Sunday, December 31, 2006

What's the Big Deal?

Saddam Hussein has been executed. Incredibly, a host of human rights and far left liberal groups, blogs and personalities have come out of the woodwork to declare this a disaster, a tragedy, a mistake of epic proportions. His death sentence was handed down on Sunday, November 5th. Where were all the Mother Teresa's then? Where was the campaign to save Saddam two months ago?

For some, the fact of his execution is not cause for lamentation, but simply the "rush" to send him to the gallows ("As war criminals go, Bush wins hands down."). Nevermind that he was tried and convicted in a legal system which afforded him rights that he never allowed his own subjects. Nevermind that this man was convicted of ordering 148 men and boys to their death in 1982 in the town of Dujail. Nevermind that Saddam routinely awarded cash gifts to Palestinian suicide bombers (And now, they mourn him). Inexplicably worse, Americans seem to be mourning the Dictator's passing. The New York Times reports the "unease and criticism" around the world because Saddam paid the death penalty for his mass-murder. Predictably, anti-death penalty European leaders were somewhat chagrined at the former Iraqi President's untimely demise, citing their conviction that no one should ever be put to death. I don't recall such idealistic zeal during the Nuremberg Trials where 12 Nazi war criminals were put to death.

I am no flaming right-wing nut job. I don't think we should have even gone into Iraq in the first place, because it seems to have proven a distraction from the overall fight against terror. In fact, other than the terrorist threat to America, I would say that I am near totally at odds with right-wing evangelical dogma. Even some middle of the road conservatives scare me with their excessive flag-waving, tax cutting-but still spending antics. But it does not frighten me as much as hearing a fellow American use their American made laptop, through American made high speed Internet cable, by the grace of American freedom of speech, brought to the at the hands of American Democracy via the U.S. Constitution - expend an ounce of breath to come to the aid of a mass-murdering, egotistical, ego maniacal, fascist dictator.

In fact, whether he is in Heaven right now, or reclining on a bed of needles in Hell while the devil rams a large phallis down his throat, Saddam should consider himself lucky. By all accounts, he was treated well as a prisoner in American custody, a luxury he would not have afforded any of his victims. When he decided that a particular day in court would not fit his schedule, he was not dragged kicking and screaming by the heels, but allowed to remain in his cell.

So let's not try to rationalize Saddam's rule, as Christopher Dickey does in his Newsweek piece, "Death of a Tyrant." Dickey goes so far as to call Hussein's death "ignominious." Apparently, the jolly old chap deserved far better. Was he served a last meal? Did they allow him one last phone call? Couldn't we have arranged to send 72 virgins to his cell prior to the main event? Christ, in a perfect world, the prick would have been stoned to death by the multitude of his son's rape victims.

The stoic and implacable Fareed Zakaria sums up "The saga of Saddam's end..." as "a sad metaphor for America's occupation of Iraq." Why not ask the immigrant communities of Iraqi Chaldeans if they are sad for Saddam? "It was long overdue," said Iraqi native Sami Jihad, 72, a Chaldean Catholic reports the North County Times. In fact, so many Chaldeans were oppressed by Saddam, that there are virtually none left in Iraq, they've nearly all immigrated to the U.S., particularly Michigan.

The overly brainy leftish intellectuals, pundits and Human Rights sycophants need to chill out with their Saddam-remorse-rhetoric. His comparatively humane death on Saturday at the hands of his countrymen, as a result of his trial, should not be lamented, nor should it be rejoiced. Justice was done. We should be content.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dumb and Dumber

What is wrong with these people? I don't mean the Marines now being investigated for Murder... I'm talking about the press. Journalistic malfeasance just doesn't get much worse than this. Three major news websites - The New York Times, Fox News, and CNN show conflicting reports on the number of Marines in question. So please tell me, what's the story? Marines gone berserk, or the Mainstream Media gone totally bonkers, and this time just flagrantly getting it wrong all at the same time?
Even more disturbing, if you had visited last night, you would have read that 24 Marines were arrested. Later in the evening, the Times cut the number to 8 Marines, and now the number sits at 4 (well, for the NY Times it sits at 4... for now).

