Thursday, November 30, 2006
Today, we say Happy Birthday to Sir Winston Churchill:
"He was born on November 30th, 1874. We remember him as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Churchill was one of the most important leaders in modern British and world history."
I enjoyed reading "The master statesman stood alone against fascism and renewed the world's faith in the superiority of democracy" By JOHN KEEGAN:
This is a summary of Churchill's WW 2 career:
"After Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party gained power in Germany in 1933, Churchill became a leading advocate of rearmament.
He was also a staunch critic of Neville Chamberlain and the Conservative government's appeasement policy. In 1939 Churchill controversially argued that Britain and France should form of a military alliance with the Soviet Union.
On the outbreak of the Second World War Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and on 4th April 1940 became chairman of the Military Coordinating Committee.
Later that month the German Army invaded and occupied Norway. The loss of Norway was a considerable setback for Neville Chamberlain and his policies for dealing with Nazi Germany.
On 8th May the Labour Party demanded a debate on the Norwegian campaign and this turned into a vote of censure.
At the end of the debate 30 Conservatives voted against Chamberlain and a further 60 abstained.
Chamberlain now decided to resign and on 10th May, 1940, George VI appointed Churchill as prime minister.
Later that day the German Army began its Western Offensive and invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Two days later German forces entered France.
Churchill formed a coalition government and placed leaders of the Labour Party such as Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, Stafford Cripps and Hugh Dalton in key positions. He also brought in another long-time opponent of Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, as his secretary of state for war. Later that year Eden replaced Lord Halifax as foreign secretary.
Churchill also developed a strong personal relationship with Franklin D. Roosevelt and this led to the sharing and trading of war supplies. The Lend Lease agreement of March 1941 allowed Britain to order war goods from the United States on credit. Although he provided strong leadership the war continued to go badly for Britain and after a series of military defeats Churchill had to face a motion of no confidence in Parliament. However, he maintained the support of most members of the House of Commons and won by 475 votes to 25.
Churchill continued to be criticized for meddling in military matters and tended to take too much notice of the views of his friends such as Frederick Lindemann rather than his military commanders.
In April 1941 he made the serious mistake of trying to save Greece by weakening his forces fighting the Desert War.
One of the major contributions made by Churchill to eventual victory was his ability to inspire the British people to greater effort by making public broadcasts on significant occasions. A brilliant orator he was a tireless source of strength to people experiencing the sufferings of the Blitz.
After Pearl Harbor Churchill worked closely with Franklin D. Roosevelt to ensure victory over Germany and Japan. He was also a loyal ally of the Soviet Union after Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa in June, 1941.
Churchill held important meetings with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at Teheran (November, 1943) and Yalta (February, 1945). Although Churchill's relationship with Stalin was always difficult he managed to successfully develop a united strategy against the Axis powers.
Despite intense pressure from Stalin to open a second-front by landing Allied troops in France in 1943, Churchill continued to argue that this should not happen until the defeat of Nazi Germany was guaranteed. The D-Day landings did not take place until June, 1944 and this delay enabled the Red Army to capture territory from Germany in Eastern Europe.
In public Churchill accepted plans for social reform drawn up by William Beveridge in 1944. However, he was unable to convince the electorate that he was as committed to these measures as much as Clement Attlee and the Labour Party. In the 1945 General Election Churchill's attempts to compare a future Labour government with Nazi Germany backfired and Attlee won a landslide victory.
Churchill became leader of the opposition and when visiting the United States in March 1946, he made his famous Iron Curtain speech at Fulton, Missouri. He suffered the first of several strokes in August 1946 but this information was kept from the general public and he continued to lead the Conservative Party. Churchill returned to power after the 1951 General Election.
After the publication of his six volume, The Second World War, Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Churchill's health continued to deteriorate and in 1955 he reluctantly retired from politics. Winston Churchill died on 24th January, 1965."
Last, but not least, see USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL DDG-81. This ship is the fourth US warship named after an Englishman and the 31st ARLEIGH BURKE class guided missile destroyer.
