Saturday, December 30, 2006

Lieberman on Iraq

This is a short post to point out an important article from yesterday I came across. Senator Joseph has an article in the Washington Post. I encourage everyone to read it here. The Senator has just returned from Iraq and he writes about his solution for Iraq. I have to agree with the Senator Lieberman. I am reading the Iraq Study Group report and Lieberman's article shows a better understanding of how important Iraq is than what I have seen in the ISG.

I have no problem saying a Democrat is right when they are. It doesn't happen often, but in this case a Democrat has is right about Iraq. I don't want to discuss the article too much. I would perfer everyone read the article themselves and leave a comment as to what they think.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ford Tarnished by Woodward

Today’s Washington Post has an article from Bob Woodward with excerpts from two interviews he did with the late President Ford. The interviews were from 2004 and 2005 and contain quotes from President Ford that are critical of the Bush Administration and the current Presidents policies. Mr. Woodward said these interviews were done with and embargo that they could not be reported until after the President passed away. Since President Ford passed away on Tuesday, Mr. Woodward feels this is the perfect time to release the controversial statements.

Since we cannot ask President about these quotes, or about the embargo itself, we must take them at face value and assume Mr. Woodward has put them in the appropriate context. According to the article, President Ford disagreed with going to war in Iraq, and felt the United States was wrong to try and spread democracy anywhere in the world. President Ford said he would have pushed other alternatives and sanctions harder and avoided the war. President Ford is quoted as saying, “I don’t think I would have ordered the Iraq war. I would have maximized our effort through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever, to find another answer.” He is quoted elsewhere as saying, “And I just don’t think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security.”

If President Ford truly felt this way, he did a disservice to himself by not revealing these statements during his lifetime. By waiting till after his death to allow these statements to be published, the quotes look like a cowardly act. As President, Ford had to make some tough decisions. By hiding these statements, his legacy has been tainted. I have written articles critical of President Carter for his statements as an ex-President. At least Carter was willing to face the criticism his comments might generate.

Mr. Woodward has diminished his own reputation due to the timing of his article. President Ford passed away on Tuesday evening. Less than 48 hours later, Mr. Woodward has tried to introduce fresh controversy in President Ford’s legacy for what appears a thinly veiled attempt to generate interest in a future book on President Ford by Mr. Woodward. Perhaps if Mr. Woodward truly felt these statements deserved print as quickly as possible, he should have talked the President into allowing him to publish them during his lifetime. If they could wait until after his death, surely they could have also waited until after his funeral.

Both President Ford and Mr. Woodward have acted with incredible poor taste at a minimum. President Ford’s comments can easily be viewed as petty and somewhat cowardly. Mr. Woodward’s article looks even worse because of the timing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Saddam Hussein Must Die

was found guilty of mass murder by an Iraqi court. That verdict was upheld by an Iraqi appeals court. It is now time for justice to run its course. I am a supporter of the death penalty, and think it is very justified in this case.

Saddam Hussein is guilty of untold numbers of murders, rapes, and tortures. His rise to power started with the videotaped executions of 22 of his political rivals. He ruled by force, torture, fear, and brutality. Iraqi’s lived in fear for the 24 years of his reign. If ever there was someone who deserves to face the repercussions of their actions, it is him. He was not brought back to the US and tried; he did not face a war crimes tribunal led by the United Nations. He faced a judicial system made by a democratically elected Iraqi government. Iraqi’s heard his defense in court. Iraqi’s witnessed his trial. Some Iraqi’s died trying to ensure justice was brought to Saddam. And Iraqi’s found him guilty and have sentenced him to death. Those Iraqi’s now deserve to see their government enforce the ruling of their judicial system. It would be an insult to those who risked their lives and the lives of their families to ensure he had his day in court.

There are many in Iraq who still fight because they believe Saddam will one day return to power. There are also those who won’t join in the new Iraqi government until they know there is no way for Saddam to take control of the Iraqi government. If Saddam was simply confined to life imprisonment, there would always be the fear that he could become president again. In Iraq, there are those who believe Saddam has magical abilities. The only way to convince them that he can’t return to power is to execute Saddam. I believe that he should pay for the crimes he has committed. The Iraqi judicial system has ruled they believe he should be executed. The appeals court has ordered it to be televised. Saddam deserves the punishment that he should meet in the next 30 days. Iraq (and the world) will be a better and safer place without him.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time over the last few months to read my blog and thanks for the comments. I hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and gets to spend some time with family and friends. Take a few minutes today and tomorrow and think of our soldiers who are away from their families.

Again, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Political Friends.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Kick the United Nations out of the United States

The more I follow politics, the more I think the United Nations doesn’t work anymore. If the United Nations doesn’t work, should the United States continue to be a part of the process?

I think I can get agreement from the majority of people out there when I say that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are the three biggest hot spots in the world today. If the UN is to work, they must react quickly and decisively in these three areas. Currently, the US and Britain seem to be the major governments trying to stabilize . Iran and Syria seem to be the major nations trying to destabilize Iraq. If the UN is going to be the forum for the world to resolve its issues, I would expect the UN to be actively engaged in seeking solutions with the US, the UK, and Iraq, and actively trying to prevent Iran and Syria from influencing Iraq. I don’t see that happening.

The United Nations seems to be very reluctant to do anything in . France, Germany, and Britain are working to impose sanctions against Iran for its nuclear development efforts. Russia and China are working hard to prevent sanctions against a nation they consider to be a valuable trading partner. The United States wants tough sanctions, but is trying to give the European nations a chance to work things out. At face value, this sounds like diplomacy at work. The truth of the matter is that this is a continued failure of diplomacy. The UN Security Council set an August 31st deadline for Iran to stop work on enriching uranium, or face dire consequences. Since August 31st, the Security Council has been unable to reach any decision on what those consequences should be. In the mean time, Iran has been working to expand its nuclear program and continues to thumb its nose at the world community. This week’s elections show that the people of Iran don’t support Ahmadinejad’s policies, but the UN can’t develop a similar message to send to Iran.

Under the UN’s watchful eyes, has now become a nuclear power. While North Korea has returned to the negotiating table, it has done so with a list of demands for the rest of the world. North Korea currently sees these negotiations not as a chance to become a member of the world community, but as a forum to negotiate bribes for the Kim Jung-Il, and to discuss world wide arms reductions. As North Korea has admitted it broke previous treaties, I don’t hold my breath that anything good could come from this latest round of talks.

There are other reasons the United Nations no longer is a legitimate forum for the US. In the view of the UN, all countries are equal, and all should have an equal voice in how the world works. This is a logical conclusion if you believe that there are no nations that are better than other nations. This basic belief is flawed. The United States is quite simply the greatest nation on the Earth. Any forum that equates the views of the US with every petty dictator throughout the world instantly handicaps the US. We have every responsibility to help those individuals and those nations less fortunate than us. However, we don’t have to do it with a gun to our heads as the UN would have us. We can administer our own foreign aid, and peruse our own diplomatic resolutions.

Monday, December 18, 2006

What more can we give North Korea?

North Korea proudly proclaimed itself a Nuclear Power today. The six party talks resumed today, and as I predicted last month, North Korea showed up with a laundry list of demands. In stead of sounding like a nation interested in becoming a part of the world community, North Korea sounded like a landlord demanding rent.

First, North Korea demanded the US stop all financial sanctions against the “Fearless Leader” and North Korea. This is to include the frozen banks that the US began due to North Korea’s high counterfeiting of the US $100 bill. Secondly, someone other than North Korea is to come build them a nuclear reactor. Next, the rest of the world is to provide power for North Korea until the nuclear reactor is built. After that, North Korea and Kim Jung-Il will consider abandoning their nuclear weapon program. And by the way, since they were able to “successfully” test a nuclear weapon, they want equal treatment as any other nation in the world.

