Saturday, November 21, 2015

French Citizens Need to Play Cowboys and Terrorists

A week after the terrorist slaughter of 130 mostly French civilians and the wounding of another 350 in Paris, the French are still reeling and making pilgrimages to the sites of the shootings and bombings.

It would be uncivilized to deny the French their time of mourning or to pass judgment on what may or may not constitute responsibility for the murderous rampage that hasn't been seen in that magnitude since World War II. But at some point there has to be an analysis of the killings, how they occurred and why they occurred.

And I don't mean from the standpoint of the liberal whine "What did we do to them? Why don't they like us?"

One of the most shocking revelations concerning the orgy of slaughter in Paris was that it was carried out by only 8 Islamic terrorists, and most of the killing was done by psychopaths carrying AK-47 semi-automatic rifles. Also, according to eyewitness accounts from survivors of the horror inside the Bataclan concert venue, each of the gunmen had to stop shooting on occasion to reload.

Survivors and news reports are thus far silent on whether any of the approximately 1,500 patrons inside the Bataclan made an effort to rush the terrorists, who were calmly and precisely shooting their targets. Only when police forces finally charged the hall, where hundreds were still being held as hostages or playing dead while bleeding from their wounds, did the attackers die, one by blowing himself to bits.

Francophiles, those who devote their lives to all things French and have a reputation for disdaining anyone who does not believe that the US lags far behind Europe in cultural matters, have long bashed Americans for our "cowboy" mentality. But I can't conceive of an attack on a concert hall anywhere in the United States, packed with people rocking to the sounds of a heavy metal band of all genres, where the patrons would simply stampede for the exits or hide until the police arrived.

Even without weapons there would be a rush to tackle the shooters, similar to what occurred on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, or on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris last August when three American passengers took out a terrorist armed with a Kalashnikov, a pistol and a box cutter. Many, if not most, Americans have an ingrained sense of responsibility to do something in the face of certain death, even if that something means to die with honor while thwarting their attackers.

I realize that there are soft targets in the US where a terrorist attack would be more likely to succeed; cities such as New Orleans, Washington, D.C., New York or Chicago for instance. Those cities have extraordinarily tough gun control laws which have effectively disarmed the citizenry leading to out-of-control murder rates. They are sitting ducks for terrorist attacks.

But even in those cities it would not likely end well for terrorists to attack a concert by an emerging rap star for instance, if hordes of Chicago gang-bangers had decided their night out would include a few hours of live music.

Without question there are many people in France who love the United States and strongly believe in our centuries old alliance. But many also believe that most of us are of the Ugly American variety, and don't know the difference between a brasserie and a brassiere.

The point here is not to be snarky or to gloat, but simply to note that there are many philosophies in the world and sometimes it takes a blend to get things right. Take for instance the news report late last week where a French father was talking to his young son in front of a makeshift memorial piled high with floral arrangements.

The boy said, "The bad men have guns."

"But we have flowers," the dad responded.

Beautiful sentiment. Just the kind of peace-at-all-costs sentiment that will get both of them murdered by unrepentant Islamic extremists who see killing "infidels" as a holy calling. Unless the next group of victims is trained to defend itself.

There are ways to blend our national philosophies to the good of all. Perhaps if the Francophiles get down off their high horses, so to speak, and look at the good in America for a change, they can see how it can be applied to the betterment of the average Frenchman.

Perhaps the French educational system can add some foreign flavor to its philosophy curriculum in the future. Let the boys study philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre to understand existentialism, but throw in a little Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok and Billy the Kid for realism.

And if the typical French family includes a jeune fille who is enthralled with the lifestyle of Simone de Beauvoir, even the stories of her occasional ménage a trois, why not throw in a little Belle Starr and Annie Oakley for balance. At least they could shoot, n'est-ce pas?
Sunday, November 01, 2015

Biased Media Knows No Boundaries

Voters who tuned in to the Republican presidential debate on CNBC last week were treated to an unabashed display of media bias as interrogator after interrogator asked questions that were condescending, inaccurate, belittling and rude.

Until, that is, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz used his allotted time for one in a series of really stupid questions to go on the offensive rather than meekly submit to the attacks. Following the example set by Cruz the candidates rose up and called out the CNBC hacks for what they were. The backlash against the network ranged from the audience booing the questioners to the Republican National Committee severing its ties for further "debates."

But you don't have to wait for another national political event to see examples of media bias; it is all around us and in myriad formats.

Take for instance the race for First Selectman in Stonington, Connecticut where former Congressman Rob Simmons is the Republican candidate, facing incumbent Democrat George Crouse. Simmons, who has decided to continue his lifetime commitment to public service by serving his hometown, was endorsed by The Day newspaper as a man who can get things done locally and in the state Capitol.

But after receiving the endorsement from the largest newspaper in the area, Simmons was subjected to a scathing commentary from a reader in the newspaper's digital edition, which lead off by accusing Simmons of war crimes when he served in Vietnam a half century ago. Aside from the obvious veteran bashing, the accusation is a rehashed attack that was launched at Simmons by then incumbent Congressman Sam Gejdenson back in 2000, when Simmons successfully challenged Gejdenson for Connecticut's 2nd Congressional District seat.

At that time Gejdenson initially claimed his campaign had no connection to the attack on Simmons' credibility, but ultimately had to publicly apologize. Simmons served two tours in Vietnam, and then returned as an operative for the Central Intelligence Agency for an additional two years. He ultimately retired from the US Army Reserves as a Colonel in Military Intelligence.

Simmons has amassed a distinguished military and political career, and has been a lecturer at Yale University and the University of Connecticut as well. He was never accused of war crimes in any forum outside of gutter politics, yet the libel that was aimed at him remains in the commentary section of The Days digital edition.

Although most reputable news outlets require that readers identify themselves and refrain from launching unsubstantiated attacks on candidates in the last campaign days leading up to the election, The Day appears to have made no effort to remove the libelous commentary.

Apparently, racist, sexist, profane or otherwise unsavory commentaries are scrubbed from the website, but scurrilous libelous attacks on distinguished veterans are allowed to stand. The commentary was signed by the pseudonym R. O. Thornhill, who the Simmons campaign believes is actually a close adviser to the Crouse campaign.

Meanwhile, the town of East Hampton, Connecticut, home of the late Gov. Bill O'Neill saw its own version of media bias erupt this past week. The weekly newspaper Rivereast ran a front-page article on the local school board chairman, a Democrat, deciding to prohibit any town official from doing business with the school system.

This after the chairman "discovered" that nearly 18 months ago, Republican Mark Philhower, a member of the local Town Council who owns a Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning firm called Tech Unlimited, had done some work for the schools. The sudden announcement came in the form of a motion that was not part of the regular agenda for last week's school board meeting, just a week before the election.

