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_______________________________"It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it." ~ General Douglas MacArthur ___________________________________________________________________"As long as I'm the President, we will stay, we will fight and we will win the war on terror." ~ President George W. Bush ___________________________________________________________________"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~ Martin Luther King Jr. ___________________________________________________________________"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." ~ Albert Einstein ___________________________________________________________________"He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows nor judge all he sees." ~ Benjamin Franklin ___________________________________________________________________"To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle." ~ Confucius ___________________________________________________________________"We will confront emerging threats before they fully materialize. And if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist." ~ President George W. Bush ___________________________________________________________________"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." ~ Winston Churchill ___________________________________________________________________"And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." ~ John F. Kennedy ___________________________________________________________________"We have room for but one flag, the American flag ...We have room for but one language here and that is the English language ...and we have room for but one sole loyalty, and that is a loyalty to the American people." ~ Theodore Roosevelt ___________________________________________________________________"Righting America - One Reader at a Time." ~ Timmer

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Social Security Reform - The Big Brawl

See this and other great gear designs - Patriotic Shirts 'n' Stuff

I have resisted writing about this subject as I still feel that there is much left to learn about President Bush's plan for privatization, and volumes of details to iron out vis-a-vis Social Security reform. The broad nature of the plan and the remarkable number-doctoring spin being applied (by both sides) leave most of us mere mortals scratching our heads in frustration and dismay. Even more perplexing is the disingenuous outcry from some that Social Security is NOT headed for a crisis - despite statements to that affect by their hero, Bill Clinton.

((Upate: See the latest from FactCheck.org, entitled False Attacks Over "Windfalls" to Wall Street ))

Now that President Bush has returned from his arguably fruitful and symbolic kiss-and-make-up-with-the-allies trip abroad, he has turned his attention once again to this, his primary domestic initiative (and as with all other Bush efforts, uphill battle).

According to an article today from Associated Press:

"If left unchanged, beginning as early as 2018, Social Security is set to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes. And by 2042, the money stored from past surpluses will be exhausted and Social Security will only be able to pay 73 percent of promised benefits from the revenues it will be taking in, according to the retirement program's trustees."

"Bush has said all options are on the table for strengthening Social Security, except for hiking the payroll tax rate. He has firmly opposed raising the 12.4 percent tax rate on wages up to $90,000. But he and his advisers have been vague about whether he would go along with increasing the total amount of earnings subjected to that taxation."

LIBERAL SPIN: What many liberals seem to be forgetting (or leaving out in their arguments) is that this is NOT a completed program plan, as President Bush has repeatedly asked that both sides assist in hammering out the details. As mentioned above, it is only the tax rate that he is unwilling to negotiate. Unbeknownst (apparently) to most AARP members is Bush's promise NOT to change the current program for those now over 50. Bush is also faulted for his (some forget the word "optional" here) privatization plan for a portion of an individual's fund - this coupled with wild accusations of Wall Street intrigue and high-risk "gambling" with the security of our youth, while what is being proposed is not investment commodities, but in far less risky and broadly diversified stock and bond mutual funds.

In an article from February 2, FactCheck.org made the following contention:

"What MoveOn.org calls "Bush's planned Social Security benefit cuts" is actually a plan that would hold starting Social Security benefits steady in purchasing power, rather than allowing them to nearly double over the next 75 years as they are projected to do under the current benefit formula."

Of course, the 20,000 dollar question is this: How are we going to pay for it? That, my friends, is a matter for both sides to decide together once they stop spinning.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Bush Tapes Suggest Possible Drug Use?

Now THIS has got to be the most ridiculous item of the day (or week!). Much is being made of the private phone conversations secretly taped by then-Governor Bush's old friend Doug Wead from 1998-2000, who played 12 of them for a New York Times reporter.

This is being used by some enemies of the President (including the 'Times') as evidence that, after several years of avoiding the question, he did indeed try marijuana in his earlier years. This is how it went down:

Bush, in criticizing then-Vice President Al Gore for having admitted his marijuana use, was justifying his reasoning on this to Wead.

"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions," he said, according to the Times. "You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."