When a child misbehaves, he doesn’t come to the principles office with a list of demands that must be met before he will begin to behave again. If a criminal were to show up at the police station with a list of demands before he would abide by the law, we would all laugh at him. However, because the UN and the rest of the world allow tyrant regimes to do as they wish, more and more dictators come to the UN with demands before they will act like a responsible, equal share holder in the world community.

This is the basic flaw with the modern Democratic Party and the UN. Both treat all individuals (except George Bush) and all nations (except the US) as equal. No matter how you treat others, or how bad your ideas may be, you can’t be called wrong. If you feel it is ok to deny the right of another race of individuals to exist, you’re not condemned and cut off from the rest of the world. You are allowed to present your ideas as if they have merit. If you funnel money, troops, and training into a war zone to kill American and International forces, the Iraq Study Group says the US and the world should negotiate with you and give you an equal share in the fate of your neighbors.

Until the UN or the world at large is willing to hold nations like Iran and North Korea responsible for their actions, these rouge leaders will continue to threaten other nations, kill and starve their own people, and grow fat off the weak knees of the world at large. Maybe we should just ask President Carter what to do.

Friday, December 15, 2006

TIME Falls in Love with Ahmadinejad

I came across an article today on the Drudge Report that really shocked me. Time Magazine is running a second interview with Iranian President . That didn’t shock me. What shocked me was the opening sentence. Scott MacLeod writes, “In an exclusive interview, the Iranian President – and Person of the Year candidate – discusses his conference questioning the Holocaust, his letter to the American people and the state of his nuclear plans”. I was almost speechless. “Person of the Year candidate”? I couldn’t believe it.

President Ahmadinejad has been pursing nuclear weapons, he has said that Israel needs to be wiped off the map, and last week held a conference arguing that the Holocaust didn’t happen. Regardless of whether Time magazine makes him their Person of the Year or not, even listing him as a candidate soils the reputation of the other nominees and gives weight to everything Ahmadinejad has been saying.

Do the editors and writers of Time believe there was a Holocaust? Do they believe Isreal should be, “wiped off the map?” Would they like the nation of Iran, Hezbollah or Hamas to have nuclear weapons? I have been critical of the Iraq Study Group, but even they say that Iran has been aiding in the flow of arms and training into Iraq. I strive very hard on this site to avoid simply calling people or groups names, but what are the people at Time thinking?

Let’s take this scenario to its possible conclusion. Fast forward to the end of the year when Time announces that President Ahmadinejad is their Person of the Year, complete with flattering glossy photo on the cover. Forget what may or may not be said here in the United States. What will be said in the Middle East? In Iraq? In Iran? Ahmadinejad will hold that issue up for everyone in the Middle East to see and say, “See, even the American people believe Israel should be destroyed. Even the American people believe Iran should have nuclear weapons.” If you don’t think that will happen you are fooling yourself.

The terrorist and leaders in the Middle East pay very close attention to the American media. Even if Time is so short sighted as to not realize this, those in the Middle East will point to this designation of “Potential Man of the Year” and squeeze every bit of PR out of it they can. To list him as a candidate is irresponsible and aides our enemies. I believe in Freedom of Speech, and Time can nominate whomever they wish to. However, I think it tells the American public a lot about who Time is rooting for in the War on Terror.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Barack Hussein Obama

With all the hype around Senator this week, I thought I would post a short bio and a note on some of his positions. At then end, I will tell you why I can’t vote for him.

Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii in August of 1961. His father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas. His parents got divorced when he was two years old. His mom remarried and the family moved to Indonesia when Obama was six years old. At age ten, he moved back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. The future Senator graduated from Columbia University in 1983. He worked for a few years and then returned to school, this time at Harvard Law School where he earned a degree and graduated in 1991. He moved back to Chicago and worked for a civil rights firm and taught at the University Of Chicago Law School. He was married in 1992 and has two daughters.

Obama won his first election to the State Legislature in 1996. In 2000, he made an attempt at the US House, but was defeated in the Illinois primary. He was then elected to the US Senate in 2004, and was sworn in on January 5, 2005.

It is a little difficult to point out exactly where he is on many of the issues. He simply hasn’t had enough time in the Senate to let his voting record tell a story. He is very passionate about a few issues on his website (AIDS being one of them). In the press release for December 6, 2006, Senator Obama says, “I agree with the [Iraq] Study Group’s call for a significant redeployment of U.S. forces in Iraq. As I said a few weeks ago, there are not good options left in Iraq, but I believe a redeployment is the best way to finally reach a political agreement between the warring factions.” This statement worries me. I believe there are ways to win in Iraq, and I believe a redeployment will only help our enemies.

At a reception on Sunday, he was asked if the country was ready for a black president. He responded by saying, “Are some voters not going to vote for me because I’m African American? Those are the same voters who probably wouldn’t vote for me because of my politics.” Senator Obama believes only Republicans could be racist. Incase the Senator has forgotten, David Duke ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat from 1975 to 1990. When he decided to try and run as a Republican in 1991, he received a letter from the GOP expressing their disdain for his activities. And don’t forget KKK leader and Senior Democrat from West Virginia Robert Byrd.

I won’t be voting for Senator Obama if he should happen to get the Presidential Nomination. It has nothing to do with his skin color. It has a lot to do with his views on Iraq, and the fact that I don’t appreciate the comment from Sunday. If I could pick anyone to vote for in 2008, it would be Condoleezza Rice.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Jimmy Carter's New Book

Former President has a new book out titled Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. So far, Mr. Carters’ book has generated a lot of controversy including the resignation of a former aide and chargers of improperly publishing some one else’s work.

I saw a copy of this book at a local Barnes and Nobles and read the book jacket. I got a good laugh out of it. Mr. Carter claims to lay out a plan for, “…Israel and Palestine living side by side within their own internationally recognized boundaries.” According to the book jacket, Mr. Carter believes Israel has a lot to do, and Palestine has almost nothing to do. I couldn’t believe that anyone wanting a real solution to the Israel / Palestine conflict would expect one party or the other make all the sacrifices, and not expect compromise from both sides.

The first controversy I read about in the news was when Kenneth Stein, Director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, resigned after reading Mr. Carter’s book. He had been associated with Carter for some time and resigned as the Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center. Both Mr. Stein and President Carter agree that he has not been involved in the day to day affairs of the Carter Center for some time. Mr. Stein states that ,”President Carters book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses, its is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments.” Mr. Stein did not want his name in anyway associated with the book.

Shortly after this, Mr. Dennis Ross, former Middle East envoy, came out in public and stated that at least some of the maps used in President Carters book were improperly published. Mr. Ross states that he is the original author of the maps. He states that he was not contacted and did not give permission for President Carter to use the maps.

Based on Mr. Ross and Mr. Stein, it would appear that President Carters new book uses very questionable material and questionable publishing to make its arguments. My original problem with the book still stands. Any course in the Israel / Palestine conflict must include Hamas being removed. At the same time I was reading Mr. Carters comments this week, I saw an article were members portions of the Palestine government will not participate in a unity government if they are asked to recognize Israel’s right to exist. That seems to me to mean that Palestine does have something it will have to work out if it wishes to coexist with Israel.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Iraq Study Group

I have begun reading the report from the and am already disappointed. The "Baker" Report should contain possible strategies to win in Iraq. I couldn’t find a section on winning Iraq, or a section on victory in the entire report. I have heard reports today that the study group only took one trip to Iraq, and then only two of the members ever ventured out of the Green Zone. If this is true, how can we believe this is an accurate assessment of the state of Iraq? Why should the President or Congress put any faith in what is in essence a damage control report? The President and Congress should be examining ways to win in Iraq and not ways to look better to the world. War is hard. Sherman said that war is all hell. It is suppose to be ugly and brutal. But we as Americans must put that aside and look for real ways to win.

is still winnable. We must decide what we want to obtain from our involvement in Iraq, what conditions we are willing to define for victory, and how much we are willing to do to get it. That is what the debate between Republicans and Democrats really needs to be. I don’t believe that any Republican, Democrat, or American really wants to loose in Iraq. So how do we define Victory, and how do we get there?

