Thursday, June 30, 2005
The US economy is doing just fine.
Marketwatch is confirming that "First-quarter gross domestic product increased at a 3.8% annual rate, matching the 3.8% rate in the fourth quarter."
What this means is that US economy did not slow down, despite the obvious threat of high gas prices.
No slowdown for the US economy. The doom and gloom crowd got some bad news again.
The US dollar is picking up steam against the euro.
Reuters is reporting that "The dollar is being buoyed a fourth straight year of faster economic growth than Europe and the higher yields available on U.S. debt. Investors and traders pushed the euro to a 10-month low on speculation the European Central Bank will reduce interest rates for the first time since 2003 to revive the region's sluggish economy."
Not bad. Anybody still holding on to their euros?
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Pres. Bush needs to go on the offense here, and specially, in Iraq. He needs to continue talking about 9-11 because it matters and it is relevant.
Saddam Hussein was not directly involved in the 9-11 attack. In other words, Iraqi air force pilots were not flying the planes that killed 3,000 innoncents.
Yet, Iraq was a terrorist state and you can't avoid that reality.
Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He has written an outstanding article about Saddam and 9-11. I would recommend that you read it by going to this link. (http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200506290912.asp
As I've written before, I did not support this war to liberate the Iraqi people. Sadly, the Iraqi people lived under Hussein since the mid-70s. I did not support an American invasion back then. I did not even support an American occupation after the First Gulf War in '91.
It changed in '98. Saddam was one of the world's deadliest terrorists and was determined to fight the US. He was connected to Al Qaeda and McCarthy makes that point.
Let's review some of the examples:
"What does the “nothing whatsoever” crowd have to say about:
Ahmed Hikmat Shakir — the Iraqi Intelligence operative who facilitated a 9/11 hijacker into Malaysia and was in attendance at the Kuala Lampur meeting with two of the hijackers, and other conspirators, at what is roundly acknowledged to be the initial 9/11 planning session in January 2000?
Who was arrested after the 9/11 attacks in possession of contact information for several known terrorists? Who managed to make his way out of Jordanian custody over our objections after the 9/11 attacks because of special pleading by Saddam’s regime?
Saddam's intelligence agency's efforts to recruit jihadists to bomb Radio Free Europe in Prague in the late 1990's?
Mohammed Atta's unexplained visits to Prague in 2000, and his alleged visit there in April 2001 which — notwithstanding the 9/11 Commission's dismissal of it (based on interviewing exactly zero relevant witnesses) — the Czechs have not retracted?
The Clinton Justice Department's allegation in a 1998 indictment (two months before the embassy bombings) against bin Laden, to wit: In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.
Seized Iraq Intelligence Service records indicating that Saddam's henchmen regarded bin Laden as an asset as early as 1992?
Saddam's hosting of al Qaeda No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri beginning in the early 1990’s, and reports of a large payment of money to Zawahiri in 1998?
Saddam’s ten years of harboring of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin?
Iraqi Intelligence Service operatives being dispatched to meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998 (the year of bin Laden’s fatwa demanding the killing of all Americans, as well as the embassy bombings)?
Saddam’s official press lionizing bin Laden as “an Arab and Islamic hero” following the 1998 embassy bombing attacks?
The continued insistence of high-ranking Clinton administration officials to the 9/11 Commission that the 1998 retaliatory strikes (after the embassy bombings) against a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory were justified because the factory was a chemical weapons hub tied to Iraq and bin Laden? Top Clinton administration counterterrorism official Richard Clarke’s assertions, based on intelligence reports in 1999, that Saddam had offered bin Laden asylum after the embassy bombings, and Clarke’s memo to then-National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, advising him not to fly U-2 missions against bin Laden in Afghanistan because he might be tipped off by Pakistani Intelligence, and “[a]rmed with that knowledge, old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad”? (See 9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 134 & n.135.)
Terror master Abu Musab Zarqawi's choice to boogie to Baghdad of all places when he needed surgery after fighting American forces in Afghanistan in 2001?
Saddam's Intelligence Service running a training camp at Salman Pak, were terrorists were instructed in tactics for assassination, kidnapping and hijacking?
Former CIA Director George Tenet’s October 7, 2002 letter to Congress, which asserted:
Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.
We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade.
Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.
Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.
We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.
Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action."
So well done Pres. Bush. Keep talking about Saddam and Al Qaeda.
Beyond 9-11, Pres. Bush needs to take an extremely aggressive posture against Syria and Iran. In simple terms, these two countries need to be reminded that the US will not tolerate more violations of the border.
Simply put, US planes, and ground troops if required, will enter those countries and blow up terrorists camps.
We will use the British Navy's resolve to end piracy in the 18th century: no safe havens.
It's very simple. We will kill terrorists, whether they are hiding in Iraq or anywhere else.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
My nightly routine is starting to look like this. Get home around 6pm. Watch O'Reilly at 7pm and keep an eye on the Rangers' game. Or, I watch O'Reilly at 10pm if I get home later from school.
No matter what, I try to catch O'Reilly.
Let me make a prediction for 2008. The winner of the next presidential election will accept an invitation to the O'Reilly Factor. The loser won't.
O'Reilly is 2 for 2 on this point. Bush went on the Factor twice. Gore and Kerry avoided him. Who won? Who lost?
O'Reilly is a very good interviewer. You cannot go to the Factor and avoid tough questions.
Bush didn't. O'Reilly was very respectful but tough.
Kerry made excuses and did not go. It cost him about 3 million households who tune in to O'Reilly every night!
Democrats hate O'Reilly. They say that FOX News is a branch of the Republican party and that Bill O'Reilly is the district manager.
Why do they hate O'Reilly? Bill O'Reilly is the biggest force in cable news. His ratings are spectacular. He reaches more people than anyone else.
Why would they hate a successful TV host?
O'Reilly is outspoken on the war on terror. He understands that we either kill the terrorists or they will kill us. He has been very critical of the liberal media's negative coverage of the war. His latest column goes to the heart of liberal media bias:
"No country can win a conflict the way the USA is fighting the war on terror. Every move the Bush administration makes is scrutinized, criticized and roundly chastised by dissenters who firmly believe the President, himself, is responsible for much of the anti-American hatred around the world."
Of course, the liberals hate O'Reilly for saying this. But O'Reilly is right. You can't fight a politically correct war.
"The war on terror is the ultimate war. If Al Qaeda gets nuclear weapons, those people will use them."
Liberals hate more than O'Reilly. They hate FOX News with the same irrational fervor that they hate Bush.
What's wrong with FOX? Nothing. I see more liberal vs. conservatives debates than anywhere else. There are big time liberals on FOX, such as Susan Estrich, Mort Kondracke and Juan Williams. Allan Colmes is one half of Hannity-Colmes, a nightly liberal vs conservative talk show.
Very liberal Susan Estrich came out in defense of Fox News. She warned the liberals to concentrate on winning elections rather than attacking the network.
Estrich said something very important: "Three times as many people watch Fox every day as watch CNN."
You cannot communicate with the American people by avoiding FOX. You cannot connect with the voters by calling them ignorant for watching FOX.
