Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
|Photo by: Geoff Fear|
Sunday, December 12, 2010
You may recall that on November 8th of this year a KCBS/KCAL news helicopter captured video of a contrail off the coast of California. That video was played nationally on Fox News Channel and there was much speculation as to what the source of the contrail was.
The response from the Defense Department and NORAD was that what we saw was simply from a commercial jet and that there was no threat to the United States. But the FAA reports that there were no aircraft flying in the area at that time, on that evening and the neither the DOD or NORAD has identified the jet in question.
Several “experts”, including noted physicist Michio Kaku have made the rounds of the networks to explain how it was a jet and convince the public that any resemblance to a missile contrail was simply an optical illusion.
However, retired U.S. Air Force officers Lt. General Thomas McInerney and Brig. General Jim Cash say that without question the contrail seen just a few miles off the West Coast of the United States was a missile, likely launched from a Chinese missile submarine.
General Cash, who was assigned to NORAD, as a Command Director initially and later as the assistant Director of Operations for NORAD, knows how the system works. He says that in his “opinion there is absolutely no doubt that what was captured on video off the coast of California was a missile launch, was clearly observed by NORAD, assessed by a four-star General in minutes, and passed to the President immediately. That is the way the system works, and heads fall if there is a failure. This is one of the most important tenets of National Defense and its sole purpose of protecting the American people. Even the smallest failure in this system gets intense scrutiny at the highest level”.
General McInerney, who served as an Air Force Assistant Vice-Chief of Staff and has 35 years experience as a fighter pilot, was interviewed by Sean Hannity about the incident where he stated, “That is a missile – it’s launched from a submarine, and you can see it go through a correction course, and then it gives a very smooth trajectory meaning that the guidance system has now kicked in, it’s going at about a 45 degrees away from you that’s why you’re not seeing a lot of vertical velocity… I’ve watched that film 10 times, I’ve watched 15 other Trident films, SM 3… Standard missile threes, and T Lam launches…. I am absolutely certain that that is not an aircraft.” The plume, which is very clear in the video, would seem to indicate a single rocket motor and not a multi-engine commercial airliner or other jet.
If Generals Cash and McInerney, who between them have more than 60 years of experience in the United States Air Force, are correct then President Obama ordered that this event be covered up. It would also seem that the media has decided to play along, as we have not heard or seen anything more about this story since the first couple of days after the footage aired.
Considering the lack of response by the Obama Administration over the past 2 years to missile launches by Iran and North Korea, it is not surprising that the Chinese would have no fear of reprisal if they wanted to demonstrate their military capabilities to the world. It is hardly a secret that China has been patiently building a modern “blue water” navy. It was fairly well known that they possessed attack subs on par with the Russian Akula Class. It appears that U.S. military and civilian intelligence were less well informed about Chinese missile submarines.
What the American people witnessed on November 8th was very likely a warning and a message from the Chinese government- a literal shot across our bow. It was notice that, just as the United States Navy can put carrier battle groups and submarines in the waters that China considers it’s sphere of influence, they too can project naval power within range of our coastline.
Moreover, this incident was a message to the United States and our allies that, contrary to what we may have been led to believe, we are not the last superpower. You can be sure that South Korea and Taiwan got the message, as did President Obama and the U.S. Navy. This may explain why the recent joint naval exercises between the U.S. and South Korean navies in the South China Sea were moved further south, so as to avoid provoking the Chinese- not the North Koreans.
Last week President Obama announced that he and congressional Republicans had reached agreement on a compromise that would extend the “so-called” Bush tax cuts for everyone. This same agreement would also extend unemployment benefits for an additional 13 months, raise the “Death Tax” to 35%- with a $5 million exemption and temporarily reduce the payroll tax rate by 2%.
