Saturday, December 31, 2005
According to their website:
"Forty-eight (48%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. He earns approval from 80% of Republicans, 22% of Democrats, and 40% of those not affiliated with either major political party.
The President's highest rating of 2005 was 54% on February 4. His lowest rating was 40% on October 28."(http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Bush_Job_Approval.htm)
How bad was Pres. Bush's year? Not that bad!
By the summer of 2006, it will be clear that:
1) Iran's president is crazy; and,
2) He wants nuclear weapons to blow up Israel.
Furthermore, it will be clear that the European negotiators do not have the military means to deliver any message to Iran.
What is the Europeans' bottom line? Take this case to the UN Security Council?
The Iranians fear the UN Security Council as much as Saddam Hussein feared UN resolutions.
How effective were UN resolutions against Iraq? He mocked the UN for 12 years until Pres. Bush drew the line in March 2003!
Sooner or later, the US will have to act. Frankly, I don't think that Israel can do this one on its own because Iran has too many sites.
With all due respect to the wonderful Israeli armed forces, the US is the only country with bunker busting bombs that can penetrate 100 feet of underground sites.
Uri Dromi is director of international outreach at the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem. He wrote this:
"That Israel will defend itself against any threat, goes without saying. Flying with the Israeli Air Force for 37 years, I know that those wishing to destroy Israel will eventually bring destruction upon their own people. But the Iranian threat is aimed not only at Israel.
American flags are as frequently burned in Tehran as are Israeli ones. And once the Iranians have nuclear bombs and the missiles to launch them, the whole of Europe will be threatened.
This is a ticking time bomb, which the free world must defuse now, before it's too late.
Threats of aggression and mass murder, if not checked in time, can become self-fulfilling prophecies.
If you don't believe it, read Kershaw's book on Hitler, especially the second volume: Nemesis."
Again, Israel can and will defend itself. However, the world can not expect Israel to do this on its own.
There may be a different solution to the Iran problem. We may see an internal rebellion. Young people are very unhappy. In fact, some pundits believe that the anti-Israel remarks are for domestic consumption rather than a military threat.
We don't know for sure. We cannot take a chance.
No one can tolerate a nuclear Iran. Pres. Bush may have to draw another line in 2006 or 2007!
2005 was a great year for bloggers. I am going to recommend a few of them. They are the ones that I check often:
1) Power Line----This is the top blog in the political arena. These guys are serious and very informative. You will learn a lot by adding this one to your bookmarks: http://www.powerlineblog.com/
2)Right Wing News-----Yes, this is news from a right wing perspective. I read most of what they publish. My favorites are the satires and great humor. Check out these guys: http://www.rightwingnews.com/
3) Mark Steyn----My favorite Canadian, a conservative! Steyn is on top of most of the real issues facing the US and the world. Do not link to this one if you support PM Paul Martin. Steyn is a Western Canadian and they don't like liberals over there. Anyway, check out Steyn: http://www.steynonline.com/
4) Michelle Malkin----great blog! Very informative. Link to: http://www.michellemalkin.com/
5) RightNation-----good place to find articles. Link to: http://www.rightnation.us/
For news and articles, I like Lucianne ( http://lucianne.com/), The Drudge Report (http://drudgereport.com/) and Real Clear Politics (http://realclearpolitics.com/).
These bloggers, and many others, have turned the political scene up side down.
I am not suggesting that blogging is perfect. There are lots of irresponsible left and right wing bloggers. Pick your blogs as carefully as you pick your pen pals.
On balance, bloggers have been good.
Like the UN Iraq resolutions, Kyoto was an international promise that no one meant to keep. It was feel good liberalism without regard for economic consequences.
Thankfully, Pres. Clinton did not bring it to Senate for ratification. He could not find any Democrats willing to fight the Kyoto battle in the late 90s!
During the 2000 campaign, Gov. Bush said no to Kyoto. VP Gore was theoretically for it although he never actually said that he would fight for it. It was the classic "let me talk from both sides of my mouth" VP Gore that no one could figure out. This is why 4 million liberals voted for the pro-Kyoto Ralph Nader.
Today, Kyoto is worthless. Nobody is living by its mandates.
As Newmax reports:
"Ironically, even western Europe is not reducing emissions. According to the protocol, western European nations must reduce their emissions to levels 8 percent lower than those of 1990. But in the years since the treaty was negotiated, carbon dioxide levels increased by 7 percent in France, 11 percent in Italy and 29 percent in Spain. Overall, the increase for western Europe was 5.4 percent.
"After many years of European chatter about the monstrous evil perpetrated by George W. Bush in rejecting Kyoto,” Forbes concludes, "it is of possible interest that the increase in carbon emissions in the U.S. during those years was slightly lower (4.7 percent).”
So drop Kyoto and get behind a system that creates jobs and reasonably deals with the environment.
The Rangers have helped themselves by adding pitchers Millwood, Eaton and Padilla. Is it enough to win the very tough AL West? I don't think so. The Angels are still a good veteran team. The A's have young pitching.
But the Rangers will be in the race in '06 and be a legitimate contender for the wild card. The bottom line is this: The Rangers will play meaningful games in September!
Mark Texeira will be the AL MVP. Mark is the next big superstar in baseball. He is a switcher who can hit 40 hrs!
The Mavericks and Stars will get into the playoffs but advance little. The Stars are more likely to get into the conference finals. The Mavs are a second round team. They cannot get by the big boys in the West.
What about the Chicago White Sox? They won last year and have helped themselves a lot by adding Thume and Vazquez.