Knowing our President's rustic manner of speaking, this sounds to me like he was putting himself in Gore's shoes. Even if this is not true and he smoked his way all through college, why is this relevant now? We all know that he is a recovering alcoholic and a born-again Christian. I think it clearly indicates that any shot is a good one to his detractors - regardless of how cheap or baseless.

In another clip, the Texas Governor states that he is against the continued discussion of cocaine use, saying that he believes that someone should take a stand and not comment on allegations of this nature ("this crap" is actually how he put it).

In yet another passage, liberals are probably surprised to hear Governor Bush respond emphatically to a leading question from Wead that he has no intention of discriminating against gays.

Why don't we talk about his trip to Europe, where the real news is that of our President "reaching out" across the pond to mend some frayed egoes. Guess that isn't as big as his possibly doing what we all know his predecessor (and Gore) did in college.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Canadians Should Stay Out of Our Politics

I recently came across the blog of a Canadian "Progressive" activist (see http://scottneigh.blogspot.com/) who has moved temporarily to L.A. with his partner and son while she attends to her post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA. With nothing better to do with his time, this Canadian has chosen to play activist here in America. What caught my attention was his blog title "A Canadian Lefty in the Land of King George," a link to sign a petition for Ward Churchill and then the article "Solidarity with Churchill."

As you can see from my own article on Churchill (below), I really do give this wayward professor a fair shake vis-a-vis his first amendment rights and his continued employment at a state university. That aside, I don't know about you but having a Canadian Liberal activist jump in on this stuff kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Here is my commentary to his Churchill articles that I posted to his blog (to which he has since posted additional comments - below) :

"Scott, I don't have anything much against Canada - beautiful country with generally nice and easy-going people. I don't necessarily agree with their recent policies vis-a-vis the United States (e.g. harboring our deserters), but that's okay. You can marry up all the gay people you want - knock yourself out. I don't involve myself with Canadian internal affairs. It would be nice if you did likewise, my friend."

"Although you have recently relocated to LA with your family, you also point out that it is temporary - meaning you are a visitor and still a foreigner here. As a foreigner, you are going to further anger people down here who are already steamed enough to drag this pseudo-native psychotic (Churchill) up over the border to "expose" him on a CANADIAN hillside."

"If you really feel compelled to stick your nose into this (do you have nothing better to do in L.A. while your "partner" does her post-doctoral work?), why not instead start a campaign to allow this idiot to immigrate to your increasingly anti-American country? He would fit in real nice up there, and together you could all root for another attack on the American "Eichmanns."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Is Syria Next? Should It Be?

Recap: Rafik Hariri, billionaire and former Prime Minister of Lebanon, was blown to smithereens on Monday by a suicide bomber using at least 650 pounds of TNT that left his convoy of armored limousines looking much like crumpled tin foil.

Hariri, a true hero of the Lebanese independence movement, had recently stepped up opposition to the current Syrian-backed President Lahoud, along with his Druze, Maronite (Christian) allies and backing by the U.S and (believe it or not) France.

Oh, I can just hear 'em now...this will no doubt be decried by the leftward extremities (and their radical islamic allies) as yet another American conspiracy, meticulously planned in Washington to give us a good reason to do some more butt-kicking in the Middle East.

In a sense I think this may have been a consequence of our actions in Afghanistan and (especially) Iraq, but not in the way it will be painted by some liberals and other minions of silliness. The waves of democracy are spreading in the Middle East, folks...the election in Iraq has made its impression. Now, after years of occupation (15-30,000 Syrian troops) and control by Syrian President Assad (continuing his Dad's tradition), Lebanon is on its own meandering but undeniable path to independence and, perhaps, true democracy.

Strong words from Washington, including the recalling of our ambassador. As the remaining stronghold of the Baath party (to which Saddam Hussein belonged in Iraq), a major avenue into Iraq for insurgents along its huge common border, and a proven haven and supporter of terrorism, I do believe that it is time for ultimatums and sanctions against Syria. And unlike Iraq, Syria and Lebanon constitute a coastline of over one thousand miles -- in spite of the preoccupation of our ground forces, our Navy remains largely unengaged. Not to say that I advocate an attack at this time, but two or three carrier groups could wipe out all of Syria's Air Force, Navy and inland bases in a matter of a few short weeks.