Initially most Republicans were in favor of the deal, calling it a victory for everyone, despite the fact that neither the extension of unemployment benefits nor the payroll tax reduction were not paid for and most conservatives oppose the estate tax, since it taxes the same income and assets twice. For their part, liberal Democrats were and are furious, publicly attacking President Obama calling him weak and accusing him of folding too quickly.
Obama reacted to the criticism from his base by lashing out at liberals, calling them sanctimonious and telling them that they could reject the deal and have the “satisfaction of their purist position and no victories for the American people”.
Meanwhile, congressional Democrats like Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York attacked President Obama calling him the “negotiator-in-chief,” not the “leader of our country.” Others like self-described Socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders threatened to filibuster the bill after saying that Obama "effed up" by agreeing to the deal.
President Obama spent most of the week defending the deal in the media, holding 3 news conferences. He also dispatched Vice-President Joe Biden to Capitol Hill to convince Democrat members of the House and Senate to vote for the tax compromise. Biden told Democrats this was the best deal they could get and to take it or leave it.
Having made no headway in bringing his party around, and facing increasing attacks from his base, Obama took the extraordinary step of inviting former-President Bill Clinton to the White House to discuss the situation and ask for advice on how to proceed from a man who famously found himself with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress after the 1993 mid-term elections.
This move was a mixed bag for the current president. On the one hand Clinton said that he thought the deal Obama struck with Republicans was a good one and the best he was going to get in the current political climate. On the other hand a joint press conference with Clinton- which Obama left early, leaving Clinton alone in the White House Press Room- showed Obama to be weak, inexperienced and clearly over his head compared to the former-president. It also created a bizarre sense of déjà vu for many people, as Clinton continued to speak and take questions for nearly 30 minutes after Obama’s departure.
In addition, the news conference, when taken with the defiant rhetoric of outgoing House Speaker Pelosi made it apparent that political novice Obama, unlike most sitting presidents, is not the leader of his political party.
As if Obama didn’t have enough problems it now appears that many Republicans, having had time to more closely examine the deal- which is not paid for, are also opposed to it. This may have something to do with the fact that the Senate bill being floated by Majority Leader Harry Reid is filled with “sweeteners” intended to garner Democrat votes. Things like extensions of subsidies for windmills, bio-diesel and ethanol, as well as, tax credits for rum producers in Puerto Rico- all without any offsetting spending cuts- have ballooned the cost of the bill and caused many congressional Republicans and conservative commentators to reject the deal.
Conservative Charles Krauthammer wrote an article for the Washington Post on Friday, which President Clinton referenced in his press conference, where he says, “Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 - and House Democrats don't have a clue that he did”. Krauthammer points out that what Obama actually has gotten is, “the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package”.
There are now many Republicans, especially those that will be sworn in on January 5th, that believe it would be better to let the current tax rates expire on January 1st and then retroactively cut them in the 112th Congress when they take power.
The president accused Republicans of holding tax cuts for the middle-class hostage, saying: "We all know that the middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. It's tempting to not negotiate with ‘hostage takers,' unless the hostage gets harmed. In this case the hostage was the American people." This statement is disturbing both because he compares Republicans standing on principle to “hostage takers” and because it might give actual terrorist hostage takers- like Al Qaeda or the Taliban- the idea that if they threaten to harm or kill their hostages Obama might negotiate with them.
But the reality is Obama and the Democrats got a much better deal this week, at least from their perspective, than they will ever get next year- even if they’re too blinded by their ideology to realize it. If the lunatic-left of the Democrat Party attempts to push what Krauthammer calls “Stimulus II” through the lame duck session of Congress this month, they will fail because not enough members of their own caucus are onboard. Then they will be dealt a huge political defeat in January as Republicans pass tax cuts for everyone, without an expiration date.
President Obama, every House Democrat and the 2/3 of Senate Democrats running for reelection in 2012 will be forced to not only defend their NO votes on cutting taxes, but they will actually have to run on the raising taxes in 2 years.