The White Sox will play the Yankees in the ALCS. The Braves have wonderful young players and they will face St. Louis in the NLCS.
Last year, I predicted a New York-St Louis world series!
I will try it again!
Friday, December 30, 2005
Bennett was outraged at some of the recent leaks to the NYTimes and Washington Post.
Thanks to these leaks, our enemies are now up to date on how we keep track of their conversations or movements. All that they have to do is read the front page of the NYTimes!
This is not freedom of the press. This is an irresponsible media doing whatever they can do to hurt Bush.
Sorry. If you hurt Bush, then you hurt our effort and make us more vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
It's time for some people in the media to choose sides.
This is not about Kerry vs. Bush or Gore vs. Bush. The American people settled that issue in 2000 and 2004. This is about national security and people who want kill Americans, regardless of who they voted for!
Read Mr. Bennett's remarks:
"Here we go again...but at least we have no real new disclosures here--just basically an editorial and roundup of what we already know--thanks to her and the NYTIMES.
It really is an editorial masquerading as a news story: she is describing a vast CIA program (what we might call "war footing") known as GST (initials not explained) that is "compartmentalized into dozens of highly classified individual programs, details of which are known mainly to those directly involved."So no details. Good.
But here is how she describes GST:
"GST includes programs allowing the CIA to capture al Qaeda suspects with help from foreign intelligence services, to maintain secret prisons abroad, to use interrogation techniques that some lawyers say violate international treaties, and to maintain a fleet of aircraft to move detainees around the globe. Other compartments within GST give the CIA enhanced ability to mine international financial records and eavesdrop on suspects anywhere in the world."
There you have it: this is the dark and dirty world we live in.
Hardly a police state, hardly a truant officer or dog catcher state:
we use foreign intelligence to capture and kill al-Qaeda and move detainees around the world;
we look at international finanical records, and eavesdrop on suspected terrorists.
If anyone told you we did that at a water cooler would you even blink an eye?
Of course not; you'd go nuts, wouldn't you, if we weren't doing that?
Here's my favorite sentence from this long op-ed cum article:
"The top-secret presidential finding Bush signed six days after the Sept. 11 attacks empowered the intelligence agencies in a way not seen since World War II."
Good--this means the administration sees the GWOT as important as FDR saw WWII.
Let me say this in conclusion: Priest preens in the piece that because of her revelations, the CIA has had to shut down its so called "black sites" in Europe--this is not something to celebrate:
this means the WAPO openly and notoriously changed covert policy and operations, operations that no country before the publicity cared about.
I can't say it enough: shame on the WAPO, shame on Dana Priest.
It boils down to this:
So the WAPO creates a sound and fury and reports that there's a sound and fury;
they cause a sturm und drung, and report a sturm und drung;
they report a hue and cry has been raised--they raised it.
When this war is over, there will be a lot of accounting to be had, and I hope a 9/11 commissioner who tells us we are not yet safe puts the blame not on this administration which is obviously working hard as you read this article, but on an alien media nation which sees itself not as a reporting agency but as an unelected fourth branch of government doing its level best to change effective policy for the sake of a headline."
According to ABC News:
"The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation to determine who disclosed a secret NSA eavesdropping operation approved by President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks, officials said on Friday.
"We are opening an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified materials related to the NSA," one official said."
Well done. We need to punish those who have violated the law by leaking this critical information.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
My favorites were NFL films, specially those old Super Bowl memories.
Today, I watched the Dolphins's perfect season (1972) and their follow up Super Bowl victory in '73.
Great TV. I need more holidays in the future so I can watch more daytime TV.
Why is PM Martin bashing the US again? I understand that PM Martin is in the middle of an election. However, do we have to hear this nonsense from Canada?
What is going on in Toronto?
A few weeks ago, I read an interesting article from David Warren of The Ottawa Citizen: "Bio-Terror Canada". I saw some of the video from Toronto and was reminded of what Warren wrote:
"We now have large and concentrated Muslim immigrant communities in such cities as Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and London, Ont., to provide the necessary cover during preparations.
And as the pathetic, “politically correct” response of Mayor Miller and his police chief to gang warfare in Toronto’s streets has shown, the possibility of determined police action can be thrown off by the semblance of a shadow of the threat of a charge of police “racism”.
Not since Indonesia, in the months before the 2002 attack on Bali nightclubs, has a country so advertised its desire to be “sucker-punched” by terrorists feeling the constraints of police action elsewhere. Canada again becomes the target of choice." (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-11_25_05_DW.html)
At the same time:
"John Thompson, a security analyst with the Toronto-based Mackenzie Institute, says the number of guns smuggled from the United States is a problem, but that Canada has a gang problem -- not a gun problem -- and that Canada should stop pointing the finger at the United States.
"It's a cop out. It's an easy way of looking at one symptom rather than addressing a whole disease," Thompson said. (http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/americas/12/27/canada.crime.ap/index.html)
Unfortunately, bashing Bush and the US has become an international distraction. Too many leaders bash the US rather than deal with their own problems. We saw this with Chirac and Schroeder. Add Martin to the list!
Canada's problems are made in Canada.
Bashing Bush over Kyoto or the US over guns may be enough to put the liberals back in power.
It won't fix Toronto's gang problems or address the growing middle class discontent.
The leftist websites are going crazy with the NSA story. Some are even calling for impeachment.
The left is obviously out of touch with reality.
Check out: "Centrist Democrats hit anti-Bush tactics" By Donald Lambro (THE WASHINGTON TIMES, December 28, 2005):
""I think when you suggest that civil liberties are just as much at risk today as the country is from terrorism, you've gone too far if you leave that impression. I don't believe that's true," said Michael O'Hanlon, a national-security analyst at the Brookings Institution who advises Democrats on defense issues.