The reason for the hasty action is, according to the chairman, because he had only just discovered this egregious violation of … something, although we're not sure exactly what … and had to act immediately lest it be repeated.

The problem with the coverage hits many buttons. First the chairman's point of view dominated much of the article, before Philhower's response is noted in the final graphs, half of which were on the jump page. More important, after contacting Philhower, I learned that two essential matters he had told the paper's editor were left out.

First, he isn't the only office holder who has done work for the town, especially for a department over which he has no control. For instance, the owner of a school bus company which has held millions of dollars worth of contracts with the town, also served on the local zoning board. Philhower could not recall the local democrats raising any issue about the propriety of this arrangement, especially in the days just before an election.

Second, the work Philhower did for the schools was of an urgent nature, amounted to about $6,000 and took place in February, March and May of 2014, mostly in the coldest part of the winter. Both of these items should have been noted, and Philhower's response should have been much higher in the story, rather than the supportive but not especially detailed comments from school board Republicans.

Obviously, on-line commentaries, libelous though they may be, and cheap political shots by small town politicians don't rise to the level of national news personalities attempting to sway a presidential election. But the principle is the same.

Our system of government springs from local politics and the people who take the time to serve on local boards and commissions deserve just as much consideration as should be given to national level office seekers. The local media has just as much responsibility to act ethically as the national and international media should … regardless of the less than stellar example set by what is called the Mainstream Media.

Otherwise, as Philhower noted, the cheap attack on his credibility and his business, exemplifies "why good people don't want to run for office."

Or, as Sen. Cruz said during CNBC's political debacle, ""The questions asked in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media."
Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Myth of the "Trump Slide" in Iowa; Carson Under Siege?

If you believe some polls and the news media, Donald Trump's campaign is on a downslide in Iowa, the first state to hold a Republican caucus where a convoluted process begins to select a grand total of up to 30 delegates, just over one percent of the total.

The impact of the Iowa caucus is negligible for a number of reasons, but, because it is the first such vote in the nation, the media believes it should set the agenda for all the rest of the states. That obviously is not the case, yet, two polls, neither of which can actually claim to know for sure exactly who they allegedly interviewed, have concluded that Dr. Ben Carson, whom I respect, has leaped ahead of Trump.

The genesis of this astounding turnaround in the current race for the GOP presidential nomination is in a poll from Quinnipiac University and another from the "highly respected" Des Moines Register newspaper. Actually, the polling method is so shallow in each instance that the number quoted by the media, that is salivating to drive a stake through Trump's heart, could actually be the reverse of what is reported.
In the Register's own words, "The Iowa Poll, conducted October 16-19 … is based on telephone interviews with 401 registered Iowa voters who say they definitely or probably will attend the 2016 Republican caucuses … .

"Questions based on the subsamples of 401 likely Republican caucus attendees each have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. This means that if this survey were repeated using the same questions and the same methodology, 19 times out of 20, the findings would not vary from the percentages shown here by more than plus or minus 4.9 percentage points." [1]

In other words, besides the fact that the sampling is pitifully small, these polls were conducted over the phone with people who may or may not have been who they say they are. Similarly, the poll from Quinnipiac University poll has some questionable conclusions.

Quinnipiac says that Carson leads Trump 28 - 20 percent among Iowa likely Republican Caucus participants. A news release on the poll also says, "This compares to the results of a September 11 survey showing Trump at 27 percent with Carson at 21 percent."

But again, check out the methodology. "This RDD telephone survey was conducted from October 14 - 20, 2015 throughout the state of Iowa. Responses are reported for 574 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants …. This subset of likely Republican caucus -goers has a margin of sampling error of +/ - 4.1 percentage points."[2]

But here is the part I like best. The poll is done on phones and when someone answers a landline, "Interviewers ask to speak with the adult member of the household having the next birthday."

Well that is a foolproof method of determining voter identifications if I ever saw one. Suppose that an interviewer calls my house and asks to speak to the adult who has the next birthday. That would be my wife, but hell will freeze over before she ever answers a poll, so I would just say, "Oh, that's me. Fire away." See how that works?

Meanwhile, Dr. Carson did some Sunday media work, basking in the glow of "front-runner" status, and on Fox News Sunday had an extraordinarily difficult time explaining his proposed changes to Obamacare and Medicare. Carson has said he will repeal Obamacare, as have most Republicans, but adds that he will give wage earners a choice of having their own health insurance account as opposed to letting government bureaucrats determine their future health care.

FOX moderator Chris Wallace seemed unable to get his head around that concept and repeatedly asked Carson to explain how this proposal would work and how it is different from earlier incarnations of Carson's health plans. Carson tried very patiently to explain his plan but Wallace simply was having none of it.

I don't know whether Carson has suddenly lost his communication skills or if Wallace was just have a rough Sunday morning, but the interview went badly for Carson who seemed to be struggling through most of it. Remember when I wrote in my last column, that Carson is next to feel the full weight of negative media? Looks like it started Sunday.

Oddly, the Iowa caucuses are virtually irrelevant. The results of the caucus are reported to the media which then deserts Iowa usually without explaining that there then will be county, district and state conventions that actually select the Iowa delegates, and they aren't bound in the least to the results of the original caucuses!

Last time around Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucus, for instance, but the media declared Mitt Romney to be the winner, regardless of what the votes showed, and by the time the record was corrected, any momentum Santorum may have garnered dissipated.

As noted previously, the Register poll notes that if the same questions were asked of the same people 20 times, the answers would change by plus or minus 4.9 percent in 19 of those times. The 20th round of questioning apparently is a wild card.

So, does that mean that one time out of 20, people who may or may not plan on attending an Iowa GOP caucus, and may or may not be eligible to vote in said caucus, and may or may not actually vote, could declare by a wide margin, say 85 percent, that they are forever bound to Alfred E. Neuman? Plus or minus 4.9 percent of course. But their votes aren't binding.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sayonara Fiorina; Carson Next?

It is no secret that the establishment media wants Jeb Bush to be the Republican nominee for president, preferably matched against Hillary Clinton so the establishment wins, no matter who gets elected.

Standing in the way of that goal is Donald Trump who thus far has managed to deflect virtually every attack on his candidacy and still sits atop all the so-called 'polls' – including those published after contacting fewer people than the average attendance at a Clinton campaign event.
Donald Trump

The media was agog last month after Carly Fiorina proved herself to be a competent debater, especially after she is handed softball questions that a third-grader could have anticipated. Yet, despite a quick bump in the 'polls' she began a slow, steady decline into campaign trivia oblivion, right alongside Bush.