What started out as a botched deal, agreed to by Republicans, that could have been a huge political trap for the GOP has turned into a potentially major political fiasco for the president, instigated by the far left ideologues in the Democrat Party. Of course this assumes that the Republican leadership doesn’t cave and accept the pork-laden bill currently being presented as a compromise by Obama.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Airing at 3:00am Eastern- Monday thru Friday- on the Fox News Channel, ‘Red Eye’ with Greg Gutfeld takes the news/round table discussion format to new levels of funny. This isn’t fake news like ‘The Daily Show’; it’s the news with a comic, acerbic attitude and usually a conservative point of view.
Greg Gutfeld was once an editor of fitness and men’s magazines and a contributor to the Huffington Post. Now he hosts one Fox News Channel’s most popular and innovative programs, along with his “disgusting” sidekick Bill Schulz and ombudsman “TV’s” Andy Levy- A U.S. Army Veteran who served on the DMZ in Korea.
Each episode of ‘Red Eye’ opens with Greg saying something like “Welcome to Red Eye. It’s like Enter the Dragon. If by dragon you mean gerbil.” He then throws to Andy for the Pre-Game Report, where Levy teases the stories that will be covered on that night’s broadcast. Next Gutfeld introduces Bill, their “New York Times Correspondent” known as Pinch (a talking newspaper- voiced by Schulz), and then that evening's three guests -- very often Fox News personalities like John Gibson, Patti Ann Brown and Kimberly Guilfoyle -- or other popular personalities like Ann Coulter, S.E. Cupp and Mike Baker. Additionally, the audience can also expect to be entertained by one of the many talented comedians Red Eye often throws into the mix- like Ed Norton or Michelle Collins.
On ‘Red Eye’ even the guest introductions are racy and hilarious with such classics as, “I’m here with Fox News Channel anchor Patti Ann Browne. She’s so hot and bubbly, that Jacuzzis relax in her.” Or “I’m here with former CIA operative Mike Baker. If brains were a cheese log, I’d pick at his nuts.” And of course who could forget… “Rebecca Gomez Fox News business correspondent, if cuteness were karaoke I’d get drunk and then do her.”
The panel discusses many current news stories with a humorous and sarcastic slant, playing effectively off of one another and making news items ranging from the deadly serious to the ridiculously absurd hysterically funny.
The show makes great use of You Tube videos -- often featuring men dressed as animals, cute animals themselves and still more men in tight leotards doing aerobics.
One of the highlights of the program is the Gregalogue, Greg’s commentary on some story or issue in the news. His insightful, sardonic and fearless screeds are a fan favorite that used to end with his signature signoff, “And if you disagree with me, you’re worse than Hitler”, but nowadays tend to close with something like, “And if you disagree with me, you’re a racist, homophobic, something-phobe”. These commentaries can be read at Gutfeld’s blog: The Daily Gut.
At the midway point, Greg hands it over to Andy Levy for The Halftime Report, where Levy acts as the ombudsman and lets the panel know if they’ve “gotten anything wrong so far”- sometimes making legitimate corrections to factual mistakes, sometimes making fun of slips of the tongue. At this time, Andy also adds his two cents on some of the stories that have been covered in the front half of the program.
The back half of the show may consist of additional stories, viewers' recorded calls to Greg’s direct phone line, a segment where Greg's mother drops by via telephone to offer her opinions or a new segment known as “Stories We Sort of Liked But Not Enough to Include Earlier in the Show But Still Wanted to Talk About So Let's Really Quickly Do Them Now!”- Essentially a lightning round of quick comments on other stories.
To close the program, Greg once again throws it to Andy Levy for the The Post-Game Wrap Up, the segment where Andy gives the guests an opportunity to plug their books, CDs, DVDs or upcoming appearances.
Remarkably, this hybrid of news and comedy earns better ratings in the key demographics than MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and CNN’s primetime line up, thanks in part to TiVo and DVR.