GEN Abizaid, Commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle East, was interviewed on 60 Minutes Sunday by Laura Logan. While Logan is a very intelligent and professional reporter, far less biased than others at CBS, her inability to grasp some realities in Iraq were evident in her reporting. Her matter-of-fact question about "managing defeat" is a case in point. This is well worth watching.
By Brian Faler:
"Mr Calderón will face a host of challenges after entering office on December 1st besides the fierce opposition he will confront from Mr López Obrador’s PRD, both within and outside Congress. These include ongoing violence in Oaxaca, a state overwhelmed by protests during the last six months and now occupied by a federal police force, and persistent drug- and gang-related violence. Then there is the stalled reform agenda, on whose advancement he has essentially bet his presidency.
The new president’s collaborators insist that his government will be much stronger than that of departing President Fox. Besides the party’s larger share of congressional seats and the increase in the number of PAN governors, Mr Calderón is an experienced politician and an effective negotiator, they insist. They also say that Mexico will benefit from sounder economic fundamentals, stronger institutions and a consistent and proven policy framework, none of which existed six years ago.
However, Mr Calderón’s ability to govern could be severely hampered by the polarising effects of the election, which divided the country along ideological, socio-economic and geographic lines (with poverty being concentrated in the southern states). The makeup of his social cabinet, which is comprised entirely of PAN loyalists, could also prove a liability, as it does not comply with his post-election pledge to form an inclusive government and reach out to other political forces."
The Economist has some good things to say:
"On the positive side, the political weaknesses of the Calderón administration pose little risk to Mexico’s economy. Macroeconomic stability has been achieved and maintained over several years, in no small part because of the sound monetary policy and inflation-fighting skills of an independent central bank, Banco de México, led by governor Guillermo Ortiz, who will remain in place until 2010. Any volatility in recent months in the peso and Mexican stock and bond prices has been triggered more by global and regional trends than by political concerns, suggesting that investors have shrugged off domestic uncertainty. In the coming year, the main threat to Mexico’s economic performance and stability will in fact be its close commercial ties to the US, and the risk of a sharper-than-expected economic slowdown there."
I agree with that. Guillermo Ortiz has been Mexico's quiet hero. I heard him speak in Dallas and he is very sharp.
Good luck Pres. Calderon. We want you to succeed.
Last night, I watched some of the most amazing TV scenes ever. I did not think that the PRD could top the September 1st performance. But they did!
The PRD had a slumber party with sleeping bags and catered food. They even had a fist fight and the usual screaming that goes with it.
It looked like something out of Saturday Night Live or Mad TV. Unfortunately, they were scenes from the Mexican Congress.
Welcome to the new Mexico and I'm not talking about the border state.
Welcome to the new Mexico where the left is out of control and determined to do anything to reverse last July's election.
Welcome to the new Mexico where the left pretends to defend democracy by shutting down democratic steps.
Who is going to stand up and defend Mexico? Who is going to say "enough is enough"?
What Mexican politician has the "stomach" to clean up this infantile behavior from grown ups who should know better? I don't know!
From now on, we will call them: LO and his P(arty) of R(etarded) D(ummies). They are certainly acting like a party of retarded dummies!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Yesterday, I read that Sr. Lopez Obrador has an interesting choice of music:
"Significantly, the PRD candidate, who choreographed his own inauguration ceremony, chose to have the audience serenaded by the Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez, darling of Havana's music collectives." (See Lopez Obrador's Election Fraud By Jorge Amador)
Of course, LO lost me with that move. My guess is that he lost the Cuban-Americans in the US.
Memo to LO: Don't bring your act to Miami!
It reminds me of a conversation that I had with a Mexican several years ago.
My Mexican friend decided to be nice by referring to his collection of Silvio Rodriguez' LPs as "protest music".
I quickly reminded my Mexican friend that SR is not a protest singer. In Cuba, protest singers are in jail or dead.
SR is a propagandist who sings praises to the so called "revolution".
