Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fred Thompson's Quiet Strength Shows on Fox News Sunday; Poll Standing Rises

GOP Presidential candidate Fred Thompson appeared on Fox News Sunday today, displaying his depth on foreign relations issues, his media savvy, and why he is moving steadily upward in the polls with the Iowa caucus only days away.

Meanwhile, embattled GOP candidate Mitt Romney, who was considered the strongest contender to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the summer, has launched a series of attack ads against Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in Iowa, and Arizona Sen. John McCain in New Hampshire in what some are saying is a desperate attempt to stay in the race.

Huckabee and McCain are fighting back, as they must, but this last minute flurry of punches could well work in Thompson's favor as he sits in third-place or thereabout depending on which poll you choose.

Thompson has been roundly criticized in the media for not entering the fray earlier, and for not making a big splash when he did formally declare. It should be noted that the media which is criticizing Thompson is the same media that decides whether or nor a candidate has made a "splash" - contingent entirely upon the level of play the media gives to the story.

Thompson has been slammed by the media because he isn't playing by the media's rules. Yet for all the criticism, Thompson is moving steadily upward. The truth is, Thompson is simply walking a different path to the same goal, and it may be a better route.

As he pointed out in his interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, he has saved millions of dollars that literally would have been thrown away, by not getting into the race too early and wasting precious resources at a time when the vast majority of voters aren't paying attention.

There is no question that the GOP race is still wide open, and virtually anything can happen, primarily because we have a really good slate of candidates and voters are having a hard time making up their minds on which candidate they like best. That is a good thing, and the race is by no means decided, nor is it likely to be in the next week or two.

While the front runners are beating up on each other, Thompson used his FNS appearance to press home his strengths.

Wallace opened his segment by showing a quote from an Iowa newspaper that portrayed Thompson as lacking energy and enthusiasm. Thompson, who made big time points when he refused to be cowed by the moderator in a debate sponsored by the Des Moines Register early this month, responded that the quote amounted to "journalistic malpractice."

Thompson explained that he contended in a lengthy interview that he doesn't believe in turning the presidency into a cauldron of non-stop politicking when there are so many more important issues with which the president must deal. The newspaper "cherry picked" his quotes and portrayed his position in a manner totally inconsistent with what he believes and what he said, Thompson maintained.

Good for Thompson.

There is a tenet in public relations and political circles that you never argue with the media, not matter how badly they have misquoted you. I don't agree.

If the media is being partisan, and unprofessional, I believe you should grab the offender straight on and demand a correction. If the media outlet refuses to correct its mistakes, take out an ad pointing out the discrepancy, the refusal to tell the truth, and let the voters see what you really said. I also believe in bringing your own tape recorder or video camera to any interview so you have your own evidence of what was said.

The media is not sacrosanct and it is long past time to be treating irresponsible and unprofessional reporters as saints who can't be questioned or challenged.

Isn't it just a bit odd, that so many of us complain about "politics as usual," but when a viable candidate appears who has the confidence in his own abilities and his own approach, he is badgered for not staying inside the box?

With the GOP front runners smacking each other in a bare-fisted brawl, Thompson's easy going demeanor and command of the issues is starting to look pretty good. Maybe he isn't a media darling, but so what, most Americans don't trust the media anyway.

There are many ways to get around the media in today's age of high tech communications and the inescapable truth about Thompson is that when voters listen to him he makes sense. He has some marketable successes and experiences, but he isn't viewed as a Washington insider at the same level as McCain.

He might not be as flashy as Giuliani, but New York's former mayor who was all but anointed as the consensus (media) candidate earlier this year, is having a very hard time standing up to scrutiny of his actions in the Big Apple.

Romney is certainly an attractive candidate, but he seems to have some sort of impenetrable shield around him, as if he is just too perfect, and thus unapproachable. He seems to lack the personal touch, at least in his media appearances, and this can hurt him, especially as he descends into negative campaigning and mud slinging.

Huckabee's recent gaffes on the slaying of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan last week certainly aren't helping him.

Thompson's quiet, direct style of delivery is obviously having an impact. It may well be that America has seen enough of people who look good on camera but lack substance.

It is worth asking ourselves whether we want a man in the White House who is steady, calm, knowledgeable and won't fly off the handle in a crisis, or one who will rely on knee jerk reactions that could make a bad situation worse?

As an actor Thompson can stand in front of a camera with total ease. He showed again today that he has an excellent command of the issues, substantial experience in foreign affairs, and yet he didn't shy away from acknowledging that McCain is more experienced in that area. He simply added that he and McCain have disagreed on domestic issues, such as immigration where Thompson is strong.

On the Democratic side the top three contenders are slugging it out all the way to the voting booths. But the Democratic agenda is driven nearly entirely by out-of-control anti-war sentiments, a Hate Bush agenda, and an inability to translate this agenda to voter support in the wider world of independents and undecideds.

In the final analysis, neither Iowa nor New Hampshire, which holds its primary five days after the Iowa caucus, will send that many delegates to the national conventions. The bigger prizes are coming later on in the process, especially on Super Tuesday in February.

All the hoopla over the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary could end up being just that - hoopla. Thompson is surging, the front runners are beginning to look a bit ragged from all the fighting, and the real test of survivability could yet be several weeks away.
Friday, December 28, 2007

Bhutto Assassination Highlights Rabid Anti-Women Islamo-Fascism

During my formative years living in the farming country outside Troy, New York, there came a time when the city streets held more fascination for me than the hayfields, apple orchards, and barns.

Troy is a small city, but a city nonetheless, and it held the complete spectrum of city experiences from the low to the high, poor to rich, mean to expansive. Troy was also accessible.

As a teen I spent increasing amounts of time hanging out with my friends in the city, enjoying both the cultural aspects of city life, and occasionally learning some of its harsher lessons, too. On the less pleasant side I encountered the hard cold realities of street and alley fighting that would be refined a few years later when I spent time in service towns and port cities.

First and foremost, there was no 'fair' or 'unfair' in terms of tactics. There was WIN or LOSE. Period. Nothing in between.

There was no honor in losing to a bigger or tougher guy, it was still a loss. The only consolation in a loss was if you inflicted sufficient damage on your opponent that others, even those who could probably beat you, were loathe to challenge you, knowing they would win a Pyrrhic victory at best. But you still lost.

In those years I met some world class bullies, and some world class champions. Outsiders might have had a difficult time telling the difference, but on the streets everyone knew which was which and who was who.

Regardless of outsider views that street fighters were unprincipled brawlers, there were still some unspoken rules.

Street fighters fight due to pride and for pride. It is pride that will get them into a fight in the first place and pride in their status that will keep them in a fight long after most people would have quit. It is in those situations that sure losers on occasion turn into surprise winners.

The surprise it should be noted, usually is on the part of the bystanders and bookmakers, not the guy in the fight, who would rather die than bear the shame of backing down or quitting.

That sense of pride also manifested itself in the decisions on when to fight and with whom. If a punk from your neighborhood was running his mouth about you, trying to build his own reputation at the expense of yours, and you encountered him on the street, it was expected that you would brace him on the spot.

Occasionally an up-and-comer would take on the neighborhood champ, and in those cases a predesignated time and place was involved. Often enough, it was in an alley along River Street in Troy, on a Saturday night. A certain amount of preparation was necessary for those fights, including being in shape, and on occasion determining if and what kind of weapons your opponent preferred.

That is why I have said for years that our invasion of Iraq had everything to do with intent on Abu Al Zarqawi's part, not whether Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Weapons are far down the list on deciding when and where to fight, intent is at the top.

If guys from another neighborhood invaded yours, you took them on. Generally speaking you didn't get into it with a smaller guy because that detracted from your rep, and put you in the bully class.

Bullies would push guys around for the hell of it, even guys from their own group. Smaller guys would defer to a bully rather than getting hit, but they lived for the day that a bigger or tougher guy would show up and give the bully a taste of his own medicine.

Champions, however, had an aura about them. If they paid any attention to the smaller guys it was only on occasion and it was usually a nod, or a brief hello. The neighborhood champ had a rep to maintain, and only the toughest of the tough were in the champion's inner circle.

But the smaller guys lived for the moment they got "the nod" in front of their friends, as it meant an immediate increase in their status.

For all of these unwritten rules, and their intricacies, there was one rule that was inviolate. You never, ever, ever, punched a girl. Do that and you were labelled a screw up, weakling, mindless dumb-ass forever.

If guys from another neighborhood invaded your neighborhood and brought girls with them, even tough girls, you got some of the tomboys from your area to take them out. Punching a girl was unmanly, the kind of thing that only a rabid dog would do.

Which brings me to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan yesterday.

She was killed by an Islamo-fascist extremist who first shot at her, (reports are mixed on whether his bullets actually hit her) then blew himself and dozens of others all to hell, because he believed he would get some kind of otherworldly reward for the ultimate act of cowardice.

It is because of the nature of Mrs. Bhutto, what she believed in, how she was viewed, and how she was killed that every woman in the free world should be thanking God for George Bush, and praying that the anti-war left doesn't ever get into power in this country.

Mrs. Bhutto wanted democracy, she wanted equality, she wanted women to have the same rights in her country that they take for granted in many other countries, especially the United States. She was well aware that the extremists in her country could care less about the "glass ceiling" because they are adamant that the only ceilings any woman should see are in their kitchens and bedrooms.

She wanted an end to terrorism, an end to their extremist viewpoints. That was why she was killed.

Although the terrorists our forces have lured to their deaths in Iraq use the tactics common to street fighters, the manner in which Bhutto was killed violates the most basic rules of the man who has earned his stripes in the alleyways. You don't pick on women!

