Friday, February 29, 2008

Why Conservatives Must Now Support John McCain

Who do you want?

Several weeks ago, I posted an essay entitled: "Adios McCain", in which I declared that I could not support his nomination as the Republican candidate for president. My inspiration for this essay was the news that Juan Hernandez, an open borders activist and former aide to Mexican President, Vicente Fox, had been named as McCain's senior advisor for Hispanic Outreach, an appointment which I felt-and still feel is outrageous. Since that time, McCain has all but wrapped up the Republican primary. Unless something happens soon to give credence to the recent New York Times article about a supposed romance with a lobbyist, McCain will be the Republican nominee for president. Assuming he is, it is crucial that conservatives put aside their differences and support McCain for president.

The New York Times article certainly served to bring conservative support to the Arizona senator from many who had sworn never to vote for him. Yet, there are still those conservatives who, because McCain is weak on illegal immigration and certain other issues, are still saying they will not vote for him. In my view, that would be a terrible mistake.

Let's take it issue by issue. There is no doubt that McCain has angered many of us over his lack of support for stopping the violation of our borders. He has spoken disparagingly of those who have demanded that the law be enforced. Lately, he has made statements to the effect that he is coming around to our point of view. How convincing is he? I remain skeptical.

Yet, we know what either a President Obama or President Clinton will do-nothing. The Democratic Party relies on courting Hispanics (both present and future citizens) as voters. The Democrats are notorious for not supporting any law enforcement agency-let alone the Border Patrol. With McCain, there is hope that we will achieve at least some of our objectives-if we hold his feet to the fire.

When it comes to the War on Terror and our efforts in Iraq, only McCain offers hope that we will prevail in those ventures. Both Clinton and Obama will bring the troops home-incrementally perhaps- but they will abandon the effort to win the war in Iraq, even though we are now winning. McCain is strong on this point. He is committed to destroying Al-Qaida, prevailing in Iraq and defeating Islamic terrorism. This issue alone justifies a vote for McCain. It is simply the most defining issue of our time. Now that we are winning in Iraq, we must see it through to victory. If we allow Clinton or Obama to pull our troops out before the objective is met, then Iraq will surely fall under the control of Al Qaida and/or Iran-and 4,000 American lives will have been lost in vain-just as we sacrificed over 58,000 American lives in Viet Nam, then walked away and let our enemy win.

Similarly, what will happen to our military under Obama or Clinton in an age of international Islamic terror? It is obvious that either would drastically reduce the size and capability of our Armed Forces. As a precedent, we only have to look at the last two Democratic presidents- Carter and Clinton. Both decimated the military, which necessitated a build-up by Reagan and GW Bush to correct the problem. Even now, we still need a further build-up of our military. Only McCain will do that.

Thirdly, is there any question but that Obama or Clinton will further a socialistic agenda for America? The difference is only in degrees, but a Democratic presidency, coupled with a Democratic-controlled Congress, means greater government control, more spending, increased taxes, and increased socialism in our daily lives-in total contrast with what made our country great.

In addition, one of the most important considerations is the make-up of our federal courts-especially the Supreme Court. In all likelihood, the next president will appoint at least two new Supreme Court justices. If the president is Clinton or Obama, one can only expect more people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg (an ACLU attorney). True, McCain could disappoint us on this one, but the only chance we have of getting more Thomas' or Scalias on the Supreme Court is through McCain.

Along those lines, don't overlook the Federal Appeals Courts and federal judgeships. When I was an active DEA agent, I saw first-hand the damage to law enforcement that was done by Carter and Clinton-appointed federal judges, who would routinely sentence convicted drug traffickers to short prison terms or even probation. Many are still on the bench. Obama or Clinton would flood the federal bench with hundreds more lenient judges. Every day, we hear more horror stories about lenient judges who turn vicious criminals back onto the streets. If we allow the Democrats to appoint those judges, then we have no control in correcting the situation.

Is this an enthusiastic endorsement of John McCain? No. I have spelled out my problems with the Arizona senator in strong terms. As I have said before, I have great respect for his military record but object to many of his positions as a senator. The bottom line, however, is this; McCain, barring some unforeseen development, will be the only one standing between a President Obama or President Clinton.

If McCain becomes president, we must continue to pressure him to do the right thing on issues like illegal immigration. He should be pressured to jettison Juan Hernandez from his staff and enforce our immigration laws. However, if we stay home in November, we have only ourselves to blame if liberals take over this country-at a crucial and dangerous time in our history. The stakes are simply too great. We must support McCain in November. If we stay home and allow Obama or Clinton to become president, we have no one but ourselves to blame.

Hillary's New Ad

It's 3 am in the White House, and the phone is ringing. Do you know where Bill is?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who's Attacking Obama?

"Barack, wait till those nasty Republicans find out that you............"

As I watch the Democratic Primary draw toward its conclusion, I notice that the Democratic Party is employing an interesting tactic. While the Clintons try to attack Barack Obama for this or that, there seems to be an effort to make the Republicans look like the bad guys. Have you heard this before? "Boy, if Obama gets the nomination, the Republican attack machine is going to smear him all day long over; his drug use, his (Muslim) religion, Louis Farrakhan, plagiarism, Tony Rezko, those pictures in African robes, etc." There is just one problem: Currently, Obama is not running (yet) against the Republicans. He is still locked in a fierce battle with Hillary Clinton, whose campaign is behind most of the anti-Obama disclosures.

Prior to the Iowa primary, an e-mail was going around the Internet claiming that Obama was a secret Muslim. The origin of the e-mail is still unknown, but two of Mrs Clinton's campaign workers disseminated it (for which they were fired).

Then one of Hillary's chief campaign managers made public statements speculating about Obama's past drug use-and possible drug dealing. (That also led to a resignation.)

Remember the statement that came out of the Clinton campaign that they had some secret, damaging information about Obama, but they would not disclose it in the interest of party unity?

Who dug up the "kindergarten essay", in which Obama disclosed his plans to run for president? Who tried to make hay with the plagiarism issue? Who hit Obama with the issue of his Chicago pastor and the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan? Sure, the Republicans are talking about it (which they should), but it was the MSNBC debate moderators, Tim Russert and Brian Williams, who brought it up and Hillary Clinton who threw in her two cents worth.

And who fed that photo of Obama in Somali garb to Matt Drudge? According to Drudge, it was someone in the Clinton campaign. (Hillary, of course, has no idea who that might be.)

The intent of the Democrats is becoming clear; if Obama gets the nomination, watch out for those "racist" Republicans who will smear him during the general election. This, of course, is perfectly consistent with the previous statements of DNC Chairman, Howard Dean, who has often characterized the Republicans as a white-only party. Just in the past few days, Dean has stated that "the Republicans look like the 1950s and talk like the 1850s."

Yet, look at virtually every black Republican figure and what they have to contend with from the Democrats and the left. Start with Condoleeza Rice, who many on the left have called an "Aunt Jemima". Then look at Michael Steele of Maryland, who, while running for the Senate, had Oreo cookies thrown at his feet-as Maryland Democrats responded with, "Well, if the shoe fits..." Ken Blackwell of Ohio has been regarded as a "traitor" (to his race) for his role in George W Bush's 2004 victory in that state. How about Janice Rogers Brown, nominated to the Washington Court of Appeals by Bush-only to be excoriated by Senate Democrats who tried to derail her nomination? Then there is the classic case- Justice Clarence Thomas, who was subjected to an ugly and humiliating confirmation process, led by white Democratic heavyweights like Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden and Howard Metzenbaum.

There are legitimite questions about Senator Obama that should be explored and discussed during the campaign. Yes, Republicans are raising questions and issues about Obama. However, it is disingenuous to suggest that it is only Republicans and conservatives who have problems with his candidacy. Before the senator goes toe to toe with the Republican nominee, he still has to overcome the smears coming from the Clintons.

Keith Olbermann's "Eulogy" of William F Buckley

This is a Doberman. It Rhymes with Olbermann

Last night, I joined the thousands of TV viewers around the country who watch Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" on MSNBC. Krazy Keith's show is consistently an hour of angrily bashing President Bush, Republicans and conservatives in general. His guests and correspondents are routinely liberal. There are no debates, no disagreements, just KKO and his pals, people like Richard Wolffe, Rachel Maddow (Air America)and Jonathan Alter. Last night, Keith outdid himself and reached a new low.

While announcing the death of conservative icon William F Buckley, Olbermann took the opportunity to inform his viewers that:

Buckley's opinions were "indefensibly and gloriously wrong".
As a student, Buckley had opposed World War Two.
He had defended Sen. Joe McCarthy.
He once suggested that AIDS patients be tattooed.
He once "ruminated" about denying the vote to the uneducated.

Keith, that was completely "klassless". Why didn't you raise a glass to cheer the death of Buckley while you were at it? Not that I was surprised. I am used to the far left making those kinds of comments about conservatives who have just died. I remember when Reagan died, and many on the left were celebrating the "fact that Reagan was burning in Hell". Just recently, it was reported that Nancy Reagan had suffered a fall in her home. Adriana Huffington's blog, "The Huffington Post", was filled with entries from her readership insulting the former First Lady and wishing her nothing but the worst.