"I get nervous when I see the Democrats playing this [civil liberties] issue out too far. They had better be careful about the politics of it," said Mr. O'Hanlon, who says the Patriot Act is "good legislation."
We have seen this before. The left hijacks the party and drives the bus over the cliff.
Beyond centrist Democrats, the public is not angry about the NSA story. Rasmussen published this poll today (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2005/NSA.htm):
"Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States."
The Democrats will come back in January. I don't think that there will be a rush to hearings.
We need hearings so that the Democrats can tell us how they will defend the homeland. My guess is that most Democrats do not want to have that conversation!
It is true that the Patriots won their 3rd title in 4 years. It has not happened since the Cowboys did it in the early 90s.
Yet, how can you top a team that won its first World Series since 1917?
Last year, it was the Boston Red Sox and their first title since 1918.
This time, it's the Chisox. Frankly, they fooled me. I did not think that they would beat the Angels or even Astros.
Hands down. No contest. The Chicago White Sox were the sports story of 2005. (http://photostore.mlb.com/source/Detail.aspx?L1=&L2=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;imageId=56019014&action=&ss=)
The bad news for Chicago fans is that the Cubs are still underachievers. The good news is that the ChiSox pitching should make them a strong candidate to win again.
The Chicago White Sox have great pitching. They should be very competitive for the next 2-3 years!
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey are lawyers who served in the Justice Department in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. Today, they published a great op-ed piece in The NYTimes: "Unwarranted Complaints"
Rivkin & Casey point out that:
"The president has the constitutional authority to acquire foreign intelligence without a warrant or any other type of judicial blessing.
The courts have acknowledged this authority, and numerous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have espoused the same view."
The world changed on 9-11. In fact, the 9-11 commission was very critical of our systems and how we defended ourselves.
On 9-11, we were attacked by people living and operating from within the US. They used our freedoms to evade the law and to eventually kill 3,000 innocents.
Our rule of law is not a suicide pact. We have the right, and duty, to defend ourselves.
It's time for Bush critics to stop blaming him for everything.
It's time for them to tell us how they would fight people who want to blow up an American city.
We should hear this debate before the 2006 or 2008 election.
I want to hear from Democrats. How would they defend the country?
The New York Sun has a wonderful commentary on the latest Che exhibition. Once again, let me say it over and over again: If you love Che, you do not love freedom.
I understand that most of the visitors have little information on Che's life. The NYSun does a good job of updating Che's life: (URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/24987)
My favorite line from the article was this:
"Che's picture was certainly not displayed during the Solidarity protests in Poland in the 1980s or in the Tiananmen Square demonstration in China in 1989, when men and women genuinely hazarded their lives for freedom."
Che is very popular with the anti-US crowd. He is not very respected by those who live under communism, such as the Polish workers or Chinese dissidents.
Che was a killer. He did not hold a single election or tolerate any dissent.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
As I indicated, the Pope spoke of the unborn in his Christmas message. Just today, new abortion figures were published about Europe.
According to the AFP, abortions in Spain are up 72% in the last 10 years. (http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/27/051227182908.unrgpfgk.html)
"For women aged between 15 and 44 the rate per thousand was 8.94 in 2004 compared with 8.77 in 2003.
But Health Minister Elena Salgado, taking the 2002 figure, said that Spain's figure was lower than that of Germany (15.35 percent), Finland (16.41 percent), France (18.34 percent), Denmark (18.9 percent), Italy (20.46 percent), Britain (22.82 percent) and Sweden (25.63 percent)."
Where have all the Europeans gone? They've been aborted! The Europeans are committing suicide in the name of something called choice!
The Pope once again spoke about the lack of religion in his native Europe. He lamented the plight of the unborn.
The Pope is naturally looking at this from a religious and moral perspective. He deserves a lot of credit for speaking bluntly about a tough subject.
However, abortion and secularism are more than a religious problem. It is society's problem, too.
Babies and marriage matter a lot. Abortion, a decline in marriage, and too much family planning, are turning much of the industrialized world into the shrinking West.
Today's newspapers confirm the problem we face.
In Italy, the birth rate is down to 1.2 children per couple. It takes 2.1 per woman to keep your population! At this rate, there won't be any Italians in a couple of generations. Who will live in Italy? It won't be what we now think of as Italians!
As a practical matter, how are we going to pay for all of these entitlements that we have promised our aging populations? What young men will fight to defend Europes's way of life? Do Europeans think that the US will protect them in the next 50 years?
Birthrates and secularism are connected. The formula is this: secularism equals no babies which equals aging populations.
As Mark Steyn wrote:
"To those of us watching Europe from afar, it seems amazing that no Continental politician is willing to get to grips with the real crisis facing Europe in the 21st century: the lack of Europeans. Demography is not necessarily destiny. Today's high Muslim birth rates will fall, and probably fall dramatically, as the Roman Catholic birth rates in Italy, Ireland and Quebec have. But demographics is a game of last man standing. It's no consolation that Muslim birth rates will be as bad as yours in 2050 if yours are off the cliff right now. The last people around in any numbers will determine the kind of society we live in." (http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn25.html)
Who will be the last man standing? It matters a lot! The last man standing is usually the one who celebrates victory.
Truman and Eisenhower, rather than Hitler, were the last men standing in 1945. Reagan and Bush, rather than Gorbachev and his Kremlin pals, were the ones standing after the Cold War.