Of course, the Mexican left loves SR, and "la revolucion", because it provides them with material to hate the US.
Where is the Mexican left vis-a-vis Cuban political prisoners? The Mexican left had a heart attack over Abu Garib, which is one prison, and has said nothing about the dozens of active prisons in the island.
In fact, SR was allowed to visit Chile and sing to Pinochet's victims. See:
"En Chile (1991) Just after Gen. Pinochet stepped down as dictator of Chile, Silvio - who had been in Chile shortly before the 1973 coup - returned to play a concert, backed by the phenomenal Cuban dance/jazz band Irakere. The track list is heavily made up of tunes from the previous two albums, plus some of his biggest hits ("Unicornio," "Santiago De Chile") and new material (the anthemic concluding "Venga La Esperanza"), all of which sparkles in new full-band arrangements.)"
Of course, no one has ever been allowed to visit Castro's victims. Does SR know that? Of course he does!
However, SR likes the privilege that comes from being a propagandist for the longest running dictatorship in Latin America.
LO just gave me another reason to despise him. Did I need any others?
This is bad news: 37 Percent of U.S. Births Out of Wedlock
In 1960, it was 5.3%. Now it is 37%.
This is not progress. This is going in the opposite direction.
According to Single Mothers and Poverty :
"Approximately 60 percent of U.S. children living in mother-only families are impoverished, compared with only 11 percent of two-parent families.
According to data compiled by the National Center for Fathering, children in father-absent families are five times more likely to be poor and ten times more likely to be extremely poor than children raised with a father in the home.
New analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research of Census Bureau poverty and income figures reveals continuing economic hard times for women.
Why? Because most single mothers are not Hollywood actresses or rockers.
We remember George Harrison today. Of course, George died of cancer on a November day like this in 2001. His death was not a shock because we knew that he had been deteriorating for months.
George usually wrote and sang one song in every Beatles' album. However, he really excelled in Abbey Road with "Something" and "Here comes the sun".
George was a teenager when he met Paul & John in Liverpool. Later, they formed the band that ended up as The Beatles.
George played lead guitar and did some background vocals as well. He was referred to as the "quiet Beatle" because he was always playing behind John and Paul.
It's easy to be "quiet" when you are playing behind the "songwriting" machine of Lennon-McCartney! Nevertheless, his wonderful guitar is heard in everyone of The Beatles's hits, from "Ticket to Ride" to "Day Tripper" to "Come Together".
George was always there but we just didn't notice him that much!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Let's give a cheer for the bird. He does not like The NY Times either. See Court turns down New York Times in leak investigation:
"The Justice Department says the reporters' calls tipped off the charities of upcoming government raids."
Again, this is not freedom of the press. This is either sloppy journalism or something close to treason.
Let me repeat. Our enemy wants to blow up an American city. What part of that threat doesn't The NY Times understand?
Everyone should see THE ART AND ARTIFICE OF WAR REPORTING by Rick Moran:
"Once it became clear that Hitler was a threat to the existence of the nation, the BBC and other British news outlets started to view what the Nazis were saying with a much more critical eye.
But couldn’t they have figured this out sooner? Why did they swallow enemy propaganda so willingly?
We asked similar questions during the Israeli-Hizbullah war when it became readily apparent that the AP (and thus hundreds of media outlets around the world) were using photos and stories from outright Hizbullah sympathizers whose job could only have been to give enemy propaganda to western reporters.
And in Iraq, many critics have pointed to the almost total reliance by the mainstream press on Iraqi “stringers” for news of what’s happening around the country."
Sooner or later, reporters have to choose sides. In this case, the choice is clear: Our side is freedom and the other side is no freedoms.
Let me put this way. If the enemy wins they will kill the same reporters who are carrying their water.
Objectivity is a silly goal when your enemy wants to blow up a Western city, and the reporters who live in that city!