Red Eye has also propelled Greg Gutfeld into the position of commentator on other Fox News programs. He makes weekly appearances on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ on Fridays and ‘Fox News Watch’ on Saturdays. He’s also been a frequent member of Sean Hannity’s “Great American Panel”.
My co-host Daria DiGiovanni and I have had the pleasure of interviewing Greg, Andy and Bill on my BlogTalkRadio program ‘Conservative Republican Forum’, where among other things, we've gotten some insights into not only into what it takes to produce ‘Red Eye’ but also into their political leanings.
We have also hosted several of their regular guests including: S.E. Cupp, Mike Baker and Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter on CRF -- even snagging an interview with conservative author Michelle Malkin before she appeared on ‘Red Eye’.
I wouldn’t recommend that you get all your news from ‘Red Eye’. But if you have a sense of humor and want to supplement your daily dose of hard news and commentary with something innovative, clever and funny, I highly recommend watching (or maybe DVR-ing then watching) ‘Red Eye w/Greg Gutfeld’, Monday thru Friday at 3:00am ET.
Monday, September 13, 2010
There are many who want to label President Obama as a Marxist and a Muslim. And to be sure, the president himself has provided plenty of examples in word and deed to support their hypothesis; it is certainly not unreasonable for people to paint him as either one or both of these things, based on his own actions.
His takeovers of GM and Chrysler, his nationalization of student loans and a line, often quoted from his book Dreams From My Father, “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets,” could definitely lead one to believe he’s a Marxist (or at the very least, a poser).
His utlra-apologetic “Cairo” speech, his instruction to his NASA director, Charles Broden, to mainly focus on Muslim outreach, his support for the Palestinians- at the expense of our ally Israel, and his tacit support for the “Ground Zero Mosque” could also lead one to the conclusion that the president is a Muslim.
However, I think there are other factors at work here that better explain Obama, his actions and why even his political allies on the left are often confused by his policies and deeds.
In a recent Forbes article, Dinesh D’Souza delves into the formative years of Barry Soetoro (Barack Obama), his relationship to his father, Barack Obama, Sr. and – in my opinion – where the current President of the United States really gets his political ideology.
As D’Souza illustrates very well, the elder Obama, “was a Luo tribesman who grew up in Kenya and studied at Harvard”. He goes on to point out that Obama, Sr. “was also a regular drunk driver who got into numerous accidents, killing a man in one and causing his own legs to be amputated due to injury in another. In 1982 he got drunk at a bar in Nairobi and drove into a tree, killing himself”. This is certainly not the kind of person most would elevate to the level of inspirational role-model, someone to be emulated and revered.
However, President Obama spent the first 17 years of his life away from the Continental United States, living in Hawaii, Indonesia and Pakistan; he also traveled to Africa, where his father was born. He saw firsthand the effects of European colonialism and its aftermath, as these former colonies gained their political freedom.
Due to his early life experiences Obama came to view the United States as what D’Souza calls a “neocolonialist” nation. Anticolonialism is “the doctrine that rich countries of the West got rich by invading, occupying and looting poor countries of Asia, Africa and South America”. You could probably say that with his view of America, Obama became an anti-neocolonialist.
With President Obama’s exposure as an adolescent to communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis, and subsequent introduction as an adult to Black Liberation Theology by Reverend Jeremiah Wright – an ideology that teaches there are oppressors and victims in most relationships – he was able to combine his political and religious beliefs to paint the United States as the perpetual oppressor, with the poor, the Muslim world and others as its perpetual victims.
This explains why the President doesn’t believe in American Exceptionalism, why he is constantly apologizing for imagined American offenses against everyone from Muslims to Palestinians and from Japan to Europe. It also explains why he’s simultaneously imposed a moratorium on American offshore oil drilling in the Gulf and guaranteed loans to Mexico to expand its offshore drilling; and why -in apparent contradiction to his “green agenda”- he provided Brazil’s oil giant, Petrobras, with billions of taxpayer dollars to exploit its offshore oil fields. Neither of these projects will benefit the U.S. or American companies, but they will help two countries that are “victims” of former European colonialism.