This should come as no surprise as it appears to be an intended result. Fiorina makes a good personal impression and has sufficient wit and intelligence to prevail for an hour or two. But the expected result of pushing one candidate to the top, or near it, is that people will start looking closely at this week's version of "The Chosen One."

When voters started taking a closer look at Fiorina they didn't like what they saw. Fiorina got an early boost because Trump made fun of her looks, a faux pas that she rode right into the GOP debate. That proved to be just enough to move the people who actually are contacted for the 'polls,' roughly 400 or so of those nebulous "leaning Republican" type people, to say Fiorina when asked for their first choice.

Fiorina also was touted as a business expert who had broken the glass ceiling and worked miracles that rivaled Trump's status as a giant of business acumen. Then voters discovered that Fiorina not only was a walking disaster in the business world, but that she also had mocked California Senator Barbara Boxer in Fiorina's wildly unsuccessful campaign to be US Senator, in a manner akin to Trump's mocking of Fiorina.
Carly Fiorina

The more people looked, the less they liked and down went Fiorina. Which was exactly what the media wanted. Why? Because her demise is just one step toward the eventual elevation of Bush, and is tied to the yet-to-be released campaign strategy of showing Bush as a fighter who is in for the long haul.

But Trump, against all establishment expectations, is still atop the 'polls,' even brushing back a vigorous surge by neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and the steady presence of Sen. Ted Cruz, who would be this season's anti-establishment favorite were it not for Trump. Carson was supposed to be knocked out of the race, right along with Fiorina after he made some supposedly politically fatal comments, including one that devout Muslims shouldn't be president unless they are willing to denounce Sharia law and really mean it when they swear an oath to uphold the US Constitution.

But instead of driving Carson down, his honesty and forthrightness rocketed him out of the pack to a place virtually on Trump's heels, if you believe the 'polls.' Remember, these supposedly scientific surveys have a margin of error of about 5 percent, which renders them meaningless. If, for instance, the poll says Trump has 25 percent and Carson has 24 percent, it really could mean that Trump has 30 percent and Carson has 19.

Or that Trump has 20 and Carson has 29, or any combination of numbers in between. Bush, who garners 6 or 7 percentage points, could actually be the favorite of as few as 1 or 2 percent of the "leaning Republican" respondents. In other words these 'polls' are irrelevant with the exception that Trump, Carson and Cruz consistently are at the top despite the flaws in the methodology. But that should soon change.
Ben Carson

Bush's campaign is starting to get really, really nervous. First you have Bush claiming that he has enough money to last out the primaries right through Super Tuesday – the date when enough states hold primaries to allow a clear front runner, or runners, to emerge – March 1 this year. That statement is intended to quell the big donors' butterflies.

Then you have the Bush campaign mocking Trump – the latest oh, so clever, bon mot, came from a Bush campaign official who referred to Trump as a Zombie. What wit, what a display of elitist intelligence over the crude, blue-collar worker dressed in a Sunday-go-to-meeting suit. Just the kind of comment to drive more voters to Trump.

In the Bush world, upstarts like Trump, Carson, Cruz and whomever may still be hanging around, should be knocked out of contention on March 1. (Cruz's stubborn refusal to fade away already has been noticed, with Jeb's brother, ex-President George, publicly opining that he doesn't like Cruz. More on that issue in another column.) Bush will then emerge as the knight in shining armor who shall sally forth and slay the Clinton dragon. Just like Mitt Romney did to Barack Obama. Or not.

But Trump keeps hanging in there and even though the media reported that he had slipped in their 'polls,' they now are reporting that he is again on the rise. The explanation is that Trump is rising because after looking over his competition the voters still like Trump better. Better than Carson, or even Cruz.
Ted Cruz

Meaning, Carson, who enjoys the 2nd place standing in the 'polls' is next to feel the full weight of negative media on top of his campaign. I mean, after all, we can't have a surgeon as President of the United States can we? He hasn't even held elective office!

So look for a series of "revelations" about Carson, or 'gotcha' questions in the next debate, that are intended to drive out yet another strong contender. Cruz is already on the hot seat, and once he and Carson are eliminated, Bush will then unleash $100 million in negative ads against Trump. The ultimate goal is to render Trump, Carson, and Cruz totally ineffective by March 2.

However, there is one flaw in this strategy. It is called the voters. They seem to be a bit restless this season, eh what! Oh, and Trump has more money than Bush. And he is a better street fighter, by a long shot. Just anticipating the political battles to come should keep us upbeat and engaged long after the Super Bowl this winter. Oh yeah!
Thursday, September 17, 2015

CNN Does Hatchet Job on GOP "Debate" – Again!

Following up on the 2012 CNN "gotcha" debate when Candy Crowley took Barack Obama's side – inaccurately – against Mitt Romney, a CNN team presided over a spectacle Wednesday night that had only a shadow of resemblance to "a contention by words or arguments."

The three-hour ordeal appeared to have but one goal, the disparagement of the entire 11-member GOP slate in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The only way a true winner could have emerged was if they all turned in unison and walked off the stage.

It was a setup from the start, with CNN moderator Jake Tapper asking Carly Fiorina to comment on someone else's statement that Donald Trump shouldn't have his finger on the nuclear button – a throwback to the dark days of the Cold War when contending politicians used the threat of nuclear holocaust to question opponents' mental stability.

Fiorina waded right into the fray, saying “I think Mr. Trump is a wonderful entertainer,” and then ducking the rest of the question, thankfully. Trump actually missed a terrific opportunity to parry Fiorina considering they were standing in front of an Air Force One aircraft that had flown President Reagan to his official duties, and that Reagan was an entertainer before becoming arguably the most beloved president of the modern era.

Oddly enough, Trump responded by attacking Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, whom he said “shouldn’t be on this stage” because of his low poll numbers. Paul shot back that there was “a sophomoric quality” to Trump, noting that Trump has attacked people for how they look.

Trump retorted that he had never attacked Paul's looks, adding, however, “There’s plenty of subject matter right there.”

That basically set the tone for the evening, and believe it or not, it actually went downhill from there, as question after question pitted one candidate against another on a personal rather than policy level, usually spinning off something that someone had said in an interview at some other time.

Otherwise, substantive discussions were at a minimum and usually grew out of frustration from the many candidates who seemed to be all but ignored by the CNN team as the big names on stage engaged in drawn-out thrusts and parries that had virtually nothing to do with the state of the country.

Some of the more enlightening moments came from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who didn't get to speak much, but when he did it was insightful and direct, hitting for instance on the Iranian deal (treaty), and Planned Parenthood harvesting body parts from living aborted fetuses. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also got in some good points along the way, but like most other participants, they were few and far between.