You can read Susan Estrich's full article at http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0621/p09s02-coop.html.
When is Hillary Clinton going to sit down with Bill O'Reilly? Senator Clinton continues to avoid O'Reilly.
Hillary Clinton does not want to answer questions. She wants to sail to the nomination without a debate or answering any questions.
It will work for Hillary Clinton until she is actually running against a Republican.
So it may be good for Sen. Clinton to get some practice and visit O'Reilly.
Hillary Clinton has no experience in a competitive campaign. She needs to get some practice at answering direct questions. So far, Hillary Clinton's biggest opponent was Rick Lazio, a congressman who replaced Rudy Guliani when he retired from the race because of a cancer problem.
Unlike her husband, Hillary Clinton has not done a lot of press conferences. She has not debated anyone. She is very green and needs lots of practice. No one really knows how Hillary will hold up in the intense nature of a campaign.
Liberals may love Hillary Clinton. But smart liberals have to wonder if she can play in primetime.
So far, we don't know.
From a conservative standpoint, I would not want our side to invest its electoral fortunes on someone who have never been in a competitive campaign.
Eisenhower is the only person in the 20th century who ran for office without campaign experience on his resume.
Hillary is not Ike!
O'Reilly could give Hillary Clinton what she desperately needs. Questions, tough questions!
The road to the White House will travel through the O'Reilly show. Avoid O'Reilly and liberals may find themselves on the losing side again.
Monday, June 27, 2005
A week ago, the Rangers were headed to LA trailing the Angels by 1.5 games. Most of us were looking forward to winning at least one game and trailing LA by 2.5 games. Unfortunately, the Rangers' pitching just fell apart and LA swept the series.
Over the weekend, the Rangers dropped 2 in Houston. They got good pitching from Chan Ho Park but lost 3-2 in extra innings!
The 1-5 road trip means that the Rangers are 6.5 games back as the Angels arrive in Arlington for a 4 game series.
Is it over for the young Rangers?
It could be if they lose 3 of 4 in the upcoming series. It won't be a lot of fun trailing a veteran team like the Angels by 8.5 games in late June.
So the Rangers need to take 3 and get back to 4.5 games, which is still a workable deficit at this stage of the season.
The Rangers are a young team but they have great character. I'm not ready to write off this young team just yet.
Of course, there is always the wild card option. The Rangers trail the fading Orioles by 3 in the wild card standing but only 2 in the loss column.
In past years, the AL wild card belonged to Boston and Oakland. We have not had a good wild card fight in the AL in years.
So maybe we can look forward to that in Texas.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Karl Rove is a political genius. He set a trap and the Democrat leadership fell for it like blind mice.
Democrats made a strategic mistake to challenge Rove's words. They have given Rove & Republicans a chance to reprint everything that Soros & Moore said about fighting terrorism.
It would have been a lot smarter for Democrats to agree with Karl Rove about Moore & Soros liberals than to agree with moveon.org about Rove.
Again, Rove is a genius.
What did Rove say? According to NY's Newsday, this is what Rove said:
"Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war.
Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said we must understand our enemies."
Take note that Rove did not say Democrats. He used the word liberals.
The reality is that most Democrats are not liberals. In fact, most state Democrat parties spend a lot of their time distancing themselves from the national platform because it is too liberal for places like Iowa or Tennessee.
Last year, state parties in Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana did not invite Hillary Clinton or John Kerry to campaign for their governor candidates. They did not invite Bill Clinton or Al Gore either. They did not invite any of the Dem candidates seeking the '04 nomination.
Salazar, the new Democrat Senator from Colorado, distanced himself from Kerry and ran a center to right campaign.
Today, a group of rural Democrats in Oregon is asking for more explicit support of the right to bear arms in the official party platform. The gun control issue costs them dearly at election time in parts of Eastern Oregon, Baker County Democrats said. (East Oregonian, June 24, 2005: http://www.eastoregonian.info/print.asp?ArticleID=40872&SectionID=13&SubSectionID=206)
Gun control, abortion, and same sex marriage kill Democrats in rural areas.
So how did Democrats react? They immediately called for Rove's resignation. Yet, Rove did not mention the word democrat in his presentation. He was talking about liberals.
Rove is a genius. The Democrats need someone like Rove.
Nevertheless, was Rove correct about Moore & Soros? Well, let's look at the evidence. What did they say after 9-11?
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman distributed a rather conclusive list of what Moore & Soros said. Let's read the list:
"We, The Undersigned, Citizens And Residents Of The United States Of America Appeal To The President Of The United States, George W. Bush And To All Leaders Internationally To Use Moderation And Restraint In Responding To The Recent Terrorist Attacks Against The United States. (MoveOn.Org Website, MoveOn Peace http://web.archive.org/web/20021127190638/peace.moveon.org/petition.php3, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)
We Implore The Powers That Be To Use, Wherever Possible, International Judicial Institutions And International Human Rights Law To Bring To Justice Those Responsible For The Attacks, Rather Than The Instruments Of War, Violence Or Destruction. (MoveOn.Org Website, MoveOn Peace http://web.archive.org/web/20021127190638/peace.moveon.org/petition.php3, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)
[W]e Demand That There Be No Recourse To Nuclear, Chemical Or Biological Weapons, Or Any Weapons Of Indiscriminate Destruction, And Feel That It Is Our Inalienable Human Right To Live In A World Free Of Such Arms. (MoveOn.Org Website, MoveOn Peace http://web.archive.org/web/20021127190638/peace.moveon.org/petition.php3, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)
Just After 9/11, Liberal Filmmaker Michael Moore Derided Terror And Bloodshed Committed By Americans. (David Brooks, Op-Ed, 'All Hail Moore' The New York Times, 6/26/04)
Just After 9/11, Moore Blamed America Taxpayer-Funded Terrorism And Bush Administration For Terrorist Attacks. We abhor terrorism unless were the ones doing the terrorizing. We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me. Let's s mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate let's examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in. (Michael Moore Website Archive, Death, Downtown, Posted 9/12/01, www.michaelmoore.com, Accessed 7/27/04)
Michael Moore Said U.S. Should Not Have Removed Taliban After 9/11. Moore: Likewise, to bomb Afghanistan I mean, I've never understood this, Tim. (CNBC Tim Russert,10/19/02)
"War is a false and misleading metaphor in the context of combating terrorism. Treating the attacks of September 11 as crimes against humanity would have been more appropriate. Crimes require police work, not military action. To protect against terrorism, you need precautionary measures, awareness, and intelligence gathering all of which ultimately depend on the support of the populations among which terrorists operate. Imagine for a moment that September 11 had been treated as a crime. We would have pursued Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but we would not have invaded Iraq. Nor would we have our military struggling to perform police work in full combat gear and getting killed in the process." (George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy, 2004, p. 18)
Soros Said The Execution Of 9/11 Attacks Could Not Have Been More Spectacular. Admittedly, the terrorist attack was a historic event in its own right. Hijacking fully loaded airplanes and using them as suicide bombs was an audacious idea, and the execution could not have been more spectacular. (George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy, 2004, p. 2)
Soros Said War On Terror Had Claimed More Innocent Victims Than 9/11 Attack Itself. This is a very tough thing to say, but the fact is, that the war on terror as conducted by this administration, has claimed more innocent victims that the original attack itself.(George Soros, Remarks At Take Back America Conference, Washington, DC, 6/3/04)
End of quotes and links. I rest my case.