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto was the act of a rabid animal who can't be talked to, can't be reasoned with, can't be swayed, and won't change his mind, his tactics or his opinions of his enemies. The Islamo-fascists, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and their spinoff organizations hate everyone who is not of their mindset, but they hate women the most.

Benazir Bhutto was a danger to them alive, but now she may well be more effective as a martyr.

America lost an ally when Mrs. Bhutto was assassinated. But women worldwide lost a champion. There is much to say about her tragic death, but for women who live in the free world, and take their freedoms for granted, there should be a cold realization of what awaits them if the terrorists win, and their dominant extremist governments prevail.

The Bush Administration has taken a ton of criticism over the past five years, but Benazir Bhutto's assassination shows that he was right in taking the fight to the terrorists, wherever they were gathering, rather than waiting for them to strike us on our homeland again.

The only way to defeat these animals is to take them out on their own turf. Luring tens of thousands of terrorists to their deaths in Iraq has turned out to be a winning strategy.

While the mainstream media talks incessantly about the casualties we have suffered, the real number that should concern these commentators is how many civilian casualties we would have suffered had President Bush fought the War on Terror as a law enforcement issue that would have allowed them to again attack us here, instead of us attacking them there.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fluid GOP Primary Works For Voters; Where is Ron Paul Getting His Money?

Depending on the media outlet you favor, you could view the lack of a clear front runner in the Republican primary race as disarray in GOP ranks or a plethora of possibilities.

Some pundits claim that the ever-shifting poll positions indicate total dissatisfaction with the GOP field, while others maintain that lower tier candidates are successfully getting their messages across to voters, thus offering some choices.

Regardless of whose opinion you want to mimic, it is clear that GOP voters nationwide were not and are not enamored of the 'anointed' candidates in either party - Republican Rudy Giuliani or Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Reports in the spring for instance gave us the impression that Giuliani and Clinton were the "establishment" candidates whose only real challenge was not getting bored while waiting for their coronations, and the presidential race. Primary races were viewed by some as mere formalities that had to be endured before the obvious was set in stone.

Odd isn't it, how in a democracy when the voters have had enough they start flexing their muscles? Here we are months later and no one backing any candidate in either party can say with certainty who will get the nomination.

Many strategies can come into play in long campaigns, and often what appears initially to be a losing strategy is merely a delaying strategy. That strategy would keep a candidate within striking distance when challenging an opponent who is trying to build a huge lead right out of the gate.

There are some who prefer to sit tight way back in the pack, avoiding too much scrutiny, and using just enough voter donations to assure their base that they are indeed in for the long haul, while waiting for the right moment to surge forward.

For example, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was considered a long shot in the late spring and early summer. But now he and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are slugging it out as if Iowa and New Hampshire are the last stops on the primary trail, not the first.

Many pundits also are saying that after surging unexpectedly, Huckabee has "peaked" too early and the glow is wearing off in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

That "unexpected" part refers to the mainstream media, not to me. I wrote about Huckabee's chances months before he became popular in the mainstream media - and yes you can pin a rose on my rear end for that flash of clairvoyance.

But the way I see it, if a candidate is going to "peak" at all, instead of surging to the forefront and staying there, then there was a fatal flaw in that candidacy from the outset. If you are running a campaign based on timing, in the sense that you hope voters don't learn all there is to know about your candidate before election day, you are fooling yourself as well as the voters.

Sooner or later the dirt will come out, and when it does the carefully constructed house of cards is going to collapse in a slight breeze. It is better to start off with a candidate whose positions are known, whose past foibles have been hung out for everyone to remark on, and who isn't going to be upset with an "October Surprise."

If voters stop supporting your candidate once they get to know your candidate, you have a pipe dream, not a campaign.

Much the same can be said for newspaper endorsements, which have made a lot of news in recent days both in Iowa and New Hampshire. Romney, for instance, is getting hammered because he didn't get the big nods from New Hampshire's big news outlets.

Big deal.

Newspaper endorsements mean far more to other media than they do to the voters. I have represented political candidates who received media endorsements in their areas while others got hammered, but in the long run the endorsements usually don't translate into votes one way or another. It's nice if you have them because you can use them in your advertisements, but there is danger in that approach too.

The American news industry is in decline as a trusted source of information because journalists have been preaching a leftist agenda since way before Walter Cronkite lied to us about the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968. The media preened for years over the major role it played in the fall of Richard Nixon, while trying to ignore its own complicity in the millions of deaths it caused in Southeast Asia after Vietnam fell.

I believe the presence or absence of a media endorsement actually carries far more weight in left wing Democratic campaigns than in Republican campaigns, since GOP voters wrote off the mainstream media long ago.

I have cautioned candidates in districts where the media is decidedly leftist - which means most districts - that a newspaper endorsement could be detrimental to their campaigns since GOP voters would be naturally suspicious of what a candidate said in private to get the endorsement in the first place.

Although the ebb and flow of individual candidates' fortunes may not be the optimum experience for them personally, the battles we have been witnessing since the summer are good for the voters. A candidate who surges but then falls back may well have had a good issue that was important to the voters, but the messenger may not have had enough support.

Take the Fair Tax for instance. It wasn't high on the radar until Huckabee started rising in the polls, but then it became an issue to take seriously. Even if Huckabee stumbles along the way, other GOP candidates have begun talking about the Fair Tax and that means more voters are going to research it.

If they do, they will find that it is supported by slew of conservative economists, is not regressive, it won't put an unfair burden on the poor - what a crock that is - nor will it lead to another out-of-control bureaucracy.

Our tax code is berserk, it has been for decades, and it needs to be scrapped. Huckabee has brought a real answer to a totally unfair, regressive tax system, and if he doesn't prevail there still is plenty of opportunity to keep it on the front burner.

We are close to the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, so we soon will see who will benefit from well-run campaigns with lots of money - Romney for instance - and well-run campaigns that don't have much money but have spent wisely - Huckabee and Arizona Sen. John McCain for instance. We also will see which campaigns had money, but couldn't turn dollars into votes.

In that category there is one GOP candidate who is simply mystifying, and has a campaign that seems to defy the laws of gravity in terms of campaign funding. I am talking here of Ron Paul, who is a libertarian by beliefs but is running way back in the pack as a GOP contender, despite claims of broad support by hundreds of thousands of donors.

The inconsistency of Paul's fund-raising claims and his poll standings became even more apparent when his campaign made a big splash earlier this month first by announcing an Internet fund-raising drive, then making more noise saying they had raised more than $10 million when it was over. But all that money doesn't appear to have changed very many voters' minds.

If you compare Paul's fund raising with some of the other candidates, the inconsistencies are obvious.

Huckabee surged without a lot of money by going to Iowa, shaking hands, meeting people, and spreading his Fair Tax philosophy. After the Iowa straw poll the media had to take Huckabee seriously, which meant he could get a lot of mileage with news reports on his campaign rather than buying ads.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama was seen in some quarters as interesting, but not a real threat to Hillary Clinton. But then support started pouring in for Obama in the form of thousands of small donations that put him within striking distance of Clinton.

He used his money to make smart media buys and milking campaign appearances for their news value. That got people talking about him even more, which in turned brought in more money, and now Clinton not only is no longer a shoo in, but is seen in many polls a likely to lose to Obama in the early going.

Ron Paul has been described as the Internet master of all the GOP candidates. He told Fox News just before Christmas that people were joining his campaign by the "tens of thousands ... hundreds of thousands."

I waited for two weeks after his Internet fund drive, but I still don't see corresponding movement in the polls. Paul is still in the single digits, despite plenty of media exposure, and I don't see that as changing in a week.

By contrast, Obama surged in the polls with the money he raised from small donations, so why does Paul have the money but no surge?

There should have been a direct correlation between money raised and poll positions, if the money was coming from individuals who had jumped on the Ron Paul bandwagon.

Paul has some sound bites that play well with an audience that is sick of politics as usual in Washington, DC. When FOX interviewed him on the made-for-TV 'news' about the other candidates' Christmas ads, Paul responded, "I don't get it," and said those ads are irrelevant.

Good response.

When he was pressed about taking money from organizations or individuals with questionable backgrounds, he responded, "People send me money because they support my ideas, not because I support theirs."

Again, a great response and a perfect sound bite. Most Americans who vote know damn well that tons of money goes into political campaigns with the hope of getting the candidate's ear later on, if that candidate is elected. Lots of corporations, organizations and individuals donate to both sides in some campaigns just to play it safe.

But while Paul has shown himself to be quite accomplished at manipulating the media and apparently the Internet, the kind of poll response I would have expected from tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of small donors sending in enough money to total more than $10 million, just isn't there.

So what is the answer? Inquiring minds are inquiring.
Sunday, December 23, 2007

Iranian Military Option Off The Table? Says Who?

When Iran's quest to develop nuclear weapons is mentioned in the news, especially when its whacked out religious fanatic leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known here as Green Bean Almondine, is the focus, the phrase "military option," is often in the text - or was until earlier this month.

"Military option" is diplo-speak for saying, to borrow a Rush Limbaugh parody of a Sen. John McCain statement, "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran," sung to the tune of Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys.

Put directly, President Bush was never far from pointing out that if Iran continues to stir the pot in the Middle East by providing weapons to Al Qaeda terrorists who use them to kill our troops, and working to build a nuclear weapon with which to vaporize Israel while holding the rest of the region hostage, we would turn Green Bean's domain into a glassed-over parking lot.

Then, earlier this month, a highly questionable National Intelligence Estimate that said Iran had stopped working on the bomb in 2003, was released by the White House. Anti-Bush media and congress persons immediately jumped all over Bush, maintaining that the estimate was yet more evidence that his administration couldn't find its rear end with both hands and a road map.