If we look at Iraq as a front in the larger global war on Islamic Fundamentalism, then we can define victory. One possible definition: Victory is when Iraq is a fully self – reliant democratic government. We can get there by breaking the will of our enemies and the enemies of the Iraqi people. Anyone who has done any looking into the war knows Syria and Iran are both funneling fighters and materials into Iraq. Iran and Syria should be made to hurt enough that they stop supplying our enemies with aid. If Iran and Syria are willing to bleed American soldiers, we should do the same to them. We could target their terrorist as they come across the border, or we could take the war to their nations.

This is only a possible solution. We could limit the area of operation to within the borders of Iraq and step up military operations. We could decide we are willing to handle more civilian causalities in order to protect our troops and hit the terrorist harder. These are all possible strategies to win Iraq. The point is not whether or not they are the right strategies, but that they are strategies that could work in Iraq.

A real Iraq Study Group would have been able to find a few strategies for Victory. This Study Group appears to be looking for anything but Victory.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Freedom of Speech?

I have had a running debate on a few other sites about the nature of our guaranteed of Speech. I thought I would post a few thoughts here and see if there is anyone out there who disagrees.

All of our rights are guaranteed up to a point. We have our freedoms so long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. I have the right to criticize anyone in the government I see fit too. However, I don’t have the right to walk into a crowded movie theater and scream “Fire” at the top of my lungs unless there really is a fire. If someone says something about me, or prints something about me that they can’t prove, I have the ability to sue them in court. I wanted to point this out first to show that our freedoms are limited.

The press is an important watchdog in today’s world, and always has been. However, I feel they get away with a lot under the “Freedom of Speech” clause. If the N Y Times or any other media outlet decides to print classified documents, there should be consequences. If I decided to stand on a street corner and hand classified documents out, plenty of people would rightly be upset. Why should a group of people whom aren’t elected, have the ability to decide what is in my best interest?

There are those who say we need the press to protect us from abuse in government, and I agree. However, if the press finds something that they feel the American public needs to know, they should hand it to one of the other branches government if they can’t legally print it. If someone found something incriminating about President Bush, there is a long line of Senators standing at the ready to do something with that information.

We as Americans are found of saying, “No one is above the law.” The President, Congress, and the Supreme Court are all held accountable just as your average John Doe. So why should a newspaper be any different? I write a blog, does that make me above the law? Many don’t like to talk about it, but our freedoms do have limits. Most of these limits were set forth in the Constitution, and have always been there. I feel those limits should be enforced equally.

I am interested to see what others think. Feel free to drop me a comment.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Terrorist Quiz

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 11%

Congratulations, Patriot! Wave your flag proudly, stand tall, and bask in the glory of George Bush's America. The terrorists will never win so long as there is a sufficient number of people like you out there. Never question, never doubt. You are on the right side. America's side. God's side. Rush Limbaugh has told you so. Rah rah, go Bush!!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Imams Look More and More Guilty

The six imams kicked off a US Airways flight last week are still claiming to be the victims of racial profiling. However, the police report from the original incident is now out in the public and viewable( Many of the details that have been circulating on the blogosphere have made it into the reporting. While the media reports aren’t covering this as much as I would like, they have taken a step in the right direction by pointing out the incriminating facts in the police report.

The imams were doing more than just praying loudly. They were acting consistent with the 9/11 hijackers. Many of the passengers and crew were concerned with the actions of the imams. The Muslim American Society, which has been pushing the racial profiling angle, reported last week that one of the imams was blind. One of the passengers from the flight noted that there was in fact an imam acting blind in order to convince passengers to swap seats with him. If you pay careful attention to the police report, at no point to the officers note that one of the imams was blind or needed any sort of special attention. This appears to be another hole in the press release created by the Muslim American Society.

One of the imams told a passenger on the plane that his job was a cover and that his real job was “… advocating / representing Muslims here in the US.” This was at the same time that he complained to the passenger about non-shariah law nations, and expressed what this same passenger called “extreme fundamentalist Muslim views.” Last week I pointed out the connections one of the imams had to a Hamas fund raising charity operating here in the US. This information taken with the vocal support for Hamas and Hezbollah from the Muslim American Society makes me very suspicious that these imams were not victims at all. The more information that comes out, the more I believe this was an actual terrorist operation. However, I don’t believe they had any intension of taking over the plane. I think from the beginning they were hoping to get taken off the plane and wanted to use this as a PR operation. These imams and the MAS want to use this to force the airlines to ignore suspicious activities, or get labeled as Islamaphobic. We know the terrorist groups want to use our media against us and this is a case were they are trying to use the media to force us into a less secure footing here in the US.

If it is found that theses six imams were intentionally doing this to try and get in the media spotlight, they should be charged with aiding terrorist, and tried. I think US Airways should be commended for doing the right thing. I can only hope and pray that crews from other airlines act the same way if they see suspicious people on their planes.

Friday, December 01, 2006

New article up at Big Bazoo

The people at Bigbazoo posted a guest blog of mine. I wrote an article on some of the failures of Speaker-elect Pelosi. Go check it out here, and leave a comment to let them know what you think.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prayer Rally for Imams kicked off US Airways Flight

I have devoted two previous post to the six imams kicked off the US Airways flight last week. If you haven’t heard of the exact details, check out my first post, and then the updated post from Tuesday. I said in the Tuesday post that I was worried about exactly what these imams may have really been up too. I have read more information today that makes me more nervous than before.

A few civil rights groups have now taken up the fight for the imams. These groups believe that it should be ok for a group of Muslims to board a plane, take control of all the exit and entrance points and then criticize the President and the War in Iraq. They feel the US is racially profiling their group. As I have said before, if you go to an airport or get on an airplane and act suspicious, you should be stopped. There are evil people in the world. Some of them are Muslim, and some of them want us dead.

These six were beyond acting suspicious. They were acting consistent with how the 9/11 terrorist acted. US Airways would have been grossly negligent if they didn’t kick these imams off the plane.

Now, the Muslim American Society (MAS) has taken up their cause, and is leading a prayer rally tomorrow for these imams. The MAS Freedom Foundations Executive Director, Imam Mahdi Bray is speaking at the service tomorrow. I judge anything I hear by looking at who the source is. So before you rush to tomorrow’s prayer rally, here is some information on the MAS, and on Imam Mahdi Bray.

The Muslim American Society was founded in 1992 by the Muslim Brotherhood. If you are not familiar with that group, do a quick Google search on them and see what turns up.

Imam Mahdi Bray is a vocal supporter of both Hamas and Hezbollah. He is also listed as the contact person for the National Islamic Prison Foundation. This is a group that was organized in order to,”…convert American inmates to Wahhabism,” according to Jihad Watch.

And one last tidbit of information: one of the imams removed from the US Airways flight is Imam Omar Shahin. Jihad Watch list Imam Shahin as someone who has previously been involved with an organization here in the US that supported Hamas under the disguise of a charitable organization.

At the very least, this was a stunt to try and exhort money from US Airways. At worst, it could be something much more sinister. Either way, these six should be reminded that it was their own actions that got them kicked off the airplane. We need to be more vigilant to those who want to kill us, not less.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UPDATE: Six Muslims kicked off US Airways flight

New information has come out today regarding the six Imams kicked off a US Airways flight last Monday. The original stories had stated that some of the Imams stood up on the US Airways flight and began praying. Apparently, the behavior by the six Muslims was much more suspicious.

According to the Washington Times, passengers said that at least three of the six Imams were praying very loudly in the concourse. After boarding the flight, the six took up positions similar to the 9/11 hijackers, two moved to the front row in first class, two sat in the exit rows, and two sat at the very back of the plane. These weren’t their assigned seats. This type of behavior is now believed to be a terrorist probe. With these seats, the six could now control the exits to the airplane. When they boarded, some of the Imams asked for seat belt extenders, which they didn’t need. When they got to their seat, they unrolled the extenders and placed them on the floor of the cabin. As the plane was delayed, the six would walk back and forth talking to each other, sometimes in English, and sometimes in Arabic. Passengers said that the Imams were discussing politics, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush.

