lady of the country. As her husband left office, she was beginning her own political career, being elected as senator for the state of New York, a clear case of carpetbagging if there ever was one. Now, as we have all predicted, she has launched for own bid for the presidency.

It would be senseless to try and recount Hillary's track record in public life, beginning as First Lady and then as a senator. The Health Care Plan, the White Water Law Firm scandal, the White House Travel Office, Vince Foster, the efforts to discredit all of the women in Bill's life, the charges of "vast right-wing conspiracy" when the Lewinsky scandal broke, the pardons her husband gave to imprisoned members of the New York Hasidic Jewish community in New York-that led that community to vote Democratic (for Hillary) for the first time in recent memory, etc. Anyone who doesn't know about this woman's history (as well as her husband's) probably should vote for Paris Hilton as a write-in in 2008. The fact remains that nobody is neutral on Hillary. You either love her or hate her. Every poll that I've seen suggests to me that 40-45% of the electorate would crawl out of their deathbeds to vote against her. Hard to overcome, unless, of course, you call out all the prison inmates, convicted felons, illegal immigrants and cemetery residents to vote for her.

But seriously, let's be honest. Watch this woman on TV. Pay attention to her body language, her non-verbal communication, and facial expressions. Does this woman really project sincerity to you? No. What she projects is insincerity, arrogance, ruthlessness and blind ambition to reach the pinnacle of political power at any cost, quite reminiscent of the evil queen in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Watch the way she answers open-ended questions with a long monologue, eyes shifting all over the horizon. She is obviously making it up as she goes along. Of course, she has her true believers, but they know what Hillary is. They don't care about her character and veracity because they are counting on her to carry out their desired liberal policies once she is in the White House. If she has to shift to the center in the election to garner independent voters, well..., they understand.

At this stage, notwithstanding the challenge from Barack Obama, most observers concede that Hillary will win the Democratic nomination, in spite of her back and forth record on the Iraq War, which has cost her support from the left. Many observers think that given the public's disenchantment with George Bush and the Republicans over the war and their waffling on illegal immigration, Hillary will likely win it all in a general election. Maybe I am naive, but I still can't bring myself to believe that the majority of the American voters would vote to make Mrs. Clinton president. I could be wrong- her husband won two elections in spite of the fact that we all knew he was lacking in character. We know that Hillary is also lacking in character. Hopefully, in 2008, character will count.