Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pamela Anderson- A Lid for Every Pot

L-R Pamela Anderson- Rick Soloman (censored)

This just came across the wires: Pamela Anderson has taken out a marriage license in Las Vegas to get married with her 3rd "Mr. Right". Of course, every true MTV fan knows that the "sex-goddess" was previously married to Tommie Lee and Kid Rock, two gallant lads who staged a duel at the MTV awards, presumably to defend Pamela's honour.

According to the news reports, Anderson is now engaged to Rick Soloman. Rick Soloman...., Rick Soloman,,,,, hmmm. Oh yes! He was the guy on the other end of the infamous Paris Hilton sex video! That's right! I'm not too good on names, but I never forget a @#%*! Does this mean we now get treated to a sequel, since everybody with the possible exception of Mr Rock has been involved in one sex tape or another?

Even more intriguing: What's going to happen at next year's MTV extravaganza? Maybe we will have a 3-way tag team brawl involving Kid Rock, Tommie Lee and Rick Soloman. Maybe if it corresponds with OJ's trial, OJ can be the referee. And Paris Hilton can be the girl parading around with the round cards.

How long do you think it will be before Pamela and Rick are on Larry King on Life Support swearing their eternal love? (You heard it here first.)

But seriously. My congratulations go out to the (temporarily) happy couple. It just goes to prove the old adage: There's a lid for every pot.

Three in fact!

...... Update---Breaking News- They're getting a divorce!!!

The Cubs- A Retraction

Back on June 2, I did a posting on the state of the 2007 Chicago Cubs. This was after the dust-up between Carlos Zambrano and Michael Barrett, followed the next day by Lou Piniella going post office and getting thrown out of the game. At that point, the Cubs were losing, it looked like Zambrano was done with the Cubs, and all that $300 million that the team was paying in salary was for nought. In my posting, I all but pronounced the Cubs dead and suggested that the Curse of the Billy Goat was real.

Of course, as I pointed out, I had pretty much much seen it all as a Cub fan since 1963. The collapse in 69, the collapse in the 84 playoffs and the collapse in the 2003 playoffs. What I have not seen is my beloved team in a World Series. Who can be blamed for being a pessimist?

Well, what can I say? The Cubs have overtaken the Milwaukee Brewers and are now Central Division champs. I for one will not pop the champagne until they win the National League pennant. That's when my 45 year dream will be realized. Now I have to go through the agony of two playoff series, and if they fall short again, I will again be bitterly disappointed, as will be millions of long-suffering fans in Chicago and elsewhere around the country.

As for now, however, it is my pleasant duty to offer a retraction for my fatalistic comments in June. Maybe, just maybe, I will fly to Chicago and join the fans on Waveland Avenue if we get to the clincher at home.

Go Cubs!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Military Service Totem Pole

In recent years, there has been considerable controversy in politics centered around the military experience of some of our politicians-or lack thereof. For example, Bill Clinton's avoidance of the draft during the Viet Nam War was an issue, but not enough of an issue to cost him 2 elections, in both of which he defeated distinguished veterans of WW2, George Bush and Bob Dole. George W Bush's National Guard Service during Viet Nam was an issue in both of his elections. During the second, Dan Rather of CBS used fraudulent documents in an attempt to show that the younger Bush had been granted special treatment to avoid active duty service in favor of the Reserves. John Kerry, himself a Viet Nam veteran who later led Viet Nam Veterans Against the War, had his service called into question by other Swift Boat veterans. Today, with the Iraq War on center stage, other Vets like John Murtha and Chuck Hagel have spoken out against the war and incurred criticism in the process-albeit not of their own military service. This leads to a question not often considered: Who has the standing to criticize or question the military record of another-especially in the public and political arena?

Being a veteran myself, I have some thoughts on this matter, which I would like to share. First, I am a Viet Nam era veteran who served 3 years in the US Army from 1966-1968. I hasten to add that I did not serve in Viet Nam. At the conclusion of my training, the Army assigned me to Germany, where I served the remainder of my time. I neither volunteered for Viet Nam nor did I choose Germany as my post of duty. The choice was the Army's. Had I been assigned to Viet Nam, I was prepared to go. The only other option was to desert.

These facts are always in my mind when I consider the military record of others in public life. To me, there is a scale of those I feel free to criticize and those I do not. Now, we must remember that lack of military service cannot be held against someone in and of itself since we no longer have a draft. (When I enlisted, there was a draft.) Having said that, my scale looks something like this: Highest on the totem pole are those veterans who have served in combat. There is no way I would question their service because it stands on a higher level than mine. That includes people like John Murtha, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry and Bob Kerrey. I will criticize them on other issues, but never their service. (I have written a critical piece on Murtha based on his pork barrel politics.) When John Kerry was dealing with the Swift Boat charges, I remained silent though I supported Bush. The Swift Boat commanders who condemned him had every right to express their feelings, but I remained neutral. Similarly, while others have questioned and belittled Al Gore's service in Viet Nam, I have never said a word. Both he and Kerry stand higher on the totem pole than I do.

As for George W. Bush: He did, in fact, fulfill his military obligation. Many of his biggest critics on this point never served a day in the military (Bill Maher, Howard Dean, and Michael Moore, most notably.) They are pure hypocrites. Did Bush get special treatment in getting into the Guard? Perhaps. In those days, many (like professional athletes) did, but I don't wish to impugn the service of those who served in the National Guard. Did Bush skip some of his weekend meetings? Perhaps, but as I understand it, you don't get a discharge unless you make up the required time. If I wanted to question Bush on this issue, I would since I served 3 years active duty, but I don't know the whole story.

Let me tell you who I don't hesitate to question: That would be those who used trickery, lies and deceit to avoid military service, especially during war. I am not talking about conscientious objectors here. I am talking about draft dodgers. Is a certain name coming to your mind? Bill Clinton perhaps? You bet'cha. This man used every trick and lie in the book to avoid military service during Viet Nam. Moreover, he went to England to study during the war, and while there, participated in anti-war demonstrations against his own country. I will blast him all day long as someone who was never fit to serve as Commander-in-Chief. He lies at the very bottom of the totem pole.

Our military is rightfully the most respected institution in the country. Having military service on one's resume is a giant plus and deserving of respect-especially when that service includes combat duty. In America, of course, no one is above criticism, and we all enjoy the right of free speech. However, whenever we hear someone's military service questioned, we should pay attention to the critic and their standing on the totem pole vis-a vis the target of their criticism.

Juan Williams, Bill O'Reilly and CNN

I don't necessarily agree with everything that Juan Williams says on a variety of issues, but I feel compelled to come to his defense in this week's controversy involving himself, Bill O'Reilly, Media Matters and CNN. In terms of background, O'Reilly recently had dinner with Al Sharpton at Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem and made some innocuous (and favorable) comments on his experience there, which led the usual left-wing elements to try to make the Fox News commentator out to be a racist. Media Matters, a left-wing, mad hatter web site, led the charge with CNN, a mortal enemy of Fox and O'Reilly in particular, chipping in. This week, O'Reilly, in defense, brought Fox News contributor Juan Williams onto his show. Williams referred to CNN as "idiots". On Wednesday, CNN hosted Syracuse University professor, Boyce Watkins, on its Newsroom show. Watkins referred to Williams as a "happy Negro"- in other words, an Uncle Tom.

So here we go again. Not only is O'Reilly painted as a racist for his innocuous comments about Sylvia's Restaurant-which were meant to be in the context of refuting racism- but Williams is now an Uncle Tom for defending O'Reilly and referring to the "idiots" at CNN. For the record, Williams has never been considered a conservative. If anything, he is moderate to liberal in his leanings. However, Williams is also an independent thinker-something that is anethema to liberals and black activists. He is also now a Fox News contributor, which will never earn him points on the left. Perhaps more importantly, Williams has recently authored a book entitled: "Enough", a critical look at the "traditional" black leadership of the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the victimhood mentality that afflicts so many African-Americans and serves them no useful purpose. Could this have anything to do with the virulent attack on Williams by people such as Professor Watkins, Media Matters, CNN and others?