It matters a lot who the last man standing is. He will set the table for the future.
Monday, December 26, 2005
A Millwood-Eaton-Padilla starting ration is good and should put the Rangers in contention in the tough AL West.
The good news is that the Rangers kept their core crew of Texeira, Young, Mench, Nix and Blalock.
Ian Kinsler won't hit as many HRs as Soriano but he is a promising young player. If he fails then you can pick a workable second baseman, such as Eric Young. My feeling is that Kinsler is ready.
Brad Wilkerson will play LF and Mench moves to RF. Nix will get a shot at CF, where he played well before his injury. The team still has veterans Gary Matthews and David DeLucci.
Overall, the Rangers are a better team than they were last year.
The Millwood signing opens the door for Roger Clemens, who has a good relationship with Tom Hicks, the owner.
All I can say is that I plan to buy a few tickets for the 2006 Rangers.
Rob Allyn is a good man and a very competent choice. He will make a good spokesman for Mexico.
However, Mexico does not need Rob Allyn to make its case. It needs Pres. Fox, who speaks English fluently and is very popular with US business interests. It is no secret that most US businessmen were rooting for Vicente Fox in 2000!
In many ways, Mexico is doing very well. It is the second largest economy of Latin America. Mexicans live better than most people in the Third World. They enjoy a prosperity that is only second to Chile. In other words, Mexico is not a poor country when compared to billions who do not have the basic essentials.
Pres. Fox has moved Mexico in a more democratic direction, even if at times it looks like a rather chaotic direction. Fox's initiatives have also been tied up by the PRD, a left wing party that is more interested in making noise than governing.
Mexico is the US's second-largest trade partner in the world: $111 billion in goods!
Mexico is doing quite well. Why are so many leaving their homeland?
First, many of our labor intensive businesses need them. Who is going to pick up tomatoes? Who is going to clean your office building?
Second, Mexico cannot employ unskilled young men, specially in the very inefficient agricultural sector.
Last but not least, you can come to the US, work in a restaurant, and send your mother US$ 100 every month. (The Mexican political class loves this one!)
So let me give Rob Allyn this advice.
Persuade Pres. Fox, and Mexico's political class, to stop shouting and make Mexico more attractive for economic growth.
Mexico does not need a PR campaign. It needs to create more jobs so that Mexicans do not have to come to the US.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
This is our first Christmas Day post. So I will start a tradition. We will go back and remember a president at a critical time in US history.
Today, we remember Pres. Truman and Christmas 1945.
60 years ago, Pres. Truman had just completed an incredible year.
He became president after FDR's death. (http://www.trumanlibrary.org/photographs/view.php?id=391)
He led the US to victory in Europe:
Listen to Truman's broadcast to the American people announcing the surrender of Germany, May 8, 1945
He dropped two bombs on Japan:
Listen to Truman's radio address to the American people after the signing of the terms of unconditional surrender by Japan, September 1, 1945
It was an amazing year for a man nobody knew the year before.
Often, I have said that Pres. Truman is my favorite Democrat. He was a great president. He ranks in the Top 10 of every presidential poll.
This is what Pres. Truman said sixty years ago:
Ladies and gentlemen, and listeners of the radio audience:
This is the Christmas that a war-weary world has prayed for through long and awful years. With peace come joy and gladness.
The gloom of the war years fades as once more we light the National Community Christmas Tree.
We meet in the spirit of the first Christmas, when the midnight choir sang the hymn of joy:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Let us not forget that the coming of the Saviour brought a time of long peace to the Roman World.
It is, therefore, fitting for us to remember that the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of peace, of love, of charity to all men.
From the manger of Bethlehem came a new appeal to the minds and hearts of men:
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.
"In love, which is the very essence of the message of the Prince of Peace, the world would find a solution for all its ills.
I do not believe there is one problem in this country or in the world today which could not be settled if approached through the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.
The poets' dream, the lesson of priest and patriarch and the prophets' vision of a new heaven and a new earth, all are summed up in the message delivered in the Judean hills beside the Sea of Galilee.
Would that the world would accept that message in this time of its greatest need!This is a solemn hour.
In the stillness of the Eve of the Nativity when the hopes of mankind hang on the peace that was offered to the world nineteen centuries ago, it is but natural, while we survey our destiny, that we give thought also to our past--to some of the things which have gone into the making of our Nation.
You will remember that Saint Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, and his companions, suffering shipwreck, "cast four anchors out of the stern and wished for the day."
Happily for us, whenever the American Ship of State has been storm-tossed we have always had an anchor to the windward.
We are met on the South Lawn of the White House. The setting is a reminder of Saint Paul's four anchors.
To one side is the massive pile of the Washington Monument--fit symbol of our first anchor.
On the opposite end of Potomac Park is the memorial to another of the anchors which we see when we look astern of the Ship of State--Abraham Lincoln, who preserved the Union that Washington wrought.
Between them is the memorial to Thomas Jefferson, the anchor of democracy.
On the other side of the White House, in bronze, rides Andrew Jackson--fourth of our anchors--the pedestal of his monument bearing his immortal words:
"Our Federal Union--it must be preserved."
It is well in this solemn hour that we bow to Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln as we face our destiny with its hopes and fears-its burdens and its responsibilities.
Out of the past we shall gather wisdom and inspiration to chart our future course.
With our enemies vanquished we must gird ourselves for the work that lies ahead. Peace has its victories no less hard won than success at arms. We must not fail or falter.