It's only a matter of time before the New York Times, CNN, and FOX trigger an International incident due to faulty reporting. Media outrage at the Danish Mohamed cartoons has already vindicated the easily offended Muslim community, who seem to have somehow become the protectors of political correctness.
We should all ask ourselves... if the biggest players in the media, with the most money behind their organizations can't get the simple facts right, what hope do they have of hitting the mark when it really counts?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Send in the Clowns, Part II: Giuliani

Giuliani for President... the phrase has been whispered about for years now, well before the current round of press coverage for potential 2008 candidates. It's been talked about before the Draft Rudy Giuliani for President website was established in 2005. Giuliani's Presidential aspirations have been talked about well before this past March when Newsweek did a piece about Giuliani's "revival-style" speeches to pastors. Recall the CBS News headline of December, 2004: "Early Signs Point to Giuliani '08" by Hugh Hewitt. To nip any chance of a Giuliani run in the bud, The Giuliani Time documentary earlier this year sought to quickly diffuse any possibility of his candidacy... it was unsuccessful.

What I love most right now are all the polls... Giuliani vs. Hillary, Giuliani vs. McCain, Giuliani vs. Obama. Why is the press conducting these polls two years ahead of time? There is not a poll in existence that can be trusted to accurately portray a political outcome two years in advance. The only explanation might be the desire on the part of the press to do two things:

1) Fill up what would otherwise be dead airtime as a result of the 24/7 news cycle.


2) Hope to influence the electorate in some way by implicitly showing that Giuliani must be the strongest candidate since he has such high approval ratings.

"America's Mayor," Giuliani was forced into a position that, of course, he did not ask for. In his final months of office, Rudy Giuliani spent his time attending funerals, showing strength, courage and conviction while running the country's largest city. Certainly, he pulled the feat off well. But unlike President Bush, Giuliani had the good fortune and common sense to exit political office and remain behind the scenes, creating a security firm and making bundles of cash. No longer an elected official, Giuliani avoided political gaffes, didn't have to take a stand on many issues, and could sit back and observe as the events after September 11th unfolded in Afghanistan and Iraq. No matter what mistakes the President made, Giuliani basked in warm political sunshine with impunity.

Without taking too much credit away from the former Mayor, he is in a position today to run for the highest office largely due to luck, albeit, not the kind of luck that most people would wish for. If his prostate cancer did not cause him to drop out of the Senate race against Hillary Clinton, he may have won the late Senator Moynihan's seat and been further removed from the events of September 11th in New York City. Or had he more time in office as mayor post-9/11, Giuliani may have displayed a heavy-handedness, or willful disregard of civil liberties in a post-9/11 New York City to foment anger among the Left as well as civil libertarians. Any of these outcomes would have stripped away is halo and diminished his stature.

Yet, Giuliani escaped the microscope, became Time's "Person of the Year" and is now on track to secure a spot on the Presidential ticket, or possibly a cabinet appointment.

Giuliani is not your average politician. He holds liberal views on many social issues, "Giuliani is a Roman Catholic who is pro-choice, favors same-sex civil unions, gun control, and embryonic stem-cell research," yet he is very conservative when it comes to crime, and his hawkish foreign policy stances might be best explained by recalling his ouster of Yasser Arafat from Lincoln Center in 1995.

The former mayor will have no easy road ahead of him, however. He has a long history in public life, one that may come back to haunt him. He's been married three times (which won't appeal to many conservative soccer mom's) and he has at times associated with folks whose reputation is less than clean (Bernard Kerik).

Perhaps Giuliani's biggest problem will be John McCain, the media darling and other front-runner (at the moment) for the nomination. We would all do well to remember that the election is still two years away, and two years can be an eternity for a political candidate. Giuliani will need to watch his step until then, dodge some issues (abortion) and take a harder line on others (gay marriage).

Is Rudy Giuliani the best candidate for the country? Who knows? They're all clowns. But what was it Winston Churchill said [to paraphrase] ... Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others..."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Send in the Clowns, Part I: Hillary Clinton

The war in Iraq is raging, Iran is bubbling, Palestine is splintering from within, budgets are busting, deficits are bursting, Beauty Queens are misbehaving and Presidential hopefuls are dancing... around their decision - or, indecision, to run for the highest office in the land. The press, of course, has been flush with speculation. Not a day goes by without at least one major newspaper running a story on "Senator Barack Obama did this" or "Rudy Guiliani went here" or "John Kerry still hasn't removed his foot from his so-and-so".

The trend of rampant speculation, interviews, Bio's, expert opinion and more, should not be surprising, because - after all, the 2008 Presidential election is a pretty big deal, and given the 24/7 nature of news in this day and age, there is plenty of time to scrutinize and analyze and fantasize about any and every potential, theoretical and hypothetical detail. Do I sound too much like the late Johnny Cochran? My bad.