The fact is that any African-American who dares to step away from the party-line is putting him/herself right in the cross-hairs of the race hucksters and the far-left, who continue to preach that nothing has changed since the 1960s and that blacks cannot get a fair shake in America. Any black who speaks against this ideology is branded as a sell-out and Uncle Tom. If left-wing organs like Media Matters and CNN want to paint O'Reilly as a racist, woe be to the black public figure who comes to his defense. The charge of Uncle Tom or white racist is specifically designed to silence opposition, whether the target be black or white respectively.

I am certain that O'Reilly will continue to speak out against this outrage. After all, he is not known for turning the other cheek. I hope that Williams will as well and also speak out in defense of other blacks- more conservative than he- who have long been paying a high price for their independent thinking. The voices of Williams and others deserve to be heard and considered-not silenced. This is just another example of how the left attempts to silence their critics. It should serve as an example to anyone concerned with free speech, but who has yet to figure out where the greatest threat to free speech is coming from.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Race in America

It would be foolish to claim that America is a nation united these days. We thought we were after 9-11, but that has receded pending the next terrorist attack. Since then, we have slipped back into our everyday political and social differences, such as the divide that exists between conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats. Since we are an ethnically diverse nation, we are far from being united in this area as well. Often, it seems as though we Americans are made up of competing tribes fighting over our fair slice of the American pie. Virtually all of our ethnic minorities have faced struggles and discrimination over the course of our history. The group that suffered the most in our history has been our African-Americans, first starting with slavery, the darkest chapter in our history, then post-Civil War segregation and discrimination, leading to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Since then, things have improved dramatically for our black citizens in terms of exercizing their basic rights. Indeed, America has been transformed so dramatically since the 60s, that I doubt any other society could have made such an achievement. Yet, all is not well in Black America today. Without neglecting the issues of other minorities, I would like to focus on the state of black-white relations in our country today. I should state at the outset that mine is the opinion of a white male in his 60s. Having said that, my thesis is that the troubling state of affairs in black America is something that must be addressed and solved by blacks themselves.

Let us start with a basic question. Is America a racist country? Since I am 62 years old and remember the Civil Rights Era, I would state unequivocally that America was a racist country when I was growing up. Segregation in the South was enforced by local laws, while discrimination was practiced on a more subtle scale in the rest of the country. The N-word was used commonly in all-white company, especially by teenagers. So much of that has changed in the last 40 or so years. Yet, many, if not most African-Americans feel that racism is still a big problem in the US, and that the system is stacked against them. Charges of racism are frequently made against individuals or institutions by other individuals or institutions like the NAACP. In response, many whites say that racism charges are often imagined or fabricated by blacks to gain an advantage or quiet criticism or disagreement. What is the truth? In my view, America is-in 2007- a country with many racial issues-but not a racist country in the mold of Nazi Germany or South Africa under Apartheid.

I have often heard black spokespersons say that America needs to have an open and frank dialogue about race. I agree wholeheartedly. However, I would add that we have been having a dialogue ever since the 1960s and the Civil Rights Era. That dialogue has had a consistent theme: that whites have committed many injustices against blacks, beginning with slavery, and continuing with segregation and discrimination. To that point, whites can only agree-because it is true, and nothing can justify that part of our history. In that regard, American society has done its proper duty in educating new generations about this fact, much like the Germans have done in educating their youth about the Nazi era (at least since the 1960s). In addition, in my view, our country has gone to great lengths to remedy that past with programs such as welfare and affirmative action (which, in the opinion of many including myself have had negative consequences for black America). Yet, any observer of the American scene can see that black America is not in good shape. Any trip through a large American inner city will tell you that.

As we all know, in spite of progress and the rise of an educated black middle class that has been able to overcome poverty and racism due to the opening of numerous doors, the black inner-city seems to have been left behind. There are gangs-deadly gangs, guns, drugs, crime, schools that cannot hope to educate because of the problems that their pupils bring with them to the classroom. There has risen a culture among black youth that education and speaking standard English are for "white people". There is the insidious influence of hip-hop music, whose lyrics often use foul language, defame women, defy authority and glamorize drug dealing and violence. Many of the rappers themselves are horrible role models for youth since they often live the life style they rap about-in many cases since they grew up in that life-style themselves.

Then there is the problem of single-parent families. The illegitimite birth-rate among American blacks today stands around 70%. In the worst days of Jim Crow, that figure was about 25%. In the opinion of many, including libertarian radio talk show host, Larry Elder, himself African-American, this is the single most serious problem-the root of all the other problems. But how is it that as Civil Rights has progressed and many blacks have seized the new found opportunities, that this number has risen so dramatically? I am not sure, but could it have something to do with the massive welfare state that was created by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, a system that actually discouraged having 2-parent families? I have to assume that Johnson's intent was noble since he was the man who pushed through the Civil Rights Act that will always be his monument. However, as we know, good intentions can often lead to bad results.

This leads to an important point. The problems I have listed above cannot be simply blamed on white racism and discrimination. They may be a part of the legacy of slavery, but these are unique problems that have mostly taken hold since the Civil Rights Era. Yes, there are white drug dealers-every nationality and ethnic group has its drug dealers, but being retired from DEA, I am not aware of any black drug user who obtained his drug from a white dealer. Yes, there are white music executives (and black) who are involved in hip-hop music, but the music also appeals to all ethnic groups. Nevertheless, it is created and performed almost exclusively by black artists. What I am trying to say is this: These problems that exist in black communities have been created by blacks themselves and only blacks can solve them. White people can not solve them. The Government cannot solve them. Blacks-at the grassroots level- I mean family, church and community must take responsibility and deal with these issues and leave the charge of white racism out of the equation because white racism is one of the least of the problems that blacks in America face today. It pales in comparison with the problems listed above.

Yet, the so-called black leaders in America are still fighting the battles of the 1960s. I am talking about the Jesse Jacksons, the Al Sharptons, the Louis Farrakhans, the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP, a once-great organization that has devolved into nothing more than a branch of the Democratic Party. To them, everything is white racism in action, and only because of their leadership can blacks avoid being put back into chains. Most of these figures only concentrate in rooting out that last great white bigot hiding under the bed while paying scant attention to the problems they should be addressing. Much easier to convince today's black Americans to buy into the victim mentality (which has become fashionable for many in our society-across racial lines.) It is their way of holding on to power. The last thing that they want is for the notion to take hold among African-Americans that they can succeed in America based on their own talents and work. Of all the ethnic groups in America, it is African-Americans who arguably have the worst "leadership". I put the word leadership in quotation marks because I question whether any ethnic group in our country needs a "leadership". Many blacks would agree.

In recent decades, whites have been reluctant to confront people like Jackson and Sharpton. Why? Well, for one reason, there is white guilt, which is real. Another reason is that whites are afraid of being called "racist", a charge which can destroy one's career or even life. People like Jackson and Sharpton and others know this full well and will not hesitate to use the charge, either to carry the debate or silence critics. Fortunately, some folks have gotten weary of the tactic and will not allow that charge to stop them from making their point. Similarly, many black conservatives, who have rejected the tired old arguments of the traditional black leaders, have to stand up to charges of being an "Uncle Tom"-a sellout to whites. Just think of the grief that people like Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Condoleeza Rice, Michael Steele and Clarence Thomas have had to endure for their independent thinking. It is scandalous.

I want to say a word about "Hate Crimes" here. Being a retired law enforcement officer, I tend to think that there is something inherently unconstitutional about "Hate Crime" legislation to begin with. Under our law, we punish the act, not the thought. Why a person commits a crime-their motive- goes to proving guilt. It should not be part of the charge itself. It is the substantive act that matters, and it is that act that should be punished under the law. Another problem is that "Hate Crimes" are being charged selectively, basically when a white person commits an assault against a minority or gay. When whites are victims, hate crime charges are rarely applied, in spite of the fact that this kind of assault happens frequently. (In fact, black assaults upon whites are much more frequent today than the reverse.) It is hardly constitutional when a statute is applied selectively according to the race of the victim and perpetrator. But it is happening today in America. We have seen recent incidents like the current controversy in Jena, Louisiana, where a white student was put in the hospital after an attack by a group of black students. (To be fair, there are side issues to this story, such as white students hanging nooses from a tree and the question of unequal prosecution.) About a year ago, a group of white girls in Long Beach, California were savagely attacked by a mob of blacks. (Hate crimes were in fact charged, but the punishment was ridiculously light.) The point is that these types of crimes are wrong regardless of the race of the victim or the perpetrator, but it is undeniable that whites have been singled out by blacks for assault because of their race, something that many, including our news media, would like to slide under the rug. Does this mean that some blacks are also racist? Some would argue that only the "Oppressor", namely whites, can be racists. I disagree. When Al Sharpton calls Jews "diamond merchants", that is racist. When Jesse Jackson calls New York "Hymietown", that is racist. If you want to hear racist diatribes, listen to the words of the leaders of the New Black Panther Party, most notably its chairman, Malik Zulu Shabazz.