Right alongside Huckabee, literally and figuratively, was Texas Senator Ted Cruz who also didn't get that much time but nonetheless was right on the money when he did speak. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also tried to bring the discussion back to real issues and away from personality disputes with only partial success.

One of the more ridiculous moments of the evening came when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush chastised Trump for singling out illegal aliens from Mexico in his immigration discussions, and told him to go out in the audience and apologize to Bush's wife, who was born in Mexico. Trump refused and tried to make the point over Bush's insistent interruptions that he was talking about criminal illegals, not law-abiding Mexicans.

Actually, Trump should have taken Bush up on his challenge. He should have called Mrs. Bush up to the stage, told her he had heard she is a wonderful person and note that his criticisms were of the Mexican government sending criminals of all sorts over the southern US border. Trump could have made his point, looked accommodating to Mrs. Bush, and probably gotten Jeb in trouble with his wife for putting her in the spotlight.

There were times during the three hours when virtually everyone got to make a salient point or two, although they usually had to fight for the time. Trump and Bush got more than double the exposure of some of the other candidates, so those on the short end of the stick had to be somewhat aggressive.

The most aggressive of all was Ohio Gov. John Kasich who at one point looked so angry that I thought his eyes were bloodshot, although that could just have been my TV. Dr. Ben Carson, who many pundits were saying needed a "breakout" night, didn't get it and often found himself on the defensive, such as when he was asked about his opposition to going to war in Afghanistan after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Carly Fiorina had several good moments including her statement on the Planned Parenthood debacle and certainly showed that she should be on stage. However, she still displayed far too many moments when her infamous "demeanor" was dark and foreboding. She later told a reporter that there are too many serious things at hand to smile about, which may be true, but she could at least look pleasant during the interludes.

All in all the night was an abomination and it did absolutely no good for the Republican Party. GOP National Chairman Reince Priebus might consider holding a meeting with all the candidates prior to the next debate and drum one simple point into their heads.

When you are asked if another candidate's finger should be on the nuclear button, the only response is "Anyone on this stage would be preferable to Hillary Clinton, or any other Democrat candidate." Then get back to the issues and how the GOP will keep the Congress and win the White House in 2016.
Sunday, September 13, 2015

Smile Carly, Smile, Trump Has a Point

Carly Fiorina was but one of the Republican presidential candidates who last week attempted to boost their standing in the over-crowded, pre-nomination field by engaging in a verbal spat with front-runner Donald Trump.

Trump was asked a question about Fiorina's meteoric rise in the polls, all the way from 1 percent to 3 percent in a matter of just a few months. Trump, as expected, did not deflect the question but answered it in his usual blunt manner, pointing to Fiorina's often sour demeanor and asking “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?"

The media, predictably, reported, virtually across the board, that Trump was bashing Fiorina's looks, those she was born with not those she controls by using the muscles in her face. Fiorina quipped that she must be "getting under his skin" because of the aforementioned upwards movement in the media generated and controlled polls.

Fiorina and the media all forgot to mention that she was criticized in her 2010 Senatorial bid for bashing her opponent, Barbara Boxer's hairstyle. Fiorina later said that taking (and giving) shots about appearances "goes with the territory." That, however, was in 2010. This is 2015.

Nonetheless, Trump was forced to clarify that he was talking about Fiorina's demeanor, not her actual looks, which some media outlets trumpeted as a victory for freedom of the press and a harbinger of the soon-to-deflate Trump campaign.

Trump's poll numbers responded by going up even further.

The fact is, Fiorina often forgets that she is always in focus on someone's camera when she is out in public, and there are far too many moments when she does in fact look dour, sourpussed even. Several of these moments were during the first Republican "B" Squad debate, the one for the not-quite-there, soon-to-be-gone, never-really-had-it candidates.

Fiorina did well in that debate but often, when another candidate was answering a question and the camera momentarily focused on Fiorina, she looked like she had just bitten into something sour. I should note here that I like Fiorina and am happy that she got sufficient poll numbers to force CNN to restructure its eligibility criteria for the upcoming debate to ensure that she gets on stage.

But I said way back during the B Squad debate that she should get some media relations training that should include teaching her that she is always on camera, and she always should look pleasant, even smiling if appropriate. Looking intense just doesn't work for Carly.

However, now some pundits are saying Trump should really look out for her in this debate because she is going to put him in his place. Or not. This could easily be one of those scenarios where she is so built up by the media that anything less than a grand-slam knockout will be regarded as abject failure.

Remember, the media wants Jeb Bush to face Hillary Clinton in 2016, so no one in DC or Manhattan will lose their cushy jobs as 7-figure anchors, or sought after pundits, or Chief Correspondents of something or other. A lot of media money is at stake here and regardless of which side of the political fence they are perceived to be on, the media is in the tank for the status quo and that means JEB! and Hillary.

Trump, since he is so rich and is funding his own campaign is a fly in the media ointment and from the media standpoint he has to go, the sooner the better. Thus the coverage of anyone who makes the mistake of abandoning their campaign issues to spend time bashing Trump. It won't work for them, it probably won't hurt Trump, but it does adhere to the media agenda.

So if Fiorina, or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal who I also like very much and who also jumped on Trump's candidacy this week as a means of getting some media coverage, can bring Trump down, then Jeb will have free reign to spend his $100-million plus of lobbyist money on buying media ads and paying media salaries.

Candidate Ben Carson got on the anti-Trump bandwagon last week as well, questioning Trump's religious faith, an issue which Trump said he keeps private, although he did open up and inform the world that he is a Presbyterian and he believes in the Bible. Carson, who previously tripped up by questioning Trump's immigration stance, ended up apologizing for calling Trump's faith into question.

Carson's status quo immigration position probably hurt him a lot more than any perceived damage he did by questioning trump's intent to deport alien criminals, gang members and others. The public likes that position and Carson's campaign could very well have plateaued by getting into the Trump bashing game plan just to please the media.

Frankly, the more the media and its anointed candidates du jour appear to be using Trump as a whipping boy for their agendas, the more the public reacts negatively to the attackers and positively for Trump. Hey, maybe it wasn't the most subtle or sensitive of comments to say what he did about Fiorina's looks, but it was accurate and it should be more of a wake up call for Fiorina than a slam at Trump.

Even Chris Wallace said on Fox News Sunday this week, when he wasn't trying to get John Kasich (who has developed an affectation for purple in  his personal wardrobe) to jump on the bash Trump bandwagon, that Jindal would have received zero press coverage if he gave a speech on a major policy initiative. But Jindal did get coverage and lots of it, for bashing Trump.