The Imams say they spoke only in English and that they didn’t discuss politics. They also believe they are the victims of racial profiling. In the Washington Times piece, Mrs. Hudson quotes two other airline professionals not associated with US Airways as defending the airlines actions.

Last week, I posted a blog defending US Airways. With these new details, I am much more suspicious of the Imams. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, US Airways made the correct call. If you don’t think so, imagine that the worst happened. Imagine that these individuals later took control of the plane and crashed it somewhere. What would happen in the aftermath if we found that US Airways knew everything listed above, but still allowed the six to board the airplane?

I am very concerned about the behavior of these Imams. As more details come out, it looks like these Imams were intentionally trying to provoke a response at a minimum and maybe something much more nefarious at worst. These six acted in a very concerted way. I feel most rational people would agree that US Airways probably did the right thing. There are other questions we need to answer. What exactly were these six Imams up to? Were they trying to get thrown off the plane? Were they hoping to sue US Airways for discrimination and thereby make it harder for other Airlines to throw suspicious people off of their planes? Were these six actively probing US Airways for some sort of future plot? Or, were these six Imams so out of touch with today’s world that they had no idea their actions would be viewed as suspicious?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Why a Draft is a bad idea

Senator Rangle (D- New York) has once again proposed a draft. This isn’t the first time he has proposed this draft. It has failed before, and based on the response of his party, I don’t expect this one to go far either. However, because I hear this in the media from time to time, I think it is important to illustrate why a draft is a bad idea and to respond to a few points in Mr. Rangle’s latest call for a draft.

To be sure, there have been times in the past where a draft was need for our nation. However, one of the most incredible things about our military is that it is an all volunteer military. Our men and women in uniform are fighting because they have chosen to put on the uniform and go where the rest of us wouldn’t. I respect all of them for that. Even with what many consider to be an unpopular war in Iraq, the military has been meeting its recruitment goals for the last few years. The last time a draft was seriously considered in the congress, many in the arm services said it was not only not needed, but also not wanted.

Senator Rangle in a letter to the New York Daily News on November 22, 2006 outlined some of his reasons for the draft, and some of the changes he would make to the draft. He states that if more of our elected politicians had family members in the service, they would not send our troops into harms way. I disagree. Perhaps for a few it would make a difference. However, I choose to believe that many of Mr. Rangle’s colleagues understand the implications of deploying our military anywhere. Even if they don’t understand it from a human point of view, I am sure that our politicians know the media will remind them of the body count. President Clinton was hesitant to use our military anywhere for fear of any casualties being broadcast on CNN. We should be compassionate and respect the danger we ask these men and women to take on. We should also remember these men and women are warriors. They have sworn to protect us. Americans have had to die in order for the rest of the nation to sleep safe at night. We owe it to the military to be careful of when we use it, but also to use our military when needed.

Mr. Rangle argues that our current recruitment practices are prejudice without actually saying that. He cites that incentives to join mean nothing to those who have college as an option. If the military doesn’t appeal to college bound people, why are there Military Academies? Why is there ROTC? Surely those wouldn’t be needed otherwise. Mr. Rangle goes on to argue that there is a disproportionate number of minorities in the army, and that by not instituting a draft we aren’t being fair to them. I would respond to Mr. Rangle by saying there are many people of all race in the military. For some, it is a proud tradition. For some, it is a chance at an opportunity they wouldn’t have had otherwise. For whatever reason, why should anyone disrespect them by acting like they were forced at gun point to join the military? This goes against honoring these men and women for doing the one thing many of us won’t.

In his letter, Mr. Rangle says that his draft would, “… [make] men and women up to age 42 eligible for service, with no exemptions beyond health or reasons of conscience.” The reason the draft is a bad idea is that someone who doesn’t want to do that job, isn’t going to do a very good job at it. Is that really what we want in a military? Would you want someone to work on your car if that is the last thing in the world they wanted to do? And what does it say to those in the military who are there by choice? What confidence do they have in their fellow soldier who doesn’t want to be there and is just looking for a way home?

A draft is not the right answer for our military. I haven’t heard of any military expert say anything different, and I have heard quite a few military figures argue against a draft. Let’s give the men and women the respect they need, and the tools to do their job, without saddling them with people who don’t want to put their life on the line.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to the readers and occasional visitors to this site. I hope everyone is able to either spend some time with family this year, or able to talk to your family today and say "Hi". I also want to wish a special Happy Thanksgiving to all our men and women in uniform who are spending today away from their families in order to protect my family.

In a break from the norm, I thought I would share my own Thanksgiving story with anyone out there who would like to listen. My daughter made a “Thankful Wreath” at school. Her teacher told me that the class made the individual wreaths, and she would go to each student and ask, “What are you thankful for?” Many of you can guess that in a class of three year olds, “mommy” or “daddy” were the common answers. However, my little girl was thinking along a totally different line. When her teacher asked her what she was thankful for, she replied, “The Home Depot”. Maybe we have been doing a little too much work around the house lately.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and I hope you have a great one, no matter what your political beliefs are.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Six Muslims kicked off US Airways flight

Six Imam’s leaving a conference in Minnesota were kicked off a US Airways flight yesterday. Apparently, at least three of the Imam’s stood up on the flight and began their evening prayers. If I understand correctly, Muslims are required to pray five times a day at very specific times. I thought there were allowances for when a Muslim isn’t able to pray at that time. I will research that and post a comment to this post with what I find. But, for the moment, let’s say for the sake of argument that there are no exceptions made by the Koran, and the Imam’s were required to pray at that time regardless of where they were.

I don’t think US Airways was in the wrong to kick the Imams off the plane. If Islam required prayers at that time, and as devout Muslims, this couldn’t be avoided, why not simply schedule a later flight? Air travel is a convenience, not a right. In a post 9/11 world, that is all the more apparent. I have family throughout the country. If I wish to see them, I understand that there are certain things I must do. For example, I am only allowed 3 oz liquids in a single quart clear plastic bag. Do I really think this measure will stop a terrorist? No. However, if I want to fly to visit family or friends elsewhere, I know I must abide by the rules.

On 9/11, 19 hijackers took control of 4 planes and killed thousands of Americans. Every plane since then has had heightened security of some sort. How many articles have we seen or read of people who caused a disturbance being kicked from an airplane? Why should anyone be exempt from this? Why should these six individuals be any different? If four priests got onto and American Airlines flight, and right before take off, stood up in unison and started chanting in Latin, would the passengers have ignored them? I don’t think so. They would have been kicked off that flight.

We are taught there is a time and place for everything. Political Correctness initially brought some civility to our common language that was probably needed. However, that time is gone. We are now in a time where PC would have us risk our lives, the lives of our family and friends, the very existence of this nation in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. We have learned there are evil people in the world. Americans must make a decision. Will we allow our way of life to disappear to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? I hope we will learn that while everyone deserves common courtesy, and people have rights, we must protect ourselves. These six individuals were wrong to believe they could disrupt and airplane without consequences. If they believe they were singled out because they were Muslim that is regrettable. The fact is, they were singled out because they disrupted an airplane, clean and simple.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Other Exit Strategies for Iraq

My Dad sent me an article a few days ago from the Armed Forces Journal. In it, Mr. Ralph Peters has a very interesting article on possible alternatives for Iraq. He purposes four or five potential exit strategies I haven’t heard discussed any where else. All of the debate I have heard in the media has revolved around three central strategies for Iraq. The first was summed up best by the President, “Stay the Course.” The other two revolve around either increasing or decreasing the current troop levels in Iraq.