In concluding, I wish to go back to the idea of having a "true dialogue about race" in America. We should, indeed, have it. But any meaningful dialogue must get past the litany of charges of past discrimination and include the ideas and complaints that whites have as well. It must be stated that whites fear black crime and violence, that we dare not travel into black communities. It must also include the statement that we are weary of continuously being called racists if we disagree with the "black agenda" or dare to criticize someone like Jackson or Sharpton. We also feel that there is a double standard for controversial statements on race. Also, as I stated above, we should have the courage to tell blacks that they must accept responsibility for their own individual failures and the problems that plague their communities. Only they can effectively deal with them.

Finally, let us not forget our history, but whites cannot be blamed for every problem that afflicts black America today. More than ever before, we all need to come together, rejecting those that would divide us. That the problems that plague black America be overcome is in all our interests as a nation and as a people. The dialogue must be open and frank on both sides. Whites should not be hesitant or afraid to speak frankly. After all, I really believe we are not the enemy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad in America- A Suggestion

"Death to Fousesquawk!"

About 50 years or so ago, when Chief William Parker was building the Los Angeles Police Department into the finest police department in America, they used to regularly get calls from eastern police departments, such as New York and Philadelphia with requests for surveillance of known organized crime figures who were flying to LA. The LAPD was regularly asked to be present at LA Airport and place the arriving hoods under surveillance during their stay in LA in order to determine who they were meeting with and what they were doing. The LAPD basically complied with half of the requested action. They would meet the plane and promptly place the bad guys on the next returning flight back east. The message was simple: Mafia hoodlums were not welcome in LA.

Well, today with our courts, liberal judges and the ACLU, these practices are no longer permitted. But it raises an interesting question given the visit this week of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who came here under the auspices of the United Nations and stayed a while to speak at Columbia University, as well as attend a dinner with such media figures as NBC's Brian Williams, who positively gushed over the chance to rub elbows with this loon.

In the wake of Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia, I suggested in a previous blog that we should have escorted the Iranian dictator from the airport to the UN and right back to the airport for a return flight home. As you know, we are bound by our UN commitments to let any foreign head of state come to New York to address the UN. Unfortunately, that has allowed such odious types as Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and now Ahmadinejad to loiter around and appear before our own adoring leftists. Kudos to the City of New York for not granting this bum permission to defile our hollowed Ground Zero in New York during his visit. Unfortunately, Columbia University could not live up to the standards of the city in which it is located. But what do you expect from an American university?

Personally, I would have preferred that the State Department refuse his visa in defiance of the UN. What would the UN (a corrupt and inefficient organization made up largely of corrupt dictatorships that are hostile to the US) have done in response? In the past, the UN has threatened to leave New York in response to our refusal to allow some of our adversaries entry rights. Oh please! Wouldn't that be a great set-up, kind of like OJ Simpson being lured into a Las Vegas hotel to steal back his sports memorabilia?

Either scenario strikes me as favorable to what transpired this week. Either deny his visa and tell the UN to leave if they don't like it-or give Mr Ahmadinejad a quick turn-around (Teheran - New York, a 2 hour trip to the UN and back to JFK for the return flight home.) In other words, let this crackpot dictator from a 3rd rate country learn what real jet lag feels like.

But I did not get my way, alas. What resulted is that, thanks to our left-wing academia and news media, Ahmadinejad scored a PR victory for the screaming mobs back home in Greater Lunaticstan.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

OJ in Las Vegas- Another News Bonanza

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

The arrest of O.J. Simpson last week in Las Vegas for robbing sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint has brought back an ugly demon from our past that we would just as soon forget. Now, we get to go through another legal circus centered around a double-murderer who got away with his crime to go on living a pathetic existence signing autographs for a livelihood while living the low-life in Miami, all the while, hiding his assets from the Goldman family. In addition, we also get to view the "victims" of this latest crime, a group of middle-aged men who buy, sell, trade and maybe steal autographed sports memorabilia for a living. With victims like these, who needs perpetrators?

Nevertheless, America is in for another legal circus because this is, after all, O.J. Simpson. For many, it is hoped that Simpson will finally take a fall and go where he should have been in the first place-jail. For some, Simpson is a sympathetic figure-the black victim of a racist, white justice system that will hound him for the rest of his life. For others, Simpson is just another celebrity from whom to obtain an autograph.

At this point, the facts of the case are murky. We do know that Simpson and some accomplices walked into a hotel room that was wired for sound by one of the victims, Thomas Riccio. What is heard on the tape are voices shouting expletives and Simpson ordering people not to let others leave the room and to bag up the "sh..". It has been charged that at least one gun was present. Due to the taping, many are charging that Simpson was "set up", a term that can have different legal implications. Set up or not, no one forced Simpson and his gang to break into a room and hold people at gunpoint while restricting their liberty to leave and taking away property (which may or may not have actually been Simpson's). In listening to the tape, I was struck by the sound of middle-aged men talking like high school gang members on the verge of a fight.

As unsympathetic a figure as Simpson is, his victims are not so sympathetic either. One, Alfred Beardsley, has since been arrested for a parole violation for a previous conviction for stalking. He is described as a strange type who has had a series of brushes with the law and instances of bizaare behavior, according to news reports. Thomas Riccio looks like someone right out of central casting if you were looking for someone to play a union bruiser or con-man. Both of these characters have appeared on Larry King on Life Support ("Let me tell you how it went down, Larry") as well as other venues enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. Is this typical of those who make their living around washed up athletes and their autographs and memorabilia? I sure don't envy the prosecutor who takes this can of worms to trial.

So now, Simpson is back home in Miami preparing another legal defense. Does he has enough money for another legal "dream team"? We shall see. Once the trial starts, hold on to your hats. All the "legal experts" will be there in Las Vegas providing opinion and commentary. I guess that would include Greta Van Susteren and her "panel of experts". Translation: out of work attorneys who have plenty of time on their hands. Dan Abrams will be there, Court TV, and, of course, the ubiquitous LA attorney, Gloria Allred, all weighing in on the day's events. Maybe Gloria, a noted victims' rights attorney and ambulance chaser, will find someone in this case to represent. She usually does.

I know the party line is that we have to let the facts come out at trial and let justice prevail. However, a part of me (a big part) would like to see the whole bunch of these characters go away for something, anything, maybe mopery or conspiracy to commit mopery. Hey! How about we just send them all to Guantanemo? At least there will be one terrorist in the bunch.

The Problem with Mexico

I just returned last night from an 8 day vacation in Puerto Vallarta. For me, it was the right time to get back to Mexico, not only to enjoy the great resorts, beaches, food and everything else, but to re-establish myself with the positive side of Mexico after all the negativity of recent years with illegal immigration, amnesty rallies, drug trafficking, criminal aliens and the issue of Mexican trucks having free access to US roads. In many respects, it is easy to say that Mexico has not been a good neighbor to the US, and I share that opinion. But, on the other hand, I am married to a Mexican woman, speak Spanish and genuinely like the Mexicans and Latin people in general. So this trip reinforced those feelings, but at the same time, reinforced some negative feelings I hold-not for the people- but to the country's leadership.

To anyone who has vacationed at any one of Mexico's beach resorts, I don't need to explain how great they are. New and luxurious hotels continue to sprout up along the country's coastlines, offering great services and comfort to tourists. Of course, the reminders of Mexico's poverty are always around, from the street vendors to the slums and villages lying outside of the resorts. A first-time visitor might ask how such luxury can exist side by side with such poverty.

To me, I decided many years ago that the popular perception of Mexico as a poor country was a myth. Mexico actually is a very wealthy country. Consider this: Mexico has always been endowed with many resources, such as oil, minerals (gold, silver, opals, copper, tin, etc). It is also blessed with a long magnificent coast line with the Pacific on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other-not to mention the coasts of Baja California- 4 in all, that draw in millions of tourists every year. It's people are hard-working, trainable and industrious. So, with all these advantages, how can Mexico have so many poor people? To sum it up in one word-corruption.