Yet Trump is the one going up in the polls, JEB! is plummeting, even in those fake 300 or 400 respondent coffee klatches with margins of error in the 5 percent range, masquerading as polls. Nonetheless, pundits are spouting their wishful thinking that if enough other candidates say enough bad things about Trump, somehow, miraculously, the public will decide they no longer like him and flock to JEB!

Whistling past the graveyard is what they're doing. Whistling past the graveyard.
Saturday, September 05, 2015

Trump Defies GOP "History" and the Media With 3rd Party Pledge

Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump signed a pledge on September 2, saying he will not run as a third-party candidate if he fails to gain the party nomination.

Some in the media immediately hopped on his pledge as a capitulation to the GOP hierarchy, and others who really, really want the fast-fading Jeb Bush to be the nominee sharpened their hatchets and ramped up efforts to knock Trump out of the lead for good. But they all are missing a salient point.

First, Trump took the pledge because South Carolina made it a requirement to get on the ballot for the GOP primary there, and other states are saying they will do the same thing. Trump still needs to win primary and caucus votes and even he can't afford to miss being on the ballot, anywhere.

More to the point, it is generally accepted for both the Republican and Democrat parties, that the public is totally disgusted with politics as usual, and the self-anointed "ruling class" that picks and chooses the "political class" in every major election. But the "media class" is slowly coming to the belief that Hillary Clinton probably won't survive criminal investigations into her (alleged) chicanery while Secretary of State and is scrambling to decide which Democrat replacement will bend to its will.

The same media very much wants to believe that Trump will eventually begin to fade, just as other front-runners did in the recent past, so Jeb Bush can reemerge as the anointed leader. Various members of the "pundit class" have pointed to the front-runner status of Rudy Giuliani, Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain  in previous elections as evidence that early front-runners will drop like a rock further down the road.

However. In virtually every case mentioned by the pundits, there was one common factor that negatively affected each candidate, that will have no impact on Trump whatsoever. That factor, simply put, is money.

Once the media decided that Bachmann, Cain or other candidates were close to knocking its anointed candidate out of the race, an immediate and relentless series of "gotcha" attacks was launched ridiculing them as not being of the right quality, or right knowledge level to hold the highest office in the land. In each case, the media ridicule resulted in a drop off in contributions, which prevented the candidates from buying ads or doing other communications work to offset the constant negativity.

That the attacks on Trump have already begun is evident in a dust-up that occurred on Friday, Sept. 4, when conservative radio announcer Hugh Hewitt tried to trip Trump up on his knowledge of world terrorist organizations, and their leaders of the moment. As if anyone outside the media cares at this point.

Hewitt asked Trump about the anti-American Quds, a secretive terrorist force within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that reports directly to the Iranian Supreme Leader. But Trump thought Hewitt said Kurds, an ethnic group in Northern Iraq that is both predominately Christian and pro-American.

Trump was well aware that the Kurds have been begging the US for arms to help them fight ISIS, or ISIL if you are an Obama apologist, but he was cut off by Hewitt who said he said "Quds" not "Kurds." I heard a tape of the interview and frankly, even if you are a foreign affairs expert it would have been difficult to determine what Hewitt said.

That exchange immediately turned into an anti-Trump media frenzy about him not knowing ISIS from ISIL, Quds from Kurds, Hezbollah from Hamas, Houthis from Hutus and Tutsis, or Al Qaeda from the Haqqani Network or Boko Haram.

Trump, in his inimitable fashion, charged that Hewitt was asking loaded "gotcha" questions and is a "third-rate" journalist. He has points on both cases, especially since Hewitt interviewed GOP candidate Carly Fiorina later and asked her the same questions, which she answered, claiming meanwhile that she had not heard Trump's interview. That's her story and she's stuck with it.

Trump told Hewitt later in his interview that the terrorists and their leaders will change by the time the 2016 presidential election rolls around and he has a point. It also is assumed, however, that unlike the current occupant of the White House, the next occupant will and should have a more detailed understanding of terrorist organizations that need to be annihilated.

But all this amounts to a tempest in a teacup when you consider the media and the "elitist class" game plan. The point is to drive Trump down in the artificial polls the media is using to eliminate some candidates from debates and regular coverage, and thus eliminate his ability to buy ads etc. Should Trump drop even slightly in these phony "polls" the media will go crazy proclaiming that his support is ebbing and he no longer is a viable candidate.

But Trump has his own money. Lots of it. He merely has to use it effectively. His supporters don't care that some self-styled media elitists are playing games with his knowledge of today's players on the terrorist stage. They despise the media already and are going to respond by supporting Trump even more ardently, if that is even possible.

Trump should go to the ad departments of the news outlets and buy tons of ads – print, radio and TV. Then he should starting running them all the time, especially around the shows of people who are obviously biased against him.

By doing this he will get the ad departments, which really run the show, on his side, he will make the point that he is paying the salaries of his detractors, and for purely political reasons, he will be offsetting their commentaries every time they open their mouths. Money may not be able to buy happiness but it sure can buy ad time.
Thursday, August 27, 2015

KT McFarland – Donald Trump's Biggest Cheerleader

If you've watched any of Donald Trump's recent campaign speeches – and who hasn't – you may have noticed that he has some very positive things to say about veterans, and negative things to say about the way we have been treated over the past half century or so.

Trump is right, and on Bret Baier's Special Report show on FOX News last night, alleged national security "expert" KT McFarland showed exactly why Trump puts veterans high on his "to do" list. In fact, McFarland's comments do more to convince veterans to back Trump than nearly anything Trump can say himself.

During a segment on whether the White House or the Pentagon is blowing more smoke up the public's skirts on the effectiveness of the ISIS terrorist army, McFarland claimed that the Pentagon is lying about ISIS just the way it did "in Vietnam." Back then, she claimed, the military claimed the war in Vietnam was going well, when exactly the opposite was true.

Really? What an insufferably stupid, uninformed, asinine thing to say. I will repeat what I and many others have said and written over the past four decades; the US military never lost a single major battle in the entirety of the Vietnam War, twice pushed the communists to the brink of surrender, and twice US politicians bailed them out.

The communists were beaten at every juncture by US forces during the American involvement. Also, the South Vietnamese were overwhelmingly victorious when the north launched an all-out invasion in the spring of 1972, and were repelled by a combination of South Vietnam's ground forces and US air power.

Out of the 250,000 communist troops who invaded the south in 1972, an estimated 150,000 were killed in action while half of all the northern artillery and armor were destroyed. It was an impressive victory for the South Vietnamese, even if, as usual, it was not reported that way in the US.

Former Marine, senator and current presidential candidate James Webb stated recently that the former North Vietnam has finally admitted what many knew to be true long ago - that it lost an estimated 1.4 million troops in the Vietnam War. Troops, just troops. Or an average of nearly 100,000 communist troops killed in action for every year of the US involvement.