But that's not all. Toward the end of the show, KKO presented his "Worst Persons in the World". (Surprisingly, Bill O'Reilly wasn't among the finalists last night.) Who got the Gold Medal? John McCain. Why? Because, in the wake of the Bill Cunningham rant in Cincinnati, McCain had stated that he didn't know Cunningham, nor had he ever met him. Cunningham has stated that he met McCain on a couple of occasions at political events. At that, the McCain campaign backtracked, stating that it was possible that the two had met at some time. So for that, John McCain was the Worst Person in the World? I think it is fair to say that when a major political figure attends political events, he/she shakes hands with a lot of people that they never see again. The person who shakes hands with the pol will remember the meeting. The pol forgets it.

As a conservative, there are a lot of things about McCain that I don't care for. He is not the person I had hoped would win the nomination. As a presidential candidate, he has to accept the barbs, just as I have pointed out for Sen Clinton. But just to nitpick, I would like to suggest that before Olbermann calls someone like McCain (whose shoes he couldn't shine) the "Worst Person in the World", he might want to accumulate a resume similar to McCain's in the service of his country. I don't need to repeat the senator's military record; it is known to all. On the other hand, Mr Olbermann's military record is not known to all-because he doesn't have one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Danish Brands List

As a follow-up to my posting on the Danish cartoons a few days ago, I am posting this list of Danish goods from the SIAD in Denmark website.

Let's show our support for the Danish people who stand up to radical Islamic intimidation.

Consumer brands:

Food & Beverages

Danish meat
Carlsberg - beer and softdrinks
Tuborg - beer and softdrinks
Danish Butter Cookies - Remember to check for Country of Origin!
Dancake - Cakes
Danish design

Lego - Toys
Bang & Olufsen - Music systems and televisions
K.I.S.S. - DVD Recorders
Stelton - Danish design
Jacob Jensen - Danish design
Bodum - Danish design
Rosendahl - Danish design
Louis Poulsen - Lightning
Skagen Watches - Danish watches
Danish Furniture Online
Piet Hein - Fritz Hansen furniture
Arne Jacobsen - Fritz Hansen furniture
House Of Denmark - High class furniture
Bo Concept - High class furniture
Pilgrim - Jewlry
UGLYDUCKLI - Just some nice stuff

Galle & Jessen
Stimorol Chewing Gum


Novo Nordisk - Healthcare
Clothes, textile & Shoes

Jysk - Quilts, pillows, mattresses
Saga Furs - high quality furs

VisitDenmark - Danish tourism
Danish film
Danish art
HC Andersen
Roskilde Festival - Super rock festival
Night of Culture - Copenhagen Culture Festival
Legoland - Amusement park

Danish Crown
Invest in Denmark


Hillary's Mistake by the Lake

" Why do I always get the first question? It's not fair!"

I had to watch the 20th debate last night from Cleveland since the week's flap over the Obama flyers sent to Ohio voters and Senator Clinton's angry response foretold a night of fireworks. While it was clear that Hillary had to do something dramatic, I imagine her advisors probably counseled her not to show any real anger at Obama. Even so, she had to be somewhat aggressive toward her opponent, which she was, at times, being testy. In the end, she failed to achieve her objective. If anything, she probably lost a few more points in this debate.

The debate started off with both candidates complaining about the tactics of the other during the past week. Then the subject moved on to Health Care, with both candidates arguing about whose plan was better (Ho hum). Actually the topic dragged on for 16 minutes, certainly longer than the moderators had planned, as each candidate refused to let the other have the last word. Hillary especially tried to filibuster the subject. Here I found myself saying to myself, "Keep talking, Hillary. Keep talking."

Then it was off to NAFTA, where Hillary had to defend herself when it was pointed out that she had spoken out in favor of NAFTA (which had been heralded as one of the Clinton Administration's "greatest accomplishments"). Russert, to his credit, directed hard questions to both candidates.

It was during this discussion that Hillary laid another egg, much like the xerox egg she laid in Houston a few days previous. This time, when given the first question, she pointed out that she was always being asked the first question-then made a wise crack about giving Obama an extra pillow. This complaint, linked with a lame joke, was met by grumbles from the audience-not as negative as the Houston remark, but definitely the low mark for Clinton.

In addition, when pinned down by Russert about her previous campaign promises to increase jobs in the upstate New York area (in the face of subsequent job losses), she blamed it all on you know who-George Bush. Moreover, Hillary was put on record as to the status of the release of her income tax returns and records pertaining to her activities as First Lady. Her response: "All in good time." (I am paraphrasing.)

Obama's low point was when he was asked about the endorsement of the dispicable hate-monger and anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan as well as his pastor, Jeremiah Wright (who, in 1984, had accompanied Farrakhan to Libya to visit Moammar Khadafi). Obama was clearly uncomfortable in dealing with this issue, stuttering around about how he had denounced Farrakhan, but had no control over who the Nation of Islam leader chose to endorse. Hillary had a great chance to nail him on this one when she talked about a similar endorsement she had received and rejected from an extremist. But when Obama conceded that he would happily denounce and reject, he had wiggled off the hook to applause from the audience.

I also think the moderators should have delved deeper-not into Farrakhan, but Jeremiah Wright. Obama has not denounced Wright-he still attends his church. But this man is troubling in himself. If Obama wins the nomination, Pastor Wright will be an issue- and should be.

All in all, I think Hillary came off petulant at times, while Obama generally was very cool and polished (with the exception noted above). In my opinion, Obama has come a long way in his debating performance in the last few months. If there was a victor, it was probably Obama by a slight margin. Too bad for Clinton because she had to win this one by a wide margin.

I also noted that Hillary's good side is not her right side. When she turned to look at Obama (on her left) while he was speaking, from the side, she appeared to be angry, and that might not have been an accurate perception from one moment to another.

Some commentators are saying Hillary played the gender card with her complaint about always being asked questions first. Maybe, but there are others out there who are explicitly making the "sexist" argument. Specifically, I am referring to Kokie Roberts and Didi Myers, the latter a member of the Clinton Administration, both of whom are making the "Hillary as victim of sexism" claim. I don't think that is going to help Mrs Clinton much. I don't think the public is looking for a victim to be our Commander-in-Chief.

Meanwhile, her erstwhile husband, Bill, the Pete Rose or Barry Bonds of politics (whichever you prefer), is running around Ohio, appearing in the back of pick-up trucks telling curious on-lookers why his erstwhile wife should be president.

To sum it all up, I think what will be remembered from this debate will be Hillary Clinton telling us she is ready to be Commander-in-Chief on Day One while complaining that she always gets the first question. Mrs Clinton, with all due respect: If you do get to be president, you will always get the first question.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Support Denmark- Buy Danish

With all that is going on here at home, such as our elections, it is easy to lose sight of what is happening in Europe with their Muslim problems. I have recently linked to a few European sites that are speaking out against Muslim intimidation in their countries (UK, Holland and Denmark). More will be added in the future since I think we and like-minded Europeans should be in contact.

In the case of Denmark, that country is still facing pressure from Islamic quarters over the Danish cartoons that mocked Islam. No, it has not blown over. Countries like Iran, Egypt and Sudan are getting involved diplomatically in the issue. Islamic Radicals are preaching violence against those they deem responsible for the cartoons, be it the cartoonists, the papers that published them or Danes in general. Danish diplomatic missions have been attacked or subject to demonstrations, and, of course, there are calls for Danish imports to be boycotted.

At this time, when Europe's will to resist the Islamists is shaky at best, it is necessary to make it clear that we support those countries when they stand up to the violence and intimidation. Of course, we as individuals are limited in what we can do. We can, of course,push our own government to encourage the Europeans to stand firm.

I would encourage you to check out the European links on my page. (The Danish one is "SIAD in Denmark") There is an Islamic page (apparently from Turkey) that has crashed onto the SIAD page threatening damnation and cyber harrassment to anyone who visits the SIAD page. Isn't that nice?

How about this idea? I think it would be a good idea every time we visit the grocery store to pick up a couple of items from Denmark-you know, Tuborg, Carlsberg, a little Danish cheese? It's the least we can do.

Buy Danish!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Oscar Meyers- Another New Low for Hollywood

"And this year's Little Oscar for best documentary goes to...."

Each year, I make a vow not to watch the Oscars. The reasons are too numerous to mention. Let's just say that I find it repulsive to watch these self-consumed phonies prancing around for 4 hours congratulating each other for being so wonderful while half of the actresses try to outdo each other as to who can dress the most like Little Egypt.

For my wife, however, it's the TV highlight of the year. So I generally retreat upstairs to read a book or work on the computer. Usually, I have occasion to come down for one reason or another and manage to catch some actor, actress or director making a fool out of himself/herself.