We must strive without ceasing to make real the prophecy of Isaiah:
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
In this day, whether it be far or near, the Kingdoms of this world shall become indeed the Kingdom of God and He will reign forever and ever, Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
With that message I wish my countrymen a Merry Christmas and joyous days in the New Year.
(Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.)
Today, we fight another war. So we remember one of the great leaders of the past, Pres. Truman of Missouri.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Over the years, our family went to the 5:30pm mass and went to bed early to wait for Santa Claus. However, we have been attending the midnight mass now that our boys are teenagers.
It is one of the most beautiful Catholic traditions. My favorite part of the mass is the Gospel Reading from Luke 2:1-14:
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus
that all the world should be registered.
This was the first registration
and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
All went to their own towns to be registered.
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee
to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem,
because he was descended from the house and family of David.
He went to be registered with Mary,
to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to deliver her child.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son
and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them,
Do not be afraid; for see
I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
who is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign for you:
you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth
and lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host,
praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!
Merry Christmas to all. Let's remember to keep Christ in Christmas.
For me, and the overwhelming majority, it is and will always be Merry Christmas.
We are a Christian society. In the latest poll, most of us are “Christian”. They didn't have to answer that way but they did.
We have a Judeo-Christian heritage in our society. We see its influence on our laws.
Most of us celebrate Christmas and Easter, the two key Christian festivals.
Take Christ out of Christmas is silly. It is like pretending that you can celebrate Christmas without any acknowledgment of the profound religious origin and power of the festival.
So Merry Christmas.
What we celebrate is the birth of Christ not some winter holiday.
Hudson, one of the world's leading professional staffing, outsourcing and human capital solution providers, also publishes the Hudson Employment Index(SM), a monthly measure of the U.S. workforce's confidence in the employment market.
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
According to a Christmas Eve report:
"Looking ahead to the new year, 47% of workers expect their job prospects will be better in 2006 than in 2005. A national Hudson survey also found that 3-out-of-5 workers expect to earn more next year than they did this past year. That includes 21 percent who expect to earn significantly more and 42% who say they hope to earn a little more.
The survey also suggests that workers may be more content to stay put in 2006. Twenty-nine percent (29%) report that they have no plans to look for a new job, up from one year ago when only 22% made that claim.
Even so, a large portion of the workforce will be on the market, with 37% saying it is very or somewhat likely that they will actively seek new job opportunities in the new year. Last year, that figure was 42%.
“While 2005 was a challenging year on many fronts, U.S. workers continued to show their resilience and optimism heading into the new year,” said Steve Wolfe, executive vice president, Hudson, North America.
“We anticipate that 2006 will be a stronger year for worker confidence and for workers’ leverage as they seek to improve their skills and investigate new opportunities.” (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2005/Hudson%20Year%20End%20Review.htm)
On top of that, the Bush administration announced troop cuts in Iraq under 138,000. It will two combat brigades, or about 7,000 soldiers. (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,179679,00.html)
Merry Christmas to the soldiers and their families. They have done a great job. Congratulations to the brave Iraqis who are taking over more and more responsibilities.
Overall, a good Christmas Eve!
The Cowboys were 0-3 on December 24th games. It looked like it would be 0-4 after a failed field goal.
But a penalty on the kicker gave Dallas a second chance. A few seconds later, Dallas scored and won 24-20. (http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/recap/NFL_20051224_DAL@CAR)
For the moment, Dallas is still alive in the playoff hunt at 9-6. The Redskins victory makes next week's game against St. Louis as a must win for Dallas.
It's a long shot but the Cowboys' heart is still beating.
US News & World Report ran another report based on a leak:
"In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts."
Can we get serious about prosecuting these leakers? These leaks are helping our enemies. They are making it more difficult to fight these people.
The New York Times keeps on printing leaks about surveillance. For the record, the NYTimes did not run front page stories about Pres. Clinton ordering warrantless searches during his term. I guess that the NYTimes' position is that warrantless searches are OK as long as the president supports abortion.
Leaks are damaging to national security. It's time for Attorney General Gonzalez to prosecute the leakers.
Patrick Fitzgerald is currently stuck in the Libby investigation. He has been frustrated by information from Bob Woodward. It's going to be very difficult to persuade a jury that Libby did anything wrong.
However, Fitgerald's talents could be used against those who are leaking information on surveillance.
The NSA program has worked. According to Jack Kelly:
"Among the plots uncovered was one by Iyman Faris, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Ohio, to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, sources say. Faris discussed the plan on the phone with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, then al-Qaeda's operations officer." (http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051224/COLUMNIST14/512240366/-1/NEWS28)
It's time to give Fitzgerald a new mandate.
Go get the leakers. They are hurting our national security. Go after The NYTimes reporters and get their sources.
Why is that?
First and foremost, accepting the terrorist threat means that you have to admit that Pres. Clinton did nothing about Al Qaeda and Iraq.
Second, American liberals live in a world of fantasy and irrational anti-Bushism.
Check out "The Paranoid Style In American Liberalism by William Kristol" ( http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/534yxceu.asp).
According to Kristol, General Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and now deputy director of national intelligence, took some questions from reporters last week. This is what he said:
"This program has been successful in detecting and preventing attacks inside the United States."
Hayden cannot provide details but I believe him.
Why won't liberals believe him? Why can't they see a threat?
Maybe they should read what the very liberal Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York City, wrote recently"
"I wish The Times and members of Congress were not so eager to demean the President of the U.S. and his advisers, holding them up to scathing denunciation when we are at war. They should realize that the President feels very strongly his obligation to protect us from terrorists overseas and their supporters in this country -- in World War II, such supporters were called Quislings.