P.S. See this Power Line post Story of Sunnis Burned Alive Going Up In Smoke:
"There is no doubt plenty of violence in Baghdad to go around. But the current attitude toward the situation in Iraq is one of hysteria. That hysteria is being shamelessly stoked by news organs like the Associated Press, who rely--apparently uncritically--on reports from stringers who may be imposters, and may be agents of the insurgency. Such reports are repeated endlessly and thereby add to the momentum for surrender in Iraq. The difficulty of getting reliable reporting out of Iraq should not become an excuse for an abandonment of all journalistic standards."
The Washington Post has an interesting article today New Congress Unlikely to Rush Toughest Issues:
"Immigration is another area in which Democrats are proceeding cautiously even though the Nov. 7 elections appeared to remove a major roadblock.
The current Congress reached an impasse on illegal immigration, with the House Republican majority insisting on an approach that strongly emphasizes enforcement, while a bipartisan Senate group -- backed by President Bush -- sought broader changes, including guest-worker programs and pathways to legal status for illegal workers.
With Democrats poised to take over both houses -- and Bush in office for two more years -- the Senate approach would seem to have momentum.
But party leaders have made no promises about when or how they might move an immigration package, which would involve at least five House committees.
Moreover, it is clear that the election did not eliminate the nation's deep divisions over what to do about illegal immigrants.
"The elections definitely have raised expectations in immigrant communities that real reform is possible," said Josh Bernstein of the National Immigration Law Center, which supports broad-based changes to help illegal workers.
"But it's still too early to say whether that will translate into actual legislation."
A major rewrite of immigration laws "is enormously complicated," Bernstein said, "and has deep effects on our economy, our identity, the kind of country we're going to be. There are a lot of interests that are very legitimate, whether it's business, worker unions or immigrants from different countries. . . . It's highly emotionally charged on all sides."
In other words, the Democrats are not putting immigration reform on top of their agenda. Why? As we noted before, most of their new members ran on border security.
See Ex-agents OK guest-worker plan By Jerry Seper:
"In its position paper, the association said:
•Aliens now in the United States must be here with permission or they should leave or be removed. It said that can be achieved only by securing the borders and passing legislation establishing "meaningful processes" for the screening of those who wish to enter legally.
•It "absolutely opposes" any legislation giving legal status to those who entered the country illegally or who entered legally and remained in the country illegally.
•It supports "meaningful employer sanctions," adding that current laws are adequate although their use "has been subverted to meaninglessness through political and legal pressure initiated by those who benefit from the presence of illegal aliens."
•Congress and the White House need to direct the Homeland Security and Justice departments to aggressively enforce existing immigration laws."
See Bush to Press Allies on Defense Spending By DESMOND BUTLER:
"According to estimated figures published on NATO's Web site, France spent 2.5 percent of its GDP on defense last year, Britain devoted 2.4 percent and German expenditures were at 1.4 percent, down from 2 percent at the end of the Cold War. Canada was among the members with the lowest spending, at 1.1 percent of its GDP."
The US has been doing all of the heavy lifting. It's time for our allies to stop criticizing the US and start putting some money into defense.
The article goes on:
"Despite U.S. pressure, some NATO allies have continued to cut overall spending.
The alliance's mission in Afghanistan has exposed some of the defense shortfalls, the analysts say."
Pres. Bush needs to press our allies to spend more money. Afghanistan is a critical test for NATO. If NATO cannot succeed in Afghanistan then it may be time to reconsider the organization.
Monday, November 27, 2006
In Texas, we say TGIF, or "Thank God it's Friday". Will Mexicans say TGIF next Friday? Mexico has been waiting for this Friday since July 2nd.
Over the weekend, I checked out an old book.
Caspar Weinberger (Pres. Reagan's Sec of Defense) wrote "The Next War" in 1997. It speculated about potential war scenarios for the US military.
It included the usual references to Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, North Korea, China and Russia. Yet, Sec. Weinberger included a chapter on Mexico.