Yet within three years of scoring the biggest victory of the war, the south fell after McFarland's then boss, Henry Kissinger, convinced President Richard Nixon to force the South Vietnamese to accept the Paris Peace Accords, which supposedly guaranteed that the US would intervene on behalf of the south if the north invaded again. But right on the heels of the peace accords acceptance the US Congress passed the Case-Church Amendment in 1973, and the Foreign Assistance Act in 1974, which cut off all aid to the south, leaving them alone and defenseless against the communist invasion of 1975.

Obviously, McFarland who is supposed to be brilliant and has degrees from some of the finest colleges and universities in the nation to prove it, doesn't know a lot about history, or doesn't want to know.

Ms. McFarland started out her career doing part-time typing in the West Wing around 1970, as a college freshman, when the US presence in South Vietnam was being steadily reduced. Only a few years later she was "a key member of Henry Kissinger's National Security Council Staff" according to Wikipedia. Which says a lot about how so much got screwed up on the international stage back in the 1970s, and is so screwed up to this day.

She comes across as one of those pseudo-elitist bureaucrat-type people who make grandiose statements about world affairs, and help enact sweeping and far-reaching agreements on matters such as the despised Rules of Engagement that dictate how American troops must behave in battle. But dilettantes like McFarland are never subjected to the consequences of their actions, or find themselves fighting through a jungle, or a desert or a freezing mountain top, all the while constrained by "rules" that our enemies find laughable.

It is the servicemen and women who are defending this country who have to make split second choices that come down to "live on your feet (and possibly be sentenced to prison for surviving) or die looking through a rule book to see what you are supposed to do in this situation" that suffer from uninformed elitist pronouncements from people like McFarland.

So if Donald Trump is interested in a nickel's worth of free advice, I would suggest that he contact McFarland, convince her to go on television a couple of times a week, and each time spout her uninformed, agenda-driven claptrap about the military and veterans.

Then he can slingshot off the outrage that is sure to follow and make his point all the more forcefully that the D.C. cabal is totally out of touch with reality, and he is just the guy to replace people like her with hard-nosed pragmatists who also possess plenty of common sense. Or he can just eliminate their positions and make them go out and get real jobs for a change.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Bitter Disappointment of the Obama "Legacy"

Remember back in 2008 when a majority of voting Americans were all agog over promises of "Hope and Change," and how wonderful it was that the soon-to-be first black American president would right all the wrongs of humanity that (allegedly) are common in the United States?

It just goes to show you what happens when you stereotype people and use superficial reasoning to make major decisions. As history has shown, while there are plenty of black people who would be terrific presidents, Barack Hussein Obama is not one of them.

Looking presidential
Fast forward to the present and what we have instead are propagandists and apologists spewing rewritten history and contorted explanations of current events hoping that the general public can't see the truth. Unfortunately, the American media, which long ago morphed into a propaganda machine that would make Josef Stalin blush, has an endless supply of sycophants who go along with the daily story line without question.

But there is another side of the story to the Obama legacy, and it is neither glowing nor in fact even remotely positive. It is the story that like it or not will be the one told by historians of the future.

Take for instance the last week in June, 2015 when the US Supreme Court's approval of gay marriage and national health care were touted as shining examples of Obama's successes as chief executive. It was his best week in seven years, his minions crowed, ignoring the fact that in the case of gay marriage, Obama had little to do with the struggle that produced the court verdict.

In fact, Obama, who even while he was campaigning for president said he supported traditional marriage, was just one of many obstacles to gay equality as the issue wended its way to the highest court. There were far more active gay people – Ellen DeGeneres comes immediately to mind – paving the way and taking the risks.

Obama gloated about the Supreme Court decision and even had multi-colored lights shine on the White House in a larger-than-life version of the rainbow gay pride emblem. But in truth, he was a late-comer, jumping on the bandwagon just in time to take credit for the work of others.

Regarding national health care, dubbed Obamacare, it is interesting that prior to its 2010 passage by Democrat majorities in the US House of Representatives and Senate, proponents were claiming that there were 18 million Americans lacking health insurance – not counting illegal aliens who get free health care. With the law in effect for several years, the administration is bragging that 90 percent of all Americans now have health coverage.

But if you do some simple math, you'll realize that with a population of 320 million, 90 percent coverage means that 32 million now are lacking coverage, which includes millions whose policies are no longer legal according to the contorted dictates of the law. So, aside from its cost, and the objections of a majority of Americans, what kind of success is the administration claiming by passing a health care law that nearly doubles the number of people who don't have health care insurance?

On immigration Obama claims to be concerned about the plight of illegal aliens and their children who enter the US surreptitiously and now want to stay. He also claims to be putting monumental efforts into border security and deporting masses of criminal illegals – I know, that is redundant.

But hardly a week goes by without hearing of another breach of our de facto open southern border, and our social services being swamped by yet another influx of unemployed, uneducated, unskilled and/or ill "undocumented" arrivals. When an illegal alien randomly murdered an American citizen who was visiting a tourist attraction in San Francisco over the July 4th weekend, we are told that the killer has been deported five times, and has 7 felony convictions, yet was right back in the US firing an illegally obtained firearm.

Further, it was reported that the killer was arrested recently on a drug charge, but since he is in San Francisco, a "sanctuary city" meaning they just ignore federal immigration laws, he was released to prey on the innocent yet again. Question: If cities like San Francisco and New Haven, CT, can declare themselves sanctuaries and ignore immigration laws, what is to stop other cities from declaring themselves sanctuaries for heterosexual rights and ignoring the gay marriage dictates from the Supreme Court?

But those failures on the administration's part are just the tip of the iceberg. The unquestionable Mother of All Failures is Obama's dismal record on energy. Worldwide efforts to end the burning of fossil fuels are viable, not because of Global Warming or Climate Change scare tactics, but because fossil fuels are poisoning our earth, water and air, and should be stopped.

Nonetheless, instead of researching energy sources and investing in technologies that could produce energy without polluting, Obama paid off political cronies and supporters with half-hearted efforts at solar power, wind power and horror of horrors, biofuels.

Solar power needs and should have support for far more research, as does wind power, but how biofuels, including ethanol, can possibly be conceived as a replacement for fossil fuels escapes me.

Both biofuels and fossil fuels undergo a conversion process call fixation. And the very definition of biofuels calls into question their viability as a replacement for fossil fuels. The biggest difference between a biofuel and a fossil fuel is the time period over which the fixation occurs. In a biofuel, fixation occurs in months or years. In a fossil fuel, fixation occurs over thousands or millions of years. Additionally, fossil fuels are made entirely of hydrogen and carbon atoms while biofuels contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.[1]

So there is more oxygen in a biofuel than a fossil fuel, but so what? The base element of both is carbon, and burning either still is going to release carbon to the atmosphere. I thought we were trying to decrease our "carbon footprint."