Mr. Peters argues that there are many other options that are found between these three plans. He makes a compelling argument that we must examine theories that might be “outside the box” in order to find a solution that works best for our nation. Any course of action in Iraq must be governed by what is best for American interests first, Iraq second, and the rest of the world last. Regardless of anyone’s feelings about why we as a nation went into Iraq, we are there now. We have a responsibility for the outcome in Iraq. We must also look at what consequences any resulting strategy might cause. If we were to suddenly pull all of our troops from Iraq, what would our enemies do next? What lessons will they take from our actions? To cut and run from Iraq without regard to the results would be irresponsible. We have a responsibility to our troops, to our citizens, and the citizens of Iraq.

I have often thought that a withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster. It would show our allies that we don’t have the fortitude to stay with them in tough times. It would show our enemies that we are in fact a paper tiger, and it would invite them to follow us home and attack us here. However, Mr. Peters illustrates a few other options that might allow us to withdraw, and still send a clear message to both our enemies and our allies. Perhaps a sudden all out military push, where every group organized against us is hit and hit hard is the way to send a message before withdrawing. Mr. Peter states in one of his alternative plans:

“If we do leave, we should go out shooting. All anti-government factions should suffer — the gloves should come off at last. The one thing we cannot afford is a popular view that our troops have been defeated. They haven't been. We will have to make that clear. Our withdrawal should be conducted under conditions that push our enemies bloodily onto the defensive as we make our exit, and we should not worry about collateral damage. If we leave Iraq, we must leave the world with a perception of American strength — and ruthlessness, when required. We can afford being seen as heavy-handed, but we can't afford being seen as weak.”

I feel anyone really looking for a solution to Iraq must read Mr. Peters articles. Mr. Peters says in his article that some of his solutions aren’t realistic, but they illustrate a need to think outside the box. He also goes to great lengths to point out that as long as the Iraqis are willing to fight and die for their new government, we need to help them do that. They will need to fight harder than those in the country who would have them live in tyranny. We can’t fight for them forever, nor should we. However, a democracy in the Middle East is in America’s best interest. Any solution must balance our responsibilities and what best serves our nation both now and in the future.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chinese Sub stalks USS Kitty Hawk

Anyone who has read many of my blogs knows that I feel China is a potential threat to the US. I don’t believe we should be drawing up invasion plans, but I do believe we need to stop treating them as a trading partner, and more like a potential military aggressor. A news story that has been running in the Washington Times illustrates my point.

Sometime in October of this year, a Chinese diesel submarine surfaced within firing distance of the USS Kitty Hawk. The Kitty Hawk was engaged in training exercises near Okinawa and was in International waters. The only reason the US found out about it was that an airplane on a routine patrol happened upon it while the Song class submarine set on the surface. The message is a clear one, if the Chinese sub wanted to fire on the Kitty Hawk; torpedos would have been in the water before anyone new the sub was even there.

Besides this pointing to an obvious need to re-evaluate our defensive measures while in International waters, it points to one more case of China not playing the part that they claim they want, or that our State Department says they want. When was the last time a British submarine was found stalking our carriers? China has repeatedly pushed the limits of our military in the Pacific. They have been playing both sides of the fence with North Korea, sending military components to the “Dear Leader” while claiming to want a share of negotiating with North Korea. There have been reports recently of repeated attacks on Washington computers from China.

At what point do we step back and say, “What exactly is our relationship with China?” Everyone believes China is preparing for what it believes to be an eventual clash with the US over the fate of Taiwan. Yet in the Washington Times we also learn that our military has been trading tours of military facilities and information on how we run our military in an effort to build good will with the Chinese. Of course, the word “trading” is a little bit of a leading word. It implies that the Chinese are also showing us around their facilities, or being candid with our military leaders regarding how the Red Army operates. Apparently, that is not so.

Obviously, we can’t attack China. We shouldn’t even be planning on it, and I don’t want to argue that we should. However, we need a more realistic strategy. No more tours of American military bases. No more seminars on the best operating practices of the military. And the next time a Song class submarine “shadows” the Kitty Hawk, we respond the same way we did in 1994, we chase the sub back into Chinese waters to illustrate that we take threats against our military seriously. It took September 11th for many Americans to realize we were at war with Islamic Fundamentalist. What will it take for us to learn that there are the Chinese aren’t the friends they claim to be?

Senator, Choose Your Weapon!

I am reading a book about Abraham Lincoln (look for a review in a future blog). While reading it the other day, I was struck by an interesting idea. I thought I would post it on here to discuss. It is an idea that will never come to pass, and probably shouldn’t, but I thought it would make an interesting departure from current events for one post. My idea is this: What if dueling was suddenly allowed for Senators and Representatives?

It would have to be very controlled. We couldn’t allow any ringers, so only the elected officials themselves would be allowed to duel. No aids that were only hired to stand in. And only other elected representatives would be allowed to stand as seconds for anyone. The Judicial and Executive branches would not be allowed to participate, the same as any private citizen. There would be no other significant rules, and we would resort to the traditional code of conduct used in the early years of our nation.

I think if nothing else, this would give many of our Senators and Representatives a sense of accountability. If a Democrat or Republican were to say something on the floor just to get a few media pictures, the offended party could quickly challenge that politician to a duel. It would surely change the tone of debate in Washington. I think many of the elected congressmen would suddenly focus more on the issues and less on insulting each other. The new dueling law would surely make confirmation hearings a bit more interesting. No more grandstanding, unless of course you think you are a better shot than the nominee.

Who knows, it might even force our Senators and Representatives to actually get some work done.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Fair Tax Act

One of the issues confronting the new congress is how to fix the US tax code. The current IRS tax code is overly long, cumbersome, and hard for anyone to understand. It doesn’t do a good job of collecting tax fairly. President Bush commissioned a tax advisory panel shortly after arriving in office. The panel made its recommendation without seriously considering any alternatives other than reworking the current cumbersome tax code. I have been a supporter of the Fair Tax Act for some time.

What is the Fair Tax? The Fair Tax Act (HR 25 and S 25) is a new law that replaces the IRS and our current tax code with a national 23 % sales tax on new goods. No more filing taxes in April. No more federal withholding. If you make $40,000 a year, your pay check will be for $40,000 a year minus any state or local taxes you pay. Those may go away as most states pattern their state taxes after the federal code. Everyone pays their taxes at the cash register when they buy something. No more loopholes to be exploited and even drug dealers and terrorist will have to pay taxes if they buy anything new.

When I first started studying the Fair Tax, I was worried about the national 23% sales tax. I would get to keep my entire pay check, but it didn’t sound like a good deal if everything I was going to buy would suddenly cost 23% more. The more I looked into the Fair Tax, the more I found that this didn’t equate with real world economic examples. Since federal the federal tax system will go away, many of the taxes businesses pay will disappear. The cost of producing any item will go down. Most economic studies project the price of goods to fall by around 21% to 22%. This means that if you pay $100 for an item now, after the Fair Tax is implemented, that same item will cost around $102. In addition, you now have more money in your bank account because you are getting all of your pay check, and not paying the federal withholding taxes.

Some people complain that this is unfair to the poor, and will cause a higher tax burden on those in the poverty level. The authors of the Fair Tax have an answer for this as well. At the beginning of each month, the head of household will receive a “prebate” check for the amount of taxes that family is expected to pay in the month for the essentials in order to survive. This check will vary with the number of people claimed as dependents by the head of household. The great thing about this is the check is the tax payer’s money to spend as they wish. If they wish to spend it on whatever, they can. If they wish to invest the money, or save it for a rainy day, they can. The federal government issues it to keep those in the poverty level from paying taxes on the things they must have. If that family wants to cut back for a month or two and save the money, it is their money to do with as they please.