This year is no exception. After sucessfully dodging the first three hours, I had to come down for dinner-just in time to see something that upset me. First, the show made what I thought was a nice gesture by having five soldiers in Iraq make an Oscar presentation by satellite. So far, so good. No sooner than that was finished, the next presentation was for "Best" documentary. Sure enough, that Oscar went to a documentary called, "Taxi to the Dark Side", about an Afghan cab driver taken prisoner by the Americans and taken to Baghram Air Base Prison, where he soon died under mysterious conditions. The film clip showed an American soldier (dressed just like the 5 previous presenters), taking a blindfolded Afghan out of a car and into a prison compound. The theme of the movie is an indictment of US Military interrogation techniques. The director, Alex Gibney, then went on to give us a lecture about Baghram, Guantanemo, Abu Ghraib, rendition, and the overall dark side of the War on Terror, in effect spitting in the faces of the five young soldiers previously shown in Baghdad.

Leave it to Hollywood.

It is obvious that the gesture of having Iraqi-based soldiers present an Oscar was nothing more than a propaganda ploy designed to convince the American public that Hollywood really is patriotic and "supports the troops". Sure they do. How many of these people have ever gone to Iraq or Baghdad to visit the troops? There are a few, to be sure, like Gary Senise, but they are few indeed.

As I write this, I don't even know what transpired in the first three hours of the show. God only knows since it only took 15 minutes for me to witness the above outrage.

I heard today that the ratings for the Oscars is declining every year. Apparently, more and more of the public is getting fed up with the antics of these talented, yet idiotic people.

Ralph Nader Joins Race!!!!!!

"Happy days are here again,
The skies above are blue again,
So let's sing a song of cheer again,
Happy days are here again"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What Will the Stars Wear on Oscar Night?

Who cares?

Hillary Clinton-The Bi-Polar Candidate

Queen to mirror: "Let the voters decide who is the fairest of them all!"

Mirror to queen: "They are"

Today, fourty-eight hours after Hillary Clinton charmed an Austin crowd by proclaiming at the close of her latest debate with Barack Obama that she was so proud to be sitting on the stage with him, Hillary has appeared in Ohio screaming bloody murder about her opponent.

Obama's offense was that his campaign sent out a couple of flyers to Ohio voters criticizing her health care plan and stance on NAFTA. Waving the flyers in the air, Hillary proclaimed, "Shame on you, Barack Obama!.......Meet me in Ohio and let's debate your tactics!....Let's let the voters decide!"

Yes, folks, we're going to have another debate (Tuesday in Cleveland). This time, it's "for real". One would think that after 19 debates, the Democratic voters would have made up their minds, which, perhaps, they have.

What is so entertaining is watching Senator Clinton's constantly changing tactics as she tries to launch one Michael Myers comeback after another. In Austin, she produced the low point in the debate when she went after the Obama plagiarism flap with an obviously prepared quip about a xerox something or other. That drew boos from the crowd, and no doubt led to the firing of whatever hapless staffer gave her that line. But according to the pundits, Hillary "saved" the evening with her gracious compliment to Obama in her closing remarks. Some pundits seemed to think it might be another turning point, like the supposed tears in New Hampshire. (You know, Hillary really is human-she really is a nice person, after all.) If this is how the Democrats decide their votes (on feelings), then God help the nation.

But now it's back to the Ralph and Alice Kramden routine, as Ohio voters can now anticipate a debate filled with fireworks over Health Care and NAFTA.

When one looks at the constant highs and lows of Hillary Clinton, constant changes of direction and firings of staffers after primary losses, it would lead one to wonder. Many liberal pundits are suggesting that she has been served badly by her campaign staff. That is highly possible when you consider that she has people like LA Mayor, Tony Villaraigosa as her national co-chair. However, I prefer to think that the real problem is not the campaign, rather the candidate. But, of course, I am just another old fogey who believes in personal responsibility, which is kind of outmoded these days.

More seriously, however, has Hillary's performance in this campaign demonstrated that, as president, she would run the Ship of State with a steady hand?

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Debate in Texas-Talk about Pandering!

Last night in Austin, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama engaged in their 19th debate. The affair took place at the University of Texas and was hosted by CNN with the participation of Univision. One of the moderators was Univision's Jorge Ramos.

Not surprisingly, the subject of illegal immigration came up early, and the candidates were asked if they would act to put a halt to immigration raids once they were president. What followed was an exercise in pandering by both candidates to the Hispanic lobby. As to whether they would actually stop immigration raids, both candidates danced all around that question. Hillary made references to babies and children being left unattended and uncared for when their parents were detained- a shot at Immigration authorities on an issue that has been overblown-if not downright manufactured by activists.

Obama, for his part, while rambling on about a "pathway to citizenship" for undocumented workers (why do liberals assume that illegal aliens are even interested in becoming American citizens?), made the evening's most absurd statement by stating that "hate crimes against Hispanics have skyrocketed".

Excuse me?

Mr Obama, could you please be more specific? What hate crimes against Hispanics are you talking about? Who is carrying out these "hate crimes" against Hispanics? You know, as one who is married to a Mexican immigrant and lives in Southern California, this is news to me. I have no idea who is committing hate crimes against Hispanics-unless you are talking about other criminal elements within the Hispanic community who are victimizing their own people. Is Mr Obama referring to gang-bangers-either Hispanic or black-who are shooting Hispanics in the streets of Los Angeles? Or is he referring to prison violence between blacks and Hispanics?

Surely, Mr Obama cannot be referring to hate crimes being carried out by the Minutemen because there have been zero such incidents. Is he talking about opponents of illegal immigration committing acts of violence against Hispanics? That is not happening either. I think Mr Obama should be pinned down on this statement. Alas, the hapless moderators last night were unable or unwilling to ask any follow up questions on this statement. They couldn't even control the candidates, who, at one point, took over the platform in a series of rebuttals while the moderators were trying to ask a new question.

I also take issue with Obama's monologue about America getting involved with Mexico to improve that country's economy. For how many decades have we been trying to do just that? How many billions have we poured into that country in foreign aid and trade-only to see it go into the pockets of the ruling families and corrupt government officials? The truth is that Mexico is a wealthy country where the riches are controlled by the ruling classes-at the expense of the masses.

One prime example of Mexican corruption is the drug trade. As a DEA Agent, I worked several cases involving Mexico, and, in the last years of my career, participated in three training assignments for newly-hired federal drug agents-the so-called "new breed". Two of these assignments were at the Federal Police Academy in Mexico City and the third in Washington DC. They were all a waste of time. Mexico has a corruption problem that is endemic.

Barack Obama can talk all he wants about investing in Mexico to bring about reform. The money that he would pour into that country will be money down a rat hole, and nothing will change.

Would either candidate build a border fence to keep out illegal aliens? More dancing around the subject. Obama even brought up the "Dream Act". If you read between the lines, which you have to do, the answer is "NO". The candidates formed their answers to try and appeal to both sides of this debate-but especially the open borders crowd.

All in all, the main thing that I take away from this debate was its pandering to the Hispanic community by being soft on the whole illegal immigration issue.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Serbia-Time to Break Diplomatic Relations

The news out of Belgrade today is enraging. In the wake of Kosovo declaring its independence from Serbia and the recognition of such by the US-and several other countries, thousands of Serbians took to the streets of Belgrade to demonstrate against our embassy. Not only that, but our embassy (which was closed) was overrun, offices set on fire and one person (apparently a protestor) was caught in the flames and killed. At this point, our government has expressed outrage at the incident and the inadequate security that allowed the incident to happen.

Frankly, I don't care a whit about Kosovo or Serbia. However, I am sick and tired of this anti-American crap and the sacking of our embassies. It is high time that the American government take strong steps in response. Here is what I would do if I were president:

An immediate break in diplomatic relations with Serbia.

An immediate stop to all foreign aid to Serbia-if we are giving any.

As for the situation between Serbia and Kosovo, which may very well lead to war, this should be left to our European "allies" to deal with. No more American military lives should be placed in harm's way for what is a European problem. We can furnish certain kinds of aid-but no military personnel. In the last Balkan War under the Clinton Administration, we took the military lead. No more. If war results between the Serbs and Kosovars, let the Europeans deal with it-or ignore it. (Yes, I know the Russians are the Serbs' biggest ally, but it is a European problem. Let them resolve it.)

It is high time that the US tell the world that if they don't like us-fine. We can live without them.

Keith Olbermann and his Agenda

"This is a doberman. It rhymes with Olbermann"

Last night, with the story breaking about John McCain's alleged affair with a female lobbyist, I happened to catch Keith Olbermann's show on MSNBC ("Countdown"). Of course, I wanted to see Olbermann's take on the New York Times article. In other words, I wanted to see how much credibility Keith was giving to the story. Apparently a lot. The first 30 minutes of the one-hour show were devoted to the story-which means that he was jumping all over it. Nowhere did he question the article or its substance. Just Keith and his usual lefty guests analyzing and digesting what the NYT had put out. As is Keith's practice, he only wants to target Republicans and conservatives.