That the NIE report in question directly contradicted reports from 2003 prepared by the same agencies was widely ignored in favor of the political finger pointing. That our European allies, as well as Israel, responded that the report was flawed to the point of being ludicrous was downplayed.

Ultimately, however, enough contradictions surfaced to give the overall impression that the report was defective at best, inaccurate at the worst.

When the report first was released, the immediate and overwhelming response was that its revelations had taken the "military option" off the table. The rational was that should the US contemplate military action against Iran, Bush would have the same difficulties obtaining international backing as he did in 2003 before we invaded Iraq. Without international consensus, the reasoning goes, we are powerless to defend ourselves or our allies.

Really? Says who? Since when is this country tethered to international opinion, especially when that opinion is first filtered and manipulated by the World Terrorist Media. How much credibility can we give to supposed "informed" opinion when the citizenry of France and Germany had supposedly turned their backs on us, but at first opportunity elected pro-America leaders?

Why did the inaccurate conclusions in the NIE report immediately translate to an isolated America following a flawed strategy, but when the flaws in the report became the news, no one said the military option is back on the table.

I heard this as recently as the end of this week, from commentators who made the point from the outset that if the Iranians had actually suspended the segment of their nuclear weapons development that the report mentioned, it was not a suspension of the whole program, nor even the most dangerous part of the program.

Many informed analysts now believe a minor segment of the overall program MAY have been suspended in 2003, but likely was restarted in 2004. Regardless, it doesn't impact Iran's efforts to make nuclear grade weapons fuel from uranium. If Iran succeeds in its quest for bomb-grade fuel, the process of actually making a bomb will take only a few months.

Yet, our option to halt this tragedy in the making is now supposedly permanently restricted.

Which leads me to question just what is going on? I don't mean with the World Terrorist Media and its local affiliate the American Terrorist Media - I already know what is going on with them. I mean with our State Department and the White House.

There is evidence galore that our military and political efforts in Iraq have been taking their toll on Iran. The media also is reporting that high Iranian officials have suspended support for Muslim-on-Muslim atrocities in Iraq, thus halting the flow of arms to foreign terrorists who make up the bulk of Al Qaeda terrorists there.

It appears that we found a way to put the smack down on the whacko - Green Bean. It may be as simple as supporting dissident efforts inside Iran, and it may be that by slamming his military forces on the Iraq-Iran border we have delivered a message that finally got through Green Bean's bombast. It also could be far more and far different than we have imagined, and if so we won't know for sure for years, if not decades.

What we do know is that there has been a very public announcement that Bush has quieted his military commentary, and many are saying that resolution of the Iran crisis will be left to his predecessor.

Green Bean appears to be playing nice at the moment, but I wouldn't plan on this being a lasting development unless he and his extremist backers are overthrown. Regardless of how he portrays himself on the world stage, and regardless of how his propaganda is received by international diplomats who willingly play the role of playground wimps, Green Bean is a street fighter, the ultimate sandbox bully.

He can learn to learn to smile while he walks among people he loathes and considers infidels, he can make hideous speeches at smarmy "intellectual" institutes of learning, he can engage in diplomatic maneuvering. But down inside, he is plotting.

If he is on his feet, unharmed, armed, and still focused on rebuilding a New-Age Persian Empire, he is plotting. He isn't defeated, or cowed. He is just watching, looking for the weakness, planning on getting what he wants, which means smashing every enemy real or imagined, and dominating even those who consider him a friend.

Maybe it is in the Bush Administration's best interests to not be pushing the military option at the moment. Maybe there are internal factors at work that will topple Green Bean and turn Iran's population back to supporting the US.

But there is one big horsefly in the ointment. The protesting Iranian 'students' who make the news infrequently, aren't armed. They were disarmed long ago which is why they use sticks and stones, yell a lot and burn effigies when they demonstrate, whether it be against the US or their own government.

If you see armed Islamo-fascist terrorists on TV you can bet they are supported by the religious government that runs their country, or they are risking overwhelming response. The 'students' don't have the means to overthrow their government and neither do their parents.

It may well be that there is far more than meets the eye to this NIE report and the response to it but there can be little question that the portions that garnered the most publicity are the least credible, as has been pointed out across the globe.

I don't have an issue with using all the means at our disposal to bring peace to the Middle East.

But if Green Bean is pulling another diversion, and pops up with the bomb in three years, the US is going to have to stand tall with or without support from the European Union, NATO or the United Nations. He will bomb Israel, he will threaten every other nation in that region, he already has the ability to hit most of Europe with long-range missiles, and he will impose his warped view of the world on everyone he dominates.

Who will stand by the US in that scenario? Saudi Arabia? Not likely. Egypt? Who knows? That is the problem. Finding real allies in the Middle East, aside from Israel, is a crap shoot especially if a regional power like Iran develops nuclear weapons, with the already determined intent to use them.

Yet we continue on with the myth that the military option is off the table. Maybe it isn't off the table at all. Maybe it just isn't the centerpiece. But given Green Bean's duplicity, and his quest for world domination, I wouldn't trust him as far as your average diplomat can throw a grand piano.

President Bush can and should pursue all available options in resolving the Iran dilemma. But the military option should stay right where it has been all along, or a decade from now the only legacy left of the Bush Administration will be the smoking ruins of the seat of western civilization, millions dead on both sides, and a historic view of the pre-WWII to post-WWIII Era as the Chamberlain-Bush Miscalculations.
Friday, December 21, 2007

Britain, France, Germany Support US; So TIME Makes Putin Man of the Year? Say 'Goodbye' Circulation

The United States has been going through a mercurial period of good and bad foreign relations over the past few decades, and the years since George Bush was elected and terrorists struck us on 9-11 have been especially volatile.

Countries we had considered old allies backed our invasion of Afghanistan but became far less than supportive when we next targeted Iraq. France and Germany were way up on the list of these countries, and gave us little to no support either in the arena of public opinion or in the United Nations Security Council.

It was later determined that Iraq's late leader Saddam Hussein had been greasing the wheels of international good will, and keeping his critics at bay by diverting hundreds of millions of dollars in oil revenues that were supposed to be spent on food and medical care for his countrymen to bribing foreign officials.

When it came time to stand with or against the US, the recipients of Saddam's largesse voted to keep him where he could continue a regime of torture and murder, just so long as he kept these paragons of the international conscience in the chips.

They opposed us in the UN and they continued to make life difficult when we formed a coalition of countries that didn't include them, and overthrew Saddam anyway. Some, like Russia, that had become allies in the early 90s after nearly 50 years on the enemies list, reverted to their old form, especially under Vladimir Ras Putin.

Putin, who once was invited to the Bush family compound in Maine, nonetheless has been helping arm our enemies in the middle east, specifically Iran, a country that is actively involved in killing American troops. Putin is supposed to have a special relationship with President Bush, but you wouldn't know it from the news reports.

The democratic advances that engulfed Russia after the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union collapsed are being rolled back, and Russia is again moving toward totalitarianism, if not an outright return to a typical murderous communist state.

The World Terrorist Media and its local affiliate the American Terrorist Media had a field day with the Bush Administration's difficulties on the foreign scene. Tony Blair stood by us, along with Poland, Australia and a ton of countries in Eastern Europe that previously had been under Soviet domination.

But not France, and not Germany. The media told us the populaces of those countries had turned against us.

Then along came elections in both countries. The populaces elected Angela Merkel as Chancellor of Germany and then Nicolas Sarkozy as President of France. Both of them like the US and immediately set out to improve relations.

HMMMM. What is a left-leaning media outlet to do when the world flies up in its face and says it really does support freedom, democracy and the United States of America?

Voila! TIME Magazine names Putin as its Person of the Year!

Wow! I bet that with a world population of more than 5 billion there were at least a million other people who deserve that distinction more than Putin. TIME's editors say they don't endorse Putin or his policies, they just gave him that distinction because he has done more than anyone else to impact world affairs this year.

BULL. There were plenty of people all over the world who did far more than Putin, either in their home countries or abroad. Putin was not only a bad choice for TIME, he was a lazy choice. TIME's editors simply took the most available and identifiable pro-communist and slapped his photo on the cover.

Also, if you look at TIME's list of Runner Ups, Almost Made Its, and Honorable Mentions you will find a definite trend toward leftists, communists and their supporters. General David Petraeus who has turned the situation in Iraq 100 percent in a favorable direction, is one of the few people on the runner up list who has been actively fighting for freedom and democracy.

TIME has other despots on the list too, and in the American political arena they choose Hillary Clinton and Al Gore from the Democrat side, and Ron Paul as the only Republican contender. Except if you check into Paul's background you'll find he isn't so much a Republican as a Libertarian running on the Republican ticket.

As a side issue in the hubbub of naming a former member of the Soviet KGB as Person of the Year TIME also canned conservative columnists Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer. (The KGB was the Russian Secret Police which put into practice all the things, and far worse, that we have been falsely accused of doing to terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay).

Kristol is one of the few nationally known political commentators who has been seriously discussing the very real possibility that the GOP presidential nominee might come from a part of the United States that isn't in New York. He may have his biases, but he is certainly open to new points of view when given reasonable supporting evidence.

Krauthammer is not only one of the most knowledgeable commentators in America today, he also has a wide range of interests and abilities, delivered with straightforward common sense that takes the mystery out of most political diversions.

Maybe that is why TIME doesn't want them any longer ... between Kristol and Krauthammer the editors decided that things were drifting too close to common sense on the Op-Ed pages.

TIME can go on all it wants about how and why it selects its Person of the Year, but I don't think too many people are listening, care or believe the spin. I'm sure this is unwelcome advice, but if I was still in the newsroom and I saw the company I worked for do what TIME is doing, I'd take a real close look at the New York Times, and its editorial decisions over the past few years.