The problem is basically this: Mexico's ruling elite has always succeeded in enriching itself-financially and politically-while refusing to address the needs of its masses. Thus, the wealth of Mexico is held in the hands of the few. Meanwhile, the masses of the people in the countryside and small towns are not provided with a decent education and the means to make a decent living. Well, you say, why don't they have another revolution like the old days? Where is the new Pancho Villa? Answer- Pancho Villa is in the US. As long as Mexicans can go the US, sneak across the border and earn a living there, then Mexico does not have to fear another revolution. It is called "The Great Safety Valve". Plus, Mexico's economy benefits from the billions of dollars that Mexicans in the US send home to their families. It is one of the country's top sources of revenue.

A case in point: At the resort we stayed at outside of Puerto Vallarta, we enjoyed first class accomodations plus extras we had not seen at any other hotel previously. We were there as part of a time share reservation, but the normal daily rate was in the hundreds of dollars. Meanwhile we learned from one of the maids that they were earning 70 pesos a day ($7US) for 8 hours work. Now, I can understand if one owns a taco stand and pays a cook or other employee 70 pesos a day-but a grand hotel?

I hear a lot of leftist Americans complain that in our country, the rich get rich while the poor get poorer. I don't agree with that assessment since one can be born poor in America and rise into wealth through education and honest work. Sadly, that is not the case in Mexico. If you are born poor in Mexico, pretty much the only way you can become rich is through crime-drugs for example. (Many of Mexico's top hotels were built on drug money.) This is true in most of the Third World as well.

Personally, I get a little angry every time I hear a Mexican politician in Mexico City complain that the US needs to "reform its immigration system." It is Mexico that needs to reform itself and start providing a decent education and job opportunities to its citizens so that they will not need to flee their own nation to make a living.

Many times it is said that people get the government they deserve. In the case of Mexico, I don't agree. The Mexican people certainly deserve more. The ladies who cleaned the rooms in our hotel deserve more.

What is Going On at Columbia University?

"Death to Fousesquawk!"

Columbia University has been in the headlines this week over the speaking appearance yesterday of Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The university and its president, Lee Bollinger have taken a lot of heat for providing Ahmadinejad a platform. Probably due to the the fact that he had placed himself in such a public spotlight, Mr Bollinger publically rebuked Ahmadinejad in strong terms in his introduction. Yet, to many, including those who demonstrated against the speaking appearance, Ahmadinejad's appearance was totally inappropriate. While I defend the principle of free speech, I don't think any institution or entity has an obligation to provide such an offensive figure with a speaking platform. Thus, I tend to be on the side of the demonstrators as long as they didn't disrupt the event itself. Where do we draw the line on who gets invited to a university event to speak? Would Columbia have invited Adolf Hitler to speak as well? Larger questions also exist. Did Columbia invite the controversial Ahmadinejad to speak in order to provide an open forum for debate? Or did they invite him to appear because there was some degree of sympathy for the man, his country and his ideals?

Given President Bollinger's remarks to Ahmadinejad, it would be easy to say that Columbia was right in its invitation, and that it was only to provide an open debate, especially since many of the questions were pointed and that Ahmadinejad, in his anwers, demonstrated what a fool he is. One example was his answer to a question about persecution of homosexuals in Iran; he stated that, unlike the US, there were no homosexuals in Iran, a statement that drew laughter from the audience. Yet, on other occasions, the audience applauded Ahmadinejad.

But what about the idea of providing a forum to a man who questions the Holocaust and has made statements about Israel being wiped off the face of the earth? Senator Charles Schumer of New York, in criticizing Columbia's invitation, asked if a university would invite a representative of the "Flat Earth Society" to come and argue that the world is not really round. Nice analogy, but is Senator Schumer aware that Columbia already employs a professor, one Joseph Massad of the Middle Eastern Studies Department, who not only defends Palestinian suicide bombers, feels that Israel has no right to exist, but who also has argued that the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre was carried out not by Palestinian terrorists, but by Israeli agents? Sen. Schumer, the Flat Earth Society is alive and well at Columbia. Massad is not the only terrorist sympathizer at Columbia. There is also professor Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Chair, Middle Eastern Studies Dept. at Columbia, who holds similar views as Massad. In fact, many have charged that Columbia, like so many other universities, is noted more for its faculty of radical leftists than for a faculty of true scholars, especially in Middle Eastern Studies.

Meanwhile, if speakers like the Minutemen happen to be invited to Columbia by conservative students, what happens? Not only is their presentation disrupted, but the stage is stormed by no-nothing students, egged on by their radical professors, something that did not happen to Ahmadinejad. Does the US Military enjoy the opportunity to come to Columbia to recruit? No, but the president of Iran, who is sending bombs and weapons to Iraq to kill our soldiers, is invited. Kind of shows you where Columbia is politically, spiritually and intellectually.

As I said, I believe in free speech. I simply question whether everyone is entitled to a public platform to mouth their insanity. We have plenty of street corners where Ahmadinejad could have said whatever he wanted and no one would have arrested him. Personally, with everything that is going on in the world right now (emanating out of the Middle East), I feel it would have been more appropriate to escort Ahmadinejad from the airport to the UN and back to the airport. As Americans, we need to tell him and his ilk that they are not welcome in our country, we are up to here with their nonsense, that we will stand up to them, we will stand up for Israel, and if his 3rd rate country tries any military or terroristic action against the US or Israel, that we will crush them like the bugs that they are.

Friday, September 14, 2007

UC Irvine and the Chemerinsky Fiasco

Since I work as a part-time teacher at UC Irvine, I am taking an interest in the affair over the hiring and de-hiring of law professor, Erwin Chemerinsky. In terms of background, Chemerinsky, a noted liberal law professor, currently at Duke, was recently offered the job as Dean of the UC Irvine Law School, which is in the process of being established. The position was offered by UCI Chancellor Michael Drake. Then, just a few days ago, Drake rescinded the hire, reportedly telling Chemerinsky that certain conservative figures were raising strenuous opposition. (I wish to note that I am in no way speaking for UCI in this posting. I am not a full-time hire, and I teach on a quarterly contract in the University Extension (ESL). I speak only for myself.)

Today, with anger mounting over the affair, Drake under attack, and possible implications for freedom of speech within the UC system, both Chemerinsky and Drake wrote pieces in the LA Times stating their respective positions. According to Chemerinsky, Drake told him that he was being forced to retract the hire due to extreme negative reaction from (unnamed) conservatives (I am paraphrasing.) Drake, in his article, (again paraphrasing) maintained that he made a management decision, which was free of any political influence. Beyond that, Drake did not settle the questions lingering over the incident.

So the question that is hanging out there is this: Who are these "unnamed conservatives" who allegedly put pressure on Drake to drop the hiring of Chemerinsky? I am certainly no insider at UCI, but to me, it would seem surprising that conservatives had so much influence at a UC campus. Outside of me, I don't know many people at UCI that could be truly called conservatives, at least not of my ilk, and I know it wasn't me that put the arm on Drake. I don't even know the gentleman. Besides, what's one more liberal in the UC system? There are other professors far more radical than Chemerinsky, so many, in fact, that there is standing room only. If Chemerinski is correct, then I think it would be fitting if Chancellor Drake publicaly identified the "conservatives" in question who forced him to withdraw the job.

That leads to the next question: Was it right that Chemerinsky's hiring be rescinded because he is a liberal? I know a lot of conservatives like myself who have no sympathy for the man and take the attitude that for once, a liberal got screwed. I have a little bit different take. First of all, I have seen and heard Chemerinsky speak on TV and radio many times. He is certainly liberal, and I disagree with most of what I have heard him say. As David Horowitz described him, he is sort of an Alan Colmes-type liberal. He is certainly no Ward Churchhill. Would he have been my choice for Law School Dean? Obviously not. But that is not the point. In my view, we as conservatives should not engage in the tactics of the far-left; that is to railroad and bring down those with whom we disagree. That means not trying to scuttle someone's job. Doing so should be reserved for extreme cases of people who are not qualified, have misrepresented their qualifications or would bring disrepute to the university. In my view, Ward Churchhill fits into that category, but Erwin Chemerinsky does not.