The critics have short memories. In the 1993 and 9/11 (2001) attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the U.S. suffered nearly 3,000 deaths and more than 1,000 injured."
The bad news is that there are people out there that want to blow up an American city. The good news is that Pres. Bush understands that.
Jay Cost, creator of The Horse Race Blog, is a graduate student of political science at the University of Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He has been extremely accurate in making electoral predictions. During the 2004 presidential elections, I checked his website often and found him to be on target.
Last week, Cost made a prediction:
"There is just no way for them to recapture Congress in this environment. The nature of congressional elections and the internal divisions within the Democratic Party preclude the possibility of a Democratic recapture of either chamber of Congress." (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-12_21_05_JC.html)
Cost is right. I will place a bet on his predictions.
This is not 1994. Back then, Pres. Clinton moved to the left of dozens of Democrats running in the South and West.
Gov. Anne Richards was a good example of how Pres. Clinton killed the Democrats.
Richards was not a crazy liberal. She did not govern as a leftist radical.
Unfortunately, she was a Democrat running in 1994. She spent too much time boasting about her friendship with the Clintons and it came back to bite her in the election.
In the end, George W Bush beat Gov. Richards, 53-46%. It was not close at all!
Beyond that, Democrats are not united today. There is no Democrat position on Iraq, or anything else.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Someday, a young man will write a follow up to "Profiles in Courage". It will include Sen. Lieberman and omit former Sen. Daschle.
Can anyone believe Sen. Daschle? Is he doing the "Jay Rockefeller" shuffle.
Daschle writes in The Washington Post that Congress intended that the post 9/11 powers be used only overseas "where we all understood he wanted authority to act," but not here, where the terrorists killed 3,000 innocent people.
Furthermore, he wrote that those "who voted in favor of the authorization of force against al-Qaida did not believe they were also voting for warrantless domestic surveillance,...".
Can anyone take these Democrats seriously anymore? Where was Daschle's dissent when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton issued executive orders?
What is going on here?
Daschle, Feingold, Kerry and Gore are running in 2008 and they understand who nominates Democrats. They are trying to score an early upset in New Hampshire or Iowa by firing up the anti-war wing of the party.
In the meantime, Daschle and Rockefeller want us to believe that Bush made them do it.
It is very silly.
Someone must save the Democrat party from this self destructive behavior.
Many civil libertarians went crazy over the NSA surveillance. Some have dreamed up a Bush police state, managed by Cheney and financed by Tom DeLay.
Yet, the same civil Liberians are dead silent about The Barrett Report.
Why the double standard?
Check this out: "Bill & Hillary Clinton's latest scandal? Will Media cover It?by Jim Kouri (http://www.postchronicle.com/commentary/article_2122414.shtml)
"The 1994 Barrett Report originally centered on former Clinton Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, but broadened into investigating claims that President Bill Clinton had used the clout of the IRS to persecute his political enemies....Novak and Snow said that of the original 400 page Barrett Report, over 100 pages have been redacted.
Some of those targeted by the IRS for audits were women who had accused President Clinton of unwanted sexual advances and even rape. These include Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Juanita Broddrick and Elizabeth Ward Gracen.
Also reported is that the primary reason for Hillary’s vulnerability is that her college friend, Margaret Milner Richardson, headed the IRS at the time the alleged abuses occurred."
I have not read the report. Yet, it seems only fair that such a report go public. Our media is always willing to use their front pages to chase every anti-Bush story.
Why won't they cover a story about a President of the US using the IRS?
The public has a right to know if Pres. Clinton used the IRS against his political enemies.
Where is Jonathan Alter when we really need him?
Furthermore, Rasmussen points out:
"America's economic confidence is nearing the highest levels of the post-9-11 era.
The Rasmussen Consumer Index gained two points on Thursday to reach its highest level since February--119.2. The Index, measures the economic confidence of American consumers on a daily basis, is within two points of its high for 2005. The last time the Index reached the 120 mark was on February 9.
The Rasmussen Investor Index added almost three points to reach its highest level in in seventeen months--145.9. That figure is also within five points of its highest level ever. The all-time high was recorded in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's capture. The bounce following Hussein's capture lasted a few weeks until a disappointing jobs report was issued.
Other than the Hussein bounce, the Rasmussen Investor Index has topped today's reading just twice since it was created in October 2001. The Index reached 146.0 once in June 2004 and once in July 2004."
On another front:
"Fifty percent (50%) of Americans now believe that the U.S. and its allies are winning the War on Terror. That's up from 44% immediately preceding the speech. It's also the highest level of confidence in more than a year."
So Bush finishes the year on an upswing. It's beginning to look like a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year for Pres. Bush.
There are paradigm changes.
Columbus discovered the New World.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that all "men are created equal".
Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus.
In 2005, it will be the people of Iraq, and specially the women who voted for the first time. (http://www.lucianne.com/routine/archives/12-15-05.htm)
The wind of change is blowing in the Middle East. Years from now, 2005 will be remembered as the year that brought elections to the region.
2005 was a difficult year. We lost a few interesting people, some who changed our lives forever.
First, we lost Pope John Paul II, the greatest pope in centuries. I don't know what people will say 500 years from now. I do know that they will remember the man from Poland who went on to become Pope. (http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2005/milestones/pope_john_paul_ii.html)
Another loss was Rosa Parks, the simple lady from Alabama who stood up to segregation. (http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2005/milestones/rosa_parks.html)
Last but not least, we lost Johnny Carson, the man who brought so much laughter and entertainment for a generation. (http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2005/milestones/index.html)
Thursday, December 22, 2005
I have one simple resolution for 2006. I hope that liberals will hate terrorists as much as they dislike The Patriot Act.