Rove was indeed correct about liberals. Liberals did not want to fight against Osama. I said liberals. I did not say Democrats and neither did Rove.
What would have been a smart reply from the Democrats?
They should have made the following statement:
"Rove is right about Soros & Moore. The anti-war left wing portion of our party did not want us to go to war against Osama. In fact, this anti-war left wing is a drag on our party. They have created the national security deficit that kills our party in presidential elections. They are the reason that we have lost 7 of the last 10 elections. They are the reason that no Democrat nominee has received 50% of the popular vote since '64. The secular left wing branch of our party is responsible for the Senate and House losses in the last 10 years. They are the reason that we have lost the middle class. In conclusion, we can't win elections because we are hanging around people like Michael Moore and the clan from moveon.org"
There are lots of Democrats in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Texas who would cheer loudly if a presidential candidate stand up and make that statement.
Of course, Democrats won't make that statement for one reason. The anti-war left is the biggest source of cash for today's Democrat party.
Follow the money and you will understand why the party of Harry Truman is now the party of George Soros.
PS You can check out more on how moveon.org reacted to 9-11 by reading Byron York's latest article in The National Review. The link is: (http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200506241146.asp)
Friday, June 24, 2005
NPR is one of my favorite radio networks. I enjoy "Morning Edition" and live congressional hearings. PBS does good TV work, such as "American Experience" and "News Hour".
However, it's time to take NPR and PBS to the market. It's time to end taxpayers' subsidies.
30 years ago, PBS and NPR had a very special place in the American media landscape. Today, it makes no sense. There are 200 stations in my cable system, including 2 CSPANs, several local public service channels and lots of others. Talk radio provides ample political coverage.
Small towns are served by cable systems, too. Also, people have satellite dishes. PBS programming could easily be diverted into any of these channels.
According to a report I read years ago, "The News Hour" has millions of viewers. Therefore, it won't have any trouble finding a commercial network to pick up its broadcast. No one is going to give up millions of loyal viewers. ("The News Hour" is one of my daily habits)
CNN or MSNBC average less than a million viewers at prime time. Either one would love to pick up "The News Hour" and add new viewers.
PBS and NPR should go private and let the chips fall where they may.
I agree with Rep. Ernest Istook Jr ( R-Okla.) He told the AP:
"Americans get a broad range of news, music, children's programs and more from a wide range of broadcasters...When we have massive deficits, we don't need to subsidize a select group of broadcasters with taxpayers' money."
Sorry Big Bird but the subsidy is over!
Thursday, June 23, 2005
We saw this movie before. In fact, I saw this movie last summer.
It goes like this: there is panic about Iraq, sagging Bush poll numbers, doubts about the direction of our Iraq policy and so on! In the end, Bush gets 51% of the popular vote, carries 31 states, adds 4 Senators and becomes the first president since FDR to gain seats in 3 consecutive elections.
Are the polls really that bad? What are the polls really saying?
I have never bet my life on polls. I don't dismiss them either but I don't live and die with them. I believe that presidents should govern from conviction and let the polls take care of themselves.
Indeed, there is concern about the war. Americans have always been concerned about war. We did not take polls back in the Civil War or other wars. However, Americans have always been weary of sending their sons to fight in wars. Nobody wants to send their son to die in a war. No one who lives in a free and prosperous country wants to send their son to a war.
Democracies go to war reluctantly. This is why it is better to have democracies in Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Democratically elected leaders can not afford to spend their time building nuclear weapons. Instead, they have to make sure that the traffic lights are working and the water is running. Unlike dictators, elected leaders get thrown out when they are not responding to their constituents' needs.
Back to the polls. Is the country going to turn on Bush? My answer is no.
I agree with David Brooks of The New York Times:
"I can't believe they want to abandon to the Zarqawis and the Baathists those 8.5 million Iraqis who held up purple fingers on Election Day. I can't believe they are yet ready to accept a terrorist-run state in the heart of the Middle East, a civil war in Iraq, the crushing of democratic hopes in places like Egypt and Iran, and the ruinous consequences for American power and prestige."
Wesley Pruden of The Washington Times comments on the polls:
"Gallup says 6 in 10 Americans polled think it's time to start bringing the troops home, which is no surprise because Americans, to the everlasting credit to the home of the brave, don't like war.
But large numbers of Americans also tell pollsters that they're not of a mind to cut and run, either. So go figure."
Richard Brookhiser of The New York Observer comments further on the polls:
"The situation in Iraq is not good. That's what the polls say. When The New York Times/CBS poll asked, "How are things going for the U.S. in its efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq?", 7 percent said very well, 33 percent said somewhat well, 34 percent said somewhat badly, and 26 percent said very badly.
I would have said somewhat well and somewhat badly, though that was not a choice."
My question is this: What are these polls really saying?
The American public is in no mood to cut and run from Iraq. Yet, Pres. Bush needs to raise the volume and make the case for the war again and again.
We did not have a choice between war and peace in '03.
I agree with Clinton adviser Sandy Berger who said "...Saddam's history of aggression, and his recent record of deception and defiance, leave no doubt that he would resume his drive for regional domination if he had the chance."
Robert Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote one of the best articles on Iraq for The Washington Post on Sunday, June 19, 2005:
"It is entirely possible, in short, that if the Bush administration had not gone to war in 2003, the United States might have faced a more dangerous and daring Saddam Hussein later on and felt compelled to act.
So, in addition to whatever price might have been paid, certainly by the Iraqi people and possibly by Iraq's neighbors, for leaving Saddam in power, we might have wound up going to war anyway."
As I have said, it was now or later for the US vs Saddam. Sooner or later, Saddam would have confronted the US again.
The big political problem for Bush is that we have not found the WMDs.
If US troops had discovered a "nuclear warehouse" then Bush would have won the '04 election by 25 points. Additionally, John Kerry would have reminded all that he voted for the war because Saddam had WMDs and represented a threat to the world. Nancy Pelosi would have done the same thing.
The lack of WMDs has opened up a vulnerability for Bush. The anti-war left is exploiting it shamefully. It gives countries like France, who agreed that Saddam had WMDs, an opportunity to say that we should have waited for inspections.
Sorry. The inspections were not working. The sanctions regime was falling apart. Frankly, the UN had no serious interest in fixing the Iraq problem.
I am not ready to accept that Saddam did not have WMDs. I think that Richard Brookhiser is correct:
"We invaded Iraq because we thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. He certainly hoped to get them, sooner or later, and I believe we will not know until the Assad estate is probated how close he had come."