I hope for the sake of UCI that this issue sees the full light of day. For the most part, UCI is a fine academic school with students that are overwhelmingly serious and a pleasure to be around. In recent years, the school has aroused a lot of negative publicity due to the agitation of the Muslim Student Union and their hate-filled invited speakers. Now it seems that UCI must undergo some further embarrassment. But that's ok. I am the one always saying that light should be shone on our nation's universities when they fail to live up to their own standards.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Disgrace at San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University was one of the first campuses to experience extreme left-wing agitation back in the 1960s. On 9-11, the school outdid itself in bringing disgrace to its campus.

This week the campus College Republicans and College Democrats held a joint commemoration in honor of the victims of 9-11. It was not an event to drum up support for the war in Iraq nor the War on Terror, just a non-partison, solumn remembrance of the 3,000 victims of 9-11.

Yet this event could not be carried out without disruption by extreme far-left agitators, who showed up dressed in orange jump suits (in honor, I suppose, of the terrorists held at Guantanemo), black scarves used as masks, and plenty of American flags to trample upon as they brought forth their message that America is a fascist state.

Even when the organizers of the memorial called for a moment of silence in honor of the dead, the protestors continued to shout their hatred of the United States.

Tonight, the representatives of both the Campus Democrats and the College Republicans appeared on the O'Reilly Factor to describe the event. According to the Republican representative, he contacted the University PR Spokesperson, Ms Ellen Griffin, who basically told him that it was a matter of free speech and the university would take no action.

Isn't it interesting how so many of the leaders and faculty of our universities cannot measure up to the principles and standards of their own students? Of course, we don't know how many of the disruptors were students or outside agitators, but I guess SFSU doesn't much care.

This is just another example of the garbage that is being carried out on a regular basis on our university campuses. It is obvious that most campuses are under the control of the anti-American, anti-Democratic elements in our society.

I hope that all alumni of SFSU are made aware of these events, and if they are as disgusted as I am, they will remember this incident when the school comes calling for donations. I also hope that parents who are about to pay for their childrens' college tuition will take this into consideration when it comes time to select a university.

Disgusting beyond words.

The MTV Awards- A Real Masked Ball

Did you watch the MTV Music Video Awards this week? Well, I didn't, but I have seen my share of clips and blurbs that came out of that masked ball. It wouldn't surprise me if Al-Quaida was using MTV clips as a recruiting tool to show just how depraved we are in the West.

Let's see. First there was Britney Spears, in some sort of underwear costume, apparently with her hair grown back plus about 20 pounds, doing a slow motion version of the way she used to dance. Kind of reminded me of watching Barry Bonds running in the outfield this year. Sing? Forget it. She couldn't even get the lip-sync right. She looked like a bored, drugged-out bimbo working at a strip joint in Bullsnuts, Louisiana, which is starting to look like her next gig if she doesn't get herself straightened out soon.

Then there was the dust-up between two guys named Kid Rock and Tommie Lee, both of whose greatest achievement was being married to Pamela Anderson. During one of the "performances", Mr Kid punched Mr Lee, or vice-versa. Must have been some disagreement over Ms Anderson's bra size or who got screwed over most by the aging/sagging siren.

Then there was the profanity-laced tirade of some character named Kanye West, another rap "artist", I presume, who was venting about not being put higher on the billing. As usual, he injected race into the equation, just like when he said that George Bush didn't care about black people in the wake of Katrina. This time, it was, "Give a brother a M........F........break!!" More class indeed for the MTV "spectacular".

One thing that was notably missing from this slobfest of narcissistic, self-indulged "stars" was any reference at all to our men and women who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan on our behalf, and yes, on their behalf as well. No tributes, no gratitude, no wishes for their safety-nothing. Just a bunch of reprobates having a party, performing crummy music and telling each other how wonderful they are.

I may be an old fuddy-duddy when it comes to music, but who among these clowns can really sing or play an instrument? Between the talking/cursing rappers and the screaming metal stuff, there isn't much left of English-language music these days. (I switched to Spanish music years ago.) But you have to admit, they do put on a pretty good circus every year. Maybe next year they'll have dancing bears. That would be an improvement.

Dennis Kucinich and Syria

In my previous postings about the various presidential candidates (of both parties), I never bothered with Dennis Kucinich because he isn't a serious contender. I have casually followed his antics over the years with amusement. His performances in the debates have been similarly amusing, standing there is his oversized suits (probably Buster Brown shoes to boot) telling folks about all the wonderful things he was going to do when he became president. Always good for a yuk. There is nothing funny, however, about what he did this week in Syria.

In case you haven't heard this tidbit from the mainstream news media, Kucinich followed in the footsteps of Nancy Pelosi to Damascus, Syria, where he met with Syrian dictator Assad. Speaker Pelosi took a lot of heat when she previously met with Assad since Syria is a known sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for political assassinations against Lebanese leaders who oppose their role in Lebanon. Aside from Lebanon, Syria is also responsible for assisting Hizbollah in its attacks against Israel and has also acted as a conduit for foreign fighters to enter Iraq to kill our soldiers and terrorize Iraqis. So why would Democrats or anyone else go to Syria and meet with Assad?

Kucinich, however, took it a step further. He appeared on Syrian TV and blasted his own country's actions in Iraq. For those of us old enough to remember the Viet Nam War, this was reminiscent of Jane Fonda's trip to Hanoi, where she posed on an anti-aircraft gun that was being used to shoot down our pilots (an act of pure treason, for which she should have been prosecuted).

True, Fonda's action was worse because we were engaged in active hostilities with North Viet Nam, and she provided them with propaganda. However, Syria is a true adversary, even though we have diplomatic relations with that country. Yet, Kucinich has provided Syria and all of our enemies in the region with propaganda. In short, Kucinich's actions were nothing short of disgraceful and should disqualify him from continuing his campaign for the Democratic nomination.

But it won't. Kucinich will continue to campaign and will continue to appear in the Democratic debates. He won't get the nomination, but that is beside the point. He wasn't going to win anyway. Here is the point: Watch the next debate and see if any other candidates blast him for his trip to Syria. A couple may make a side comment that they would not have gone, but that will be about the extent of it. They are not about to alienate the left-wing blog sites like Daily Kos and with any strong condemnations of Kucinich. What would be appropriate for them to say to Kucinich at the next debate? Something like this: "What you did in going to Syria and what you said on Syrian TV was disgraceful, and you have no place on this stage with the rest of us."

Don't hold your breath. Remember a few years back when Al Sharpton was running for the Democratic presidential nomination and appearing in the debates. Al Sharpton-he of the Tawana Brawley Hoax, a man who instigated deadly riots in New York with comments such as "white interlopers" and "diamond merchants" (referring to Jews.) a man who has been videotaped negotiating the purchase of cocaine. In those debates, did any other candidate challenge his fitness to be on the stage with the rest of them? Did anyone say to Al. "You have no place on this stage with the rest of us."? No! What we heard over and over was the other candidates making statements like," I agree with Reverend Sharpton on that point......." or "Reverend Sharpton has brought up a good point...." In short, they pandered to him, deathly afraid of alienating black voters, as if Al Sharpton speaks for all blacks in America, which he doesn't.

Similarly, the Clintons and the Obamas and the Edwards' will hold their tongues, secure in the knowledge that Kucinich isn't a serious threat. Any criticism of the trip to Syria will be fleeting and mild. Are these the kinds of leaders who we want to lead us in the War on Terror? In my view, any candidate who doesn't speak out forcefully on Kucinich's actions has no business being our next Commander-in-Chief. That will probably include all of the Democratic field.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Got Rights?-Yes

I was at Chicago's O'Hare Airport this week waiting to board a flight home to southern California. In the departure lounge, I saw a couple of young Muslim girls-probably college age- also waiting to catch a plane. One was wearing a headdress. The other, who was not, was wearing a sweatshirt with the words,"Got Rights?" on the front, a take-off on the "Got Milk?" commercial. On the back was was printed, CAIR, Southern California. It got me to wondering to myself about the "Rights" that this young lady thought she was lacking.

