Saturday, November 29, 2003

Flashback to a Far-Left Political Future

What do Hillary Clinton and time travel have in common? Let me tell you.

I saw the movie 'Timeline' this week as my holiday movie going experience. It's the story of an archaeology team studying a site in France that was the scene of a battle in 1357. It turns out that the corporation sponsoring the dig has also discovered time travel and sends the team back in time to the day of the battle. I had already read the book by Michael Crichton to kill a long day of airline business travel. The trailer looked good, so I went. And by and large it was good. I'd recommend it if you like historical romance with some Science Fiction thrown in.

About the science fiction: right before the impressive F/X shots of the cast being sucked back in time through a wormhole they get a warning. The billionaire geek CEO warns them that he's heard that it's intensely painful, but only for a moment or so. Flash to the pain ridden grimaces as the machine scrambles their DNA for the trip.

That was the movie. That was Thursday. Today I had my own version of that experience. As I sat down to surf my news sites I was unexpectedly flashed back in time to my early 1980's. It wasn't painful, but it is especially worrisome.

The occasion was an article from Reuters recapping Senator Hillary Clinton's Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad. One quote got to me, but more on that in a minute....

On a side note: for a non-presidential-candidate Hillary is certainly making better political moves than the announced 9 Democratic candidates. At least she is sucking up all the good media coverage.

- Here she is in Iowa, eclipsing all of the candidates in a fundraising rally. She's clearly the star.
- Here she is in Washington. While the Dem's are bashing Bush for not visiting wounded soldier's families, here's Hillary announcing that she visited secretly with families in a DC military hospital. (By the way, Bush was at Ft. Carson visiting families of soldiers killed in wounded in the helicopter crashes, but let's not let facts get in the way.)
- Finally, here she is on Thanksgiving in Iraq visiting the troops in parallel to Bush's surprise visit

For a stated non-candidate she sure looks like she's campaigning. For those of you not tuned into the internet newscycle: the latest theory is that she won't announce by the deadline but will step in to save the party and run if the Democratic convention bogs down in choosing a candidate after the first ballot.

Okay, back to the point. What was the quote? In a story which recapped Sen. Clinton's criticism to the troops of the Bush administration's policies and it's failure to "internationalize" the war she said this:

"It's no longer sufficient for our military to win battles, but they have to win the hearts and minds. It's a very big challenge,"

Hearts and Minds. No mistake there, that phrase. In fact I suspect it was either very deliberate or very natural for the Senator to utter.

I read that phrase and was sucked back, with the painful grimace, to 1980 when I saw a film called "Hearts and Minds". It was a propaganda documentary with an agenda, an anti-vietnam war agenda. It was a mock-u-mentary produced and filmed in the 70's to rally the "hearts and minds" not of the Vietnamese we were there to support, but of American's at home to rise up and get out of the war.

It was the first time I saw an activist documentary with a specific and aggressive point of view. And the point of view was decidedly left-wing, although I wasn't politically savvy enough as a moldable college student to be able to define left-wing and right-wing.

But I worked with a guy who was. He was an engineer and a radical. He was the first libertarian I ever met and he was hard-core. He was also a died-in-the wool "Hate America First" partisan. Every day as we worked he regaled me with tales of every evil thing the American government ever did and he did it with glee. If I didn't think "Hate America Firsters" existed, I did after I worked with Paul. And he's who recommended "Hearts and Minds" to me.

Was it a coincidence that Hillary, America's current premier left-winger on the road to power, rolled the phrase "hearts and minds" off of her tongue in Baghdad, in the war zone, in front of our troops?

Not by any means. And you should be shocked awake by that. I am.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Why there, not here?

So I watched President Bush's speech to the British Parliment today. Not all of it. The soundbite version on Fox News Channel. And I was impressed.

And then I read it. All of it. Courtesy of a posting on World Net Daily. (See link to WND in my sidebar). And I was completely impressed.

It was a tough setting, with protestors greeting his arrival in England and questions about the wisdom of the Iraq war swirling in the streets and in the press.

It was an important speech, to our firmest ally in the war. A necessary speech to buck-up the backbone of that country's leaders.

And it was a masterful speech. Absolute dead-on strength and core values and leadership. Crystal clear clarity about the course we've set in the War on Terrorism and it's costs. It should be required reading for every voter before the next election. I'm not kidding.

And it begs the question: Why there and not here? Why haven't I heard this message delivered this well and this clearly here at home? Americans need to hear this too. In a big way.

Some excerpts from the WND article:

"I've been here only a short time, but I've noticed that the tradition of free speech – exercised with enthusiasm – is alive and well here in London. We have that at home, too. They now have that right in Baghdad, as well."

"We believe in open societies ordered by moral conviction."

"The League of Nations, lacking both credibility and will, collapsed at the first challenge of the dictators. Free nations failed to recognize, much less confront, the aggressive evil in plain sight. And so dictators went about their business, feeding resentments and anti-Semitism, bringing death to innocent people in this city and across the world, and filling the last century with violence and genocide."