We thought that Saddam had WMDs and everyone else agreed with us. Have we forgotten what the 2002 UN Resolution said? Let me quote some excerpts:
"Recognizing the threat Iraq's noncompliance with council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security.....Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991).....Deploring further that Iraq repeatedly obstructed immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to sites designated by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), failed to cooperate fully and unconditionally with UNSCOM and IAEA weapons inspectors, as required by resolution 687 (1991), and ultimately ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA in 1998..... Deploring the absence, since December 1998, in Iraq of international monitoring, inspection, and verification, as required by relevant resolutions, of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, in spite of the council's repeated demands that Iraq provide immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission....Deploring also that the Government of Iraq has failed to comply with its commitments pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) with regard to terrorism....Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution....Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq.....that the council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations...."
Stick to the plan, Mr. President. You are right and your critics are wrong.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Kofi Annan has just published an op-ed piece in The Washington Post citing progress in Iraq. (You can see the entire article by going to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/20/AR2005062001176.html)
On the surface, it's nice to hear that the head of the UN is saying positive things about Iraq. This is very pleasant given that he once called it an "illegal war".
This is the same Kofi Annan who looked the other way as UN members cheated and lied about Iraq. According to Edith M. Lederer of the AP:
"Saddam "cleverly exploited" sanctions in a variety of ways, granting "oil and humanitarian supply contracts to those willing to bend the rules in Iraq's favor."
Iraq's supporters on the Security Council included Russia, China and France until mid-2001 when it backed a U.S.-British sanctions proposal.
Other supporters included Iraq's neighbors - Jordan, Syria and Turkey - who received smuggled Iraqi oil."
Where was Kofi? The UN had detailed knowledge of how Saddam Hussein was violating sanctions but everybody looked the other way!
Where was Kofi? Maybe he was attending a human rights meeting hosted by Cuba or Sudan? Maybe he was studying another anti-Israel resolution?
What's up with Kofi now? Why is Kofi trying to make Bush happy?
Let me be very cynical. Kofi is trying to save his job and do a little legacy mending.
Why would Kofi want to give up a job, with a chauffeur, an office in New York City and a generous expense account? Where is Kofi going to find another job like that?
Kofi is also smart enough to know that history won't be kind to a UN chief who let the organization turn into a corrupt rat hole.
Kofi is under investigation because of some recent memos that contradict his public statements about a business relationship with his son. Kofi and son are knee deep in the Oil for Food scandal, which is the largest state sponsored theft of a nation's resources in modern history.
Why isn't the left marching in front of the UN calling on France et al to return some of that money to the Iraqi people? Wouldn't they'd be doing that if Enron or Halliburton were accused of such theft?
In simple English: vote for Saddam and he gives you money! In Mexico, they call this a "mordida".
Kofi is also getting reports that the House of Representatives is sick and tired of picking up 22% of the UN's budget. The American public is fed up with the corruption at the UN.
Let me give you an example of what goes on at the UN. David Asman of FOX NEWS wrote today "
"That's why eyebrows were raised when The New York Sun reported that Mr. Malloch Brown rents his house from Bush critic George Soros, whose Open Society Institute has cooperated with the United Nations in the past.
The Soros house rents for $120,000 a year, just $8,000 less than Mr. Malloch Brown??s entire take-home pay. Mr. Malloch Brown says that he gets no price break from his friend Mr. Soros and pays for his rental with savings.
Mr. Malloch Brown also says he disagrees with Mr. Soros??s tireless campaign against John Bolton to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the U.N. But house cleaning at the U.N. isn??t going to be made any easier when house deals like this one raise interest in the press."
I need a house deal like that. We all do!
So thank you Kofi.
Thank you for saying some nice things about Iraq.
I think that Kofi Annan needs to go.
Sorry Kofi. It's time for you to go back to whatever country you came from.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
A public opinion poll from France shows that an overwhelming 70 percent of the French people believe the United States is not a loyal ally.
The feeling is mutual as most Americans can't stand the French either.
Question: Who liberated France from Germany?
Question: Why didn't Soviet tanks march into Paris?
The answer to both questions is the US.
First, the US liberated France in '44 from German occupation. (On June 6, 1944 a mighty armada crossed a narrow strip of sea from England to France and cracked the Nazi grip. (http://search.eb.com/dday)
Second, the US was the backbone behind NATO which allowed the French to live free of Soviet tanks.
The French need to read their history and focus on their own problems, such as creating jobs and having babies!
It is the French who are not a very good ally. The French can call the UN the next time that someone occupies their homeland.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Mark Steyn is a Canadian columnist. Like Christopher Hitchens, they cover the US with an international perspective. Steyn's latest column gets to the heart of the Durbin controversy:
"This isn't a Republican vs Democrat thing; it's about senior Democrats who are so over-invested in their hatred of a passing administration that they've signed on to the nuttiest slurs of the lunatic fringe." ( http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn19.html )
Over the last 35 years, liberals have irresponsibly used Hitler analogies when referring to Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush and Bush.
Maybe Sen. Durbin's stupid remarks will be the end of this reckless and irresponsible game.
First, everyone knows the Hitler story. Our Jewish friends know this story better than anyone else.
The world paid a heavy price because the Europeans were too busy enjoying wine and sidewalk cafes to stand up to this madman in the 30s.
50 million dead in WW2 because no one had the courage to stand up to Hitler until it was almost too late. There is always a Zapatero in Europe, whether it is the 1930s or the present!
Over the years, I have seen antiwar demonstrators carry placards equating Republican presidents with Hitler.
Over in Europe, millions have marched with signs of Hitler and American presidents.
The irony is that it was the US who liberated the Europeans from Hitler.
500,000 young Americans died in this war. They are the biggest heroes. 10,000 are buried in France, not far from where idiots walk around with placards equating Republican presidents with Hitler.
Maybe Sen. Durbin has done us a big favor.
Maybe the American left has finally learned its lesson.
Maybe the American left, and its international subsidiaries, will understand that there is a difference between Reagan and Hitler or between Bush and Hitler.
Maybe the American left will finally learn that you do not win elections comparing Bush to Hitler.
It doesn't work.
Most Americans are smart enough to understand that!
By the way, Sen. Durbin is going to be the feature speaker at a Democrat fundraiser next week. It was scheduled weeks ago.
I wonder if any Democrats will have the courage to walk out in protest.
I wonder if Ted Kennedy will say something since his older brother Joe was killed fighting Hitler.
I wonder if the Al Jazeera reporter will ask Durbin to comment on their latest "investigative report" of how Americans torture innocent souls in Guantanamo.
Let me close with Mark Steyn:
"Just for the record, some 15 million to 30 million Soviets died in the gulag; some 6 million Jews died in the Nazi camps; some 2 million Cambodians -- one third of the population -- died in the killing fields.
Nobody's died in Gitmo, not even from having Christina Aguilera played to them excessively loudly"
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Let me extend a wonderful salute to all of the fathers and grandfathers of the world.
I want to pay special attention to the "cubanos", all of those fathers who brought us here years ago. They paid a heavy sacrifice to come here. They had to work hard.
So let me say thank you to my dad and my two uncles, who are part of the group.