Then, for what seems like the 999th night in a row, Olbermann dragged old Bill O'Reilly through the mud-again naming him the "Worst Person in the World". (O'Reilly will have to add a new wing to his house to hold all the WPW trophies he is accumulating.) What was O'Reilly's offense this time? Seems he used the term "lynching" in an innocuous way to describe Michelle Obama's statement that for the first time in her adult lifetime, she has felt proud of her country. (O'Reilly was actually giving her the benefit of the doubt, stating that he didn't want to go along with the lynching-there was no racial inference whatsoever.) Yet, Olbermann felt that this should have resulted in O'Reilly's firing-or worse.

It is not my intention here to defend Bill O'Reilly. He is a big boy and can take care of himself. O'Reilly has accumulated various enemies in his career, which he seems to relish. I have no idea what has led to the bad blood between O'Reilly and Olbermann, nor so I care. But it is obvious that Olbermann has a deep-seated dislike of O'Reilly. My point is-why should this have to spill over into Olbermann's reporting on "Countdown"? O'Reilly, for his part, never mentions Olbermann's name on his show. With Olbermann's ratings, why should he?

As I have said before, Olbermann is articulate and witty. Even for a conservative like me, his show is entertaining. His anger and his out and out bias are only a detraction from what could be a much better show.

The McCain Story in the New York Times- Tabloid Journalism?

I have several reactions to the New York Times story that has come out this week on an alleged romantic affair between John McCain and a lobbyist in 1999, for whom the senator allegedly intervened in his official duties.

First of all, I don't know if the story is true or not. If it is true, then shame on John McCain-and shame on his judgement if it happened while he was running for president. If McCain was willing to engage in an affair while running for president, then voters need to know that about his judgement. Also, now that he has publicly denied this allegation, he had better be telling the truth. However, I am not yet willing to accept this story.

More importantly, from what we know now (not much), I think the Times acted in an irresponsible manner in printing this story with the amount of detail, corroboration and proof (or lack thereof) that they have released. What do we know from the article? That a couple of (unnamed) sources, previously working for the senator, have told the Times that they had concerns about the relationship between McCain and a female lobbyist. Not that there was definitely a romantic relationship, rather that there was an appearance of impropriety, and the woman had to be warned off from the senator. The Times also reported a letter McCain had written to a regulatory agency (FCC) in connection with a pending decision that affected a client company of the lobbyist. The letter did not request a positive decision for the client, only that a decision should be made one way or another.

That's it.

As things stand now, we don't know who these unnamed sources are, except for one man, former McCain aide John Weaver, who was interviewed by the Times. As far as we know, no one has stated that there was, indeed, an affair. There is no other evidence that there was an affair-no letters, no tapes, no documents-nothing. Mr Weaver, as far as we know, has not claimed that there was indeed an affair.

Right now, this story ranks alongside those produced by supermarket tabloids. If the Times has evidence of an affair and improper intervention by McCain on behalf of the lobbyist, then they have a moral and ethical obligation to print it now. Are they just going to let the story sit out there as it is? If so, then this looks like another Dan Rather Memogate scandal in the making.

Why has the Times gone with this story now just a couple of weeks after they endorsed McCain for the Republican nomination? If they believe this story is true, why would they give their endorsement to McCain as they were about to break this kind of story? Well, we know that both McCain and the woman denied the allegation. We also know that Times editor, Bill Keller, had earlier nixed publication because there wasn't enough corroboration. Plus, we know that Keller was contacted by the New Republic, a liberal journal, wanting to know what the Times was up to regarding the story. The way it looks now, Keller made the decision to go with the story without full corroboration in order to beat the New Republic to the scoop. Is that true, Mr Keller?

To conservatives, this is just another example of how the Times (and the liberal media) is determined to elect Democrats. A conspiracy theorist could very well conclude that the Times endorsed McCain precisely because they knew this story was around the corner and wanted to help nominate a Republican that they could fatally wound. Don't forget that the NYT has become arguably the most far-left paper in the country under the leadership of Arthur Sulzberger and columnists such as Frank Rich and Paul Krugman.

Rush Limbaugh, no supporter of McCain, is taking the line that this serves as a valuable lesson to the senator, who hereto had thought he could reach out to his political opponents among Democrats and the news media.

So now the entire media is all over this story. (Keith Olbermann spent the first 30 minutes of his one-hour show devoted to it.) But what is so telling about the mainstream media is not only what they report, but what they don't report (or underreport). Classic example? Michelle Obama's comments to a Wisconsin crowd in which she said that for the first time in her adult lifetime, she felt proud to be an American. Today, while listening on the radio to Rush Limbaugh, he was talking about how CNN has apparently assigned a reporter to monitor his comments. He then played a tape of CNN's Situation Room. That included an audio clip of Michelle Obama's words in Wisconsin. In that clip, the words..."in my adult lifetime" were edited out of Mrs Obama's speech. Why? In my view, those words make her statement very explicit. To me, there can be only one reason- to mitigate the bad publicity.

Speaking of the Obamas: I was not going to write about this issue, and I will limit my words because I want to write in a responsible manner. There is a video ciculating on the Internet (YouTube), in which a man, who gives his name, makes an allegation of a personal nature against Senator Obama-in which the gentleman said he was personally involved. He also gives dates and places, and offers to take a polygraph, challenging Obama to do the same. Is this claim true? I have no idea; that is why I don't care to go into detail. What I will say about it is this: While it may be a total fabrication (and pending proof, I will consider it thus), this accusation has much more detail - not to mention an identified accuser- than the New York Times article on McCain. Is the NYT investigating this allegation? Will they interview this man? I doubt it.

But back to the McCain story. Again, I make no statement as to the truth or lack thereof. What I am saying is that the Times now has an obligation to spell out publicly what evidence they have. If this is all they have, then they owe McCain and the public an apology and retraction. If this is all they have, then this represents nothing more than cheap, tabloid journalism and a dispicable attempt to influence a presidential election.

"All the News That's Fit to Print"????

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama- Hope, Change and More Government Cheese

Obama: "If you want change, follow me"

Last night, Barack Obama took another step toward the Democratic nomination, winning Wisconsin and Hawaii by substancial margins. He then proceeded to rub it in on Hillary by pre-empting her speech in Ohio with his own in Houston rather than engage in the customary courtesy of waiting until her speech was done.

Hillary's appearance in Youngstown, Ohio came as she learned that she had lost big in Wisconsin. She was obviously down in her spirits as she spoke. She offered no public congratulations to Obama for his victory in Wisconsin-not even acknowledging the results. On the other side, to add insult to injury, Obama began his speech in Houston while Hillary was still speaking in Youngstown causing network coverage to break off to Obama.

Obama's speech was not only long, more appropriate to a convention speech or state of the union, but it was heavy on promises of government cheese for all. Of course, the usual cries of hope and change were there, but also promises of universal health care for all. Invoking the usual cry of 47 million people without health insurance, he, as the liberals all do, ignored the fact that some 12 million of those are illegal aliens. Millions more are young people who decide they don't need insurance at this time in their lives. Yet Obama talked about bringing health insurance to everyone. He even promised huge reductions in premiums for those who already have insurance. He also conveniently ignored the fact that millions of people (largely illegal aliens) routinely go to hospital emergency rooms when they get sick, get treated and don't pay the bills.

Of course, the crowd in Houston loved everything they heard, cheering loudly over and over.

But in response, the question must always be asked: Mr Obama- who is going to pay for all of this? The obvious answer is that taxes will be raised on the "rich". How rich? People making over $200,000? $100,000? Corporations? It is easy to state that only the "fat cats" will have to pay higher taxes. We see this over and over in our state of California. What happens is that when the government runs out of income in taxes to satisfy their spending, they lower the bar. Then they will raise taxes on those earning $75,000, or $50,000. After all, it all depends on what the definition of "rich" is.

The point is this: When voters who depend on government benefits outnumber those who foot the bill, people like Obama and Clinton get elected. When the unproductive folks in society start to outnumber the productive folks-who foot the bill- the Obamas and Clintons get elected. In California, we are starting to see the balance being tipped toward the recipients of government help-including illegal aliens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are appealing to these very folks, engaging in demogogery in the process.

One of the biggest criticisms of Obama and his rhetoric is that, behind all the great oratory, there is nothing there beyond words. I would add one other thing that is in Obama's speeches: promises of government largesse.

As expected, the mainstream news media is slow to pin Obama down on his words and qualifications for the highest office in the land. Most of the MSM is downright enamored of the man. Ask yourself how much coverage we have seen in the past week of Michelle Obama's statements about her past lack of pride in America. How many MSM reporters have actually raised the question of Barack Obama's qualifications and political accomplishments? I have heard Sean Hannity (not MSM) of Fox News ask Obama supporters to list the senator's accomplishments-and they can't-beyond statements about his inspirational qualities. Similarly (and this is an exception to the MSM), Chris Matthews, who seems to be enamored of Obama, pointedly asked a Texas Democratic State Senator this week who supports Obama what Obama's political accomplishments were. The pol tried to change the subject, then danced all over the place as Matthews (to his credit) refused to let him evade the question. The man could not give a specific answer-other than to quote Obama's inspirational qualities.