Continually run this country down, bad-mouth our system, our leaders and our people, print state secrets that jeopardize our troops and our civilians, and what do you think you'll get? Just what the NY Times is getting - shrinking circulation and declining revenues.

Maybe TIME magazine has a ton of money piled away somewhere and doesn't care if people stop reading it in droves. Maybe its advertisers are so entrenched in their markets that if former TIME readers as well as mainstream Americans start boycotting their goods it won't matter.

But in his interview with TIME, Putin told them "If you want aspire to be a leader of your own country you must speak your own language."

Well, last I looked this was still America, but TIME isn't speaking our language. It has been twisting reality to its own warped view of the world, but world citizens, including those in Great Britain, France, Germany, Iraq and dozens of other countries, have shown they don't agree.

Maybe its time that TIME stop trying to fool people and come out with a new mission, say, for instance, the US bureau of a revitalized PRAVDA?

But before that happens it probably wouldn't hurt if the reporters, editors and support staff take a hint from their colleagues at the NY Times and freshen up those resumes.
Sunday, December 16, 2007

Politicians Want Veteran Support, But Government Shafts The Vets, Again!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;

Rudyard Kipling "Tommy"

Since the founding of this country the government has been putting the boots to military veterans once the wars have been won.

This is not new, nor isolated to the US, as Rudyard Kipling so aptly pointed out regarding the British Army in his poem "Tommy," excerpted above. This also is not the first time I have written about this country's reprehensible treatment of its veterans, nor that I have used "Tommy" in leading this column.

It fits nicely and I believe that repetition may be the best way to get the message across.

To put this in historic perspective America's first full-term president - no not George Washington, John Hanson, who in 1781 was the first full-term president under the Articles of Confederation - had to quell a near mutiny among officers who had won the Revolutionary War. It seems the fledgling government placed paying its first veterans way down the priority list and the vets were so ticked off that they threatened to install George Washington as king!

Maltreatment of vets continued through the Civil War, and the government's reneging on promises made to World War I vets was so horrendous that in the 1930s Great Depression they marched on Washington along with family members, and camped out on the National Mall, demanding redress of their grievances. In response the government ordered two future WWII heroes, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Gen. George Patton to roust the vets using armor and infantry, and they did, with loss of life in the veteran ranks.

After WWII, where the active military represented 10 percent of the total population, veterans did pretty well overall, with significant increases in temporary benefits affecting education, housing, and job assistance. But when the Korean War broke out, the number of Americans actively involved in the military and the fighting was minimal compared to the Big One, and the political muscle necessary to keep the politicians' attention began to wane.

This trend continued with Vietnam Vets and Gulf War vets, who had to fight tooth and nail just for recognition of illnesses ultimately traced to Agent Orange and possible chemical weapons exposure. This was not new either, what with WWI vets needing treatment for mustard gas exposure, and post-WWII vets becoming sick from radiation exposure during atomic weapons tests.

With the number of veterans again climbing due to six years of fighting in the War on Terror, and budgets a constant focus for both major political parties, it appears that the vets are again taking an ax across the neck.

For some time now I have been corresponding with Lieutenant Colonel Charles Revie, a Vietnam veteran who is retired from the US Army with a 100 percent service-connected disability from Agent Orange exposure. Charlie is the Legislative Director for the Newe Mexico-based Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees, which represents hundreds of thousands of disabled military retirees.

He has sent me reams of information on matters his organization is pursing under the heading BROKEN PROMISE and ERODED BENEFITS ISSUES. Much of their focus is on government manipulation of the disability rating system that determines who gets treatment or compensation, and how much.

Retired vets can really get the shaft if they retired under a medical discharge without sufficient years in service, or a high enough disability rating. The disability rating itself is inconsistent what with the Veterans Administration, which deals with vets after they serve, having a different disability scale than the Department of Defense, which rates those still in the service, but on the way out due to medical disability.

Charlie's organization is working to get the DoD and the VA on the same page both in the disability ratings, and in the qualifications for compensation. He notes that President George Bush ordered a unified disability ratings system last spring, but that the two organizations still apply different criteria.

USDR also is focused on the issue of Concurrent Receipt, whereby military retirement pay is reduced dollar per dollar if a retiree is also receiving disability compensation. Charlie notes that support for disabled soldiers dates from English Law of 1573.

The American law prohibiting Concurrent Receipt first passed in 1892 and the current law passed in May 1944 - two weeks before Normandy Invasion. This law requires a $1 offset of earned military retirement pay for each $1 of VA disability compensation.

The law does not impact other Federal salaries or annuities - only military retirement. A little hypocrisy goes a long way in Washington.

Other issues disabled vets are facing include: Health Care; Tax Credits/Exemptions for Medicare Part B Premiums; Relief from Medicare Part B Penalties; Improved TRICARE access, reimbursement rates, and administration; Tax Exemptions for Medical Insurance Premiums; and the Survivors Benefits Program.

Rather than posting all of what Charlie has sent me, I will refer you to the Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees web site:

There is contact information at the site.

I also would like to point out one other matter that I have addressed here before. In my little state there are about 300,000 veterans, and we can make a huge difference in any election where we are motivated and involved.

A case in point was the campaign of former Democratic US Senate hopeful Ned Lamont, who was outspoken in his opposition to the war in Iraq, and who successfully wrested the Democratic nomination from incumbent Joe Lieberman in 2006. Lamont, following the lead of many other politicians before him, visited the annual Harvest Fair in my community which typically sees more than 200,000 visitors over four days.

Politicians usually visit the veterans' hamburger booth to let the vets know where they stand on the issues, and take advantage of a photo opportunity. Governors, senators, and congressmen have been to see us, as well as local politicians. Lamont shunned the vets in 2006, walking to within feet of our booth before turning his back on us, which elicited a chorus of boos. He then further compounded the matter by scurrying away.

That little incident made the blogosphere in a matter of hours and news quickly spread throughout the state veteran community. Lieberman, running as an independent Democrat, crushed Lamont and kept his Senate seat. You can bet the veteran impact was substantial.

Local politicians were the norm this year, except for presidential candidate Ron Paul, who is running for the GOP nomination. He didn't personally show up, but he rented a booth at the fair and his Ron Paul Revolution T-shirts were a fixture throughout the four days. His supporters stopped by for a burger, which did catch the attention of the vets.

On the national level there are an estimated 26 million veterans. We are a formidable bloc when we unite behind a candidate or issue. In fact, if most veterans vote, and back one candidate or party, we can determine the outcome of virtually any election.

The problem is, despite the way veterans are usually portrayed in the mainstream media - as a separate and lesser class of citizens - we represent the entire spectrum of political and social demographics. We rarely vote the same, any more than any other segment of American demographics always backs one person 100 percent of the time.

But we have a tremendous opportunity here. The first primaries for presidential nominees are less than a month away and there is plenty of time to nail down the candidates on the issues.

By that I don't mean a photo op with a generic "I support our veterans and our military who are ... blah, blah, blah." I mean real knowledge of specific issues and statements displaying exactly where a candidate stands on those issues.

Remember this. Every single American from Warren Buffett and Bill Gates down to the homeless guy sleeping under a bridge owes what he has in this world to the 7 percent of Americans who are or have put their lives on the line to keep this country free.

Don't like the casualty rates in Iraq? Think of how many civilian casualties there would have been by now if the military wasn't fighting terrorists elsewhere instead of here.

Don't like the cost of the war? Think of the trillions that would have been lost to a destroyed or damaged infrastructure and a ruined economy if the war was on our soil instead of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The active military, and those in the growing veteran ranks, endure long periods of separation from home and families, and substandard living conditions often in
hostile environments. No other class of Americans has travelled to such hostile places, put their lives on the line including being shot at, endured so many hardships and faced extreme violence, including wounds and death, for so little in return.

None. No other. Period.

If this country is going to prevail, if our way of life and our freedoms are to continue in future generations, there will have to be warriors and ultimately veterans. I don't care what the cost is, or what percentage of the federal budget is involved. Whatever is paid to ensure that our military gets the best equipment and treatment, and that veterans get the best after their time on active duty, is worth it.

Without the veterans, without the military, there is no America. Think long and hard about that when you are deciding who to support in the presidential election.

My choice will go to the candidate who is short on lip service, and long on real support for the military and the veterans.
Friday, December 14, 2007

Is George Bush God? Dems Appear to Think So!

After watching both the Republican and Democratic debates sponsored by the Des Moines Register this week - yes, I know, I need to get a life - two things are clear.

In the Republican world, God is important, and at least two of the front runners in the race believe that prayer, humility and an occasional request for divine guidance are integral components of their lives and beliefs. Even with all the political issues that are raised, foreign and domestic, God gets a lot of notice in Republican discussions.

In the Democratic world, George Bush is important, not just to the front runners, but to all the candidates, who show repeatedly that they believe George Bush is the be all, end all, cause that caused all causes, and is an integral part of their lives and beliefs. Even with all the political issues that are raised, foreign and domestic, George Bush gets most of the notice in Democratic discussions.

I bet if you were to do an analysis of the last Iowa Democratic debate, and probably all the previous debates too, George Bush would be far and away the most often mentioned individual or issue.

We heard George Bush from Hillary Clinton, we heard George Bush from Barack Obama, we heard George Bush from John Edwards, and we heard George Bush from all the other Democratic candidates too. Sorry, I can't remember who they are, cause the media doesn't cover them, just the three I mentioned in the last sentence. (Oh, sorry, except for Dennis Kucinich, who wasn't at the Democratic debate because he was off watching alien invasions and UFO landings, at least according to the media.)