Question: How firm should we be with Syria?

I salute Rafik Hariri, who was a brave man with a vision in a very dangerous world.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Marine Officer: Murderer or Combatant?

A Marine Second Lieutenant has been charged in the murder of two Iraqi men in what has become another "fog of war" debate.

In searching for the details surrounding this case, I have found differing accounts of what happened. What is clear is that during a confrontation with two suspected insurgents on April 15th 2004, Second Lieutenant Pantano felt threatened enough that he opened fire, killing both men. It is also known that a field investigation found him not guilty of wrong-doing. For unknown reasons, he has since been charged anew with pre-meditated murder.

Otherwise, the circumstances are not clear. I have found several reports stating that he was investigating a suspected weapons cache and the two Iraqis ran out of the hide-out; still others claim that the incident took place during a check-point stop, after Lt. Pantano instructed the men to strip their car in search of explosives.

I would submit that, not knowing the facts, it is at least appropriate to suggest that this soldier should be given some benefit of doubt. In modern guerilla warfare, especially in an area rife with suicide bombers, sudden death can come to our troops in many forms. It may indeed come down to a fighting man's intuition to interpret when a threat is present, with nary a nonasecond to react and save himself and others present.

Second Lieutenant Pantano's mother, Merry Pantano, said "Isn't it amazing? He can face the death penalty for doing his job on the battlefield, making split-second decisions. He said it was self-defense in the situation that he was in."

She has started a website, www.defendthedefenders.org.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Mexicans - George's Weak Point

Now this might raise some eyebrows, but it is the prime subject upon which our esteemed president and I really do part company. Regarding illegal immigrants and border security, both our current policies AND the proposed Bush solution are ridiculous and short-sighted.

My thoughts? We should erect something resembling the DMZ between North and South Korea...in other words, a virtually impenetrable (without detection) two-fenced barrier equipped with cameras, flood-lights, dogs, sensors and concertina wire. Add to this; border-guard stations every ten or twenty miles, with personnel on watch around the clock and additional personnel on call, and you've got yourself a border that will only be compromised at great cost and effort to smugglers.

Nearly 10 million illegal aliens live in the U.S. right now. Since we are closing in on a total population of 300 million, that means that 1 out of every 30 people in this country is illegal and, to varying degrees, living off of our taxes. Hey, that means that at any given time in a supermarket, you are likely rubbing elbows with 2 or 3 of these folks. According to the Expo Comida Latina, "Hispanics total 38.8 million, or 22.8% of the nation’s minorities. As the largest minority group in the U.S., the Hispanic population is projected to continue its growth and reach 60 million, or 18% of the total U.S. population by 2020."

Okay, let me just get it out there now...I have absolutely nothing against Hispanics, nor their culture and influence on this patchwork we call the United States. Quite to the contrary, having lived in Spain, traveled much to Mexico and having been raised in Southern Arizona, I have great respect for many things latin/hispanic and, indeed, Spanish. In fact, I do not blame the immigrants themselves for trying to make a better life for their families.

I do have a problem with taxpayers having to foot the bill for these folks. Drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens? GIVE ME a BREAK! And to those farmers and other employers who claim that no American will take that job, I gotta call the B.S. (bovine scatology) alert right there! If that is true, then Job Services everywhere had best start making some phone calls. And it’s not just about the illegal immigration; it’s also about the drugs.

If I was a LEGAL immigrant (like most of our forefathers were when they came here) I would be PISSED about a policy that encourages more illegal immigration from the South. Work permits? Puh-lease…can anyone honestly foresee these workers just quietly returning home every week, or at the end of the season or their contracts?

We need to close these borders now - illegal immigration and drugs notwithstanding, how about the potential for terrorists smuggling weapons or explosives across our unprotected border? If we want to keep America free and safe, now is the time to act.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

CNN Chief Calls U.S. Troops "Journalist Assassins"

Dan Rather, step aside and be grateful for the respite - CNN Chief Eason Jordan has just stepped on his own controversial appendage.