What's their big issue?
What's their big fear?
Are there detention camps for Muslim Americans?
Are anti-Bushies jailed for writing their virulent statements on moveon.org?
In fact, a real police state would have shutdown moveon.org months ago.
How does a police state deal with his opposition? Read "Against all Hope" by Armando Valladares, the Cuban political prisoner.
Has your library card been confiscated?
Was the New York Times shut down? The NYTimes is cutting back but that's because they are losing readers.
This is all imaginary victimhood. It's the kind of victimhood that liberals love.
What are the liberals so mad about? The answer is that Al Gore could not win Tennessee and George W. Bush won the election.
Can we get on and stop all of these silly attacks on The Patriot Act?
Liberals need to get serious about terror. Is it too much to ask?
Add a couple more experts to Pres. Bush's defense. I am very happy to report that Pres. Bush did not create a police state. Another anti-Bush rant goes down the drain!
Richard A. Posner is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and a senior lecturer in law at the University of Chicago. He wrote today in The Washington Post:
"These programs are criticized as grave threats to civil liberties. They are not."
The second one is John Schmidt who served under President Clinton from 1994 to 1997 as the associate attorney general of the United States. He is now a partner in the Chicago-based law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. He wrote today:
"President Bush's post- Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents." (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0512210142dec21,0,3553632.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed)
According to Mr. Schmidt:
"Every president since FISA's passage has asserted that he retained inherent power to go beyond the act's terms. Under President Clinton, deputy Atty. Gen. Jamie Gorelick testified that "the Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes."
So much for the Bush police state. I can finally assure all concerned that the secret police won't be knocking on your door tonight.
Of course, we do have a very aggresive police powers against Al Qaeda members. If you are talking by phone with someone from Al Qaeda then your phone call will likely be monitored.
Thank God for NSA's technology and Pres. Bush's leadership!
For a little history, check out "'Warrantless' searches not unprecedented" By Charles Hurt (http://www.washtimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20051222-122610-7772r)
For a little more reading, check out:
1) "Bill Clinton Signed Executive Order that allowed Attorney General to do searches without court approval"
2) "Jimmy Carter Signed Executive Order on May 23, 1979: "Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order."
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Let me be clear. I am not one of those who gives Presidents a lot of credit for economic booms or blame for recessions. I believe that we have economic cycles and presidents are either lucky or unlucky when it comes to the economy.
Pres. Bush's tax cuts clearly sparked the US economy after 9-11. But the recovery goes beyond Bush or anyone else.
The US economy is the greatest economy in the world because we have avoided the socialist excesses choking off growth all over the world.
Nevertheless, the Democrats have spent the last 4 years blaming Bush for the economy.
Therefore, it's only fair to give Bush credit for the wonderful economic news.
FOX NEWS reported today:
"The U.S. economy turned in a remarkably strong performance in the summer despite surging energy prices and the battering the Gulf Coast states took from hurricanes, although business growth was slightly lower than the government previously estimated.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the gross domestic product, the nation's total output of goods and services, rose at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the July-September quarter. It was the fastest pace of growth in 1 1/2 years."
The US economy has some good numbers:
"For the past three years, gross domestic product (the economy's output) has grown at an annual rate of nearly 4 percent -- almost as good as the late 1990s.
Payroll jobs have increased by nearly 4.5 million since May 2003.
The unemployment rate of 5 percent is lower than the average for the 1990s (5.7 percent).
Productivity -- output per hour worked -- has been rising at a 3.3 percent rate since early 2003, faster than even the 1995-2000 average of 2.7 percent." (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-12_21_05_RS.html)
Did Pres. Bush make this happen? Not really.
At the same time, the Democrats cannot have it both ways. If they want to blame Bush then they should be reminded of this economic data.
Mexico is not happy with the fence. Check out their reaction: (http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/20/D8EK6GGO9.html)
My feeling is that this is a national security issue. We live in a very dangerous world. We cannot afford to have strangers walk in and out of the US without some controls.
The fence is a sign of frustration. For example, the border cities can not provide public education and free hospitals to thousands of Mexicans crossing weekly.
Sorry. They can't.
Mexico's political class believes that its citizens are entitled to go to the US. Furthermore, Mexico has not been very helpful in dealing with the border chaos and disorder. Nuevo Laredo and other border cities are drug gang havens.
Some Mexican politicians will blame the fence on Republicans. They should talk to the Democrat governors of New Mexico and Arizona.
This is why I believe that the fence is the tipping point. There is too much chaos on the US-Mexico border.
Beyond that, Mexico is getting addicted to the billions of dollars flowing south. It is now the second or third largest source of cash for the Mexican economy.
Mexico's politicians have avoided all of the tough issues because they can export their people and import their "remittances". It is a sweet short term deal but not a good one for the long term health of Mexico.
It's time for Mexico's political class to stop shouting and start making the structural changes that will attract more foreign investment, i.e. jobs.
As I said before, the US Senate should add a "work visa" provision to the House bill. We need to legalize the millions of Mexicans who are honestly working in the US.
At the same time, bashing the US in Mexico's Congress is a pitiful distraction. It won't help Mexico.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Last Friday, The Washington Post ran a long story about Pres. Bush and the "WARRANTLESS" searches. The New York Times had a similar story.
It was a huge piece of conversation. It was front page news.
Today, Byron York wrote "Clinton Claimed Authority to Order No-Warrant Searches---Does anyone remember that?" (http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200512200946.asp):
"The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes," Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994, "and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General."