So, I have to ask the question, in the context of what Republican presidential candidates demonstrably believe is important versus what Democratic presidential candidates demonstrably believe is important, Do Democrats Believe George Bush is God?

How else could he possibly bear sole responsibility for all the things the Democrats credited him with, or fault him for, without being a deity?

I wrote the other day, and I still believe today, that as the primaries and caucuses progress beyond Iowa, God as a political issue will not be quite as high on the media scale as it is now. Of course, the only reason God has become a political issue at the moment is because Mitt Romney is a Mormon and Mike Huckabee is a Baptist.

The media can't use the war in Iraq as a focal point any more since we are winning - actually we always have been, but the media is slow on the uptake on these matters - so the differences between Mormons and Baptists will have to suffice for exciting issues.

In Iowa religious beliefs hold more sway than they do in other states, regardless of party affiliation. But God and George Bush were mentioned so often this week that I can't help but wonder if left-leaning Democrats believe George Bush is an all encompassing, omnipotent being.

He is responsible for global warming and increases in the earth's temperature, if they exist; he is responsible for decades of attacks on our country by Islamo-fascists even though Bush has been in office for only seven years; he is responsible for the oil-based economy of the entire world even though oil has been a mainstay of the world economy for a century; etc. etc. etc.

I guess it didn't occur to the Democratic candidates that if I want to know that much about George Bush, I can go to the White House web site rather than sitting through one of the most boring, scripted, unprofessional debates I have even seen.

The Des Moines register, in hosting and running the debates this week, gave a perfect example of why Americans have been deserting the mainstream media, including daily newspapers, in droves for decades. Its OK to have your biases and prejudices, even in the news business, but you are supposed to announce them up front, rather than trying to cloak them in so-called "neutral" debates. Yeah, right. That's a good one.

Does anyone know how Alan Keyes got into the Republican debate as a candidate? He hasn't been running, he doesn't have a campaign office, he doesn't have a staff, and yet all of a sudden he pops up on the stage as though he has been there all along. Keyes occasionally has some good points, but if he had any this week they were lost in his theatrics, which Rush Limbaugh maintains was why the Register put him on that stage in the first place.

Brit Hume (whom I do NOT mean when I complain about "inside the Beltway elitists) says Fox News did a bunch of background work to find out about Keyes' campaign and they came up empty handed too. Oh, well, at least he was good for comic relief.

Aside from revealing that the Democrats believe George Bush is God, the best part of the Register debates was the clear-cut differences between the parties, along with the revelation that the "official" candidates in both parties are slipping drastically, and outsiders in both parties could well be the eventual nominees.

Huckabee has been on an upswing for a couple of months now, but also is becoming the primary target of his opponents and the media. Even if Huckabee doesn't survive the primaries and become the GOP nominee, he has given GOP voters reason to believe our candidate is not pre-ordained to be Rudy Giuliani.

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol made that point twice in the last two weeks on Fox News Sunday. There is no establishment GOP candidate this year, he noted, and while that doesn't fly well either on Manhattan Island or Inside the Beltway, the rest of America is pretty comfortable with the concept, happy even.

Kristol is right, and even though he is very well educated, and works in DC, I don't consider him an elitist either. Elite maybe, but not an elitist. I reserve that label primarily for liberal Democrats who believe welfare is a noble program because the people on it are genetically inferior and could never survive on their own. (That is mostly white, teenaged, single mothers in case you are keeping score.)

Fortunately the debates are over for the moment, the caucuses and primary votes will be on us in no time, and the voters pretty much have their minds made up already. The Democratic front runners are self-destructing so there still could be some interest in that race, and the GOP actually has a good, deep bench from which to choose.

I have some chores to do, and a bit of Christmas shopping, then I'm going to try to focus on the real meaning of this season.

I even have a new prayer for bedtime. It goes: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I Pray George Bush my soul to keep ..."

I hear Democratic presidential candidates are saying it all over the country.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Huckabee? Romney? Mormon? Christian? We'll See

As the Republican contenders for the presidential nomination headed into their final formal debate before the holidays, and thus the Iowa Caucus, the real debate was in the papers and on the airwaves over who is the most Christian, Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney, and who is playing the religion card with the most fervor.

In the long run, once the Iowa caucus is over, the question likely will, or certainly should, recede into the background. In Iowa where a huge percentage of the GOP electorate is identified as evangelical Christians, the perception of whom is the most Christian candidate certainly seems to loom large.

That issue drops off precipitously in New Hampshire, where taxes and how they should be handled can well be a more important issue to that state's GOP voters. Religion can wax and wane as a factor for the voters in later primaries depending on the state and region of the country, but overall it will be less of an issue for the larger electorate.

The religion issue has been hanging around this race for some time now, first when Romney declared he was running and it suddenly became important for the media to make sure every single voting American knew he is a Mormon. Then when Huckabee's star began its meteoric rise, it was deemed equally important that everyone knows he is an ordained Baptist minister.

OK, that's fair, but in the long run, is the religion issue the one that is going to decide the race for the Presidency? I don't believe so.

The media may like to make it appear that way, but for most voters, as long as a candidate doesn't wear a religious cloak for appearances only, or preach one way and act another, it is a facet of the candidate's overall makeup, but not necessarily the most important facet - so long as voters are assured that regardless of how important religion is to a candidate, individual religious beliefs will not turn into a religious mandate once the candidate is elected.

To be sure, Evangelical Christians are an important segment of the GOP base, and many of the Evangelical benchmarks are embraced by the rest of the base although perhaps not with the same degree of intensity.

On the other hand, anti-war, anti-capitalism socialists are an important segment of the Democratic base - and believe me, I am not comparing the two here. But look what happened just over a year ago when one segment of the Democratic base took hold of the media in Connecticut and made it appear that only an anti-war candidate would win the race for US Senate.

Incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman was thrown out of the race at the party convention level, and Ned Lamont was ordained as the overwhelming choice of the party movers and shakers. Lieberman then ran as an independent Democrat who supported our efforts in Iraq, and he not only retained his senate seat, he crushed Lamont, despite Lamont spending millions of his own money on campaign advertising that apparently didn't change anyone's mind.

By the same token, in 2000, when Sen. John McCain was inspiring voters in both parties and moving many independent voters to take sides for the first time in a long time, he ran smack into the religion issue, deciding to lock horns with some of the biggest names in Evangelical Christianity and coming out second best. McCain would have done better and gone further if he had just adhered to the rule of polite society that I was reminded of constantly when I was a child - don't argue religion or politics at the dinner table.

McCain couldn't get away from politics as an issue, but he sure could have avoided the religious debate.

Neither Romney nor Huckabee will benefit from a religious war under the guise of a GOP political campaign. Everyone knows the religious qualifications of both, and once the Iowa caucus is past, a continual drumbeat of "I am more Christian than thou," won't play out well further down the campaign trail.

Now that Huckabee has emerged from the pack as a major contender, it has become apparent that there are many issues for him to face. His record as Governor of Arkansas includes many snags that his opponents are holding up for scrutiny.

I have seen him on the Sunday television news shows several times, and he seems to be well equipped to explain his actions. On the other hand, I heard from an associate the other day who said Romney's response to a Huckabee ad that questioned the tenets of the Mormon religion really put the ball back in Huckabee's court and Huckabee didn't play it well.

I also have close associates who live in Arkansas and say Huckabee isn't ready for prime time as a presidential candidate, that he would have done far better if he had run for Senate.

Every candidate has a past that can, will be, and should be scrutinized. The question that will have to be answered by all candidates for president is not whether they have made mistakes in the past, but whether they have learned from those mistakes, grown from the experiences, and can reassure us that those or similar mistakes will not be repeated.

On the other side of his critics Huckabee has a major source of support from proponents of the Fair Tax, that would eliminate the federal income taxes, social security deductions, medicare deductions and a litany of other fees and charges, replacing them with a 23 cent national sales tax.

The Fair Tax was his issue alone back in last summer's Iowa Straw Poll. Now it is catching on with other candidates as well.

Despite attempts to portray it otherwise by its opponents, the Fair Tax would not result in another bureaucracy, or or cost far more than claimed. Reform of the massive US tax code would be a wonderful change, put far more money into the government coffers without coercion, and stop making criminals of people who work hard and want to keep what they have earned.

All that will be discussed at length in the coming year. But I don't believe Huckabee's record or his religion will be the deciding factors.

The candidate who wins the nomination and the 2008 election is the one who: makes a priority of real immigration reform, including shutting down the border and stemming the flow of illegals; who continues the successful efforts in Iraq, and brings our troops home IN VICTORY, and shuts down Iran; who is seen as standing tall for a proud America instead of constantly bad mouthing the USA; and puts an end once and for all to United Nations encroachment on US laws and vital interests.

Americans are sick to death of funding the bulk of the UN budget while our country is constantly portrayed as the source of all evil in the world in the UN General Assembly.

The winning candidate is the one who will stand up for America and be proud of American values. Which means the Democrats are a long, long, long shot to win, regardless of who gets the Democratic nomination.

America wants its pride back. America wants to maintain its status as a leader, not a doormat. America wants to end the hand wringing, it wants traitors prosecuted and punished, whether they are in the media, the CIA or the US Congress and they want it done NOW!

Americans will elect the candidate who puts America first because he believes in the real America, not the drivel that we hear constantly from the media and the Democrats.
Sunday, December 09, 2007

Global Warming: Is Al Gore's Glass Half Full, Or Just Cracked?

On Monday former US Vice President Al Gore, who served under Bill Clinton and lost the 2000 election because his home state of Tennessee, and Clinton's home state, Arkansas, didn't vote for him, will receive a Nobel Prize for warning the world about Global Warming.