During the recent World Economic Forum held in Davos Switzerland, the Chief Executive of CNN stepped in it and floundered for the whole world to see. Mr. Jordan was originally billed to speak during a discussion at the forum (where do I sign up for this boondoggle?), entitled "Will Democracy Survive the Media.” While speaking to this audience comprised of Congressman Barney Frank, Senator Chris Dodd, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah and a mix of American and foreign journalists and attendees (MANY from the Middle East), CNN's highest executive made a surprising statement.

"He (Jordan) knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but (according to him) they had in fact been targeted," according to a report on the World Economic Forum's Web site (www.forumblog.org).

Apparently, upon gauging the exuberant reaction of much of his audience (read: Arabs), Mr. Jordan reportedly tried to backpedal in his statements, but the damage was done. However, this was not the first time Eason Jordan has blundered in public recently.

Back in November, as reported in the London Guardian, Mr. Jordan said, "The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the U.S. military and, according to reports I believe to be true, journalists have been arrested and tortured by U.S. forces."

You may ask: How is this a blunder if true? Well, as any boot journalist should know, if you have evidence of this magnitude it needs to be reported, not carelessly slipped during a speech to foreign and (some) hostile reporters well after the fact.

I do not believe that this man has any evidence of this, and should be fired for his ridiculous and inflamatory statements to this audience. CNN (liberal media inc.) will not release the video tape of this speech that it admits to having in its possession. What do YOU think should happen??

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Conversation with a Liberal

Just had an email exchange with a Liberal after having left him my two cents on his website. Thought you might find this exchange interesting:

(Kevin the Liberal)
Before I begin, thank you for your service to our country. I have great respect for our Veterans and Civilians who have given so much time to the United States.

I was very glad to see that you took the time to respond in some detail - I admire folks who aren't afraid to defend their positions. Thanks for the kind words stated in your first sentence.

(Kevin the Liberal)
Now, let me pick you apart a bit. Like many on the far Right you wonder what Liberals are doing here if they don't like it. Answer: It's the best country in the world and I love it here, and exactly for this reason I intend on criticizing it. And since I am not in the upper 1 percent who received tax cuts, I don't have the money to go anywhere.

My question about why you are still here (in the U.S.) is, in my experience, a GREAT way to separate the liberal wheat from the chaff...that is, those who keep bitching about how they are sick of this country and want to emmigrate to Canada or France. Your answer to this question was the right one. (BTW, I am not on the far right, for the record). However, I take exception to much of what else you have to say:

There were LOTS of tax breaks with this president over the last four years for anyone who works - you seem to be stuck on a John Kerry talking point here with the "upper 1 percent" thing. Unfortunately, I am also in the lower 99% but enjoyed excellent tax breaks nonetheless. So did you, if you filed well and took advantage of them.

(Kevin the Liberal)
You ask me to provide good ideas instead of bashing the president. I provide lots of good ideas all the time. I work with government officials in improving my city. I'm not about to use my blog (which maybe 25 different people visit) to offer dissertations on the state of the union. This is a venting vehicle for me, not a think tank. I also can bash the president whenever he screws up...I have that right. I'm sure you bashed Clinton a bit.

Yes, I did criticize Bill Clinton (to friends, family and colleagues when appropriate) during the Lewinsky thing and at other times. As a military and intel guy, I was appalled at how he cut back on our defense and security - this might have helped to lead us to a treasury surplus, but this and his "drop a few bombs and be done with it" response to terrorist acts helped to set the stage for 9-11-01 and our reduced ability to respond militarily. However, I accepted his presidency when he was elected and would have willingly followed his orders into harm's way.

YES, you absolutely have the right to speak your mind. So do Michael Moore, Howard Stern and so many others. Difference is, you espouse these views on a BLOG which invites response - I am happy to give responses and encourage the same on my own blog.

(Kevin the Liberal)
You ask me to name just 1 president who didn't make mistakes in war. No. They all do. You're right. But how many CHOSE to go to war...chose the time, the place, the enemy? This was an OPTION for Bush, not a requirement. When you choose to go to war as an option, you better damn well have your act together.