Onward and upward... it is titillating for political junkies and journalists to speculate about the potential field of candidates. After all, this is the most wide open race since... Carter? Nixon? Ever? The President cannot run again, and the Vice President (almost) certainly will not. The previous Democratic challenger (Kerry) will (hopefully) not run, given his previous failure and repeated gaffes. Further, there is no dearth of candidates on either side of the aisle. A glance at the Democrats alone reveals: Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Vilsack, (Richardson?), (Gore?)... any of which can make the ticket, regardless of the polls. Everyone thought Dean had the nomination in hand... until the first primary.

I will attempt to break down each candidate's chances based on what I have seen so far. Let's start with a Democrat.

To quote Borat: "Wa-wa-wee-wa"
Senator Clinton's HillPac, has millions of dollars on hand. So far this year, it's spent $2,823,249 on Democratic candidates all over the country. This money buys her a lot of power, a lot of fans, and a lot of loyalty. Hundreds of candidates have been on the receiving end of her generosity, and will thus be that much more inclined to back her candidacy. Senator Clinton also has huge name recognition, something money alone can't buy. She has hordes of fans who follow her everywhere she goes. On the flip side, Hillary Clinton is also one of the most polarizing figures in politics. Although the blame cannot be laid entirely at her doorstep, there are as many Hillary-Haters as there are Hillary-Lovers.

Bill Clinton's graceless final term tarnished her reputation and credibility. Certainly, her resume was good enough to get her elected to the Senate in New York, but is she electable in a purple state, where the lines between Democrats and Republicans aren't as clearly drawn? Her tenure in the Senate has been marked by relatively centrist positions on the issues. She continues to push health care initiatives, but she also voted to go to war in Iraq, a weakness her opponents will definitely expose.

Finally, will the electorate trade one political dynasty for another? Is the country ready for Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton? The people may have had enough with the political elite. Americans went to the polls this past mid-term election and voted for change, it is uncertain if they will feel that another Washington insider, who has already lived in the White House, will bring that kind of change.
Senator Clinton still has two years before the fate of her Presidential aspirations is decided. It's certainly too early to predict what will happen. However, there is no question that she is currently the front-runner and most formidable candidate of the Democratic field. Ironically, as is often the case, Hillary's success may depend on events beyond her control; Iraq, the Economy, or any number of variables.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Bush Doctrine, Part Deux

The Iraq Study Group has recently published its recommendations to President Bush detailing how it thinks complete and total disaster may be averted in Iraq. Among its suggestions, the ISG advises the U.S. talk to Syria and Iran order to persuade them to cut down on illegal arms shipments and to stop plaing cross-border musical chairs with terrorists. Generally, the ISG wants to see the U.S. move toward more consensus building.

I am not opposed to the U.S. "talking" to Syria or Iran, per se. That is, simply talking will not hurt anyone. After all, we did open up to the Soviet Union and China, as James Baker pointed out (despite Condoleeza Rice's weak attempts to cast it in a different light). We are now friendly with Vietnam, and in fact proceeding to normalize trade relations with that country.

The U.S. policy of containment was uninterrupted while we sat at the table (or debated) with the Soviets during the 1960's, 70's, 80's and 90's; we kept building our arsenal and working to bolster Democratic Europe.

There are two important distinctions, however. First, Syria and Iran (even combined) are no Soviet Union. Second, they are nowhere near to our equals in terms of global hegemony. These are two points Ms. Rice might have made more clear (if I may be so bold).

So from the beginning, we must ask ourselves: "Is it worth sitting at the negotiating table with a far lesser power?" The question must be asked because power is wielded through perception as much as through military might. The U.S. should think long and hard before granting Syria or Iran the stature its neighbors would surely envy and respect if we agreed to sit at the table with them. In fact, it might send precisely the wrong message to the region. Mullahs, Clerics, Kings and Radical elements will think "If I raise a big stink, finance terrorists and build nukes, I will force the Americans to negotiate with me and wrestle great concessions from them, praise Allah, Jihad, Jihad."

So I have my own recommendation. This may silence the calls to speak with Syrian and Iran, perhaps even discourage them to come to the table with us. Furthermore, if followed, this may even embolden fringe reformists and moderates withing these countries out of sheer terror.

Let's call it the Bush Doctrine, Part Deux, because only a President could make such a bold statement, and frankly, he's not up for re-election, so why not have some fun?