I want to say thank you for standing up to Castro. Thank you for bringing us here. Thank you for all of the hard work.
My brother, sister and I were very lucky to have such a responsible father. He taught us good values. He also treated my mother with respect.
Happy Father's Day.
The biggest social problem in the US is the absence of responsible fathers. We don't need more legislation or some liberal plan to save us from ourselves.
We need more men to be responsible fathers. We need for men to stand up and be real men, and that means being a responsible father!
We have gone from the responsible Mr. Cleaver to the travesty of Mr. Simpson. It is a sickening decline.
In the mid-90s, David Blankenhorn wrote "Fatherless America". This book should be read by every one. It should be required reading.
Later in the 90s, David Popenoe published "Life without Father".
The facts are alarming.
4 of 10 children will go to bed tonight without a father. They have video games and a full stomach but they don't have a father.
The worst part is that 25% of our kids are born out of wedlock. This is a very special problem among blacks.
Remember the "Murphy Brown" spat between VP Quayle and Hollywood? The Hollywood liberals beat up VP Quayle for being antifeminist. Yet, the liberal Atlantic magazine published a lead story the next year called: "Dan Qualye was right".
Fathers are important and necessary. The two parent home is the best welfare program in the world. We need a culture that promotes marriage and responsible parenthood.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting editorial: "The Doughnut Democrats: Whatever happened to the party's middle?" (www.opinionjournal.com)
It goes on to say:
"A centrist group of Democrats called Third Way recently issued a report explaining the Democrats' 2004 election debacle. It concluded that voters with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 a year, or almost half the electorate, delivered "healthy victories" for President Bush and Republicans in Congress.
The report concludes: "Rather than being the party of the middle class, Democrats face a huge crisis with middle-income voters."
Why is that?
One reason is that the party of FDR and JFK no longer seems to have a moderate wing; they have become doughnut Democrats with no middle. This point is best exemplified by the utter collapse of Democrats in the South.
In 1980 there were 20 mostly conservative Democrats in the Senate; now there are four, and even they are endangered.
• With the notable exception of Joe Lieberman, there are virtually no Scoop Jackson defense hawks remaining in a party that has made Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo its main policy touchstones for the war on terror."
Speaking of southern democtrats, Martin Frost, the Texas Democrat congressman who was defeated in '04, warns his party that more losses are ahead if they do not change their ways. Frost was my congressman for about a year when I moved to Texas. He had a centrist reputation. He was a pro-business Democrat. Frost understood that wealth has to be created before it is distributed. He was a strong supporter of the Gulf War and the current Iraq War. During the campaign, Frost ran TV ads saying that he supported Bush more often than his Republican opponent. He lost anyway.
This is what Frost just wrote:
"What must Democrats do to improve their standing among white middle class voters in order to start winning national elections again, both for the presidency and for Congress?
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the answer does not start with economic issues.
It starts with national security.
Many middle class voters supported Republicans in 2004 because they were not convinced that Democrats would keep them safe -- either at home or abroad." (www.foxnews.com)
And now we have Sen. Durbin's remarks about Gitmo:
""If I read this [e-mail] to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."
What a joke!
First of all, how can anyone in their right mind associate US soldiers with those criminals?
American soldiers have liberated people from these criminals. It was US soldiers that unlocked the Nazi concentration camps. It was the US, from Truman to the first Bush, who stood strong against the USSR and eventually liberated the gulags.
What was Durbin thinking?
Indeed, some mistakes were made at the prison or Gitmo. Yet, there is no comparison.
Yet, this is what has happened to the Democrats. This is what the WSJ is talking about.
The "Doughnut Democrats" need these remarks to feed the insatiable appetite of the left for Bush bashing.
As they say "follow the money". The Democrats are getting their money from this left wing column. The partisans send money and the public officeholders give them Bush bashing.
According to Wesley Pruden of the Wash Times:
"His Democratic colleagues, despairing of buttoning the lip on the fattest mouth in the United States Senate, tried yesterday to avoid the senator and his firestorm, much like embarrassed parents whose four-year-old used the f-word in describing to dinner guests what daddy said to mommy.
Harry Reid first hid between a bookcase and the Xerox machine and sent a female aide out to take the heat. She could tell reporters only that Mr. Durbin had "spotlighted" a problem and everyone ought to take "the FBI's concerns" seriously, although the FBI had said nothing at all about "the problem."
Hillary Clinton, having wrapped up the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and eager not to offend allies before actual campaigning starts, insisted that she hadn't read "the senator's speech." When a reporter read the offending passage to her she could only say, primly, that she had nothing to say."
Sen Durbin did reply with sort of an apology:
"I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood," said the Illinois senator.
"I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."
Veteran groups are not happy. They shouldn't be. Bush killed Kerry among veterans in '04. The party of Michael Moore is apparently determined to continue its suicidal techniques.
The American Legion posted a statement on its Web site calling the senator's speech "outlandish remarks against U.S. military personnel."
"There are lies and there are damn lies," said Mr. Cadmus. "Sen. Durbin knows better and owes every man and woman in the United States Armed Forces an apology for his totally inaccurate remarks comparing our sons and daughters to crimes of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot."
Durbin blamed the right wing media, probably Fox News. Why not? Make a stupid speech and then blame it on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.
Poor Joe Lieberman. The party of John Kennedy, Harry Truman and Scoop Jackson has turned into the party of Dick Durbin, Michael Moore and Whoopie Goldberg.
Friday, June 17, 2005
As everyone knows, I am not a fan of Sen. Hillary Clinton. I have written at length about her.
Hillary is a 60s liberal who will say whatever it takes to win an election. She will move to the center or to the right. It depends on the latest poll!
Yet, Hillary Clinton should not be attacked by vicious books.
Ed Klein has just written a book about Hillary Clinton. It is titled "The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President".
Unfortunately, it is very personal. It claims that Bill raped Hillary and that she is a closet homosexual.
Sorry. I don't care. This stuff should stay out of the political discourse.
Let's not turn Hillary into a victim, a role that she played so well when her husband sent her to "The Today Show" to warn of us of the right wing conspiracy.
Hillary Clinton should be attacked because she is a liberal. All of this personal stuff is out of bounds. It should stop.
Let me say something about these books and their authors. We have reached a point in this country that public celebrities must be able to defend themselves against these tasteless books. It is unfair. No one should be attacked like this.
I hope that Sen. Clinton sues Klein and wins!
Back to the real stuff. Hillary Clinton is an ultraliberal and we can defeat her by simply sticking to her record.
Sen. Clinton is rated as the 11th most liberal senator by National Journal, just next to Ted Kennedy. Her liberal quotient, according to Americans for Democratic Action, is 95 percent, contrasted with 85 percent for the party as a whole. (Source: Dick Morris, The Hill: http://thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Comment/DickMorris/061505.html)
Rasmussen Reports is running something called "The Hillary Meter". It keeps track of current attitudes about the likely 2008 Democrat nominee.