The President didn’t nationalize American industries because he’s a Marxist; he did it because it gives him the ability to redistribute wealth from the corporate oppressors to the oppressed workers and the poor.
Obama’s general view of the world and particular view of the United States is deeply flawed. As a man who has never held a real job or run even the smallest company, he is economically illiterate and ideologically driven by the failed Keynesian model. He has been indoctrinated by a false history of the United States that colors everything he does.
He does not view our nation as one that has brought freedom and prosperity to those who are willing to work hard, or as one that believes in the value of the individual. Instead he views the U.S. as an oppressor, as a villain, and believes that only through redistributive justice can the U.S. achieve collective salvation for its past offenses against the world.
There is no doubt that our nation is far from perfect, and over the past two centuries we’ve certainly made mistakes. The treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. Government during the period of Western expansion was shameful, but cannot be undone. Slavery is a blight on the history of the United States, but one we’ve atoned for through Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves and subsequent reparations. Segregation and Jim Crow laws were wrong but have been corrected. The internment of Japanese, German and Italian-Americans during World War II was a horrible mistake, borne of fear, one that we have hopefully learned from and will never repeat.
But for the most part the United States has been a force for good in the world. The “Greatest Generation” freed the World from the Axis Powers in World War II. Our armed forces and our allies defended the freedom-loving people of South Korea. We rebuilt Europe and defended them from the threat of Soviet-Communism during the Cold War. And despite what some have said we gave the people of Afghanistan the tools they needed to rid themselves of the Soviet invaders that threatened them and then we left.
The United States has not colonized any nation, nor have we occupied any nation after being asked to leave. Our military presence in Germany, Japan, South Korea and even Saudi Arabia is at the request of the governments of these nations, not as occupiers but as defenders of their sovereignty. The problem isn’t that we shouldn’t be there; it’s that we shouldn’t be footing the bill for our continued defense of these foreign nations. But that is a topic for another article.
The point is that President Barack Obama is neither a Marxist, nor is he a Muslim. He is a misguided anti-neocolonialist and follower of a distorted form of Christianity, known as Liberation Theology, which teaches that the United States is an evil, oppressive nation and that only through redistributive justice can its citizens achieve collective salvation for historic crimes, both real and imagined. He has elevated his father, an alcoholic and drunk driver-who killed others and himself due to his disease- to the level of an inspirational hero. He has also taken his father’s outdated philosophy and applied it to the United States, a nation that is nothing like the European countries his father opposed.
Contrary to how he was sold to the American people during the presidential campaign, Obama is neither post-racial, nor is he post-partisan. His ideology prevents him from being either. Our president is post-American and post-Capitalist. Only achieving Republican majorities in both the House and Senate in November will slow his agenda and only his defeat in 2012 will stop it cold.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
A recent Pew Research poll found that 18% of Americans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, 34% believe he is a Christian and 43% simply don’t know what the President’s religion is.
The poll’s focus – and that of its media examiners – has been the increase in the number of Americans that now view Obama as a Muslim. Pew also compared the president’s job approval numbers with respect to the religion question: unsurprisingly, respondents with a favorable view of Obama’s job performance are more likely to believe he is a Christian, while those that disapprove are more likely to believe he is a Muslim.
But the questions Pew declined to ask were “Does President Obama’s religion matter to you?” and , “Why are so many people unsure of what religion the president practices”? Back in the 1960’s there was much controversy over the fact that John F. Kennedy was a Catholic. People were concerned that Kennedy would have a conflict of interest between his faith and his obligations to all Americans. There were those that thought Kennedy would have to consult with the Pope over decisions that might conflict with Roman Catholic doctrine. Ultimately, Kennedy was elected as this nation’s first Catholic president and few would argue that his religion – while it must have played a role in his decision making process – did not cause any upheaval in America.