The Fair Tax really is a win-win. The reason the federal sales tax would be set around 23% is to keep the money that currently comes into the federal government the same as the money the government would collect after the Fair Tax started. The US government would collect the same amount of money, and the tax payers get to keep their pay check. I haven’t been able to find a down side. I encourage anyone to look into the Fair Tax and prove me wrong. I have a link on this site to the Fair Tax website. I have read the book by Linder and Boortz outlining the Fair Tax. If you disagree, tell me, because I think this is the best system for America.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Middle East Reaction to the Elections

There appears to be a wide range of reaction to the Tuesday elections in the Middle East. There are some who are now nervous about what American policy will be with a Democratic controlled congress. There are some who now expect changes more in line with their own philosophies. There seems to be a large amount of indifference. I have read articles today on Fox News, CNN, and even on a couple of blogs where the authors say that many in the Middle East have seen very little difference in Democratic versus Republican foreign policy in that region, so they don’t really care about the results from this week.

However, over the last few days, I have seen two news items that don’t seem to get very much coverage that worry me. I was flying out of town this week and heard a broadcast on CNN stating there was celebration by Iraqi insurgents over the Democratic victory. I have searched and searched and can’t find a print version of this news item. Still I am a little worried by the implications of this if it is indeed true.

The other news story I saw today on Reuters. I trust its authenticity. Reuters has been doing this a long time, and is fairly objective. The title of the report, Khamenei calls elections a victory for Iran, says everything worth saying. I would like an honest response to this question: What does it say when an enemy like Iran is cheering for a particular party in American politics?

Al Qaeda doesn’t seem to care. The lead man for Al Qaeda in Iraq today says he has 12,000 troops in Iraq (so much for Iraq not being part of the war on terror) and will not stop until the White House is destroyed. Surely that is a clear sign that Al Qaeda wants us out of Iraq.

So my second question is this: If enemies like Iran, Syria, and Al Qaeda all want us to withdraw from Iraq, how could it possibly be in the best interest of the United States to leave before we accomplish our mission?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Post Election Lessons

We now have a little over 24 hours after the elections. While some of the contests are still undecided, it is safe to call both the House and Senate for the Democrats. I think congratulations are in order for the Democratic Party. I honestly didn’t think they could do it. The elections were fair and honest elections, and the DNC gave the Republicans a “thumpin”. So what lessons can we, the President, the newly elected members of congress and the senate, and House Speaker to be Pelosi take from this?

First, I honestly believe the American voters are tired of elected officials not doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. I support the Republicans, but they really have not done anything since the last election but squabble amongst themselves. To many times Republicans like Senators McCain and Graham have fought hard to get on TV, and not fought hard to get issues solved. I have been and am still frustrated about that. The newly elected Congress needs to go to Washington and actually accomplish something. Social Security, Illegal Immigration, and Tax reform (think Fair Tax Act), are all issues that have been touched on over the last few years but have had nothing really done about them. These are all issues that must be solved for our country to continue on. I would recommend that Democrats and Republicans both pick one and work to solve it before the 2008 elections.

I think the voters have had enough of the name calling and finger pointing in Washington. The voters want to see their elected officials act like statesman, and there are far too many examples from the last few years were both sides of the aisle have failed to do that.

No one can question that Tuesday’s results were a clear message that the voters feel something different has to be done in Iraq. I am going to try and predict the future so bear with me. I think that some of the far left voters are going to be surprised and find that a time table for withdrawal from Iraq will not be set by the new congress. Any timetable that is set in stone simply gives our enemies a finish line. A set exit date says, “If we can just hold out till then, the Americans will run away.” Iraq is also very different from Vietnam. In Vietnam, when we left, and when we stopped helping our allies, the North Vietnamese moved in to where we were, they killed our allies and took over. In Iraq if we leave, the terrorist will move in, Iran and Syria will set up a new government, and the terrorist will kill our allies. But there is one other step our enemies will take that they didn’t in the 1970’s, the terrorist will follow us home and attack us here. There can be no safe and honorable exit from Iraq without a stable government in Iraq. I think the Democrats know this, and while they won’t say it publicly, they will act on it.

I think the next two years could be very interesting depending on whether or not Republicans and Democrats learn anything from November 7, 2006.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why I will vote Republican Tomorrow

Tomorrow afternoon I will leave work a little early in order to make it to the polls, cast my vote, and pick up my daughter from day care. Tomorrow I will be voting Republican. If you have read this blog before, you will not be surprised by my vote tomorrow. You will also not be surprised that I consider myself a Republican. But, if you didn’t know me and stopped me tomorrow and asked why I voted Republican, here is what I would tell you.

I don’t always agree with the Republican Party. I don’t think an amendment to the U. S. Constitution describing marriage is needed. I don’t really think it has any place in today’s political discussion. I don’t think we should legislate how we handle patients on life support. Having seen that decision made by someone I hold dear I can tell you that it is an incredibly tough one to make. It needs to be made by the family with the help of a doctor. Government has no place in it. I think how man came to be is a very interesting topic, but it is not in my top ten political issues. The truth of the matter is, in this day an age, there are only two deciding factors on my vote: The War on Terror, and Homeland Security.

The Republican Party believes we need to continue to fight in Iraq. The RNC believes our police and military need tools to handle terrorist. President Bush believes we are engaged in a war throughout the world for our very existence. The DNC believes a loss in Iraq is ok. The Democratic Party believes that our police, our military, and our President are a larger threat than those who would kill us, our families, and our children. The DNC has absolutely no plans for how to fight terrorist except to run back to the US and hope they don’t follow.

I have to vote for the party that will protect my family. The Republicans may not always be right, but they are trying to protect my daughter, my wife, and me. So I will cast my ballot for Republicans tomorrow. Tonight I say a prayer that they win.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

North Korea and China

In a previous post on this site, I explained my theory on how deal with a nuclear North Korea. I believe China has more control inside North Korea than we are willing to acknowledge. I also believe China has less desire to see North Korea disarmed than we believe. As such, I believe that our foreign policy towards North Korea should be simple. If a nuclear weapon detonates in our borders, our allies’ borders, or anywhere we have national interests at stake, the US should hold China accountable. For example, if North Korea launches a nuclear weapon at Japan, the US responds with an overwhelming nuclear strike against China as if China had attacked the US mainland.

On October 31st, Bill Gertz reported some of the declassified information from an upcoming report discussing North Korea and China’s relationship. In his article in the Washington Times, Mr. Gertz discusses the final draft report of the US-China Economic Security Review Commission. This report states, “China has contributed at least indirectly to North Korea’s nuclear program.” If this information isn’t damning enough, the Mr. Gertz goes on to explain that China has apparently been secretly increasing its weapons aid to North Korea, while publicly negotiating with Kim Jung-il to suspend his nuclear program. If the information contained in the report is accurate, then we must treat China as part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

The same day Mr. Gertz’s article appeared, North Korea agreed to return to the Six Party talks. Some of the initial reports I saw suggested that China had been instrumental in getting North Korea to return to the talks. Many of the comments since then have revolved around changing US, and not North Korean, behavior. The US has been prohibiting North Korea from accessing major banking institutions. This is hurting North Korea, and the US says this action is in response to the major counterfeiting going on in North Korea, and not the nuclear program. However, it seems North Korea is focused on getting the US to remove these financial restrictions, and discussing nuclear weapons is only an afterthought. While a date for the actual resumption of the Six Party talks has not been released, it seems most authorities are expecting them to resume sometime in December.

My prediction is that the US will be asked to remove the financial restrictions while North Korea will be asked to do very little. I predict China will argue for lifting these restrictions in order to attempt to ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula. The US would be making a major mistake in conceding anything without getting a full commitment from North Korea and China removing nuclear weapons from North Korea. In my opinion, in order for the US and the World to lift any sanctions, North Korea must commit to handing over its nuclear weapon program, China must commit to a non-nuclear North Korea, and the UN must have full access to North Korean Nuclear facilities. If North Korea and China wish to be participants in the world community, they must take the necessary steps to show they can be trusted by the world community.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Election Predictions 2006

I thought today would be a good day to post my predictions for the 2006 elections to be held next Tuesday. I am going against the conventional wisdom that seems to be running through the media today. I am predicting a small gain in the House by Democrats, and maybe a 3 seat gain in the Senate. At the end of the day, the Republicans will control both houses again. I will be the first to admit that I am biased. I also believe that most of the polling agencies and newspapers are biased as well. I also think that pollsters haven’t figured out how to accurately predict voting patterns since Sept 11, 2001. Keeping all of that in mind, I think we won’t see much change at all in the make up of the new congress.