Rasmussen points out:
"Ideologically, there is little change in perceptions of New York's junior Senator compared to recent surveys. Forty-four percent (44%) continue to believe that she is politically liberal. In January, before Clinton launched an effort to moderate perceptions of her political views, 51% believed that liberal was the right label for the Senator's political views." (www.rasmussenreports.com)
So drop the personal attacks. We don't need them. The best thing that we can say about Hillary Clinton is that she is a liberal. We have plenty of ammunition to make our point!
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Maybe I'm old fashioned. I love baseball on the radio. Of course, I like to watch the games on TV but a good radio announcer is still my favorite.
Mark Holtz will be added to the Rangers' Hall of Fame on Friday. Holtz was the radio voice of the Rangers from 1982 until '97, when he died of cancer.
He was great. He made a very bad team interesting. Mark had terrible Rangers' teams for much of his broadcasting career. Yet, it was fun to turn on the radio at 7:30 PM and hear Mark introduce the starting lineup.
Sadly, Holtz passed away and was not around for the '98 and '99 division titles. He did broadcast the '96 season, including the Friday night pennant clincher, the first one in team history. The Rangers clinched in the 10th inning of the 160th game when the news came in that Oakland had beaten Seattle. It was pure joy to hear Mark Holtz say that the Rangers were the AL West champs for '96. It was just great!
I have an audio tape of Mark's three greatest moments. I made the tape directly from the radio.
First, it was Nolan Ryan's 6th no hitter in Oakland. ("The Ryan Express has done it again"....screamed Holtz as the team mobbed Ryan)
Second, Ryan's 7th no hitter. ("He struck him out swinging" was the last line of the game)
Third, Kenny Rogers' perfect game from the summer of '94.
Once in a while, I play the audio tape and enjoy the magic of Mark Holtz.
He was not a smooth Vince Scouly but he was great.
The Dallas Morning News has an expanded article on Mark's selection.
You can read it at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/stories/061605dnsporanghall.117b5b21.html
Baseball is a wonderful game.
Yet, I'm getting old when the Rangers are drafting the sons of my favorite former major leaguers.
The Rangers' roster includes Sandy Alomar Jr. and Gary Matthews Jr.
I remember their fathers. In fact, Sandy Alomar was the Angels' lead off hitter in the Brewers' first game back in 1970. I was there!
Gary Matthews was a tough hitter who helped the Phillies and Cubs win division titles back in the mid-80s.
John Mayberry was a pretty decent first baseman for the Kansas City Royals in the 70s. Those were the days when small market teams could compete because the financial structure of the game was better.
In fact, the best baseball teams in the late 70s were in places like Kansas City, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.
The KC Royals won the AL West in '76, '77, '78 and '80. They lost to the NYYankees three times but finally made it to the World Series in '80.
Montreal, now the Nationals, developed the best young outfield in the game in the late 70s: Cromartie, Valentine and Dawson. They also had a young catcher named Gary Carter.
The Pirates won the Series in '79 and several division titles as well.
Milwaukee built great teams in the late 70s by developing future Hall of Famers like Monitor & Young and making some great trades.
I miss those days. I have nothing against the NYYankees. They are doing business in the current system. Yet, it does make it hard for small market teams to stay competitive and keep top players.
Back to Mayberry. His son just got drafted by the Rangers and hopes to be in the majors in a couple of years. It makes me feel old.
Good luck John, Jr.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
It's amazing to me that anyone takes the UN seriously anymore. Liberals invested so much of their anti-Iraq war views on the UN. I don't get it. They invested all of their hopes and dreams on UN inspections that did not inspect WMDs. They sided with corrupt countries who were too eager to take Saddam's money in exchange for a veto.
How do get a French veto? You buy it with Saddam's oil contracts!
We have learned in today's Wall Street Journal that Kofi Annan "...may have lied to Paul Volcker's Independent Inquiry investigating the U.N.'s Oil for Food scandal."
The article goes on:
"The memo, written by an employee of the Swiss Inspections Company Cotecna that was then bidding for an Oil for Food contract, indicates that the Secretary-General and his "entourage" met in Paris with representatives of Cotecna in November 1998: "Their collective advice was that . . . we could count on their support." Cotecna, which also employed Mr. Annan's son Kojo, won the contract the following month. Yet the Secretary-General has steadfastly insisted he had no knowledge of their bid, and he now says through a spokesman that he "has no recollection" of the Paris exchange."
Maybe Kofi forgot. We're all entitled to "a senior moment". Or maybe Kofi lied. I'm going to put my money on the latter.
Why did the anti-Bushies invest all of their hopes and dreams on the UN?
It makes no sense.
After all, Pres. Clinton couldn't get the UN to support him on Bosnia or Iraq.
This is why Clinton went around the UN in '95 and sent troops to Bosnia under the NATO auspices.
This is why Clinton bombed Iraq in '98 without consulting with the UN Security Council. Clinton simply said that the violations of the the '91 cease gave him the legal right to attack Iraq.
Congressman Henry Hyde is holding some hearings on the future of the UN and more specifically, the future of UN funding. Peter Brookes, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a New York Post columnist, comments on Hyde's bill:
"As it stands now, without serious congressional pressure, reforms are likely to languish until the new secretary-general is in place - at best. At worst, reform will be frustrated ad infinitum by the U.N.'s entrenched bureaucracy.
The bill also demands some long-overdue U.N. adjustments. For instance: It gives the largest U.N. donors a stronger voice on how resources are allocated, using "weighted voting."
The three largest contributors - America, Japan and Germany - cover 50 percent of the U.N. budget, while the lowest 128 contributors (of 191 U.N. nations) together give less than 1 percent.
The act also slashes the outrageous spending on U.N. conferences. The world body spent a staggering $565 million over the last two years on meetings - the single largest portion of its budget.
And what of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights - whose members have included highly repressive states such as Libya, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and China? Hyde's bill recommends replacing the commission with a council that would contain no human-rights abusers. (The bill could be improved on the House floor with an amendment requiring council to be democracies, too.)"
Let me be fair. The UN does some good things. It has the potential for doing some wonderful things. Yet, how can anyone even pay attention to the UN anymore?
It's time for the US to demand some changes at the UN or we will pull out.
We pay 22% of the budget.
We have the right to demand a UN that does more than attack Israel every other minute or engage in corruption.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
The Canto Blog celebrates a few changes and a lot more opinions.
I started this blog on October 29th by predicting the reelection of Bush 52-47% and about 300 electoral votes.
It turned out 51-48% and 286 EVs. I was wrong about New Jersey. I thought that NJersey would flip for Bush because of all of the corruption and Dem scandals in that state.
Keep reading it. I don't offend anyone but I tell where I stand.
The Canto Blog's new look includes a wonderful quote from Pres. Reagan. It also includes links and an archive section. You can check past blogs weekly.
Again, we thank you for your support!
Monday, June 13, 2005
The so called Downing Street memo is the latest edition of the "Bush lied about WMDs" story.
According to the memo, Bush & Blair planned to attack Iraq in 2002.
I remember the summer of '02. I remember all of the newspaper stories about military plans, "shock and awe", etc. Indeed, Bush had ordered military plans for an invasion of Iraq.