At this point, it appears that Barack Obama is headed toward the Democratic nomination for president. More than ever, his qualifications and the content behind his soaring oratory need to be examined. The question is whether the mainstream news media (who will be supporting his candidacy) will lead the way. I, for one, am sceptical.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Michelle Obama's View of America-a Follow-up

A few days ago, I wrote a post on Michelle Obama and her remarks made in a speech at UCLA. I commented that her remarks about her country and the American people were negative in tone. I also pointed out a few of her statements which I felt were appropriate for criticism. What was not in that article was Michelle Obama's comment a few days ago in front of a Wisconsin audience, a comment that has caused even more criticism.

In this speech, Obama told her audience that it is only now-for the first time in her adult life-that she has felt proud of her country (adding that it is not just because her husband "has done well", but that she sees a "hunger for change" in the American people.)

Excuse me?

Already, Barack Obama's campaign manager, David Axelrod, has attempted to put a spin on this, claiming that Mrs Obama's words were not well formed and misunderstood. I'm sorry, but that doesn't wash. The words were very clear. Michelle Obama attended Princeton and the Harvard Law School. She is a professional woman in her 40s. Articulation is not one of the lady's weaknesses. When you add this comment with the comments made at UCLA, as well as previous negative comments about life in America, then a question arises in the public's eye as to her attitude toward her country.

Cindy McCain's reaction was simple and to the point; she stated publicly today that she has always been proud to be an American.

Many people who know Mrs Obama are jumping to her defense and insisting that she is, indeed, a patriotic American. That may be so, but I think it is incumbant for Mrs Obama to come out publicly and clarify her remarks. It is not in the Obamas' interest to let this question linger or grow. Michelle Obama is two steps away from the White House as our First Lady. If her pride in her country is open to question, I don't think she and Barack are going to make it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Big Plagiarism Flap- Ho-hum

"Hey Deval, what d'ya think about that guy Osama stealing your lines?"

I'm having a hard time getting worked up over the plagiarism flap leveled against Barack Obama by the Clinton camp. Hillary's Campaign Communications Director, Howard Wolfson, is jumping up and down about how Obama used lines in a speech almost word for word taken from a previous speech by Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick. (That's the guy Teddy Kennedy kept confusing with Obama in a recent rally in Boston.)

I won't bore the reader by going over all the lines that Obama borrowed from Patrick (possibly with his knowledge and consent). Besides, I don't think the issue merits a long essay by me or anyone else.

Suffice to say that maybe Obama's swooning audiences who are being swept away by the man's words, will stop and reflect that after all, they are just words-oops, I am plagiarizing myself. Seriously, instead of being so inspired by Obama's speeches, maybe they should realize that while his voice and presentation style are great, his words are empty, vague generalizations about "hope", "change", and "a better tomorrow". Hopefully, somebody in his audiences will start listening for specific ideas and ask themselves what Obama's career accomplishments are that qualify him to be President of the United States.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Asian-Americans in our Universities-and our Society

I came across an article yesterday in the blogosphere ( about negative reactions to the heavy Asian-American student enrollment on the University of California campuses. As one who has been teaching part-time at UC Irvine since 1998, I was troubled by the thought that there is any anti-Asian-American feeling here in California-or anywhere for that matter.

Let me set the backdrop for this essay. Here in Southern California, we have a huge Asian-American population. It is especially demonstrated on our university campuses. At UC-Irvine, without digging up statistics, I would say that over 50% of our student body at UCI is Asian-American.

I should mention here that when we in the US speak of Asians, we are referring primarily about people whose origins are in the Pacific Rim, in other words, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese, and so on. The British, on the other hand, see Asian immigrants in their country as primarily Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and so on. I am speaking of the former.

According to the article, the preponderance of Asian-Americans on UC campuses has stirred resentment from some other students who feel they cannot compete against the academic excellence of this minority group. This has led to some expressions of anti-Asian feeling in some quarters, and in some cases, of demands to cut back on Asian-American enrollment in the UC system.

I found the article troubling, not because I disagree with it, rather because of my own life experience and feelings toward Asian-Americans. Growing up in West Los Angeles, I was always surrounded by Asian-Americans (usually Japanese-Americans)as classmates and friends. Even though I was born as World War II was ending, Japanese-American kids were always popular in our circles. Later, in my 20s, I attended a Japanese-American Christian church for several years. From 1975-1978, I was stationed with DEA in Bangkok, Thailand. All in all, my life experiences have left me with a profound respect and affection for Asians in general and Asian-Americans in particular. Maybe I have been wearing blinders all these years, but I have really thought that Asian-Americans were well-assimilated and not really subject to any serious racism in this era. Don't get me wrong, I am well-read on the World War II relocation of Japanese-Americans to internment camps and the prejudice against Chinese immigrants in the 19th century (Chinese Exclusion Act, etc). I just thought that that was a lot of ancient history.

I have also been aware for some time that many Asian-Americans are uncomfortable with the expression "Model Minority" that has been assigned to them. First because it overlooks real problems within the community that they share with everyone else, such as drugs; second because it has the potential to pit them against other minorities such as blacks and Hispanics. It is true that the crime rates among Asian-Americans are lower than the population at large, yet certain communities like the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodians have seen their share of youth delinquency and gangs.

What is the reason that young Asian-Americans are doing so well scholastically? Without the benefit of having resarch and empirical evidence at my fingertips, the obvious answer seems to be the emphasis on education and respect for family tradition that immigrants bring with them to America, qualities that, at the same time, seem on the decline in our country. The result is that Asian-Americans embody the best of the old culture combined with the best in American culture. Though they may look different, they are well-assimilated into American society. It is hardly surprising that they are achieving at such high levels academically and professionally.

At UCI, the fact that over 50% of our student body is Asian-American has a lot to do with the fact that UCI focuses primarily on the biological sciences and pre-med, fields that attract Asian students. In my view, it is one of the more attractive aspects of UCI that we have so many Asian-American students. Guess what? On our campus, you don't see so much of the nonsense and protests going on that you see on so many other campuses across the nation. These kids are at school because they belong there, they know why they are there, and they don't have time for all the other nonsense. Of course, I have written extensively in my blog about the problem of anti-Semitism at UCI, fomented by Muslim students, their speakers and their left-wing student allies, an issue in which I have involved myself personally. From my own observations, the Asian-American kids are not involved in any of this anti-Jewish movement. What are they involved in besides their studies? You can see them on campus involved in their fraternity and sorority activities and charitable drives. What you don't see them doing-at least at UCI-is protesting against this or that or complaining about America.

Yet, I read in the article that UCI is one campus where some expressions of anti-Asian sentiment have been expressed (usually anonymously in graffiti and other forms). I find it troubling. Equally troubling to me is the idea that any university should consider ways of limiting Asian-American enrollment. I believe in a strict meritocracy. To me, if our campus were 100% Asian-American based on grades, SAT scores and merit, I would be OK with that. If we find Asian-Americans to be overrepresented on our college campuses, then it is for us to do some introspection and ask ourselves why we are falling short. It is for us to do better.

As I said above, I have been involved in calling out anti-Semitism on the UCI campus, as well as the failure of the administration and faculty to confront it. It now seems that I need to open my eyes a bit wider to see if there is a problem with anti-Asian-American feelings. If there is, I don't think it is widespread, but it seems that I may have overlooked whatever there is.

The "Drug Wars" (6)- Pittsburgh, 1988

"Reporting live from the scene here in Aspinwall....."

Recently, I have been looking through old newspaper clippings from my DEA years on cases that I was involved in. These include articles from Los Angeles, Bangkok, Milan, and Pittsburgh. One of the more memorable was from a case in Pittsburgh in 1988. As I previously stated, I am trying to choose stories that are funny. Most of this story is not funny since it involves many overdose deaths. The funny part comes at the end.

* Please be aware that anyone named here was convicted and sentenced to a long prison sentence. It is public record.

During 1988, the Pittsburgh area was swept by a series of 13 drug overdose deaths attributed to fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic that was being used as a heroin substitute by addicts. Due to its extreme potency, it was being marketed as "China White", a pure form of white heroin that originated in SE Asia. It was clear that it was being manufactured by someone with a chemist background, but we had no idea who.

It goes without saying that this case was frontpage news in Pittsburgh for months.

After a long investigation by the DEA office in Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh PD, federal search warrants were obtained on a series of homes in the Pittsburgh area to be executed early in the morning.

I happened to be leading a team at one of the sights to be hit with a search warrant. It was our plan to hit the houses simultaneously at a certain hour. However, about 30 minutes prior, we saw that the local news media was arriving in our area. We had to hit the house immediately. It appeared that our politically-minded US Attorney in Pittsburgh had alerted the news media, an action that put the operation and the safety of the agents in danger.

One of the main persons arrested was a guy named Donald Sunkin, 39, who, as I recall was the operator (sole operator I suppose), of an enterprise dedicated to retrieving golf balls from water hazards on local golf courses. The name of the business was "Sunkin Treasures", if I recall correctly. But I digress.