First, on the National Poll, the Democrats are currently polling at 52.7% vs. the Republicans at 37.6%. Since the United States doesn’t vote for the House or the Senate in a general, national poll, I think this number doesn’t even deserve to be reported. A better indicator might be the local polls. A few months ago, the local polls were showing the Democrats winning 30 to 40 seats in the House and a strong 8 in the Senate. Now, those same polls have tightened up enough to prompt some Democrats to wonder if the DNC will get either the House or the Senate.

Second, voter turn out is usually much lower in the mid terms. In the 2004 and 2000 presidential election, voter turn out was 64% and 50% respectively. However, in the 1998 and 2002 mid term elections, voter turn out was somewhere around 35 or 36% both years. What does this mean? Voters don’t get excited about voting in the mid terms. This is actually quite important, and it isn’t getting as much coverage as needed. Those who actively dislike Bush are going to vote Democrat. Those who actively dislike the Democrats are going to vote Republican. Going into this election cycle, the Republican Party has done a much better job of getting their base mobilized to vote. The Democrats need the middle group of voters; the group that doesn’t consider themselves Republican or Democrat. If there is a low turn out, which I think there probably will be, the Democrats are going to have trouble getting the votes they need. In the 2002 election, a little over half of the people that showed up to vote, voted Republican. If that holds true this time, the Democrats may pick up exactly zero seats.

Either way, if you follow politics at all, this November 7th will be an interesting day. Perhaps only the morning of November 8th will be more interesting.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Book Review: Bankrupt (part two)

As requested, here is a more in depth look at Bankrupt by David Limbaugh. If you haven’t read my first entry on this book, now would be a good time to do that. Domesticateddog asked for more information on the book, and I am always happy to comply with those who leave messages on my site. In order to keep the post small, I will try not to repeat the information from my first review of this book.

Mr. Limbaugh starts with the argument that today’s Democratic Party has no morals, and nothing to contribute to the political discussion of the day. He then uses quotes from many prominent Democratic politicians, and articles from different liberals in the media to support his point. He has broken the book into three sections entitled The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of the Democratic Party in the War on Terror, The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of the Democratic Party on Judges, Values, Race, and the Economy, and finally, The Roots of the Bankruptcy. As weighty as those titles sounds, the book is very easy to follow.

I am openly critical of the Democratic Party, and even I found quotes in this book that shocked me. I mentioned in my previous post that the book is extremely well researched. As an example, if you look up Nancy Pelosi in the index, you will find she is listed on 25 pages in the book. Some of the subcategories within her listing in the index are: George Bush, class warfare, Iraqi elections, Iraqi WMD, and values. In addition to the index, each chapter is meticulously footnoted. Many of the chapters have between 50 and 80 footnotes. Between the index and the footnotes, a skeptic could easily research if Mr. Limbaugh is taking any of the quotes out of context.

The book is 368 pages and as I mentioned earlier, is very easy to read. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to follow politics, or who wants to vote Democrat. I have enjoyed reading the book, and I mentioned that I had gone back to it a few times while researching political information. I wrote a blog on here about President Carter a little while back. As part of my research for that, I grabbed this book and thumbed through the President Carter quotes. I hope this helps, and if you are still not sure, buy it and tell me what you think of it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Book Review: Bankrupt

For my second book review, I thought I would mention a book I recently finished, Bankrupt, the Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today’s Democratic Party by David Limbaugh. I heard about it on the radio and decided to look it up. I was very interested in the book. After flipping through it and looking at the incredibly detailed index and source notes, I decided it was worth reading.

Mr. Limbaugh has decided to describe exactly what the Democratic Party is about, in the words of today’s leading Democrats. Throughout the book, the author describes the real opinions of Democrats like President and Mrs Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and many others. He uses public quotes the individuals made to illustrate each of his arguments. There are probably many people who disagree with Mr. Limbaugh’s assessment, but it is hard to argue with the words of the Democratic leaders themselves.

The quotations used in the book are extremely well researched. The index is thorough and easy to use. Since reading the book, I have referred back to it several times after reading statements made by certain Democratic leaders. The more you know about any candidate, Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, the better equipped you are to gauge how that candidate might (or might not) represent you.

No matter what your opinion is of the current DNC, you will probably find views you weren’t aware of in this book. Mr. Limbaugh discusses why the Democrats are accused of being against President Bush, even if it means harming Americans. With the challenges that face this nation, it is important to understand exactly where the candidates stand. Before you vote for a Democrat this season, I would encourage you to read this book.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Nuclear Accountability

In an effort to expand the discussion on this thread regarding North Korea, I wanted to discuss the theory of “Nuclear Accountability”. I hadn’t heard about this until I came across an article in the Washington Post. In his article, “We Need a New Deterrent”, David Ignatius describes nuclear accountability as the logical replacement of our current non-proliferation position.

Using this policy, if a dirty bomb of some sort goes off on our soil, the United States would test the area to find where the original nuclear material came from. Once the source was determined, the United States would respond against the original country with “…devastating force.” For example, North Korea gives material to Iran, and Iran gives this same material to Hezbollah to use in a strike against America. A dirty bomb explodes in New York. We test the area and find a nuclear signature of some sort pointing at North Korea. The United States would launch a retaliatory strike against North Korea as if North Korea had launched a nuclear missile against the United States.

I believe this is a good policy, if it is used within the frame work of other policies. Our foreign policy towards developing “nuclear nations” must start with and attempt to spread democracy and work towards nuclear non-proliferation. I am not a big fan of bribes from the United Nations, but we should be at the negotiation table, or have parties that we feel can negotiate successfully with that nation. We should structure any foreign aid to the developing nuclear nation so that our aid is dependent on measurable progress towards democracy. Democracies don’t make war with other democracies.

Should this fail, as it appears to have with North Korea, we should continue to push these ideas, but remind the world of our new nuclear accountability program. In order to keep Iran from joining the nuclear group next, both the United States and the United Nations need to have policies that have teeth against any state that thumbs their nose at the US or UN. Perhaps a clear accountability program, that the United States is willing to follow, is what is really needed to make Iran and North Korea rethink their current nuclear ambitions.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Free, Democratic Elections in the Middle East

The Weekly Standard ran a news story on its website a week ago titled Democracy in Yemen. In it, Abigail Lavin reports that Yemen had free, democratic elections in September. The sitting President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, won. He won with 77.2 % of the vote. This is important. Mrs Lavin reports that most “elections” in the Middle East result in the sitting head of state receiving approximately 90% or better of the votes. This is usually because the elections aren’t true elections. In Saddam run Iraq, a voter could place their vote for anyone they wanted. Of course, if the voter didn’t vote for Saddam, they could be shot, raped, or worse. In Yemen, President Saleh opened the election to opposition parties and more than 20% of the voters felt safe voting for someone else.

A few days ago I posted a blog about a book called The Case for Democracy. The author of that book argues that how a nation treats dissent within its borders is an indicator of how democratic that nation really is. While Yemen still has a long way to go, allowing people to vote for a rival political party is a huge step.

Mr. Sharansky argues in The Case for Democracy that the United States must tie the spread of democracy to its foreign policy. Yemen lost its eligibility for incentives from the US because it was perceived to be failing in certain “…political, economic, and social issues.” Holding democratic elections is a step in the right direction. As democracy starts to take hold in the Middle East, the world becomes a safer place. Democracies don’t go to war with each other.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

UN Threatens to Slap North Korea on the Wrist Harder

Earlier today, the UN Security Council voted to impose harsher sanctions against North Korea. From the articles I have seen, this includes the following:

1) A complete ban on the sale of “luxury goods” to North Korea. That means no more lobster tail, fine cigars, or expensive wine for the “Dear Leader”.
2) A ban on the sale of conventional weapons to North Korea. This is limited to major conventional weapons.
3) A demand that North Korea immediately return to the six-nation talks.
4) A promise of no military action from the United Nations.