What's the big deal about this memo?
James S. Robbins is senior fellow in national-security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council . He has written an article entitled: "Causing a Commotion, Downing Street Memo is old news."
You can read entire article at:
As Mr. Robbins concludes:
"Looking at the document in context it is hard to see what the commotion is about. Most of what might be thought sensational has already been written about elsewhere, to little fanfare. The charge of intelligence fraud (if it is such a charge) has already been investigated and found baseless. And the allegations that the president had already decided to go to war and was thus deceiving the American people are personal opinions based on unsubstantiated impressions from unnamed sources."
Even liberal Michael Kinsley had to say something about it. In the LA Times, Kinsely wrote "The Left Gets a Memo". You can read it for yourself. Even Kinsley admits that there is no smoking gun here:
Kinsely is not buying the memo. Read it for yourself.
Another good article on the memo is "About that supposed smoking-gun memo" by Tod Lindberg" from The Weekly Standard:
"There we have it in black and white: Bush lied about WMD and cooked the intelligence to support his position. At last, proof enough to start the impeachment proceedings.
Except, of course, that the folks peddling this story have long been convinced that Bush lied and cooked the intelligence.
The question is: What have they got that will persuade someone who is not already a member of the ne plus ultra Bush-hating left? The answer is nothing. "The left and right agree on something. There is no smoke in this memo.
Can we finally have a cease fire on the WMD issue?
Jack Kelly is national security writer for the Post-Gazet Blade of Toledo, Ohio. He wrote today:
"Without a hint of irony, Edith Lederer of The Associated Press reported June 3 that U.N. satellite imagery experts have determined that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles has been removed from 109 sites in Iraq."
We've been told repeatedly by those on the Left -- which includes most journalists -- that Bush Lied! when he gave the danger posed by Saddam's WMD programs as one of the reasons for going to war with Iraq.
Did the United Nations lie, too?
Is it lying now?
When did Karl Rove go to work for Kofi Annan?"
I don't have a perfect memory. However, I don't recall anyone saying in March 2003 that the war should be stopped because Saddam did not have WMDs.
Let me repeat: No one said stop this war because Saddam does not have WMDs.
I did not hear Howard Dean say that.
In fact, everyone in the US government was convinced that Saddam had WMDs and represented a threat, and an unacceptable threat after 9-11.
Let's play "memory lane".
On December 16, 1998, Pres. Clinton went on national TV to tell the nation that US and UK planes were bombing Iraq. He reminded Americans that Saddam Hussein was in violation of the '91 cease fire and was shooting at US planes enforcing UN resolutions. He went on to say that Iraq possessed WMDs and Saddam's continued presence in power was a threat to world peace.
Al Gore did not challenge this conclusion. Neither did John Kerry.
During the Iraq debate in October '02, Sen. Kerry and the late Sen. Wellstone asserted that Iraq possessed WMDs and the world would be better without Saddam in power.
During the 9-11 hearings, William Cohen, who was defense secretary during the Clinton administration, said that an "Al-Qaida/Sudan management team was seen in Baghdad meeting with the Iraq officials known to be in charge of Iraq's WMD program."
Last but not least, former Pres. Clinton visited with Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso in October 2003 and said he always believed that Saddam possessed WMD.
If Bush lied then he had lots of company! Let's count the members of this WMD liars club:
1) Bill Clinton and Al Gore
2) The UK government
3) Jacques Chirac
4) The UN Security Council
5) John Kerry and John Edwards
Let's add two more. How about the leaders of Egypt and Jordan. They both told Gen. Tommy Franks that US troops would be met by WMDs around Baghdad.
What the heck! They were lying too.
This "Bush lied" game will go on and on. I guess it will go on as long as liberals lose elections.
It's easier to say that Bush stole the election. It's easier to say that Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq. It makes a lot of people feel better. It also makes a lot of these people look very silly.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
It is a very sad story. How many more stories like this will we read?
The Dallas Morning News reports on the murder of a decent man in Mexico:
"Hours after Alejandro Dominguez was named chief of police in this unruly border city, suspected drug gang members called and urged him to quit.
"Resign, resign, resign," they told him in three urgent phone calls over a 30-minute period Wednesday night, a U.S. investigator said Thursday on condition of anonymity.
When Chief Dominguez refused, gunmen riding in sport-utility vehicles rumbled by his Nuevo Laredo office. They waited for him to emerge and then fired on him at least 35 times with AR-15 assault rifles before driving off, Mexican authorities said.
"Dominguez was president of the Nuevo Laredo Chamber of Commerce. He owned a printing business and an import-export firm here. He also operated ADC Forwarding Inc., a freight forwarding company at the Tejas Industrial Park in Laredo."
You can read the whole article at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/061005dnintpolicechief.2f9639f9d.html
Nuevo Laredo is one of Mexico's Top 15 cities. This is not some little town in the middle of nowhere. It would be like having the police chief of Jacksonville, Florida, shot 35 times by a gang of thugs.
Question: Where was Mr. Dominguez' security escort? How does a gang of killers get this close to a police chief in a large town?
The answer is that Pres. Vicente Fox has lost control of the border. It is run by drug dealers and their armed gangs.
It's time for Pres. Fox to use the Mexican military to meet these thugs head on. Otherwise, the north of Mexico will continue to deteriorate with serious economic consequences to all concerned.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
The Rasmussen Reports indicates today that 50% of American adults approve of Bush and 48% disapprove. That's almost a carbon copy of the election results 8 months ago! More specifically, 55% of marrieds and 43% of singles approve. Again, that's similar to election day '04.
Rasmussen goes on:
"On Election Day, the President's Job Approval was at 52%. During all of 2004, the President's Job Approval ranged from a high of 57% in early January to a low of 48% on May 17. The President's highest rating of 2005 was 54% on February 4."
Here we go again. Some liberals are doing the "crocodile rock" over Bush's approval ratings.
We are now in the latest phase of "liberal denial" about Bush. What I hear now is this: if the elections were today, Kerry would win!
Sorry. The election is not today. Sorry # 2. There is no evidence that Kerry would win one of the 31 states that voted for Bush.
Approval ratings are one of the most overrated and misunderstood measurements in the political arena. What do they mean? What do they translate into?
I will answer that after I say something about polls.
We have more polls than gas stations in the US. It is a daily grind. It seems that journalists do not do journalism anymore. They just do stories based on polls.
Furthermore, how can you believe telephone polls in a nation that does not answer its phones anymore? How can you get a good sample of voters when many people have turned off their land lines and gone cellular? It's a real challenge for pollsters to reach a good sample of voters today.
I do think that Gallup does a good job. Gallup has an excellent track record on presidential elections. Rasmussen is another good service. The Battleground Poll is also good because it is done by a Republican and Democrat team.
Beyond that, I do not live and die with polls. I still remember the Newsweek poll that had Gore up by 9 points in 2000 and Clinton up by 12 in 1992. I still remember Zogby saying that Kerry would definitely win in '04.
So don't bet your life on polls.