Anyway, later that day, we determined where the lab was and the name of the chemist. Search warrants were obtained and our regional lab group was summoned from Philadelphia to supervise the raid. (Drug labs are, by their very nature, hazardous sites, subject to contamination and explosions. After the raid, there is a costly hazmat clean-up necessary). It was determined that our suspect was a laid off chemist named Thomas Schaefers, 48, who lived with his elderly parents in their home in Aspinwall, outside Pittsburgh. (I'm not making this up, folks.)

It was pretty late at night (December 1, 1988) when we set up surveillance outside the house. We had decided that rather than just hit the door, for safety reasons, we would wait until the next morning when the suspect left the house to make an arrest and search. However, our guy came out of the house that night and was placed in custody in the driveway, whereupon, we secured the house and found the lab in the cellar. The elderly parents were moved to a nearby hotel. The search and clean-up, as I recall, took about two days. Of course, the breaking of the case was huge news in Pittsburgh.

Now comes the good part. The following evening, some of us (DEA/Pittsburgh PD)were still occupying the house to keep it secure until the clean-up could be resumed the following day. During the evening, a local Pittsburgh TV news crew showed up in front of the house to film a live broadcast from the front yard. As they prepared to do their broadcast, one of the PD guys turned on the TV in the living room. As the live broadcast began, he then moved to the front window, put his hand between the drapes and flipped a long, continuous bird to the camera, which no one in the news crew noticed. The rest of us watched the whole scene live on TV. All throughout the live 2 minute blurb, there was a middle finger protruding through the window.

Professional? No, but a precious memory of sticking it to the news media.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Two Faces of Harold Ickes

"Yes to Florida and Michigan" "No to Florida and Michigan"

For years now, Harold Ickes has been regarded as one of the more unlikeable members of the Clinton entourage. It is people like Ickes, John Podesta and Sid Blumenthal that represent everything that is dispicable about the Clinton camp. If Bill and Hillary Clinton will stop at nothing to achieve political power and hold onto it, it is folks like Ickes who are their instruments. Now, in the past 24 hours, Mr Ickes has demonstrated the hypocricy that is the entire Clinton machine.

Ickes, aside from being a long-standing Clinton operative, is also a member of the DNC. As a member of that body, Ickes voted with the DNC to strip the states of Florida and Michigan of their delegates after these two states moved their primaries up-in contravention of party rules.

Of course, that was all before Hillary "won" those two states' primaries. (In the case of Michigan, she ran basically unopposed since Obama had taken his name off the ballot, yet still gained over 40% of the vote as "uncommitted".) Once Hillary "won" Florida, she announced that she would do all in her power to get those delegates seated.

So now, with Obama having gained the lead in voter delegates, the Clinton camp is lobbying hard to have the DNC reverse its previous ruling and seat those delegates. Even a court challenge may be in the offing. If successful, that would put Hillary back into the delegate lead. At this point, the DNC is standing firm. Nancy Pelosi has announced her opposition to reversing the decision.

And guess who has now come out for reversing the decision and awarding those delegates to Mrs Clinton? Why Harold Ickes, of course, notwithstanding the fact that as a member of the DNC, he voted to strip the two states of their delegates for violating the rules. Of course, Mr Ickes, when asked, insisted that there is absolutely no contradiction in his position(s). Of course not.

Wouldn't it be interesting if the primary season ends with Obama in the lead, only to have the DNC reverse their earlier ruling, hand the Florida and Michigan delegates to Hillary and then give her even more with superdelegate votes-thus pushing her past Obama and handing her the nomination?

I have no window into the thinking of Democrats, but I have to believe that they would not dare do such a thing lest they completely alienate half of their party's primary voters, not to mention the African-Americans who voted for Obama. Already, some of the superdelegates are re-thinking their support for Clinton. Of course, it is argued that the Clintons have their tentacles deep into the Democratic party and the DNC, so I would not underestimate what they could do. I am sure that the Clintons and their henchmen like Ickes know where a lot of bodies are buried among the superdelegates.

Michelle Obama's View of America

Michelle Obama in New Hampshire, January 6, 2008

This week, radio talk show host and conservative blogger, Hugh Hewitt has been playing excerpts of Michelle Obama's speech at UCLA on February 3. It is not the first time I have heard or seen her speak on TV or radio. Hewitt's reaction is that the tone of Mrs Obama's speech is quite negative as to the country and our people. I have to agree here. I have drawn the same conclusion from previous speeches Mrs Obama has made. If her husband is viewed as being hopeful and optimistic, his wife's words come across (at least to me) as negative and angry.

Make no mistake about it. Michelle Obama is an impressive figure. She is obviously bright, attractive, and has an effective speaking presentation. Yet, like her husband, I wonder if her listeners are really stopping to analyze her message. To me, Mrs Obama is an angry woman who has some pretty negative opinions about her country and our people.

In the UCLA appearnce at Pauley Pavilian, Mrs Obama went through a litany of all the things that are wrong with America. Much like John Edwards, she complains about the inability of everyday people to obtain health care, insurance, and this and that, as if we were living in Bangladesh. I have heard her make these complaints before. At UCLA, she also complained that Americans are walling ourselves off from each other (I am paraphrasing). According to her, we fear and distrust each other. I found myself wishing that she would have gone deeper into this theme. Who specifically was she referring to? Was she really saying that white people fear and distrust black people-or vis-versa? If that is what she means, then it might be worthwhile to spell it out and let's have a discussion or debate on that topic. But, alas, she let it hang. After all, she was getting so many cheers from the young audience, that she didn't need to take it any farther than that....But she did. She went on to inform us that "our souls are broken." Really?

Then, of course, Mrs Obama told her audience that the only person who could turn things around in this country was her husband, Barack Obama-then led the crowd into the old demogogic chant of "Yes, we can, Yes, we can, yes, we can!"

I should concede here that many listeners on the left have commented very approvingly of her speech, but those on the left generally do enjoy hearing the negative points of America, so that is hardly surprising.

If we need to dig deeper into Barack Obama's words and look beyond the soaring oratory (which we should), I think we need to do the same with the prospective First Lady. Her message seems to be very much like that of John Edwards; the negative thesis, the negative tone, what's wrong with our country, class envy, and so on. Michelle Obama may come across as inspiring to many, but to me, she seems angry, with a rather negative outlook on our country. It reinforces my concern that there is a hidden agenda behind the Obamas' vision for America.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Vagina Monologues

This week's controversy over Jane Fonda's "C" word remark on the Today Show brought attention to the "Vagina Monologues" presentations that have found their way onto several college campuses, and at least one high school (in Amherst Massachusetts). The stated purpose of the Monologues is to bring attention to the problem of sexual violence against women, a worthy goal. I have never attended one of these presentations for a couple of reasons: First, as a former law enforcement officer, no one has to convince me that this is a heinous act and a severe problem in America. Men who commit such acts against women are the lowest of the low. Secondly, and perhaps erroneously, I have long suspected that there was some liberal side agenda to the Monologues, but I could certainly be wrong.

Two or three years back, I was walking across the UC Irvine campus where I teach when I was approached by a cute young girl passing out flyers for an upcoming Vagina Monologues on campus. She asked me if I would like to attend, whereupon I asked her what it was all about. When she explained that the purpose was to raise awareness about sexual violence against women, I replied that, while I supported her goal, I thought her efforts would be better spent lobbying her political representatives to pass tougher laws insuring longer prison sentences against offenders. For some reason, that idea didn't seem to resonate with the young lady. She proceeded to launch into a long monologue full of liberal talking points as to why my idea was not relevant. At this point, two of her VM girlfriends came over, curious to see who this strange alien craeture was that had found his way onto a college campus. By now, I was telling the confused young girl that she was spouting a bunch of talking points she must have learned from some left-wing professor and reiterated that the real solution was to put offenders in jail and keep them there. I also reminded her that once upon a time, rapists in California were executed. (Remember Carel Chessman?) By now, every flower within a range of 100 yards was dying.

"But imprisonment isn't the answer," opined one of the other girls.

"Then what is it you are trying to do?" I asked.

"We are just trying to raise awareness," one of the girls responded.

My final parting shot was that law enforcement had always been aware of the problem, but had been thwarted by liberal philosophy that said that prison wasn't the answer. At this point, I realized I was wasting my time, wished the girls good luck and continued on my way back to the real world.

At the risk of being overly graphic, I think I should also describe an article I read in the UCI campus newspaper (New University)about a Vagina Monologues presentation on campus a few years back . I don't recall if it was the same year or presentation as the one described above.

According to the article, a female presenter was telling the young female students that when they went home that night, she wanted them each to "touch themselves down there". She then added, " I want you to feel it. I want you to smell it. I want you to taste it." (I guess that will sure raise awareness.)

As I said, I may be incorrect in assuming that there is some liberal, feminist agenda associated with the Monologues since I have not actually attended one. If the sole reason is to "raise awareness" about the problem of sexual violence against women, then that is fine with me. However, I still hold to my simple cave man solution to the problem.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jane Fonda

This is what we should remember about Jane Fonda-not some 4-letter word

Today the networks are all abuzz about Jane Fonda's use of the C word (for vagina)while being interviewed by Meredith Vieira on NBC's Today Show. Vieira let the comment pass without any reaction (other than chuckles), later issuing an apology to her viewers. Other networks reported the incident with appropriate comments of criticism. My reaction? Sure it was inappropriate, sure it was offensive and set a poor example for young women. Other than that, the whole thing leaves me cold. What people should always remember about Jane Fonda till the day she dies is what she did during the Viet Nam War.