"On September the 11th, 2001, terrorists left their mark of murder on my country, and took the lives of 67 British citizens. With the passing of months and years, it is the natural human desire to resume a quiet life and to put that day behind us, as if waking from a dark dream. The hope that danger has passed is comforting, is understanding, and it is false. "

"These terrorists target the innocent, and they kill by the thousands. And they would, if they gain the weapons they seek, kill by the millions and not be finished."

"The evil is in plain sight. The danger only increases with denial. Great responsibilities fall once again to the great democracies. We will face these threats with open eyes, and we will defeat them."

And so on, and so on. It's awesome. Read it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

My conspiracy juices are flowing...

The slew of JFK assination "40th anniversary" shows are stirring my conspiracy blood again. The "single bullet theory" was the mother of conspiracy theory and I was an afficianado of the theories for a couple of decades. What started it all for me was, of course, the Zapruder film. Bottom line for me: there's no way that head shot came from above and behind. A budding conpiracy theorist was born.

I am definitely a conspiracy theory kind of guy. If you saw Mel Gibson in "Conspiracy Theory" you saw a little bit of me. I could relate to the opening credits scene where he's driving a cab and ranting to the passengers about one government conspiracy after another (including the black helicopters!). And I felt totally busted when he got to his apartment and pulled a newspaper clipping file out of a file cabinet. I was probably the only one at my company that had a newspaper clipping file in his desk drawer. I could pull out a clipping on any number of Clinton misdeeds. Busted.

For the record, I believe that there is a high possibility that:

- JFK was shot from the grass knoll
- Vince Foster, Clinton's White House scandal lawyer, was murdered and dropped in Ft. Marcy Park - not a suicide
- some of the entries on the Clinton "death list" that floated around the internet are true
- that Clinton sold out national security in the form of nuclear technology in exchange for campaign cash thru John Huang and Johnny Chung
- Iraq was involved in financing, organizing, or assisting Tim McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing. And that John Doe #2 was an Iraqi
- TWA flight 800 over Long Island was a shoot down, not an exploding fuel tank
- Iraq was a state sponsor of 9-11 as evidenced by the Salman Pak terrorist training camp near Baghdad where terrorists were trained on a 707 in the desert to hijack an aircraft using box cutters.

I even marginally believe that West Nile Virus is a form of terrorist attack from Iraq given that:

- included in the virus stocks that the U.S. government sold Hussein in the '80s was WNV &
- Hussein was known to have a bioweapons program in coordination with Cuba on WNV &
- the 1st recorded cases of WNV was across the street from the United Nations building.

Now those are conspiracies you can sink your teeth in.

This week I realized that I miss the Clinton conspiracy theories. For 8 years the man just kept turning them out, keeping us in the "informed 30%" going crazy. Those were the days.

(Sidenote: during the Clinton years I saw a poll that said basically that 30% of Americans really pay attention to the news at an informed level. Polls also said that the percent of Americans who were hard core "Clinton haters" was..... 30%. Connect the dots...)

The current crop of Bush conspiracies is lame by comparison. The best the Democratic candidates and the lefties in general can throw at Bush are:

- his evil, neocon, warhawk cabinet of Cheney and company lied us into a war in Iraq to enrich their oil tycoon buddies at Haliburton. (No War for Oil!)
- the Bushies leaked the name of a CIA officer to get back at her husband for making Bush look bad about a line he used in the State of the Union speech.

The first one is an outrageous and silly claim. The facts are simple:

1) Haliburton is the only company large enough to project the needed workforce overseas to rebuild Iraq. That's why they win the no-bid contracts. They won them during the Clinton years, too. and

2) Bush made it clear right after 9-11 that the rules had changed. (And he was right to change them). No longer was it enough to treat terrorist like criminals and waste years trying to find them and bring them to a court. Security in the post 9-11 world demands miltary action to take down the terrorists and their state sponsors who enable them with money, training, and safe haven to operate from. That means bin Laden (routed and in hiding) and the Taliban (gone) both. That means Sadaam (routed and in hiding). It's not a conspiracy. It's finally a serious president who get's it.

The second one is just silly. Someone in the administration may have leaked the name, and they should be indicted. But conspiracy? get real.

I guess I'll watch "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" again tonight on the History Channel.

All 3 hours. For the 3rd time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Jessica Lynch and the BCG's

I have to admit I was unexpectedly fascinated by the Diane Sawyer Primetime Live interview with Jessical Lynch last night.

Up until now I've only seen stills of Jessica. And I only focused on the issues. Is she a hero? What about women in combat? Was her story hyped?

But hearing her speak and tell her story made it a human interest story about a scared soldier who fell and her the brave friend and comrades who died beside her.

It was something about her voice. It reminded me of my cousins in Eastern Kentucky.

And it was an unexpected connection, the BCG's.

Diane showed a photo of an awkward Jessica, hidden behind a beret and huge, ugly, government issued glasses. "What did you call them?", Diane asked. "BCG's?"

Jessica nodded and smiled the smile of an inside joke. "That's right - Birth Control Glasses".

My inside joke. How many of us recruits were issued BCG's at boot camp and shared that same joke with our civilian family and friends. I did. And I instantly and unexpectedly connected with Jessica Lynch and felt empathy for her. And I was fascinated by her story of strength in a harrowing situation she didn't choose.