What about Pres. Carter's Executive Order #12139. It said:
"1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section."
Where in The Washington Post or New York Times can you find this story?
What we are seeing here is media bias rather than presidential abuse.
The liberals are trying to push the idea that this is domestic spying. It is not.
These are calls that connect someone in the US with someone outside the US. They reflect the reality of modern warfare.
P.S. Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist, has just published an amazing study on media bias. Its results will stun liberals because the professor has done his homework.
The results appear in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which will become available in mid-December:
"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author.
"But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."
"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co?author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar."
France is in disarray and the natives are restless. Some are burning cars and the others are wondering why their cars are burning.
I found this article from Emma-Kate Symons "Mood turns darkly towards far Right" (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/printpage/0,5942,17590834,00.html)
The party is over in France. In fact, she writes that "The public mood in France has darkened and veered sharply to the Right in the two months since the Paris riots."
More and more, the French are looking beyond the disgraceful and corrupt Mr. Chirac and listening to Jean-Marie Le Pen:
"Support for Le Pen's National Front - or at least its anti-immigrant ideology - has risen since the riots, sparking fears there will be a repeat of the 2002 presidential election, when the wily demagogue trounced the Left and almost snatched the presidency."
In the meantime, France is dealing with another crisis. The country has a debt problem:
"Against this backdrop, structural reform of the economy - possibly the best long-term source of hope for the unemployed youth of the suburbs - remains stalled.
This week, France woke up to a report into its astronomical public debt, which is now higher than E2000 billion ($3210billion), or 200 per cent of GDP.
"Our state is bankrupt," wrote Pascal Gobry, of the French Institute of Actuaries, in Le Monde.
"Even if it would sell to the Japanese the Palace of Versailles at a high price, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, all of our patrimony, the French state could not honour her commitments for retirees or salaries. The king is completely nude."
So keep an eye on France. Things are changing in France and no one knows for sure where the country is headed.
In the meantime, don't look for a job in France or leave your car parked outside in Paris.
As I wrote two days ago, the country needs a public debate, or better an update, on the war on terror.
Question: Is Pres. Bush overestimating the threat of another terrorist attack?
Question: Should we shut down and live with a pre-9/11 "let's indict" terrorists mindset?
Love him or hate him, Pres. Bush has been consistent since 9-11. He sees a threat and he is committed to using every ounce of energy to fight these terrorists.
Where are the Democrats? Do they think that Pres. Bush is wrong?
Frankly, we don't know. They won't say.
Do they believe that the president should or should not be invoking his wartime powers? Do they think that we are at war?
The Democrats are silent on these issues. They are caught between an angry left that provides the bulk of their campaign money and the reality that it takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. The are caught between "we hate Bush" and pollsters who tell them that they have a fatal national security deficit vis-a-vis Republicans.
Democrats should start governing rather than simply being Monday morning quarterbacks.
The debate over NSA surveillance issues turns on balancing our security needs against our need to protect individual rights. I understand privacy concerns.
Yet, privacy means little if they fly an airplane into your building. It means even less if they blow up your city.
Question: Do Democrats believe that terrorists want to blow up an American city? If they don't then they should say so.
Pres. Bush thinks so. This is why he is aggressive in using his constitutional powers to stop the terrorists.
Again, our enemy is ruthless and will exploit every advantage. We are not fighting a bunch of rich 1960s socialist kids who hate their fathers and capitalism.
Our enemy will do whatever he can get away with. Just watch the recent National Geographic special on 9/11.
After all, Pres. Bush is not doing what Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1963 when he ordered the FBI to listen to Martin Luther King's conversations. (Check out http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200207/garrow)
Pres. Bush's actions are rather prudent by any historical standard:
"Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus, the guarantee against being held indefinitely without being charged with a crime during the Civil War, arousing opposition throughout the country. In one case, he ignored the order of Chief Justice Roger Taney to grant a writ to a Southern agitator who had been jailed by military authorities in Maryland.
Fearing war with the French, Adams approved the Alien and Sedition Acts, which, among other things, prohibited people from speaking against the government.
Franklin Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese-Americans in camps during World War II." (RON FOURNIER, AP Political Writer Sat Dec 17)
If the president is incorrect then the Democrats should say so. If he broke the law then they should try to impeach him.
Don't hold your breath.
The Democrats aren't interested in any debate. They want slogans and more slogans. They want to be on the good side of polls or simply say "no" to Pres Bush.
Can Lieberman save the Democrats? I hope so. We need two centrist and serious parties.
Check out today's Wall Street Journal's lead editorial: "Thank you for wiretapping" (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007703)
Monday, December 19, 2005
Pres. Bush gave a good speech on Sunday night. I like two things that he said:
1) "Not only can we win the war in Iraq — we are winning the war in Iraq."; and
2) "And the need for victory is larger than any president or political party because the security of our people is in the balance. I do not expect you to support everything I do but tonight I have a request: Do not give in to despair and do not give up on this fight for freedom."
Victory or defeat.
The Democrats have put themselves in the corner of defeat. They have talked themselves into believing that failure is our only option.
The Democrats now have a chance to get out of the corner and join Bush in winning in Iraq.
Or they can stay in the corner, satisfy the angry antiwar left, and suffer in the polls.
We know where Bush stands. What will the Democrats do?
I hope that they are listening to Lieberman rather than Dean. Otherwise, their national security deficit will get bigger and bigger.
Political momentum is on Bush's side this morning. The Democrats are now on the defensive. We are winning in Iraq and the Democrats are losing back here.