First and foremost, does this young lady have the right to practice her religion (Islam) freely in the US? Yes, she most certainly does. Does she have a facility in the form of a mosque in which to worship? Of course. There are mosques a plenty in this country, following in the American tradition of freedom of religion. Does she have the right to propagate Islam and attempt to convert others to her faith. Yes.

Next, in the wake of 9-11, does she have the right to get on an airplane and travel around the country? Absolutely, as evidenced by the fact that she was at O'Hare Airport waiting to board a flight. Does she have the right to board without being checked? No, but then again, neither do I. In fact, airport security personnel, anxious not to be accused of racial profiling, are going to subject Swedish grandmothers to the same scrutiny as this young lady. Of course, if she decides to engage in provocative behavior (like the "Flying Imams") deliberately designed to bring attention to herself, then she will be subjected to closer scrutiny.

Does she have the right to speak out to defend Islam and to question whether Muslims "rights" are being violated? Seems to me that was exactly what she was doing, making a statement with her sweatshirt. Does she have the right to engage in demonstrations at her university, and in the name of free speech, defend suicide bombers in Israel, bring in radical imams to speak at her school, who condemn Israel, Jews and the US in the process? Well, if she attends the University of California at Irvine (where I teach part-time), then that is exactly what happens at that school and dozens, if not hundreds of others around the US, courtesy of the local Muslim Student Associations.

Does she have the right to belong to a Muslim advocacy group like CAIR? Yes, she does and apparently she is, indeed a member.

Now let's talk about our rights and why Islam is under suspicion among Americans (and among non-Muslims everywhere). I am sure this young lady, if I had engaged her in conversation, would have explained to me that all Muslims should not be condemned because of the actions of a few fanatics. All well and good, but I'm not sure we are talkng about a few. We are talking about a worldwide movement to impose Islam on the rest of the world through terror and violence. If only 5% of all Muslims in the world subscribe to this vision, we are talking about many millions. That is a lot to be concerned about.

The message of CAIR (at least publicly) is that most American Muslims are loyal, decent, and law-abiding people, and that CAIR will defend their rights, in court if necessary (witness the "Flying Imams"). Yet, CAIR, in spite of its moderate rhetoric is a suspect organization, named as an "Unindicted Co-conspirator" in one terror case prosecuted within the US. They also seem to be adopting the mantle of the "NAACP of Muslims" in the US. In my opinion, this is a bad comparison. The NAACP came into being in the dark days of segregation in the US, when African-Americans were denied their basic rights as citizens (at least in the South), rights such as eating in restaurants, voting, using public facilities. The actions of the NAACP in the years prior to and during the Civil Rights era were necessary and noble. (I would argue that the NAACP of today is another matter, but that is off topic.)

I would suggest that American Muslims are missing the point if all they do is proclaim that Islam is really a peaceful religion and they should not be associated with terrorists. What they should be doing is loudly proclaiming to the rest of the Islamic world that they are Americans, and that they will fight the terrorists and preachers of hatred to defend America. They should be getting on planes and going back to their mother countries to spread their message of support for America in the War on Terror. Up to this point, the silence has been deafening.

I would also suggest to the young lady at the airport that she should, in fact, defend Islam, which is her religion. However, it isn't necessary to defend it from the rest of us. It is necessary to defend it from the Al-Quaida's, the Hizbollahs, the Hamas', the Mullahs in Iran, the preachers of hate in the mosques of London and elsewhere. She needs to defend it against those who wish to impose Shariah on the rest of the world whether we want it or not. She needs to defend it against the so-called Jihadists around the world, who are disgracing the religion in the eyes of non-Muslims everywhere. She needs to defend Islam from the rule of those who would kill Salmon Rushdie and others who criticize the religion. She needs to defend it from the suicide bombers, the beheaders and other assorted killers everywhere. Ultimately, she needs to defend it from all of those who murder innocents in the name of Allah. Yes, even if she puts her own life in peril, she needs to defend Islam against these murderers.

The young lady also needs to recognize that, whatever the dark pages in the history of other religions, today, there is only one major religion engaged in such wholesale salughter in its name-Islam. Finally, she needs to recognize that we non-Muslims are correct to question the true nature of this religion that is causing so much havoc in the world. Yes, we fear Islamic terrorists who would perpetrate another 9-11 on our soil. Yes, we are suspicious, especially when some Muslim passengers deliberately bring attention to themselves on airplanes. When we hear words of hate coming from Muslim Imams on our college campuses (as I have), we do question the nature of Islam.

Most of us, since 9-11, are trying to make up our minds about true Islam. Given what has happened, we have every right to our doubts and suspicions. Under our law and Constitution, we have every right to express these doubts (even in the form of cartoons) and ask these questions, and we will not be silenced.

So I would suggest to the young lady that she does have rights. If she hears voices that criticize her religion, I would remind her that Christianity takes hits every day in the US. I feel that Muslims here would make a huge mistake if they think confrontation and litigation is the way to go. They should not compare their situation with that of our African-American fellow citizens.
It is a false comparison. If we suffer further terror attacks here and the American Muslim community does not speak out loud and clear in its support of America, then they will find themselves further alienated- and the criticism of Islam will reach a crescendo.

Young lady, you have the same rights I do. Enjoy them.

General Petraeus and the Small People in Congress

This week, General David Petraeus made his long awaited report to Congress on the state of the war in Iraq. As we all know, the general described the progress that has been made since the implementaion of the "The Surge" and his projection of the need to keep troop levels at the current number through the rest of the year and part of 2008. What is remarkable (and so disgusting) is the statements coming from the Democrats and far-left disparaging Petraeus even before he appeared.

For the record, General David Petraeus is a highly respected and highly decorated veteran with a sterling military record. Last January, he was confirmed by the Senate unaminously to take over the lead in Iraq. There was absolutely no opposition to his appointment. Yet, now, with his highly anticipated appearnce looming, suddenly the Democrats in Congress and their supporters on the far left began a campaign of character assassination against the general for the purposes of discrediting his testimony even before given. In spite of reassurances from Petraeus and the White House that his report had not been formed in consultation with the Administration, people like John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid made public statements to the effect that Petraeus was merely going to parrot the policy of the Bush Administration and tell the Congress what a good job he (Petraeus) was doing. Thus, Petraeus was portrayed as a political hack, whose up and coming testimony could not be trusted nor believed. Reid even went so far as to cast doubt on previous statements by the General.

Then there were the mad hatters at, who this past week, took out a full-page ad in the New York Times describing Petraeus as "General Betray Us", a clear slap at the general's loyalty to his country. Yet, did any of the Democrats speak out against this outrage, even when called upon to distance themselves from the article? Not at all. They are much too afraid of the Moveon folks and the other far-left blogs to do that.

In the face of all this, General Petraeus appeared Monday, and in his professional and dignified fashion, made his report to Congress. He made all those empty suits in Congress look like the pygmies they were. Yet, he had to endure people like Senator Hillary Clinton, possibly our next president, describing him as a "spokesman for a failed policy" and implying to his face that he was a liar.

Regardless of what one thinks of the Iraq War, this attack on the character of General Petraeus was a disgusting spectacle made by hack politicians who were afraid the general was going to tell them things they did not want to hear, so they attacked the general even before he opened his mouth. They questioned the integrity of the very man who is on the ground in Iraq putting his own life on the line. Many of his detractors in Congress have not been to Iraq, yet they pretend to know more than the man leading the effort there. Their attack on Petraeus was also a slap in the face of every man and woman serving in Iraq.

By all accounts, General David Petraeus is a man of whom the military and the nation can be proud. He did not deserve the personal attacks laid upon him by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, John Kerry and others. Where was the support from the Democrats for our soldiers fighting in Iraq? Where was the expression of hopes for victory?

To sum it all up, General Petraeus did what I knew he would do: He made his detractors in Congress look like very small people.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Clinton Donors

As of this writing, Norman Hsu, the latest in a long line of suspicious Clinton benefactors, awaits extradition to California, where he is wanted on bail jumping charges based on a 15 year old arrest warrant for charges of criminal financial dealings. Seems Mr Hsu has been a fugitive from justice for that long, apparently hiding in plain sight as a Democratic cash donor, most notably to Hillary Clinton. The Senator meanwhile, has announced that she is returning $850,000 to Hsu "in light of his legal problems". Since Hsu allegedly donated funds to Hillary and other Democrats using "straw donors", the money will officially have to be returned to numerous persons.