Included in his efforts to play a sort of environmental Paul Revere, Gore produced a mocumentary - yes I know I used an 'm' not a 'd' - called An Inconvenient Truth, that to put it nicely has been found to be inconveniently and horribly inaccurate.

Gore's effort at using film for propaganda is so flawed, that in Great Britain, High Court Judge Michael Burton ruled, in response to a lawsuit by a parent, that showing the film in schools violates a law that bans promoting partisan political views in the classroom.

News reports say if the film is used as an educational tool in Britain they have to also show "opposing viewpoints." Opposing viewpoints should never have to be included in a class that is teaching scientific "facts" that are intended to alter global political and economic policy.

If they are disputed, then they aren't facts, they are opinions, in which case the class should be labelled "political" not "scientific."

One of the major pillars of the "Mankind, Especially George Bush, is Responsible for All Global Warming," school of thought, is that in this century the polar ice caps will melt. In the Word According to Gore, this will release water that now is trapped as ice and cause global sea levels to rise something in the neighborhood of 20 feet or more in the very near future.

That means most coastal cities would be inundated, sewage treatment plants at sea level would be rendered useless, hundreds of millions of inhabitants of coastal areas would have to flee to higher ground and the world economy would be in a shambles - except for moving companies, home and office construction companies, and retaining wall manufacturers and installers.

Fortunately, many other scientists have offered "opposing viewpoints." But they never lost a presidential election because their own home state and that of the president they served under voted for someone else. Thus their viewpoints don't hold as much water, pun intended, with those who vote to award Noble Prizes. (Another pun intended.)

This subject came up recently in a class I was teaching and I offered the following experiment to determine if it is true. First, remember that 90 percent of all ice bergs are under water, so whatever you see at the surface of the North Pole is only 10 percent of the total. (Check the movie Titanic for verification and good entertainment.)

Then remember that when water freezes it EXPANDS! OK, I'll cut you some slack here. Most of you didn't grow up in the time when milkmen delivered glass bottles of milk to people's homes. They carried the bottles in little metal baskets and put the fresh milk in boxes outside the front door where they also retrieved the empty bottles.

Anyone who grew up in this period remembers the clinking of milk bottles bumping up against each other in the milkman's carrier. If you missed that period of Americana, then you have also never experienced the phenomenon of a pillar of frozen cream sticking up out of the top of a milk bottle on a below freezing morning when you didn't bring the milk in fast enough.

On really, really cold mornings, if you were too slow, the frozen milk could expand far enough and fast enough to crack the bottle. But even if you didn't witness this yourself, basic high school science should have taught you the properties of water in its frozen, liquid and gaseous states.

Now, take a glass or cup of say, 12 ounce capacity. Your draft beer mug left over from summer picnics will do. Fill it to the brim with ice cubes. Don't go rounding it up and seeing how high you can stack it to skew the outcome here, just fill it to the brim with ice.

This cup of ice now represents the North Pole. I could say that is enough to complete the requirements of the experiment because a cup full of ice is a good representation of the polar ice cap. But just to give Al Gore more than his due, then put water in to fill in all the space not taken up by ice, and fill it right to the brim.

Then leave it on the counter in your kitchen, at room temperature, say 68 degrees, and walk away for a few hours. Do something else while global warming takes hold and melts all the ice. Guess what you will find when you come back?

No, there won't be a flood on the counter, although there may be some condensation on the cup that could form a ring. But inside the cup, once all the ice has melted, you will find that the water level has gone down! Why? Because when water cools and becomes ice it expands, but when it warms and becomes a liquid it contracts.

Thus, if the ice cap at the north pole melts completely, the sea levels world wide should go DOWN not UP, because all that ice below the surface, which is the vast majority of it, already is taking up far more space than liquid water would, and it is displacing the water around it which means it has already caused the sea levels to rise!

While you are pondering that little experiment, think about this. Ten thousand years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, vast expanses of the Northern Hemisphere were covered by immense glaciers that were more than a mile high. Then global warming began, and all that ice that was over LAND began to melt, which did indeed cause the seas to rise because that ice had not previously been in the water.

For you conspiracy theorists, George Bush caused the end of the last Ice Age, which apparently was a halcyon period of human existence, just as he is causing this period of global warming. Bush is actually thousands of years old and is an alien who arrived here in a space vehicle at the end of the Jurassic period. (I'm kidding but I can't wait to see how that plays on the Internet.)

Those Ice Age glaciers were massive, as anyone who has ever planted crops in the Northeast can tell you. It ground up billions of rocks, which today have become decorative stone walls all across New England. The crushing weight of the glaciers created a soil condition termed "glacial till," and their movement created Long Island Sound, as well as Long Island. But eventually, 10,000 years ago, they went away.

Another one of the mainstays of the Global Warming is Caused by George Bush school of thought is to show pictures of Glacier National Park from the late 1800s and then compare them to pictures taken today. The glaciers have obviously receded.

In fact, some scientists have predicted that by the year 2030, there will be no more glaciers in Glacier National Park due to global climate change. OK. I get it.

Except, what I would like to see is a picture of the glaciers in Glacier National Park taken somewhere around 1300 A.D. If you could have photos from then you know what you'll see?

A marked absence of both glaciers and tourists. Many scientists who aren't getting a Noble Prize tomorrow say that the earth was much warmer in Biblical times, continuing through more than the next thousand years, and that about 700 years ago the earth came to the end of a long period of global warmth and entered what has been called a Mini-Ice Age.

I bet a really nice lunch that in areas of Glacier National Park where glaciers are disappearing now, there were few if any glaciers way back then when the earth was warmer and had been for much longer. Of course, George Bush probably did that too, just to mess with our minds. (See above paragraph on George Bush the alien.)

I know I'm being a wise ass here, but someone has to do it. Is the earth warming up? Apparently, although everything I have ever studied about weather patterns says they occur over a much longer time frame than the average US president's term in office.

Are glaciers receding and is polar ice melting? Yes, in some places. But we have much more to worry about from the ice over Greenland melting than the ice at the North Pole. (Every wonder why it's called GREENland? Ask the Vikings. They grew crops and tended cows and sheep there until the mini-Ice Age that started in the late 1300s put a permanent freeze on their farms.)

But there also is evidence that ice is forming elsewhere, which makes me wonder whether the earth has shifted on its axis in some imperceptible manner, making some areas colder and others warmer. Hey, I saw a Travel Channel feature last night that said Death Valley, California was once a sea bed on the equator. Apparently there was a similar shift millions of years ago, so why not now?

I am not ignoring Antarctica here. I have read that some sea ice is melting there too. But again, so what? If it is already in the water, it will have minimal affect on sea levels. Ice over land is another issue, but I also have read that the ice pack over the Antarctic continent is growing!

So what do we believe here? Well, I for one believe that use of fossil fuels is still polluting our air, water and earth regardless of whether it is contributing to climate change. I believe we should be working our butts off to find alternative fuels, and I don't mean corn, that don't pollute. We already have the technology, or are very close to it. Let's get back on the clean air and water bandwagons.

China is polluting far more than America, so why is Al Gore not over there trying to convince them to stop opening a coal fired electric plant every single week with little in the way of modern pollution controls? Pollution is a real global issue and is not limited to the United States and allied democracies.

I believe pollution is the issue, not climate change. I believe we should be working together, and the UN would be a great place to start if only the people who run it in New York City can get serious about their mission for a change. Pollution and waste of natural resources should be their targets,not power trips and lining their pockets.

I also believe that Al Gore can tell everyone he is a Noble Prize winner, but other than pocketing a wad of cash, the nature of his prize and the way it was awarded have cheapened its meaning to the point of being trivial. His tiny circle of elitists can say all they want, but most thinking people know what this award is really all about, and the one thing it is not about, is Global Warming.
Saturday, December 08, 2007

Oprah-Obama; Setting a Different Precedent

In my capacity as an adjunct professor of communications at a university in Connecticut I have been occasionally encouraged and also mightily discouraged at the level of knowledge and understanding some students have of the world around us.

So few of the underclassmen seem to have any idea what is going on in terms of war, politics, the environment, or human rights that broadening their horizons seems to be an impossible task.

Oh, sure, ask them about the latest idiot celebrity to drive drunk, film themselves having sex, flash their private parts to photographers, run their mouths about President Bush or be sent away to detox for drug addictions and they can recite chapter and verse.

But ask them about Gen. David Petraeus or other notable figures in American military and political history and you'll get only blank stares. They are vaguely aware there is a war going on against a concept called 'terror,' but it is somewhere else, and only a few actually know someone who is fighting it.

The students I teach represent a cross-section of America - all races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. Occasionally I teach students from other countries. There are city kids, country kids, suburban kids, poor kids with great minds who are in college on scholarships, rich kids who don't worry much about the cost of tuition, and middle class kids who mix after school jobs with help from the folks to get through, semester by semester.

Nearly half of my students are African-American, and contrary to what most of us see in the mainstream media, there are just as many rich black kids, and middle class black kids from suburban schools, as there are city kids who still have the trappings of the street clinging to their words and their attitudes.

It is a little known factor of American economics that taken as a separate demographic, black Americans have a gross domestic product nearly equal to that of France, which has nearly twice the population. I see the results of that economic prosperity in every class, both in the students who are benefiting from their parents' successes, and those who are working to duplicate and surpass those successes.

Many of my more encouraging moments as an instructor come from the enthusiasm and determination evidenced by black students. Two years ago I asked a sophomore from New York City what his goals were after graduation and he told me "to be an international entrepreneur."

I was at once amazed and quite pleased, considering that when I went to college 'entrepreneur' wasn't in the syllabus, and I never knew anyone who had chosen that career path, much less planned for it and was working to make it come true.