Unfortunately, many of Sec. Weinberger's assumptions look rather real today. See StrategyPage's The Border War and Its Costs:
"The border wars, between rival drug gangs, has not only caused a business slowdown all along the border, but news of the situation has hurt tourism. Foreign visitors have declined five percent so far this year, compared to last year. It's not just the gunfire, scary looking criminals and rumors about all this, it's also the government response. Lots more police and soldiers on patrol, some carrying automatic weapons. For tourists, this is reassuring and scary at the same time. And the drop in tourist traffic has cost the Mexican economy some $200 million so far this year. The gang wars in northern Mexico have killed over 600 so far this year. The murder rate in many border towns is 2-3 times what it is in New York City, and kidnapping is a growing criminal activity."
Mark in Mexico has the latest from Oaxaca.....and it's not pretty.
Don't get me wrong. I want Calderon to succeed. We want a prosperous neighbor.
At the same time, things don't look pretty in Mexico!
Then there is AMLO. It's true that most Mexicans do not like what AMLO is doing. AMLO is a jerk but he is a persistent jerk. As far as I can see, AMLO has the stomach, and troops, to go the distance. He is not going away, regardless of what Mexicans may think of him.
AMLO's strategy is simple: Make life miserable for Calderon. AMLO knows that he won't be president of Mexico. At the same time, AMLO knows that his movement can create the kind of political and economic chaos that causes capital flight or personal safety issues (kidnappings).
Question: Does Calderon have the stomach to confront AMLO? We don't know. The answer to that question will tell us a lot about Mexican politics in the future.
In the meantime, Friday is here. Will Mexicans say TGIF?
For a little historical perspective, see
What's at Stake In Mexico City By Enrique Krause.
I agree with Lorie Byrd:
"Events between now and November 2008 will determine which issues ultimately play the biggest role in voters’ choice for President. Over the next two weeks, though, as Americans observe the anniversaries of Katrina and 9/11, the issues of leadership in times of crisis and how best to fight the war on terror will make for an excellent opportunity for Rudy Giuliani to shine."
For more on Cuba's "socialist paradise", read Cuban utopia reality check:
"If one were to believe all of the propaganda issued by the Cuban government and parroted by the American media you'd have to believe that Cuba is one big happy island where everyone gets top notch healthcare (for free), where everyone gets top notch education (for free), where the populace is almost unanimously behind fidel castro and his regime, where there is almost no crime, etc. etc.
So how do Democrats reward all of those liberals who worked for their election in 2006. They went on Fox TV and said:
"Three Democratic congressmen who are about to take important leadership posts said on Sunday they plan to pass popular legislation blocked by Republicans but would refrain from pushing some of the most controversial elements on the liberal agenda."
What a kick in the teeth to all of those who licked envelopes and made phone calls to get the vote out.
Of course, what else do you expect from poll readers?
Sunday, November 26, 2006
My favorite is The Ants and the Grasshopper:
"All summer long the ants worked and prepared for the winter while the grasshopper went to Rage Against the Machine concerts and played Everquest.
The grasshopper laughed and laughed at the ants for working so hard.
Then winter came. The ants had plenty of food and shelter while the grasshopper had none.
So the government took the ants tax money and built the grasshopper a house, gave him welfare cheese to eat, and paid for courses at the local university that the grasshopper didn't bother to go to.
When the ants complained everyone agreed that they were greedy rich jerks for having more than the grasshopper."
The Moral of the Story: Taking money from people who work hard and giving it to the lazy is compassionate!
Check them out. They will make you laugh and think a little bit.
Myrna Blyth writes about women's issues. She is the author of "Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness — and Liberalism — to the Women of America".
Today, she wrote Afghan Entrepreneuses--A group of Afghan businesswomen visited the U.S. for a management course:
"I met an amazing group of Afghan women last week.
What an amazing story. Yet, an unreported amazing story.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
"Hispanic women have the highest unmarried birthrate in the country—over three times that of whites and Asians, and nearly one and a half times that of black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control."
Yet, it gets worse than that:
"Despite the strong family support, the prevalence of single parenting among Hispanics is producing the inevitable slide into the welfare system.