I. Terrorism
A. The United States declares all Islamo-Fascist Terrorists its enemy
B. The United States will stop at nothing to stamp out Islamo-Fascist Terrorism
C. The United States considers nations harboring Terrorists as guilty as the Terrorists themselves
D. The United States will not be deterred by other nation's perception of sovereignty while combating Terrorism
E. The United States is not above sending Special Operations Teams to any country in order to surgically removed Terrorist elements
F. The United States has the capability to shut down sea, air and commerce, which can and will result in devastating economic loss.
G. The United States thinks it is funny that you consider your own fellow Muslims, from a different religious sect, to be 'worse' than us. You self-loathing pricks.

II. Nuclear Weaponry
A. The United States is in possession of many thousands of nuclear warheads, more than enough to annihilate any Terrorist state.
B. The United States will not tolerate the proliferation of Nuclear Arms or technology to any Islamo-Fascist Terrorist Group or Regime.
C. In the event that a nuclear bomb were to explode within United States territory, the United States would immediately assume that Iran and/or North Korea have supplied such weaponry. The aforementioned countries would thus be on the receiving end of an air bombardment of startling proportions, indiscriminate in its scope, save that the payloads reach targets within the border of the aforementioned countries.
D. If the scenario described above took place, terrorists slash Islamo-Fascists worldwide will be comforted to know that their fellow countrymen will also be forced to emigrate from the United States back to their homeland. There they may bask with their comrades and catch some radioactive rays while reading the Koran in the afterglow from the nuclear holocaust-ridden Caliphate.

III. Israel
A. One of the few nations in the Middle East to display discipline, Democratic values and a love of life, any attack on Israel is considered an attack on the United States
B. Terrorists are advised that their time would be better spent studying... to be anything but a Terrorist, rather than searching for Zionist scapegoats.
C. Palestinians should distance themselves from Terrorism, Terrorists, and mainstream Terrorist causes. This will only hinder their struggle for nationhood.
D. Islamic fanatics should keep denying the Holocaust, it's actually great for our side because then your side sounds even more insane, your side loses credibility, your side becomes the bigger laughing stock, your side loses allies, and your side turns more of our Doves into Hawks. Keep up the good work!
E. You can also keep David Duke.

IV. Miscellaneous
A. We beat Left-Wing Dictators, so we will beat Islamic Fascist Terrorism
B. We beat Right-Wing Fascists, so we will beat Islamic Fascist Terrorism
C. We beat the Great Depression, so we will beat Islamic Fascist Terrorism
D. We have a lot more money than you have, so we will beat Islamic Fascist Terrorism
E. We have to be Politically Correct in this day and age, even though you do not. Do not mistake our diplomatic words with ambivalence or pacifism.
F. We have to abide by International Law, even though you do not. Do not make the mistake of thinking that we won't do what it takes if the fate of our country is on the line.
G. We have begun weaning ourselves from fossil fuels, and in the future, that process will accelerate. The United States is rich in labor, innovation and ingenuity, we have survived thus far without sufficient domestic supplies of energy, but we are beginning to generate more and more of our own energy. The same cannot be said for the vast majority of Muslim nations, whose people subsist in near-feudal societies, and are given hand-outs from the State (thanks to windfall oil revenue) on a level not seen in the West since the Roman Empire two thousand years ago.

President Bush will not make this speech, nor will he outline these clauses. However, fanatical Muslim leaders and Terrorists would do well to know that although we have not said it, there would be no hesitation to reciprocate with extreme prejudice if another 9/11 occurred, especially involving Nuclear or Biological weapons.

I'd say it would send Iran and North Korea back to the Stone Age, but they're not too far from it right now, especially in their way of thinking.

As usual, slippery Pete, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has stirred up controversy with his renewed calls to wipe Israel out, and repeated denials that millions of Jews were slaughtered during World War II (despite the evidence, and despite that the German perpetrators of these crimes vigorously affirm the atrocities occurred).

Slippery Pete Ahmadinejad is generating buzz in the short term among the utmost fringe elements of 'Academia' - outcasts and neurotic douche bags. In the long term, he is damaging his country, costing its citizens much needed credibility in the world, and causing the West, the United States in particular, to redouble its efforts to sideline this Muslim country that otherwise could have quite a bit of potential if it had better leadership.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Stop Chewing the Fat

Andrew Roth of the Club for Growth highlights the efforts of Republican Senators Coburn and Demint in trying to limit pork barrel spending during these final days of the Congressional term. I'll give them points for effort, but let's face it... too little, too late.

Where were they six years ago?