When questions about the war or politics do come up, I do my best to let my students know how I view the world without trying to force my beliefs on them. I would much rather tell them what I believe and why, backed up by decades of life experiences starting with Vietnam, which is a very popular subject, and let them find out from their own experiences that I told them the truth.

In the long run, that will be better for them, and for the nation.

But most of them time, when politics comes up, it is met with wide yawns. Most students at this point in their lives have no political point of reference, and my best efforts to engage them on political matters seem to have little impact.

Yet, again, occasionally there are surprises. Some students can only repeat media talking points, but there are others, more actually, who think for themselves and don't like being taken for granted. There are young women of voting age who think Hillary Clinton has a ton of nerve saying she has their vote locked up just because she is a woman. (Note to the Clinton campaign: No you don't.)

It also might surprise some pollsters that many black students I have taught are quite conservative in their views, and believe in less government, lower taxes, oppose abortion and support the military. That in itself should wake up the political strategists who think they have the college vote all figured out.

But my biggest reward of this past semester, despite being a Caucasian, male, Republican, who just helped engineer a major Republican upset in my political strategy work, came from a young black man who has become genuinely and intensely interested in politics, thanks not to me, but to Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

Early on he had no more interest in the presidential race than any of his classmates. It simply was not on his radar.

But a third of the way through the semester I assigned each student a five minute speech on a current event. I had an ulterior motive here, I will admit - I wanted them to get their noses out of video games and celebrity watching and read a paper or watch the news. In fact, the only subject that was off-limits was anything that had a celebrity as a focus.

It was a tremendously successful exercise.

The young man in question was one of only a handful who reported on the presidential primary races, but he was genuinely energized by Sen. Barack Obama, a black man with a real shot at being nominated by the Democratic Party.

In the interests of full disclosure, I'll say right up front that I disagree with Sen. Obama on two main points, defense, as it relates to the War in Iraq, and gun control. And don't label me a gun nut. I'm not and at some time in the future I'll go into that further. I let my student know my political preferences, not to try to change his mind, but to let him know where I stood.

As the semester progressed he did two more speeches on Obama's campaign, and his final speech was on Oprah's decision to support Obama.

Like most students who are faced with speaking in front of an audience for the first time, this young man started out in August a bit hesitant and shy. But he delivered his final speech with strength, conviction, a solid understanding of the components of a speech, and a true interest in the America political process.

It doesn't matter to me that he has chosen a candidate with whom I disagree. Had Colin Powell been the first black American to run for president I would have been much more inclined to vote for him, because we both share the Vietnam experience and his political views are more closely aligned with mine.

But this wasn't about my preferred candidate. This was about a young man who had a true awakening to his potential to make a difference in the American political process and it was wonderful to see it unfold. When we discussed politics after classes, I told the student why I believed differently than Sen. Obama, but also filled him in on what the senator stands for, why, and what he will have to accomplish - and in some cases overcome - within his party to win the nomination. I told the truth, stayed away from partisan issues and was as complete as I could be.

Some in my party will say I missed an opportunity to convert this student to the Republican point of view. I disagree. I believe that if I had tried to force my opinions and beliefs on him I would have turned him off and turned him away.

Besides, when you teach, a former student shows up or calls every so often, and lets you know that you made a difference in their life.

Perhaps the young man I have been speaking of will find a career in politics, either as a candidate or in the myriad careers that surround the political process. If that happens, I can take a touch of credit for opening the door a crack, and Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey can take a huge chunk of credit for showing him that on the other side there can be a real, and rewarding future.

I firmly believe that if America is to achieve its true potential, we all have to share in the process, and share in the work that makes up that process. Between August and December I watched a young man of African-American descent progress through an eye-opening, potentially life-changing experience, and I am sure that in the future he will be making a significant contribution.

It will be interesting to watch the ripples that emanate from here. I hope he gets an opportunity to meet or work for the senator. Maybe some day he'll even meet Oprah.

Who knows, perhaps if we run into each other a decade or so from now, he will have figured things out for himself and become a Republican. It happens to a lot of young people, once they leave school and have to pay their first tax bill.
Friday, December 07, 2007

Romney Made Headway; NIE Iran Report Conclusions Invalid

The big question on the American political scene today is whether former Massachusetts Governor and current GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon, made a good showing with his speech on religion yesterday.

The short answer is yes.

To elaborate: Romney, due to his Mormon faith, and its differences with mainstream Christianity, has had the religion issue hanging over his head ever since he declared he was a candidate, much as John F. Kennedy, our first Catholic president did back in 1960.

The general question is whether a candidate's religious beliefs will supersede the laws of our country and whether the candidate, if he wins, will owe more allegiance to those beliefs than to the US Constitution.

Kennedy's response to this topic, which was hotly debated during his successful campaign, was that the two are separate issues that by the very nature of our government do not and should not overlap.

Romney's response to this topic, is that the two are separate issues that by the very nature of our government do not and should not overlap. Odd, isn't it, that we have Mormons in the government already, and no one questions their faith?

Kennedy was elected, with a lot of help from dead Democrats in the Chicago area, but from the moment he took the oath of office on Inauguration Day until he was assassinated, I do not recall his religion coming up in any significant way again.

Romney made the point in his speech that our Constitution provides for the freedom to worship without interference from the government - unless the religion you are practicing calls for the overthrow of the US, as in Islamo-fascism.

The Constitution also prohibits the establishment of any religion as the official religion of the United States. Since the very beginnings of this country, under the present Constitution, this has not been an issue. True, from Washington until Kennedy everyone was your basic Protestant Christian. But even so, they had their differences in the political arena.

The way I see it, if religion matters to you in terms of who gets your vote, there are two issues to determine. One, does that candidate's religion advocate the overthrow of the US government and the establishment of a religious state in its place? If the answer is YES, then damn few people are going to vote for that candidate anyway and you shouldn't either unless you are a member of that candidate's campaign staff in which case the FBI should be watching you.

If the answer is NO, then go on to the second question, which is, does this candidate's religion teach that we should be decent human beings, and does the candidate appear to adhere to that teaching? If the answer is NO, then there will be plenty of other signs to show that this is not a worthy candidate and the voters will know it.

If the answer is YES, then you can bet that at least on the issue of decency we have a good candidate and we can move on to determine whether we agree with what that candidate stands for politically. I believe the religion question is not valid in this or any political campaign unless the number one guy in any religion is running and the platform advocates that everyone should think as he does, and he intends to change the government to his way of thinking.

Otherwise, I merely want to know what the candidate thinks of faith and if he practices what he preaches. The rest is window dressing, suitable for discussion in religious forums perhaps, but not in political forums and associated media.

I heard from a close associate early today who asked if I had heard Romney's speech and what I thought of it. I said I had heard excerpts since it never was an issue for me anyway, but that what I had heard sounded fine.

My trusted associate is leaning heavily toward a Huckabee/Thompson choice for our final candidate, but worries that money might become an issue further down the road. He then opined that he listened to Romney's entire speech, liked what he heard, and that if Huckabee or Thompson don't make it, Romney was looking a lot better, since he would rather not vote than vote for Rudy Giuliani.

This trusted associate is in as good a place as I am to hear what a broad spectrum of the non-DC, non-Manhattan public is saying, and what he is hearing is that Romney did very well in addressing this issue. So, you may hear something different from media pundits, who may have their own agendas, but what I hear is that Romney addressed the issue as it should be addressed, used a historically proven approach, and from here on out, I'd rather discuss positions on issues, not religion.


Another big story this week, which by now we should all be suspicious of, since the mainstream media is using it to continue its drumbeat on President George Bush's head, is that Iran gave up its quest for a nuclear weapon in 2003, according to a just released report from the National Intelligence (?) Estimate.

Based on that intelligence (?) report Democrats and their PR firm, the mainstream media, say that Bush was withholding information, trying to create a false atmosphere for using military force against Iran if necessary, and now we should scrap that, hold hands, touch toes and sing peace ballads.

But wait, there's more!

It turns out that the segment of the program that the Iranians supposedly gave up is the least necessary to create a bomb, and will take the least amount of time to reestablish.

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer made this point on Fox News the same day the report was first aired, and elaborated further the next day. Unfortunately, this point was not made as strongly when the president addressed the issue with the White House "press corps," which is actually a prep school for the next generation of leftist propagandists for NBC and the Communist News Network.

Then, as more inquiries were made into the NIE report, it turns out that not every agency which has input on the estimate agrees with this conclusion. In addition, representatives of the agencies that do agree with that conclusion also have political agendas, as well as sources of "dubious character," as has been reported just today.

So, why the rush to cut the legs out from under our foreign policy capabilities? Well, why has there been such a rush all along, specifically in Iraq?

We have had China and Russia opposing us on Iraq ever since the Bush Administration tried to get the United Nations to support our military efforts there in 2003. Members of the UN Security Council were taking bribes from Saddam Hussein's regime in the Oil For Food scandal, and would not vote with us on anything that was going to interrupt the cash flow.

Other countries' representatives also were on the take, including representatives of the former governments of France and Germany - voters in those countries have taken care of that - and trying to get UN support for the Iraq invasion was a waste of time at best, even as Democrats in Congress were saying Bush was alienating our allies.

So, when we are starting to see major movement on the Iran front, especially in Iraq where there has been a noticeable drop off in use of shaped explosives made in Iran for attacks on our troops, what do we see from Congress and the communist news network? More efforts to undercut successful foreign policy initiatives.

In addition to the fact that the part of the quest for nuclear weapons that supposedly has been suspended will take at most four months to restart, there is no evidence that the main pillar of Iranian nuclear objectives, the efforts to create bomb grade nuclear fuel, has even slowed.