We do remember those mid-afternoon "exit polls" in 2004 that said that Kerry was headed for a landslide election. In fact, they got so excited at the Kerry headquarters that they told the candidate: Mr. President, please take a nap so that you can look fresh for your acceptance speech tonight.
Back to approval ratings.
On election day 2000, Bill Clinton had an approval rating in the mid-50s. Some polls had him close to 60%.
What did this buy Clinton?
It did not buy him Arkansas, his home state. In fact, Clinton was unable to deliver Arkansas' 6 electoral votes to Gore.
It did not do Gore much good in Tennessee either.
Gore would have won the presidency with either state.
Clinton's approval ratings reflected two things.
First, the economy was doing great in the late 90s because of the high tech boom. The recession began in mid-2000. Most people did not get their layoff notices until early 2001 when the recession began to impact the population. Clinton's high approval ratings reflected the economy: he came in when the economy was moving up and left town just as the economy was going down. Clinton's great political skill was being at the right place at the right time. In that sense, he was born under a lucky star! Most politicians envy Clinton's timing. It was clearly the strong economy of '98 and '99 that shielded Clinton during the impeachment process.
Second, Clinton avoided all of the tough issues. He rode the economic cycle and did not risk his approval ratings on issues like fixing Social Security and terrorism.
It's very easy to be popular when the unemployment rate is at 4% and the President is kicking the can forward on most tough issues.
Bush did not have that luxury in 2001. By the way, Gore would have faced the very same recession and all of its accompanying problems. Gore would have inherited Clinton's recession too.
Bush is currently at 47% in Gallup and 50% in Rasmussen. The RCP average of 7 polls is 48%.
What does this mean?
Bush's ratings reflect current realities.
First, it's gas prices. I am old enough to remember how gas prices hurt Nixon in '73 and Carter in '80. Presidents can do very little about gas prices but the public directs its anger at them anyway. It's politics!
Second, it's Social Security. It would have been easier for Bush to leave Social Security to the next guy or gal. He could have said that this is not my problem. He could have kicked the can forward as Clinton did in the 90s.
Such a move would have raised his approval ratings. However, it would have been irresponsible. Bush is like Truman. They meet issues head on and let the pundits analyze the polls.
Third, the Mexico border is hurting Bush badly. Bush needs to make a big move, such as putting troops on the border. Disorder always hurts incumbents. Bush's casual attitude toward the border problem is hurting him with his base.
Last but not least, Iraq is a problem. Unfortunately, thousands of good deeds in Iraq are overshadowed by every suicide bomb. The insurgency is throwing everything at the new Iraqi government. They make news daily with a suicide truck or car. Yet, they are not succeeding in bringing down the new government or keeping young men from joining the police or security forces.
Would I prefer Bush at 60% like Reagan? Yes I would. Is it likely? No.
Nevertheless, I am not that concerned.
The mid-term election is 18 months away. Mid-term elections are about turnout. Bush will get the Republicans to turn out. It's a winning formula and it will work again!
My suggestion to Bush is as follows:
1) Stay on course in Iraq and get aggressive whenever it is necessary.
2) Take the US-Mexico border chaos very seriously. The killing of Nuevo Laredo's new police chief convinces me that Vicente Fox has lost control of the border. Bush needs to act decisively by shutting down the border if necessary.
3) Keep talking about energy independence. It is silly that we have to import so much oil.
Friday, June 10, 2005
According to new figures, the Hispanic population is booming. The full report is available at The Census Bureau website: http://www.census.gov/popest/
The raw numbers are amazing. Hispanics accounted for half of the population growth in 2003-04. Hispanics are now one-seventh of all people in the United States. The Census Bureau estimates there are 41.3 million Hispanics in the U.S.
The Hispanic growth rate for the 12 months starting July '03 was 3.6 percent compared with the overall population growth of 1 percent.
What we don't know if what the "illegal" component of this figure is. The Bureau did not determine that.
What's the political impact of this?
The most obvious one is that Hispanics are about to surpass Blacks as the largest minority group in the country. This is going to create additional tension within local governments run by Blacks or Hispanics. In Dallas, our city council and school board are a constant struggle between Blacks and Hispanics.
There will also be tension within the Democrat Party. For years, blacks have delivered 90% of their vote to Democrats. How will Democrats balance the political reality of a stable black population and a rising Hispanic population? Who will win? I think that the new Hispanic mayor of Los Angeles may answer that question in years to come. Will we see a new union or greater animosity between Blacks and Hispanics?
The conventional wisdom is more Hispanics translate into Democrat gains. Yet, the Bush presidency is upsetting this wisdom. The Democrats do not own the Hispanic vote as they do the black vote. Bush did very well with Hispanics in '00 and even better in '04.
True, Cuban Americans are a solid Republican bloc. No change on that. Indeed, the Democrats have strong support among Mexican Americans in California and South Texas.
But that's changing too.
First, there is the reality that ethnic groups become more conservative as they achieve greater prosperity. Home ownership and the entrepreneurial spirit of Hispanics have a lot to do with that. My own personal experience is that Latino immigrants, specially the more professional class, are strong Republicans. They are very likely to become US citizens and vote. On the other hand, Hispanics in the lower socio-economic levels do not naturalize and cannot vote.
There is also the question of "crime". Hispanics want tough policies against criminals. Liberals do not score with Hispanics when they make excuses for criminals.
Another factor is public education. The Democrats are married to the teachers' unions. On the other hand, Republicans support fresh ideas like school choice. The public schools are failing inner city kids. It is a disgrace but Democrats refuse to change because they get a chunk of their financial support from unions.
I have seen this myself. During the recent school board election, Hispanic parents told me the same thing: more discipline, no excuses for delinquency, speak English and uniforms. My view is that Hispanic parents want results rather rhetoric. They want the schools to educate rather than simply provide employment for teachers and administrators.
It is no coincidence that Republicans are scoring points with blacks, and Hispanics, on the question of failed public schools. The answer is simple. Public schools are failing Hispanic and Black parents. The white liberals, like Clinton, Kennedy, Kerry and Gore, love public education but send their kids to private schools. Blacks and Hispanic parents do not have that "choice".
Finally, there is that values issue again. Latinos are religious and very family oriented. Latino voters, both Catholic and evangelical, relate to the GOP's platform on abortion and same-sex marriage. Democrats do not score with Hispanics when Howard Dean refers to abortion as part of a woman's "health care" or to same sex marriage as a civil rights issue. Sorry, this liberal rhetoric does not score with Hispanics, who are frankly more conservative on social issues than even Republicans!
Pres. Bush could nail Hispanic support by putting the first Hispanic in the Supreme Court. It would be a major blow to the Democrats. He is looking at several candidates, such as Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez (my first choice) and Judge Manuel Estrada, a Central American refugee who raised himself from poverty to Harvard Law School.
Estrada's life is an inspiration to everyone. It shows that a person can get ahead by hard work. This message scares the Democrats because they want a society where everyone needs Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson to hold their hand and move them from point A to point B.
So stay tuned. We are watching a huge electoral shift. The Hispanic vote will be the last column on the middle class coalition that creates a permanent Republican majority.