Jane Fonda may be the darling of the left, a heroine to Hollywood and the universities, but veterans of the Viet Nam era, especially those who served in Viet Nam will never forget nor forgive Ms Fonda for going to North Viet Nam and allowing herself to be used as a propaganda tool by our enemies. Not only did she pose on an anti-aircraft gun, and make radio broadcasts for our enemies, but also went to POW camps. Many American POWs who refused to meet with her were beaten and subjected to additional mistreatment. I still can't figure out why the government never prosecuted her for treason.

So my conclusion to today's flap is that Jane Fonda's foul mouth is the least of her faults. And that is all the energy I care to devote in this post to Ms Fonda.

The "Drug Wars" (5)- Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia- 1995

"Raise your glass, Fousesquawk"

One of the most interesting countries I had the chance to visit during my tour of duty in DEA's International Training Division was the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. When it was deterimed that our team (There were 3 teams in DEA's International Training Section)was scheduled to conduct a school in Georgia, some of our members were reluctant to go since Georgia was experiencing political unrest and was considered a dangerous place to be. One American Embassy official had recently been shot and killed, there was an insurgency on-going, and the country was considered an all-around danger zone. The only two people who had no problem going were myself and my boss. So we went alone to do the school.

First we flew to Paris, where we had to catch a connecting flight to Prague and on to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. At the airport in Prague, we had to spend an hour in the terminal before they put on a bus to our Georgian Airlines flight. As we rolled up to the plane, I noticed that it was a Czech Airlines aircraft. Boarding the steps, I asked the flight crew at the door if this was the flight to Georgia. They answered in the affirmative. Once on board, I asked the stewardess the same question and recieved the same answer. A couple of minutes later, my suspicions were confirmed. Wrong plane. Back onto the bus and on to another plane-this time, Georgian Airlines.

After the break-up of the USSR, the newly-independent republics received many of the old Aeroflot planes which they painted over with the new airline name. They also were plagued with an inordinate amount of crashes. En route to Tbilisi, I got up and took a walk to the back of the plane. To do that, I had to actually open and go through a door into what was in, effect, a separate room. Seated in that "room" were folks I took to be Georgians or Russians, watching some sort of movie or film with blank expressions. The film appeared to be some sort of newsreel showing tractors being driven out of a factory (no doubt by heroic factory workers).

We arrived in Tbilisi at about 11pm. The airport was completely blacked out (except for landing lights-I guess). There we were met by our two principal police counterparts, a police colonel and his adjutant, Vladimir, who was carrying a sub-machine gun slung over his shoulder and under his jacket. (The entire two weeks we were in Tbilisi, that sub-machine gun never left Vladimir's shoulder.)

From the airport, we were taken to our hotel, an Austrian-run establishment that was the only decent hotel in town. Actually, it had been placed off-limits to American government travelers by the embassy on the grounds that it was infested with the local mafia. (Few large hotels in the former Soviet empire were free of this problem.) We insisted on staying there because it was the only place suitable to have the seminar, and there was absolutely no other place in town fit to stay in. As we entered the lobby, we had to pass through a metal detector. There was a sign at the door advising folks to check their weapons. Of course, seated around the lobby were rough-looking guys in leather jackets. They were the hotel "security", that is local mafia types protecting the hotel from-themselves.

The following evening, our two counterparts took us to a local Georgian retaurant for a typical meal-referred to as a "Georgian table". We were shown to a private room, where numerous small plates of food had already been set out on tables. In addition, wine was served, as it is the national drink. Since Georgians, like many of the other former Soviet nationalities, drink a lot, the wine was served in pitchers. Actually, I had been looking forward to trying the Georgian cuisine since it was regarded as quite exotic and spicy in the Soviet world.

It was horrible. It was so bad, I had trouble getting it down, and the wine wasn't working. I figured vodka would help get it down, so I dropped a couple of hints to Vladimir that some vodka would be nice. Finally, Vlad caught on, and, quite impressed, ordered a bottle. When it arrived, I noted that it was Bulgarian vodka. Earlier in the day, while visiting the embassy, we saw an alert that Bulgarian vodka should be avoided since some people had recently died from drinking it. There was a picture of the suspect brand, and sure enough, it was the same stuff that we were being served. I figured the vodka and the food would offset each other and proceeded to drink it. (I am still here.)

In the last few days before closing ceremonies, one of our DEA colleagues from Ankara (which had responsibility for Georgia) flew in to attend the graduation. Vlad took me to the airport to pick him up. While we were waiting for the flight, Vlad engaged me in a conversation about the US. He brought up the subject of black-white relations, and proceeded to tell me that it was his opinion that blacks and whites in the US all hated each other. As an illustration, he told me of watching a "Diehard" movie with Bruce Willis and Danny Glover. According to Vlad, Hollywood movies were all nonsense, portraying a white guy crying when his black friend gets killed (or vis-versa).

"Please don't die", he panned.

Then the plane arrived, my black DEA colleague got off, and Vlad stood there with his mouth agape watching us hug and shake hands.

Later, Vlad said to me, "You never told me."

"You never asked", I replied.

At the conclusion of the seminar, the American ambassador attended, gave a short speech and presented the diplomas to the students. Since he was in a hurry to be someplace else, he kept checking his watch and reminding us he was running late. Finally, halfway through the diploma presentations, the ambassador handed me the remaining diplomas and said he had to go. Goodbye. The remaining students had the great honor of receiving their diplomas from me.

But the highlight of the visit to Georgia was on the weekend when the police took us to Gori, a small town about an hour away from Tbilisi. I mention at this juncture that Georgia was homeland of none other than Josef Stalin, who was born Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili in Gori. While Stalin has been mostly discredited in Soviet history, his image still remains somewhat positive in Georgia. Stalin was the Georgia boy who "made good". His image still appears in certain places. In Gori, the tiny house where he was born has been preserved and turned into a memorial. A pavilian has been built over the house. Next to it is the Stalin museum and his private railroad car. We were given a tour of all these places, followed by a tour of the city by the Gori police chief. A statue of Stalin still stood in the main square.

After the tour, the chief hosted a lunch for us in the local In-Tourist Hotel restaurant. Along with the meal, we were served pitchers of Stalin's favorite Georgian wine. It was a long affair, and the drinking started taking its toll. Finally, the chief rose and gave a speech. At the conclusion of his talk, he invoked the name of Stalin, saying, "So, let us drink a toast to Stalin. If he made mistakes, he still did many great things for Georgia."

As I was sliding under the table, I looked around, saw all the Georgians had their glasses raised, and raised my own.

And may God forgive me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The FISA Vote

Senator Chris Dodd

The liberal blogosphere is up in arms over yesterday's FISA vote in the Senate. Senators Chris Dodd (D-CN) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) had attempted to stop retractive immunity for telecommunications companies who had cooperated with the government in monitoring suspect phone conversations without a court order. They failed. Republicans were joined by several cross-over Democrats in rejecting the Dodd/Feingold measure. Just for the record: Of the three senators who are running for president, John McCain returned to Washington to vote in favor of FISA, while Barack Obama returned from the campaign to vote along with Dodd. Hillary Clinton was not present for this important vote. She was in Texas campaigning.

The reactions I read in several left-wing blogs were heated-especially toward the above Democrats, who were accused of selling out to Bush. One responder even raised the "R" word (revolution).

I would say that on this issue, reasonable people can disagree on this topic, which resolves around the NSA intercepts of phone conversations between suspected Al Qaida members calling to the US. Many believe that government/police should not wiretap, or at least have a court order signed by a judge.

As a retired DEA agent, who participated in many wiretaps (all with a court order), I believe strongly that it is a valuable tool, but one that should be used sparingly and judiciously. One of the requirements to get a normal court order is to show that other traditional techniques (informants, undercover, etc) have been tried without success. In law enforcement, a wiretap is a complicated, expensive and time consuming operation. Installation also requires the cooperation of the telephone/telecommunication companies; hence, they also receive the court order. They act in good faith in cooperation with the government and should not be subject to criminal or civil lawsuits from CAIR or other left-wing interest groups.

The NSA intercepts are very distinct from the intercepts that I participated in as a law enforcement officer. Since 9-11, these intercepts have been used for the purpose of saving lives in a time of war-and, I am sure, have saved lives. To me, this is common sense. If our intelligence or law enforcement agencies have information that a suspected terrorist overseas is calling someone in the US, we are crazy if we don't listen in. In the interest of saving lives, it is imperative that this operation be carried out as expediciously as possible. Having some liberal judge turn thumbs down on a wiretap of a suspected terrorist is asinine, in my view.