The element that is being ignored in all this is hydrogen, which is the most abundant element in the universe. One of the most common sources of hydrogen on earth is water – and if you believe the global warming alarmists, the seas are rising so tapping into them for hydrogen shouldn't pose a problem. Also, the byproduct of hydrogen combustion is water vapor, meaning if you burn hydrogen, you get water!

Considering that President Obama has racked up trillions of dollars in debt, what prevented him from diverting a billon or so to create a methodology that could efficiently extract hydrogen from water? The technology already exists in nuclear submarines that ingest seawater, separating the hydrogen and oxygen atoms, retaining the oxygen for breathing and venting the hydrogen back into the ocean.

In autos, the standard gas tank could be replaced with a water tank, with the water passing through a converter similar to (but much smaller than) the ones used on submarines that would separate the hydrogen from the oxygen, but retain the hydrogen to burn and vent the oxygen back to the atmosphere. Essentially, a major component to answering to the earth's energy needs was at hand, and the Obama administration instead pushed biofuels and built windmills that slaughter wild birds. Way to go guys.

Obama also talked about infrastructure rebuilding and again did little to nothing. Here again, a major opportunity for improving the country, while providing a model for the world to follow, was squandered.

For instance, two major weather calamities occurred this spring; both could have been mitigated to some degree with creativity and planning. Southern California is experiencing a drought – which occurs regularly in a desert – and Texas, Oklahoma and other states in the middle of the country were hit with major flooding in June.

The drought in Southern California, which produces a huge portion of America's fresh produce, could have been mitigated to some point by releasing to crop irrigation, the trillion gallons of water the government is pumping out to sea to save a minnow. But the minnow got the water and the crops got cooked.

While Texas is flooding and California is baking, the Obama Administration is focused on preventing the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline to block Canadian oil from coming to the US. Meanwhile, trains pulling oil cars are derailing and exploding with a conveniently frightening regularity, and oil pipelines are mysteriously bursting, further defiling the earth and water.

What would have prevented Obama from initiating a massive infrastructure project to construct reservoirs, retention ponds, and similar holding facilities to absorb excess water in times of floods, in conjunction with a network of pipelines to divert that water to places where it is needed?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower took a jumbled road system in the mid-1950s and turned it into the Interstate Highway system we now enjoy. Obama could have done for water distribution what Eisenhower did for transportation. And he could have initiated a parallel water supply project by constructing desalination plants along the California coast, pumping billions of gallons of water to starved croplands each day. But he didn't.

In the Global War on Terror, Obama violated a most basic rule of geo-politics – it is better to deal with the devil you know than the devil you don't – by ordering the execution of master terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Thus, American special ops troops killed the acknowledged international leader of all terrorists, even though we knew where he was, presumably were monitoring his communications so we knew what he was doing, and long ago had worked up a psychological profile so we could predict future actions with reasonable accuracy.

Now we have a thousand unknown devils springing up in myriad places, with little in the way of good intelligence on who they are, what they are doing, or what they may do in the future. Another sterling performance.

Obama's administration is also embarked on a transparently ridiculous effort to give Iran, the chief exporter of terrorism in the world, a nuclear bomb under the guise of a legacy-making international agreement. Should he succeed he is aiding and abetting a country that executes its citizens for being gay, and is determined to wreak financial and military chaos around the world, even while Europe, much of Asia and the US itself are teetering on financial meltdown and anarchy. Don't get me started on his refusal to assist Ukraine fend off attacks by Russia, or jump-starting the depleted coffers of Cuba, one of the most vicious left-over remnants of the Cold War communist empire.

Domestically, we have the worst race relations in this country since the 1960s, and millions of people are out of work while the media spews meaningless, falsely rosy unemployment statistics that only reveal how many people are no longer drawing unemployment benefits, not how many have found jobs. Our military is needlessly being downsized, our defenses are weak and morale is dismal. Overall, the Obama administration is a propagandist's dream.

Political legacies may be written by paid staffers and propagandists, but true history takes a much more objective view. When the true history of this administration is written, it will be a tale of many opportunities and few results.

And while Obama personally may be insulated sufficiently to be unconcerned, he has children, and generations of his offspring will be left to explain the damage he did, and the good he failed to do long after he, and we, are gone.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Sheer Fun of a Trump Presidential Candidacy

It started as soon as the words were out of Donald Trump's mouth; that he now is an official candidate for the Republican nomination to run for President of the United States.

The man whom I define as the epitome of New York City Brash, who is held in high esteem by many American voters and a much lower post on the status ladder by many others, particularly in the media, was the instant target of vile media punditry.

It is no secret that Trump has support and admiration among rank and file Americans, and is openly disdained by many media elitists and Inside-the-Beltway maintainers of the status quo. Yet, even as the Internet exploded with commentaries supporting him – many along the lines of "he sure can't do worse than the one we have now" or equally popular, "if it comes down to him or Hillary, Trump has my vote," – pundits and newscasters were immediately deploring and denigrating Trump with abandon.

The negative reaction was to be expected from the mainstream media I suppose. There are very few people who are deplored by the left more than a successful American entrepreneur who is unapologetic, some would say gleeful, about it. And Trump did say after all, "I am very rich," although he was noting that he would not rely on lobbyists or donors or anyone else to fund his campaign.
Donald Trump

But this time the media bad-mouthing was universal, even exploding on FOX News for instance. My first encounter with the widespread reaction was at 5 p.m., when I took my usual seat at the TV to watch The Five on FOX. I anticipated that Democrat supporter Juan Williams would have little good to say about Trump, but I got quite a shock when the person whom I believe has the most consistent control of her emotions, former White House Press Secretary – under George W. Bush – Dana Perino, went absolutely apoplectic.

Perino launched a verbal assault on fellow Five host Eric Bolling, who like Greg Gutfeld and Kimberly Guilfoyle had some good things to say about Trump being in the race; mostly that he would change the tone of the debate and put a lot of other candidates' feet to the fire. But when Bolling repeated Trump's statement that he would build a fence on the US southern border between the US and Mexico, and that Mexico would pay for it, Perino went off.

"How would you do that?  How would you make Mexico pay for it?" she demanded of Bolling repeatedly. Bolling appeared to be a bit taken back by Perino's assault, and tried to get an explanation out, but to no avail. Frankly, Perino's question should have been aimed at Trump, and she could have communicated that by simply saying, "I don't believe him and I'd like to hear an explanation."
Dana Perino

But NOOOO. She hammered Bolling right into a corner before stopping for breath, and then heading into a break. Let me point out here that I like Perino and believe she should think about running for president. But she was off base in this case, and, like so many others, protested too much.