On war in Iraq - I think you know that WMDs were not the only issue, but the entire civilized world had every reason to believe that Saddam had them still. Remember, just because we haven't found them DOES NOT prove that they were never there. In addtion, there were 17 UN resolutions that Iraq had not abided, inspectors were being bullied and our aircraft were being fired upon virtually EVERY DAY in the Southern No-Fly-Zone. Add this to Saddam's propensity to attack his neighbors, known ties to terrorists AND his unlimited potential for oil wealth and we were looking at a recipe for international DISASTER. We have now discovered Oil-for-Food corruption to the tune of over 20 BILLION in Saddam's own pockets, secret deals with some of our most powerful "allies" for weapons and Security Council votes, and a proven intention to restart his nuclear program once inspections ceased. Do you KNOW what would have happened had we not gone into Iraq? I don't, but I shudder to think about the possibilities.

(Kevin the Liberal)
The story of the Iraqi woman hugging the soldier's mom was not inspiring to me. I don't eat up propaganda. They were props my friend. They did everything on cue. If Bush wants to pay tribute to that mother he should've started by not sending her son off to die.

You are not moved emotionally by a free election in a sovereign Iraq? You honestly think that whole thing was staged at the inauguration? I think it was calculated to put the Iraqi woman and the Marine's parents in proximity, but what went down at that moment was totally unscripted. Either that, or these non-actors deserve an Oscar for their performances.

(Kevin the Liberal)
I will not be visiting your blog. I hear enough Right-Wing nonsense in the media all the time. I can't take much more. Thanks though.

I have no illusions about changing your mind, Kevin. Opposition like yours is part of the puzzle that makes this the greatest country on Earth. However, I am guessing that you have had few (or none?) try to explain the other side to you. Like I said, BLOGS invite response, and discourse is healthy. I hope you reconsider visiting my BLOG and giving it your two cents.

All the best, Timmer

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Should Radical U of C Professor Get the Axe?

As seen splashed across the news these past few days, there is a debate raging. Recap:

Students and faculty members at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., have been protesting a speaking appearance scheduled for Feb. 3rd by Professor Ward Churchill, Chairman of the University of Colorado Ethnic Studies Department. It was discovered that the Professor, an activist for Native American rights (of questionable native lineage himself), had written an essay shortly after the 9-11-01 attacks. In his essay, Churchill portrays America as a murderous empire that deserved the retribution (and still more) it received from brave "combat teams" on September 11, 2001. Some key points he makes:

  • "Meet the "Terrorists:" Of the men who came (on 9-11)...They did not, for starters, "initiate" a war with the US, much less commit "the first acts of war of the new millennium.""
  • "The men who flew the missions against the WTC and Pentagon were not "cowards." That distinction properly belongs to the "firm-jawed lads" who delighted in flying stealth aircraft through the undefended airspace of Baghdad, dropping payload after payload of bombs on anyone unfortunate enough to be below..."
  • "...America and Americans were only receiving the bill for what they'd already done. Payback, as they say, can be a real motherfucker (ask the Germans)."
  • The attacks on Sept. 11, he said, were "a natural and inevitable consequence of what happens as a result of business as usual in the United States. Wake up."

Heard enough? If not, read the full transcript; On the Justice of Roosting Chickens

Now, he has resigned from his chairmanship of the Ethnic Studies Department, but the question is this: Should this tenured professor be fired from his teaching job at a STATE UNIVERSITY (Read: Tax Payer Supported) for writing this essay?

The answer: As much as it pains me to say it, no. But as with Michael Moore and Howard Stern, a boycott of their services and a good ass-kicking might be in order! (First Amendment...we don't always like who it protects, but it works for them too).

However, if he got his professorship using what appears to be a dubious story about his own heritage, then he might just be in hot water.

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Retired Navy and Cold War/Gulf War Veteran. Senior Analyst for a large defense contractor, Bachelor of Science, Father, moonlighting Graphic Designer (T-shirts etc) and Blogger.

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