The opponents of the intercepts claim that we are listening in on the private communications of "millions of Americans", as if Big Brother is monitoring calls between Aunt Tillie and Granny Skaggs as they exchange cookie recipes. C'mon! We all know who is being targeted. I know I am not being targeted because I don't have contacts with Islamic terrorists-even for innocent purposes. In fact, I would go even farther. In this day and age, if the authorities have information that certain imams and mosques or other Islamic organizations in the US are allied with terrorism, I would be bugging the hell out of them. Remember the objective: It is not to increase government power or further a dictatorship-it is for the purpose of preventing further 9-11s.

I do not understand why most Democrats in Congress oppose this kind of electronic surveillance. It angers me that there is a segment of our society-no matter how well intentioned-that wants to block virtually every move that the Bush Administration tries to combat Islamic terrorism. If they are successful, they will ultimately have blood on their hands.

Our Congress on the Job

"Would you please raise your right hand- if you can?"

It's reassuring to know that we have such a stellar representative body of government in Washington. I am speaking of our Congress. With all the problems this country faces, from Islamic terror to illegal immigration, what are our elected representatives doing this week? Why, they are getting to the bottom of this steroids mess in baseball, that's what. Henry "Slappy Maxie" Waxman and his committee are trying to find out who stuck a needle into whose butt.

Today's highlights featured the sworn testimony of pitcher Roger Clemens, who denied that he had ever taken steroids or human growth hormone. Seated two chairs away was his ex-trainer and former friend, Brian McNamee, who testified under oath that he had, indeed, injected Clemens with steroids. One of them clearly was lying-committing perjury.

My question is this: Is this what we are paying our taxes for? Doesn't Congress have more important things to do for this country?

First of all, baseball is a sport and a business. It is not a government agency trying to root out corruption. If there is cheating in baseball or use of illegal drugs by athletes, why not let the league take care of it? If drug laws have been broken, then the law enforcement agencies have a role to play. The league can suspend or ban those individuals breaking the rules. (Of course, MLB is cursed by having an incompetent boob, Bud Selig, running the show. Under his regime, this problem has grown and festered for years.)

At any rate, we now find ourselves witnessing another three-ring circus in Congress, complete with posturing politicians and squirming witnesses. Clemens, by most accounts, was not an impressive witness. He denied any knowledge of steroids, beyond hearing about them on TV and reports from Hollywood. (Hollywood?)

Unfortunately, this issue has now crossed the Rubicon. Somebody committed perjury in front of Congress today, and that is always a serious matter that cannot be ignored. Clemens looks like the guy who is skating on thin ice now that his former best friend, Andy Pettite has given testimony against him. If Clemens did, in fact, use steroids, then he should have told the truth once he was sworn in. After all, his career is already over (unless he wants to make yet another comeback at 45). Accept the shame and go on with your life. Now he may be on his way to prison.

Congress has now backed itself into a corner. Now that someone has lied before them under oath, if this thing ends with a whimper and it cannot be established who lied, Congress will really look like a bunch of boobs.

And nobody makes Henry Waxman look like a boob and gets away with it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Now it's a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy

Virginia- "Obama is the fairest of them all"
Maryland- "Obama is the fairest of them all"
DC- "Obama is the fairest of them all"
NBC- "Obama is the fairest of them all"

In the wake of recent negative comments about Hillary Clinton made by MSNBC commentators, Chris Matthews and David Shuster (both of which were inappropriate in my view), Hillary Clinton is now claiming that she is the target of unfair treatment by the news media. Not just talk radio or Fox News, mind you, but the mainstream news media, particularly NBC and MSNBC, the most liberal network out there.

In Mrs Clinton's interview with Katie Couric this week, she was asked about this and answered that she is,in fact, being treated harshly by the news media.

Hillary, welcome to the world!

First of all, as I have stated repeatedly, Mrs Clinton is running for president. It comes with the game. She is no stranger to hardball; she plays it extremely well herself. But if she wants to be president, she has no business complaining.

It wasn't too many years ago when Mrs Clinton was telling Matt Lauer that she and her husband were victims of a vast right-wing conspiracy when reports were coming out about Monica Lewinsky, as if Monica was a Republican undercover agent.

Now she sees that she is not the preferred candidate of everybody in the news media. As it stands now, it appears Obama is the darling of the MSM. So does that mean that Hillary is now the victim of a vast left-wing conspiracy? Actually, Hillary can take heart that this can be a fleeting phenomena. The MSM is also supporting John McCain on the Republican side. But what if the final campaign comes down to Hillary and McCain? You can bet your bottom dollar that the MSM will turn back to Hillary and start bashing McCain.

Mrs Clinton does not wear victimization well. In reality, she is nobody's victim. On the contrary, she has left a trail of victims in her wake. As I write this, it is being reported that she has now lost Virginia, Maryland, and DC, and another Clinton assistant campaign manager, Mike Henry, has been canned.

Don't give up, Hillary. Just keep calling those super delegates and firing people.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hillary Clinton- The Candidate of Change

"Ok, Doyle, hit the showers. Williams, we need a strikeout. Bill, head for the locker room-and stay there. And you-start crying."

Are you noticing a trend in Hillary Clinton's campaign? It seems every time her campaign hits a rut in the road (losing primaries to Obama), CHANGE happens in the campaign. Let's look at some examples.

Lose Iowa? Projected to lose in New Hampshire? Time to do something drastic-like cry-or pretend to cry. Up until that moment, Hillary was struggling with her wooden, emotionless, Cruella image. She was on her way to defeat in New Hampshire, according to the pundits and the polls, anyway. So out came the "tears" and the cracking voice. Faster than you can say "gullible", Hillary pulled out a win in New Hampshire, courtesy of voters who decided she was human after all.

Then came South Carolina, which went to Obama in the wake of charges that the Clintons had injected race into the election. Bill, as usual, kept opening his big mouth, which did nothing to help his wife's campaign. Lately, however, Bill's role in the campaign has been changed. Anyone seen or heard from him lately? No. He has been sent to his room (hopefully alone).

Then came Super Tuesday, pretty much a split, followed by the latest string of Obama victories. Right now, Obama is on a roll-expected to continue in the Potomac primaries. So now, we have a change in Hillary's campaign: a new campaign manager. Patti Solis Doyle has stepped down, and Maggie Williams has taken over. Remember Maggie Williams? She was Hillary's chief of staff in the White House. She was the one who was seen removing papers from the office of Vince Foster when it was learned that his body had been discovered in a Washington area park. All in all, Maggie ran up a lot of legal bills while serving the Clintons in the White House.

In addition, it was learned last week that Hillary has thrown in 5 million dollars of her own money to the campaign. That is perfectly legal (Romney put in about 35 million of his own money), but everyone knows where Romney's money came from. Where did the Clintons get that 5 million dollars?

To sum it up, Hillary reminds me a lot of a major league baseball manager in the late innings of the 7th game of the World Series. That means lots of pinch hitters, defensive replacements and relief pitchers. Maybe she can steal a few signs while she's at it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Clinton vs Obama- This May be a Job for the Super Delegates

"Oh, I wish Superdelegateman was here!"

In the wake of Barack Obama's primary wins in Washington, Nebraska and Louisiana, as well as his expected victories in the upcoming Potomac primaries (DC-Virginia and Maryland), the Democratic race has just gotten closer-if that's possible. Of course Hillary is looking forward to states like Texas and Pennsylvania, which have a lot of delegates and appear to be strong for her. Nevertheless, the question begs: What happens if this thing goes all the way to the convention and has to be settled by the so-called "super delegates"?

I may be way out of line here; I am no political expert, and I have to rely on what I hear on television from the really smart guys (pundits). But from what I understand, Hillary stands to get the majority of the super delegate votes, which would carry her to the nomination. The question I have is what if Obama goes into the convention with a lead, however slight, in delegates won via the primaries-only to see the super delegates give it to Hillary? What will be the reaction of Obama's supporters-especially the African-Americans who voted for him? Will they feel that they have been screwed by the Democratic Party establishment-this party that always has supposedly represented their best interests and has taken black votes for granted? Will they abandon the party in November to punish Hillary? Donna Brazile is already threatening to leave the party if such a scenario unfolds. I think it's fair to say that without a large African-American vote, Hillary won't have much chance of being elected.

The obvious counter to that is that Mrs Clinton would offer the VP slot to Obama. Would Obama accept it-especially if he perceives that the nomination was taken away from him? If Obama loses the nomination thanks to the super delegates, would he just walk away and sit on his hands in November-or even run as an independent a la Joe Lieberman? Intriguing possibilities.

For me, it would be poetic justice if the Democrats screwed Obama at the convention. That is why I hope he surges into the lead. Then let's see how the Clinton machine and their followers in the party of love and inclusion pull out all the stops to deny Obama the nomination. And make no mistake- the Clintons will pull out all the stops if necessary. They are praying right now that it won't be needed-that Hillary will capture the requisite number of delegates from the primary/caucus voters. Of course, we should not forget that Hillary wants-and needs those delegates from Florida and Michigan who, as it stands now, will not be seated due to their states moving their primaries up. Is an ugly court battle on the horizen? At any rate, it is looking increasingly likely that Hillary, if she wins, will have to "win ugly" as they say in sports.

And a lot of Democratic voters will be watching.