In fact Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims those efforts are escalating. He also says the NIE report is a victory for his country! Why? Propaganda obviously. He succeeded in giving American Democrats and the mainstream media another issue to lie about, which gives him more time to continue his efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

Why should this report forestall any military response from the US if Iran continues to attack and kill American troops in Iraq? You have to ask the Democrats that question because it makes no sense to me. They tried the same tactic in Iraq, which has failed miserably, but that hasn't stopped them from moving over to Iran, issue-wise.

If Iran continues on its present course to build a nuclear bomb, and this NIE report doesn't change my mind one bit that Iran is not only continuing, it is speeding up, then we are going to be in a much worse battle in a few short years, facing exponentially more casualties, both in the military and at home.

So what gives?

There are things you can learn from circumstantial evidence even if you don't have an eye witness to back up your beliefs. For instance, if I go outside right now and see fresh deer tracks in the snow, I know a deer has been in my yard. I may not know exactly where that deer is, but I know that it is nearby.

I also know that by looking at the history of our intelligence services and State Department going back to the 1960s and earlier, that we have been sabotaged on numerous fronts over the decades, at the cost of huge numbers of American lives lost and successful policies abandoned.

The State Department, citing flawed intelligence, pushed US negotiators to agree to communist terms at the Paris Peace accords in 1973, even as the North Vietnamese military had been decisively beaten twice, once by US forces and again by South Vietnamese forces.

We saw president jimmy carter withdraw support for the Shah of Iran, who might not have been an angel but sure was better than the Islamo-fascists who have been in charge since the Shah's government fell during carter's administration. Our embassies have been attacked, America was humiliated when our personnel were taken hostage, servicemen were killed by the hundreds in Beirut, Saudi Arabia, in Africa and elsewhere.

Our country has been directly attacked twice, with thousands of lives lost, and indirectly many times more, also with loss of life.

Every time we initiate an effort to keep our enemies at bay, we find ourselves inundated with advice to the contrary, flowing from the State Department and our intelligence services, primarily the CIA. It was in the CIA where desk jockey Valerie Plame, using her Democratic operative husband as an accomplice, started three years of political theater in DC as a diversion while our troops were fighting in Iraq.

Those are just the highlights, but now we have yet another scandal brewing, again coming from the State Department and CIA among other agencies.

You don't need a PhD in International Studies from an Ivy League college to know when someone is feeding you false information and setting you up for embarrassment at the least, or real damage up to and including overthrow of the government at the worst.

There are deer tracks in the snow in my yard, and the tracks of spies, collaborators and saboteurs are all over the latest National Intelligence (?) Estimate. It is high time for the Bush Administration to grab hold of this issue and deal with it.

Start with lie detector tests in every agency and for every individual that signed on to this misleading report. If the operatives under scrutiny have figured out how to deceive this method, go on to other methodology. If that doesn't work, get back to good old-fashioned eyes-on-the-subject surveillance.

Something stinks in our intelligence community. It has since before the carter presidency, actually all the way back to the Truman years, and it seems to have been escalating since then. Anyone brought on board by carter who is still there, deserves intense scrutiny. Anyone brought on by those people gets the same.

Appointees during the Clinton years also should be suspect. Do we really think the Chinese getting their hands on our guided missile technology was just bad luck?

Someone is trying to hurt our country and it isn't just short-term despots like Hugo Chavez or Saddam Hussein. This is a long-term, inside job, that pops up at odd times, whenever we are close to being successful in our policies and objectives, both domestically and internationally.

It is time to root out the traitors, and bring them and their accomplices before the American people to be judged. It is my opinion that once discovered, if left to mainstream America, justice will be swift.
Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rove Kicks Von Hollen's Tail on Fox News Sunday; When Will the Dems Learn? Some REAL Questions for the Next Debate!

If you didn't see Fox News Sunday this week, you missed a major confrontation between Republican strategist Karl Rove, and Maryland's Democratic Congressman Chris Von Hollen. The short story is, Rove won. Continue reading for an expanded account.

Although in the early rounds there was a bit of feeling each other out, in the later going Rove hammered Von Hollen and the only feeling going on was Von Hollen repeatedly clinching Rove's arm, apparently to reduce the number of body shots Rove was landing.

It is worth going to the Fox web site to see if you can download the video, but in case you can't the essence of the two sides was the Democrat, Von Hollen, making a series of unsubstantiated and wearisome statements, which Rove then knocked out of the park.

Von Hollen blamed all the world's woes on George Bush, which the world is sick of to the point we should be asking for a vaccine. Then, wonder of wonders, he claimed the war in Iraq is a failure, and we should hightail it out of there, and yada, yada, yada, on and on and on.

Rove and Von Hollen went at it hammer and tong for a bit, to the point that host Chris Wallace acknowledged he had lost control of the segment, which was OK. Wallace is a great newsman and host, but sometimes you just have to step back and let it fly.

Von Hollen made a fatal error when he said Rove should retract a comment he allegedly made concerning just who in Congress was backing the war in Iraq way back when. Rove sat quietly while Von Hollen was talking, although if body language is a true measure of inner intent it was only because he was waiting to pounce.

Pounce he did! When Von Hollen finished, Rove nailed him for a misquote, and then read chapter and verse of all the times Democratic leaders, including former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, had publicly denounced the Saddam Hussein dictatorship, and pushed for, as they called it then "regime change."

Rove was ready for that one! He had times, dates, places and news outlets showing the Dems were hot for war and pushing the issue! Man, the Dems should know better that to misquote Karl Rove and to assume they can blow smoke past him without risking a major embarrassment.

Then Von Hollen brings out the old "We are losing in Iraq, we should withdraw" crappola, only days after the Dems' most visible war critic, Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, comes back from Iraq and says it is going very well, thank you very much. Von Hollen's face should be red from the beating he took, and embarrassment, but somehow I doubt it is.

I will leave it to those of you who want to see some good political heavyweights in an all out brawl to check it out yourselves. But if I was in marketing, (oh, sorry, I am) if I was in marketing at FOX, I would turn that donnybrook into a video right now and get it out on ASAP.

Hey, Fox marketing guys. Get Amazon to link it with my book, Masters of the Art, A Fighting Marine's Memoir of Vietnam like they do with other books on the military and the War on Terror. Usually they wouldn't link politics and war, but this combination is a natural!


I was thinking about some comments I saw and heard on the debate sponsored by YouTube (or is that EweTube) and the Communist News Network - CNN - last week and how the Democrats infiltrated the audience with campaign workers and activists.

The best comments, especially from my Marine brothers at the Together We Served website were "so what?" Any candidate for the office of President of the United States should be able to answer any question from any citizen, or have the backbone to label it as b.s. and say so.

I agree completely, although I also agree that CNN was not innocent in this matter and the GOP should just boycott them in the future. Actually, I think all Americans should boycott CNN because once they show that they can't be trusted on this issue, how can anyone be confident that they can be trusted on any issue.

The Dems still have Hillary and Barack battling out there. Who is CNN rooting for, and which candidate will get stabbed in the back next? Not worth the risk guys, not worth the risk.

Anyway, to avoid having to make that decision I have listed a series of questions for Democratic candidates to use in their next debate. They aren't secret and this is an open book test, seeing as how they're Democrats and all. You can look these up, formulate responses and even use little notes on your shirt cuffs to remember them if necessary.

This idea, by the way, came form my number one associate, or should I say co-conspirator. They are broken down by subject matter.

School Vouchers
A recent study states that 80% of African-Americans who live in the inner city can't read or write by the 4th grade. Why are you against school vouchers and what is your answer to fix this problem plaguing the African-American community?

Tax Plan
You say you want to let the President's tax cuts expire, despite the improvement they brought to the economy. What will you do to strengthen the dollar, cut government spending, and bring jobs back to the USA?

What is your view on the death tax? (We promise not to plant a person in the audience who lost the family farm due to it!)

Social Security
What is your plan if you have one to fix Social Security? Follow up: Shouldn't Congress have a health care plan and retirement package like the taxpayers?

Big Oil
How can you justify allowing special interest groups to tighten supply on one hand, and then blame big oil for the price of gasoline on the other? No new refineries, no drilling domestically, no new oil tankers?

Do you feel responsible for the rise in auto fatality percentages because today's cars are made from plastic due to the new CAFE standards?

Windfall profits
How would you insure that oil companies don't pass along windfall profits taxes to consumers?

Harry Reid bashing Rush Limbaugh
To Senator Clinton: Do you feel you signed this letter prematurely? What about the right to free speech guaranteed by the US Constitution? Are you familiar with that document and have you ever read it?

Chinese connection
Also for Sen Clinton: While you were Co-President the Chinese were allowed to steal national secrets and advance their missile technology by decades in a few short years. Now your campaign has received more Chinese donations.

How can you assure the American people that we will be safe from espionage under your watch?

What would you do to revamp the FBI so that cases involving Chinese espionage are tried and the guilty convicted? Do you believe anyone found guilty in these cases should be sent to Guantanamo Bay?

And while we're on the subject, we have heard the Democrats denounce George Bush and his stance on Guantanamo Bay. What would be your solution?

National Security
Mrs. Clinton that was the only reduction in Washington while you were Co-President. Now looking back after all the attacks while you and your husband were president, would you propose another reduction to our military and other national security forces?

NY Times
What is your position on prosecuting those responsible at the NY Times for releasing and publishing classified information?

Follow-up: If you call the NY Times and ask them NOT to print a story and they do so anyway, what will your reaction be?

When does life begin?
Why is abortion legal, but capital punishment is wrong?

That should do if for now. Go ahead and start working on your answers. If you finish early, I'll come up with some more work for you in these and other areas.

To quote the Associated Press: Class dismissed.


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