How could a major presidential candidate be receiving such large sums of money from a man who was a long-standing fugitive from justice? Well, being a fugitive never got in the way of people wishing to lay money on the Clintons. Just ask Marc Rich, the fugitive financier, whose ex-wife, the glamorous Denise Rich, dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Clinton Library into Bill's lap (along with who knows what else). As a reward, Clinton pardoned Rich in his last days in office even though he was a fugitive from the FBI and prosecutors never gave their assent to the pardon. In the old days, we used to call that bribery.

But I digress. The Hsu story brings back memories of other shady characters, mostly with connections in Asia, that generously handed big bucks off to Bill when he was president and running for re-election in 1996.

Remember Charlie Trie? He went from running a Chinese restaurant in Little Rock to being a big cash donor to Clinton, first for his re-election, then for his legal defense fund. According to a Washington Post editorial dated August 3, 1997, Trie once delivered $460,000 to fund officials broken into $1,000 separate contributions, some of which appeared on consecutively numbered money orders-under different names but in the same handwriting. That same article reported that, according to FBI testimony, from 1994-96, Trie received wire transfers in the sum of more than $900,000 from a certain Macau businessman by the name of Ng Lap Seng. Further, that these transfers appeared to correlate with similar transfers by Mr Trie to the DNC. Later, according to the article, the Clinton Adminstration acknowledged that Mr Ng had visited the White House 12 times during the relevant period.

Mr Trie also allegedly acted as a go-between for the Clintons and an agricultural outfit in Thailand. According to the Post article, two representatives of that company were scheduled to attend a White House coffee with the president two weeks subsequent, an event arranged by major Clinton contributor, Pauline Kanchanalak and DNC fund raiser, John Huang. The article further reported that some, if not all of Kanchanalak's contributions to the DNC had to be returned due to questions about their source.

John Huang, originally from China and Taiwan, was at one time chairman of the Lippo Bank of Indonesia. After coming to the US, and working for the Worthen Bank in Little Rock, he made the acquaintance of Bill Clinton. With Clinton in the White House, Huang acted as a conduit between the president and the Lippo Group along with Indonesian financier, Moctar Riady and his son, James Riady. According to an article by Charles Smith in Worldnet Daily dated April 26, 2000, subsequent testimony before Senator Fred Thompson's committee in 1998 revealed that Riady and the Lippo Group were joint ventures with China Resources, a trading and holding company owned by the Chinese government and used as an espionage front.

According to Smith's article, Huang met Clinton on ten occasions at the White House between the dates of June 21 and June 27, 1994. Shortly after this, the Lippo group allegedly sent $100,000 to Clinton crony (and top Justice Department offical), Webster Hubbell, who himself was about to be indicted for financial crimes. Riady continued to funnel money to Clinton, once sending his gardener, Arief Wiriadinata, direct to Clinton in the White House with a gift of $400,000, according to Smith's article).

Most troubling of all, Huang then received an appointment as Asst Secretary of Commerce along with a security clearance. In that position, Huang was able to obtain secret information on trade transactions with Indonesia, Japan, China, and South Korea. As a result of the Clinton-Huang-Riady traingle, the Chinese government had a hook into the White House. Remember the scandals during the Clinton Adminstration involving missile technology going to China while laundered Chinese money was coming into the Clinton campaign coffers?

Want another example of what Riady et al got in return for their financial support to Clinton? How about the US-backed Paitan coal-fired electrical power plant in East Java, Indonesia? The Paitan Plant, which is owned by the corrupt Suharto family (as in corrupt President Suharto), also connected to Riady, obtained a financial windfall in 1996 when Clinton issued an order that declared a 1.7 million acre region of Utah off-limits to coal mining, thus removing one of the only major low sulphur deposits in the world from competing with Paitan.

Then there was Johnny Chung, Clinton buddy and Democratic fund-raiser, who made almost 50 visits to the Clinton White House, and on one occasion, gave Hillary's Chief of Staff, Maggie Williams a check for the DNC in the amount of $50,000. The check was actually given in the White House (in violation of the law). Two days later, Chung dragged in a group of Chinese businessmen, who were present when President Clinton gave a radio address from the Oval Office. (See article by Pierre Thomas, CNN in All Politics dated March 5, 1998. According to Thomas, the DNC eventually returned $300,000 raised by Chung due to questions about their source.)

In March of 1998, Chung pled guilty to election law violations in connection with illegal fund-raising in the 1996 elections. In December 1998, he was sentenced to probation and community service in return for his plea. He also testified before Congress in May 1999 that the head of Chinese military intelligence, Gen. Ji Shengde had told him that he wanted to send a gift of $300,000 to Clinton through Chung, a charge denied by the Chinese Government.

Personal note: At the time of Chung's plea deal, it struck me (as a DEA Agent who had been involved in countless plea deals in coordination with prosecutors) as odd why the Justice Department (under Janet Reno) did not include in the deal information and testimony from Chung that would have been damning against the very person (s) getting the money, namely the president and the DNC. Normal plea procedure for such a light sentence would normally include full cooperation by the defendant against his/her higher-ups in the conspiracy. Whatever statements Chung made failed to implicate those who got the money-possibly bribes.

So the recent news about Mr Hsu is not surprising. It is just the latest in a string of scandals that go back to the Clinton Adminstration. In spite of all the above dirt, the Reno Justice Department investigation never took it to the top nor tried to. It seems that the investigations focused on the middlemen who were funneling money to the president and not on the person (s) who were receiving the money in violation of the law. Nor did the investigations focus on what the donors were getting back in return. Was there a loud protest from the mainstream news media, coupled with demands to get to the bottom of it all? Hardly. Now that Mr Hsu has surfaced, let's see how much the mainstream news media digs into this story. Will this story have the legs that the Abramoff scandal had? (Most of Abramoffs payees were Republicans). Or will the Hsu affair just quietly disappear? Since the media has a vested interest in Hillary's election, no matter how corrupt she may be, I'm betting on the latter.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hypocrisy on the Left

I caught an excerpt on the radio from the latest interview of Bill Clinton on "Larry King on Life Support" today. It hasn't aired yet, but the excerpt has been released. Larry, in one of his classic softball questions, asks Bill, in the wake of the revelations about Sen. Larry Craig, if he feels vindicated by the scandal since Craig had been so critical of Clinton during the impeachment hearings. Of course, Bill took the "high road" and answered in the negative, adding that he had learned long ago not to harp on the shortcomings of others. Indeed.

But here is the point that the hapless Larry King and his liberal brethren in the left-wing news media don't get-or want to obscure. Let me remind the reader. Bill Clinton was not impeached because he was playing "hide the baloney" in the White House with Monica Lewinski. Bill Clinton was impeached on charges of committing perjury and obstruction of justice in his efforts to cover up the affair once it began to come to light. This occurred during the course of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones. Regardless of the merits of Jones' charges and regardless of what we may think of Ms Jones, the case had gone to court, and the president and every other witness was obligated by law to tell the truth under oath. That is the foundation of our system of justice, which cannot survive if we cannot count on witnesses to testify truthfully. If the president of the United States (the chief law enforcement officer of the land) does not tell the truth under oath, then who will? In my own law enforcement career, I had occasion to testify in courts and grand juries hundreds of times. I never committed perjury. I demand the same from my president.

But apparently, the mainstream news media would rather rewrite history and have us believe that the impeachment proceedings were all about adultery. They were not. When Clinton denied his affair with Lewinski under oath, he committed a crime.

In another sorry example, Diane Sawyer, in an interview with Special Prosecutor, Ken Starr, relayed the question that "so many of her friends" wanted her to ask- if he himself had ever committed adultery. Of course, Starr missed his chance to hit the ball out of the park. He merely answered in the negative, instead of reminding Ms Sawyer that the case had nothing to do with adultery and everything to do with perjury and obstruction of justice. His own sex life was not the business of Ms Sawyer-nor "her friends".

So now the media is having a field day with the Craig fiasco. That is all well and good. Craig is a pig who is making himself a laughing stock and dragging down the Republicans with him. He richly deserves being run out of office. Is he a hypocrite for having criticized the actions of Clinton while living his own secret life? Perhaps. If he was blasting Clinton for the adultery, then he is a hypocrite. If his criticism was focused only on the perjury and obstruction of justice, then that may be a different matter. Personally, I am not up to date on what his comments were during the impeachment proceedings. I am willing to keep an open mind on this point.