Some of the others included FOX commentators George Will and Charles Krauthammer, both of whom were less than kind to the new candidate. Krauthammer said for instance, "I think his single most important statement was 'I am very rich.' "

Will opined that Trump will destroy the GOP brand among voters, which is laughable to people in Connecticut whose once-imprisoned GOP governor is now facing another term behind bars, as is a former GOP State Chairman.

It also should be noted that both Will and Krauthammer were recent objects of a Trump Twitter War in which he said unkind things about both of them. Perhaps that should have been taken into account before selecting the guest list for the Special Report panel discussion last night, to avoid charges of conflicts of interest at the very least.

Similarly, FOX News host Gretchen Carlson had Meghan McCain on as a guest Wednesday afternoon, with McCain referring to Trump and his announcement speech as "crass." Then again, she is the daughter of Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, whose temper tantrums and facetious presidential campaign against Barack Obama didn't do much for the party image either.

Personally I think the media hates Trump because he can't be controlled. The media likes to help some candidates get to the top of the pack because they raise millions of dollars in campaign funds, much of which is spent buying ad time and space from the media that gives them so much time and space.

What they don't want to tell you is that a ton of the money raised before the national conventions – of both parties – goes to buy delegates to the primaries. Not outright of course, that would be illegal, but in a roundabout way, as in promises of more money from the public trough once they win the election.

So Trump may not buy as many ads, but he may have already bought – so to speak – the votes of delegates who may just believe he can turn this country around.

Frankly, I'm glad Trump is in the race, and while I don't have much faith in him winning the nomination, I do believe the debate is about to get far more real and personal. He will hold other candidate's feet to the fire and they will have to answer some real questions for a change.

We should go buy some popcorn. This is going to be a fun show and I for one intend to watch it all the way to the convention; and beyond.
Friday, May 22, 2015

The Iraq (Vietnam) War Syndrome – Oh No, Not Again!

Television broadcasters and political pundits are tripping all over themselves this Memorial Day weekend trying to force Republican presidential candidates to explain what they would or would not have done regarding invading Iraq if they knew then what they know now.

I know. It sounds like the title of a sad song that has so many versions it could be a political campaign speech.

The question was originally asked of former Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and in that one instance was a reasonable question since Jeb is the brother of former President George W. Bush who ordered the invasion. Basically, at that time in that place, the question really was, "do you approach these world situations the way your brother did?"

But since then the question has evolved into a mantra of sorts, and is being asked of just about all GOP candidates, who like Jeb Bush, are having an unnecessarily difficult time answering it. (I don't recall anyone asking Hillary Clinton about her stance in favor of the invasion, but then again, she probably wouldn't answer them anyway.)

Essentially, the politicians are being asked by broadcasters and pundits, whether, if they knew the (allegedly) true situation regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq prior to the invasion, would they have gone ahead with the successful military effort to oust dictator Saddam Hussein.

Frankly, as it has evolved, the question is irrelevant, and horribly uninformed. Answering it – or even asking it – merely highlights an abysmal absence of knowledge about what constitutes war fighting, especially the reasons we go to war. Rather than spending time remarking on the oceans of information the politicians and their tormentors DON'T know, I'll take this opportunity to expound on what they SHOULD know.

For starters there are two basic terms with which everyone involved in military matters should be intimately familiar; strategy and tactics. In brief, strategy refers to what you want to accomplish, and tactics are the means by which you do it.

In any fight, you determine strategy before you determine what tactics you will use, a concept that negates the question of whether the existence of WMDs dictated our actions relative to Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Our strategy to thwart further attacks on the US homeland after the horrors of September 11, 2001 included the tactical decision to invade Iraq which was providing sanctuary to terrorists who fled the fighting in Afghanistan. The arms possessed by those terrorists or their sponsors were irrelevant at that point.

Here's why. In late 2002 then President George W. Bush determined that members of various Islamic extremist terrorist organizations, some whom had been associated with the Taliban that had just been vanquished in Afghanistan, had made their way to Iraq and with Saddam Hussein's permission were re-building their terrorist network.

Among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a member of Osama Bin Laden's inner circle who had been severely wounded in the fighting in Afghanistan. In Iraq he was hospitalized in Baghdad, right under Saddam Hussein's nose, and prior to the US invasion he was heavily involved in preparations for renewed terrorist activities, again with Saddam's acquiescence. 

The Real Purpose of Memorial Day
That is all the reason we needed to invade Iraq; case closed. If the president of the US avers that enemies who have attacked us and murdered our citizens will be "hunted down and smoked out," as Bush did with rousing approval from most Democrats and Republicans, then we should hunt them down, smoke them out, and kill them.

If the president also states that any country which provides sanctuary to our enemies will thus become our enemy, it shouldn't take a great stretch to decide whether to invade one of those countries when they clearly are not only providing sanctuary but are allowing our enemies to prepare for new attacks on us.

Tragically, we have come to a point in our nation's history where what should be relatively simple decisions have becoming overwhelmingly burdensome.
Rather than using the straightforward evidence that terrorists who escaped the fighting in Afghanistan were given respite and sanctuary in Iraq while they prepared for new attacks against us, as the only reason we needed to justify attacking Iraq, George W. Bush, the US Congress, and the United Nations - which should have no input on US defense and domestic policies - made the situation unbelievably complicated.

Bush dispatched Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN under the misguided belief that we needed agreement from a coalition of nations before we could aggressively defend ourselves. Powell also was tasked with convincing potential members of that coalition that not only were our enemies likely to attack us again, but that they had weapons which could and would be used on Iraq's neighbors as well.

Despite the assertions to the contrary from diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats, precious few of whom ever have to suffer the consequences of their mindless dictates on war fighting, we didn't need a coalition to engage and defeat our enemies. And whatever weapons those enemies may have possessed were a matter to be taken up by the war planners in deciding what tactics would be used to defeat them, not where and whether to fight them in the first place.

In truth, all this rehashing of an irrelevant issue is just cover for the fact that President Barack Hussein Obama pulled our troops out of Iraq after they won a smashing victory over terrorism, but before that country could adequately rebuild its government and security. Just like the US Congress did in 1974 when it abandoned South Vietnam.

Both times the defenseless populations that remained behind faced a virtual bloodbath of unrestrained slaughter.

The existence and possession of WMDs or any other type of weapon had no place in the decision to invade Iraq. The intent of the Iraqi government and the terrorists who found a haven in that country was all we needed as justification to go to war against them.

Anyone who doesn't understand that simple distinction has no business seeking the job of President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.


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