And of the issues?

Is she a hero? Her co-author said it best on the show: "Any 19 year old who gets in a truck and drives into a war is a hero". Well said.

Women in combat? I'm conflicted.

On one hand, the peacetime military is one of the best career paths going. How can that be denied to women? Jessica joined for the same reasons I did: a secure now and a potential future. (She also wanted to travel and see what was outside the 'holler)

On the other hand, do we as a nation really need to send you women into combat as a first recourse? Especially single mothers, like Jessica's best friend and roommate Lori Piestawa who died there beside her? ABC showed a newsreel of the other soldiers and I was struck by the fact that they all had kids. Most of those kids lost a father that day. 2 kids, Lori's kids, lost a mother. And to me there's a tragic and qualitative difference. And I say that as a father.

Jessica, God Bless you and I hope you continue healing. To all the other awkward kids still over there in the sand with your BCG's: keep your head down.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Is there a spine store?

So where did the Republicans in the U.S. Senate suddenly get a spine?

After months of rolling over for outrageous Democratic fillibusters of Bush's judicial nominees they're finally going to make the Democrats actually do a real fillibuster and talk all night before the cameras. Expose them and their tactics. Amazing.

And then I read this week that the Republicans actually shut down the Senate Intelligence Committee until Democrats reveal who wrote the treasonous memo about using hearings into pre-Iraq War intelligence to damage Bush right before the election. Shut down a committee. Unheard of testosterone.

Right on the heels of winning a ban on partial birth abortion and passing Bush's $89 billion request for war spending intact.

I'm guessing the spine has a name and it is, unexpectedly, Majority Leader Bill Frist.

The Bush Economy

Say it with me: "the Bush Economy".

Democrats have seen the economy as one of Bush's big weakness going into the 2004 election . Their talking points hammer on this term, repeating like parrots "the Bush economy".

2 reasons this bugs me:

1. They're rooting for the economy to fail - pure and simple. Then they can score a win and make the case for change. Not attractive.

2. In repeating their mantra "3 million jobs lost since Bush took office" they completely discount the 2 main reasons for the down economy early in Bush's term:
- the bust of the stock market bubble and
- 9-11.

Clinton benefitted greatly from the fraudulent bubble. People were hired in droves into companies that mostly existed on paper and were never profitable. Companies that came out of nowhere and became huge. (How did an upstart like AOL buy out TimeWarner?) It was quite symbolic of Clinton, who was a fraud himself. No core principles, waffling in the wind. When the bubble burst, jobs were shed from those paper thin dot.coms. (Story last month: TimeWarner to drop AOL from name. The adults are back in charge.)

And let's talk about 9-11. Anyone with a 2 year memory can understand the devasting blow that had on the economy. My own company had to go through a radical restructuring to survive. A lot of veterans were walked out the door in the 6 months after 9-11.

Would you expect otherwise? Imagine if you had asked the candidates in 2000 this question:

"Suppose well organized terrorists come across the ocean to America, hijack multiple airlines in multiple cities, and crash these flying bombs full of people into the heart of America's military (Pentagon) and financial (World Trade Center, wall street) centers. What will be the effect on the economy?
Now factor in the emotional blow to Americans. What' the effect on the economy?
Now factor in the need to project massive force accross the ocean into the heart of the terrorist enemy to take them down in their home so they can't hurt us again in our home. What's the effect on the economy?"

I think it's been amazing how the Bush administration reacted to those blows to the economy. I think the tax cuts were part of the right response.

And the news last month? 3rd quarter record growth. New job growth. It's turning around and will be roaring by 2004.

Say it with me again: "The Bush economy".

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Back Channel to Peace

Let's start out my blog with a tasty tidbit I heard all over the news this week: many variations of "Iraqi envoy attempted peace negotiation before war" story.

The gist is that Iraq was trying to negotiate a peace through back channels in the days right before the war to avoid invasion. They sent an envoy and (gasp!) the Bush administration missed the chance.

Mainstream media was almost gleeful with this story. I heard it everywhere.

Now, there's at least 2 reasons why this story is silly and less than meets the eye.

1. Sadaam did not have to negotiate back channel. He can pick up the phone and call the White House. I'm guessing they would take his call. He was asked publicly to adhere to the UN resolutions. He declined. He was asked publicly to step down and leave. He declined. Tanks and planes were the necessary answer.

2. A lesser publicized story from the same week, which I only saw on the grassroots electronic media, was from Tariq Aziz, high confidante to Sadaam who's in custody and singing now that his family is out of Iraq. Aziz says that Sadaam never believed the U.S. would invade. Even right up to and after the tanks started over the berm into Iraq. he believed his Russian and French allies would step in and thwart the U.S. He severely "misunderestimated" George W.

You can tell partisans, like me, by their friends and enemies. Who do they support, even when the evidence would indicate otherwise? Who do they criticize, even when the evidence is thin?

In their gleeful embrace of this wisp of an Iraqi back channel story the elite media once again raises the leftist banner. They were clearly wishing it was true Bush missed a chance for peace. Not attractive.