“The girls aren’t marrying the guys, so they are married to the state,” Dr. Sanchez observes.
Hispanics now dominate the federal Women, Infants, and Children free food program; Hispanic enrollment grew over 25 percent from 1996 to 2002, while black enrollment dropped 12 percent and white enrollment dropped 6.5 percent.
Illegal immigrants can get WIC and other welfare programs for their American-born children."
Where is all of this going to stop? I don't know but it makes you wonder.
PETE DU PONT is chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. He wrote Protection Racket:
"Free trade is the most important single way to promote growth," Milton Friedman said in an interview a few weeks before his death. But the new Democratic congressional majority doesn't understand that."
The Democrats want to restrict free trade and replace with something called fair trade, which is a silly way of describing protectionism.
Trade agreements have been good for the US economy:
"The North American Free Trade Agreement, signed into law by President Clinton in 1993, has expanded total trade between the U.S, Canada, and Mexico by 172%.
U.S. exports to Mexico have grown by 189% and to Canada by 111%. U.S. agricultural exports to Canada have doubled, to $10.6 billion from $5.3 billion, and to Mexico even more--to $9.4 billion from $3.6 billion.
More than one million jobs were created in America by NAFTA.
Overall the U.S. Trade Representative's office says that 10.4% of the 2005 American GDP is the result of U.S. exports of goods and services.
The Peterson Institute says that globalization boosts the U.S. economy $1 trillion annually, or about $10,000 per household. There is no question that trade both increases jobs in some areas and decreases them in others, both internationally and domestically. When cars replaced carriages, computers replaced typewriters, and E-ZPass replaced toll-takers in America, some jobs were lost and other were gained."
Thank God for Pres. Bush's veto. It will stop a lot of silly ideas coming from a Democrat Congress that does not understand free trade.
Getting serious about Iran:
"In 1936, the French army could have halted Hitler’s reoccupation of the Rhineland with a single division of troops, but chose to do nothing. In 1938, Britain and France could have joined forces with the well-armed and highly motivated Czech army to administer a crushing defeat to the German Wehrmacht and probably topple Hitler in the bargain. Instead they handed him the Sudetenland, setting in motion the process that in 1939 led to the most destructive war in world history.
The Iran crisis just got more complicated. See Russia sends missiles to Iran:
"Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of U.S. criticism."
Russia sits in the Security Council, which naturally makes you wonder why anyone expects anything worthwhile to come out of the UN.
As Hugh Hewitt reports today:
"Iran must conclude that if Russia is willing to sell it the weapons necessary to defend nuclear facilities, it cannot really be intending to force the halt of construction on those facilities.
If Iran is going to be stopped, it won't be as a result of a Security Council resolution."
In a previous post, I wrote about the press and war. I quoted from Michael Novak's What the Islamists Have Learned !
Patterico has a great post on the war and The LA Times:
"Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda from an Iraqi stringer with ties to the insurgency? Or is the paper simply misreporting the facts, and failing to seek out and report the military’s side of the story? You be the judge."
This is another example of our news media helping the enemy.
Lenin had a great line: useful idiots. Should we use the same line against some of our media?
The Democrats have completely forgotten immigration reform in their agenda for next year.
Why is that? Because most new Democrats ran on border enforcement rather than comprehensive reform.
Where do the new Democrats stand on immigration? See this!
The new Democrats want border security first. This is going to be tough pill for Hispanics who invested their hopes and dreams in the Democrats.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Professor Walter E. Williams is a national treasure. He serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well.
This week Professor Williams reminds Americans that Europe is a dead end street. See Should we copy Europe?:
"Over the last decade, the U.S. economy has grown twice as fast as European economies.
In 2006, European unemployment averaged 8 percent while the U.S. average was 4.7 percent.
What's more, the percentage of Americans without a job for more than 12 months was 12.7 percent while in Europe it was 42.6 percent.
Since 1970, 57 million new jobs were created in the U.S., and just 4 million were created in Europe."
Want to see an old castle? Go to Europe. Want to get ahead in life? Come back here.