My main point is that the media is all too willing to give short play to the scandals involving Democrats, while jumping all over Republican scandals. I say we shouldn't ignore any of them, and we should give them equal weight.

Larry Craig-The Comeback Kid?

My initial post on the adventures of Larry Craig was written shortly before he announced that he was going to resign his Senate seat. The good news was that the Republicans had leaned on him suffiently to convince him that "it was over". Well, not quite. Now the esteemed Senator from Idaho (and the Minneapolis Airport Men's room) is reconsidering. Apparently, he has received encouragement from Senator "Snarlin" Arlen Spector, that weasely guy from Pennsylvania who still calls himself a Republican. Now with the support of Spector, Craig is proceeding to immortalize himself in political folklore. It's not going to be pretty.

As of this writing, Craig has hired top gun criminal defense attorney, Billy Martin (No-not the former Yankee skipper-he's dead). Martin is fresh off of pleading out Michael Vick to dog-fighting charges, and now is being paid to think of a way to undo Craig's previous plea and fight charges that he solicited sex from an undercover cop in an airport bathroom stall. Good luck.

Now the Senator has made yet another goof. Calling Mr Martin on his cell phone, Craig left a recorded message with strategy instructions for the attorney, informing him that "Snarlin" Arlen was advising him to fight and that Martin should hold a televised press conference to try to turn the events in a different direction. (I am paraphrasing). Nowhere on the message is there any statement of innocence-just spin strategy. So, you say, that is attorney-client privileged communication. How is it that we even know of this conversation? Because boob Craig was leaving his message on a wrong number! The owner of that number has turned the tape over to the news media-and away we go!

Folks, is this the kind of guy we want in Congress leading our nation? Is this the kind of guy the Republican Party wants in its ranks? Hardly. Spector aside, this is the time for the Republican party to stand up en masse and announce that this clown has got to go. If they can't do that, then they deserve whatever punishment they get at the polls in 2008. Let the Dems explain why Barney Frank, Ted Kennedy, and William "Cool Cash" Jefferson still hold office with the full support of the party. Remember the White House tea party they held for perjuror Bill Clinton on the day of his impeachment for lying about how he was playing "hide the baloney" with a young intern? For the Republicans, they need to send a clear message that they will not tolerate the Mark Foleys, the Larry Craigs and, yes, the David Vitters (who is still in office).

As for Craig, he has revealed himself to be a pathetic, self-centered, narcissistic liar, who has no business being a US Senator. If he decides to hang in there and run for re-election, I doubt that the voters of Idaho will mimick those of Massachusetts and reelect a dishonest reprobate as their senator.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Miss Teen South Carolina Я Us

Now that everybody has had their laugh at Lauren Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina, over her botched answer to the question: "Why is it that 1/5th of Americans can't find the US on a map?" (in which she kept referring to South Africa), why don't we take a more serious look at this fiasco? You know, it is altogether possible that many of the folks who were watching her reply on Youtube are part of that fraction of Americans who indeed can't find their own country on a map. Start mentioning other countries and I'll bet that number skyrockets. So Ms Upton has a lot of company. Why is it that in the most advanced nation on earth, so many Americans are so lacking in knowledge? You can lay the blame at the foot of our education system.

We have seen this decline in the quality of our education for decades. Yes, we knew we had problems in our secondary schools, what with gangs, drugs, pupils who couldn't speak English, as well as a host of other social ills that children brought into school with them. Yet, we still deluded ourselves into thinking we had the greatest university system in the world, a system where students from all over the world wanted to come and study. We had our prestigious institutions like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, UC Berkeley, and so on. Besides, the kids who could not or would not make it in high school were weeded out, leaving us with serious students in the universities, right? Perhaps, but I believe strongly that our universities are not turning out satisfactory products. In fact, our corporations have been telling the universities for years now that 4 year graduates are not prepared for the workplace. In addition, the US now has to import doctors and scientists from other countries because we can't seem to develop them at home.

As for the secondary schools, admittedly, you can't blame the teachers and administrators for the fact that they have to deal with dysfunctional students from dysfunctional families. Yet, it seems that secondary schools are now in the business of trying to build children's self-esteem and respect for others at the cost of teaching traditional subjects. In my state of California, particularly in Los Angeles, a large portion of the students are children of illegal aliens, whose language skills are not only limited in English, but in Spanish as well. This slows down learning for all the kids.

My chief complaint, both in secondary school and college is that schools have adapted to these challenges by resorting to "political correctness". Their primary concerns now seem to be teaching the kids to respect each other, a noble idea, but not necessarily the chief goal of schools. What this translates into is educating our kids at an early age about sex, gay issues and other controversial issues, such as how America has victimized other countries and peoples. In California, we see every Latino issue presented from the activist Latino point of view. So let's fly the Mexican flag, celebrate Mexican Independence Day-and downplay everything about our own country and civilization-lest we exclude or otherwise offend our Mexican/Mexican-American children. Assimilation? Forget it. That's an outmoded concept. Guess who the biggest losers will be under this mentality- Latino kids, that's who.

A few months back, Boulder High School (Colorado) invited a panel of misfits from California to lecture the entire student assembly (attendance required) on the benefits of experimenting with drugs and various forms of unprotected sex, both heterosexual and homosexual. Many parents were outraged, and the news spread across the nation, largely thanks to Bill O'Reiily. Defiantly, the school stood its ground, defended the event and scheduled the misfit panel back next year for a repeat performance.

Not surprisingly, in the midst of all these sidelights, the three Rs, reading, writing and Arithmetic are being largely forgotten.

In addition, since 9-11, we have now placed Islam under the umbrella of political correctness. In some schools, teachers decree "Islamic month", in which all students become Muslims for a month, take Muslim names, study the Koran and follow Islamic customs-whether or not the parents consent or object.

Then, after a kid has survived all that, they enter university life and now fall under the tutelage of radical left-wing professors, many of whom are left-overs from the 1960s, once long-haired protesters, now people walking around with PHDs, which usually means they have been educated out of the last ounce of common sense they were born with. They are now teaching in universities all over the nation, generally preaching the idea that America is an evil, racist nation that has screwed the rest of the world in expanding its imperialism. Who are the good guys in their world view? It used to be the Soviet Union-until that empire collapsed under its own weight, leaving their leftist American supporters in an embarrassed silence. But there is always Cuba, with its dictator, Fidel Castro and its martyred executioner, Che Guevara (actually an Argentine) to set the example for the rest of us.

Currently, the heroes/victims du jour are the Palestinians, those peaceful, loveable victims of Israeli oppression. As for the Islamic terrorists who blow themselves and others up with bombs, kidnap and behead innocents and call for the imposition of Shariah law over the whole world, you won't hear a peep against them from our elite left-wing professoriat. To do so would bring down cries of racism and Islamophobia against the offending party. So now, on countless campuses, Jewish students have to study in an atmosphere of anti-Semitism, where every semester witnesses an anti-Israel protest sponsored by the local Muslim Student Union with radical imams shouting anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, anti-American epithets, all under the banner of free speech. Any criticism of the above is regarded as anti-Muslim and thus, morally equivalent to the hate speech practiced by the Muslim speakers. I know what I am talking about. I have witnessed all this myself at the University of California at Irvine, where I teach part-time. Meanwhile, state universities, like the University of Michigan at Dearborn, are installing foot baths for the benefit of its Muslim students-courtesy of the taxpayers of Michigan. Separation of Church and State? That's only for Christians.

So after 12 years of this kind of education at the secondary level, followed by 4 years of college, what kind of product are we turning out? Apparently, not a very good product. As I stated above, our doctors and scientists are largely coming from overseas. In addition, we seem to be depending on our immigrants for language skills-we are not doing well in turning out bi-lingual or multi-lingual Americans. It does seem, however, that our young college-educated folks are quite well-versed in issues of sexuality, victimization and the ills of the US.

As for Ms Upton, she is just symptomatic of the larger problem. Maybe her moment of embarrassment will help shine the spotlight on a problem that affects our entire society. In a sense, we are all Miss Teen South Carolina.