I am impressed that we actually got a resolution from the Security Council. China has already said it won’t impose the ban on its dealing with North Korea, but at least they voted for it. The US had wanted a ban on all conventional weapons. China and Russia weren’t willing to go along with the total ban, so the resolution was watered down. Ultimately, I am not sure either North Korea or Iran will be very deterred by this resolution.

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh this week. When talking about possible responses to North Korea’s nuclear test earlier in the week, he cited a John F. Kennedy speech about Cuba. President Kennedy (a Democrat) was telling the world what the US would do in response to a build up of nuclear weapons in Cuba. In part, President Kennedy said, “…It shall be the policy of this Nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.” Rush said that this would be the equivalent of the US saying that any launch by North Korea would result in America flattening North Korea. I think he is wrong. I think the equivalent, and the message President Bush needs to send is this: Any nuclear weapon fired from North Korea at any ally of the United States of America or NATO, will result in a “full retaliatory response” on China.

That might be the only way to really get China on board with a non-nuclear Korean peninsula.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

President Carter joins forces with Kim Jong-il

I believe a certain amount of respect is due to anyone who is able to become President of the United States. I also feel when an ex-president goes to a foreign country like France or Germany and gives an interview critical of the sitting president and of America, that president tarnishes his own reputation. Having said that, I feel it is important to look at the editorial President Carter wrote in the New York Times today.

Mr. Carter states that the only way to resolve the current crises is for the US to run to the negotiating table with North Korea. Once there, the US would, ”…[give] a firm and direct statement of no hostile intent, and [move] toward normal relations if North Korea forgoes any further nuclear weapons program and remains at peace with its neighbors.” Before making a decision on the wisdom of this course of action, I think we should review a few facts.

In December of 2005 the Washington Times ran an article stating that North Korea had produced at least $45 million worth of high quality, counterfeit, $100 bills. Counterfeiting another countries currency is an act of war. This week, after a possible nuclear test, North Korea warned that any increased sanctions or pressure to stop its nuclear program would be seen as an act of war and North Korea will, “…take a series of physical corresponding measures.” These aren’t the actions of a nation that wishes to be part of the larger world community.

Any actions the US takes now will be seen by Iran. Should President Ahmadinejad ever get a nuclear weapon, he will expect the same reaction we now give to North Korea. President Carter would reward North Korea’s actions with a new round of negotiations between Kim Jong-il and the US. If we are to follow Mr. Carters recommendations, what reaction are we to expect from Iran over the next few days? A tyrant has no reason to treat a foreign nation or nations any better than that tyrant will treat his subjects. How would the current regime in North Korea deal with a differing opinion within its own borders from one of its own citizens? Why should we expect the North Korean government to treat any negotiated treaty with the US any differently?

Japan is currently proposing increased sanctions against North Korea. The Japanese appear to be ready to implement those sanctions by Friday, with or without the support of the international community. South Korea has spoken out against the test. Perhaps a better solution might be to seek further sanctions with the UN, participate in sanctions with the Japanese, and to strengthen our relationship with both Japan and South Korea. Kim Jong-il needs to be punished for his actions in open defiance of the world, and not rewarded for them.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Book Review: The Case for Democracy

From time to time I will post a message about a book I am reading or have read. I felt I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t start with a book I read earlier this year. I believe anyone who is even the slightest bit interested in foreign policy, the war in Iraq, or a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine should read The Case for Democracy : The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror by Natan Sharansky and Ron Dermer. I read it and thought it was simply an incredible book. Mr. Sharansky was a political prisoner in the Soviet Union during the 1980’s and, after being released, emigrated to Israel and spent nine years as a politician in a political party he helped to found.

Mr. Sharansky argues that it is in the best interest of the United States to promote democracy wherever it can. Many today claim that democracy can’t work in the Middle East. Some go so far as to state that Muslims don’t want democracy; that it is incompatible with Islam. Mr. Sharansky notes that critics used these same arguments in the ’40’s against democracy in Germany or Japan, and again in the ‘80’s against a democratic Russia. No one wants to live in fear.

Democracies don’t go to war with each other. Mr. Sharansky points out that at no time in history have any true democracies gone to war with each other. The constituents of a democracy only allow war as a last resort, and because of that, they don’t go to war with other democracies.

Regardless of how you feel about the current administrations decisions in Iraq, Afghanistan, or in the Middle East, reading The Case for Democracy will definitely give anyone insight into some of the reasons why those decisions have been made.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Foley Scandal, thus far...

Last night on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes show, Democratic strategist Bob Beckel said, “[the] fact that Mark Foley was gay should have raised questions about more innocuous emails.” I am a little amazed that this isn’t getting any coverage in the main stream media. I can understand why ABC wouldn’t want to air it. They have made a few mistakes with the Foley story in the last few days that now gives them a vested interest in it becoming a big deal. I am a little surprised some of the other news agencies and websites haven’t talked about it. I had to go to a few bloggers (including the Ace of Spades HQ) to find the exact quote after hearing about it on the Bennett in America broadcast this morning.

For a Democratic Strategist to get away with saying what Mr. Beckel said is unacceptable. Imagine if last night on CNN a prominent Republican had said something similar during a Democratic scandal. There would be members in the streets this morning burning Bush in effigy (as we all know, the Democrats believe everything in the world that is bad is somehow Bush’s fault). In stead, very few people even know this exchange took place.

What Foley did was creepy, and disturbing. If he had sent these emails to my son, I would have wanted the police involved. However, with the information we have seen as of the time of this post, no laws have been broken. The Pages he sent the IM’s to were of the age of consent at the time. The emails that have surfaced were creepy, but not illegal. Foley has shown an incredible lack of judgment, he has admitted he needs help, and he has left in disgrace. Unless something new surfaces, this is probably where the story should end. Foley has done the right thing by resigning.

Speaker Hastert has also done the right thing. He has asked, and is getting a full investigation. Unless something new and incriminating surfaces, Speaker Hastert shouldn’t resign. Much like Foley, he hasn’t broken the law. Nothing that has shown up suggests that the Speaker should have done anything more than what he did. If evidence shows up that he knowingly endangered any Page, then throw the book at him. If this evidence doesn’t appear, then anyone calling for his resignation either doesn’t know the facts, or is just trying to create an October surprise in time for the November elections.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Evil Two Party System

I was at a bar this week with a friend. My friend turned to me and said, “I have a problem with the whole two party system.” Anyone who has read editorials in their local paper, has listened to radio talk shows, or even watched a little CNN or Fox News has heard this before. I have read different people attack the two party system for different reasons, but I haven’t seen anyone discuss what I think is the real problem with both Republicans and Democrats.

I believe the two party system in and of itself works. I believe there is a problem when both parties stop being held accountable by the “voting public”. If a representative says something or votes on something that upsets his constituents, I believe his phone and email should get really busy really quick. I remember as a kid hearing people talk about writing letters to the Senator or Congressman, or even the President. I don’t hear that very often any more. How many people reading this right now could get in touch with one of their representatives in the next five minutes if they wanted too?

Until we start calling Democrats and Republicans both on the sunshine they try to give us, I don’t think they will change how they operate. I think both parties would be a lot better off if they had to think about how their constituents would respond if they said something inane in public, or voted for that next big Congressional pay increase.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hello and Welcome

Welcome to my site. This is my first time running a web blog, so I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I decided to do this because I love talking about politics with friends and family (and anyone that will listen to me) and I feel more people should be aware of what is happening in the country and around the world.

I hope to post at least two or three times a week. If I find that people enjoy what I write, or like to post comments here, then I will post more often. If you don't agree with something I say, please, let me know. I think the best political discussion is two way.

I am trying to keep this one short, and I hope you enjoy the rest of them.