We have had presidents from 11 different religious dominations and 2 with no church affiliation (though they believed in God). What religion each president practiced had little to do with how they governed, what political party they represented, or how the American people as a whole viewed them or their performance in office.
So why do so many Americans today seem confused s to Barack Obama’s religion? Some point to the fact that Obama’s father (who he barely knew) was a Muslim, who later became an atheist. Others point to the fact that Obama attended an Islamic school while he lived in Indonesia (something that being a child he did not choose) as evidence that he is a Muslim. Still others see his constant apologies and “outreach” to the Muslim world as reasons to believe he is a follower of the Quran.
But what about the fact that the president attended Reverend Wright’s church in Chicago for 20 years of his adult life? Steeped in Black Liberation Theology, that church is where President Obama claims he found Jesus Christ. Unlike his childhood experience in the Muslim school, spending years in Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church was the deliberate choice of a grown adult, as is his friendship with Father Phleger- a Catholic priest who also is a believer in Liberation Theology.. Much of the rhetoric Obama uses in his speeches – which many have labeled as socialist or Marxist -- can be traced to Black Liberation Theology. More significantly for our nation, the same is also true for several of the policies he has put forth since taking office.
So does it even matter what religion Barack Obama does or does not practice? Do the American people even have the right to know what the religious beliefs of their elected representatives – even the president – are? Is there anything more personal and private than a person’s faith? We elect a president to represent all of the people, no matter their faith- or lack of faith- in a deity or higher power.
The First Amendment says in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” As long as President Obama does not violate the First Amendment for instance, by attempting to make Sharia Law a part of our system, or establish any religion as an official government sanctioned faith, is his religion pertinent? If his beliefs become a part of his public policy decisions does that give the American people the right to demand answers about the president’s faith?
This article is not intended to draw any conclusions as to the relevance of President Obama’s religious beliefs, whether they are pertinent, or the right of the American people to know what they are. Rather, the intent is to step back from the issue and let people examine their points of view on the matter from a broader perspective. Each of us must consider three very important questions. First: Is the president’s religious affiliation any of our business? Second: Are the president’s personal religious beliefs any of our business, or are they simply a distraction from much more critical issues? Third: Are Barack Obama’s religious beliefs becoming part of his administration’s public policy?
Steven Rosenblum is the Republican nominee for Florida State House, District 89
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Last week the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously against granting landmark status to the former Burlington Coat Factory Building which will now be demolished, clearing the way for the construction of an Islamic "community center". This location, which is in the shadow of the site of the 9/11 attacks, is where an engine from one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center was found.
This mosque, which is the brainchild of the Cordoba Initiative and controversial Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an affront to the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families. While the imam claims that the project, "aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions", nothing could be farther from the truth. Its actual effect has been, and will continue to be, to cause an even larger rift and to foment even more anger and distrust of Islam in the United States.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has said that he wants the U.S. to be “more Sharia compliant”, that American foreign policy was to blame for the 9/11 attacks and that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. Those radical statements and the questionable funding sources for the mosque, along with its proximity to Ground Zero, have led to a tremendous outcry against the project.
We constantly hear that Americans need do be sensitive and tolerant of Islam, yet it seems that Muslims never have to be sensitive or tolerant of the feelings of Americans. It would seem that especially in this instance, if there were a sincere desire to bridge the divide between so-called "moderate" Islam and the West that the Cordoba Initiative would recognize the pain and anger that this project is causing and agree to move it to another location voluntarily.
In the Muslim faith building a mosque at the site of a military victory is a way of claiming that spot for Islam, the mosque becomes a marker to that victory. The original Mosque of Cordoba was built atop the ashes of a Christian church that a Muslim army had destroyed in the city of Andalusia around 711 A.D, as a way of marking the victory. So using the name Cordoba is not a coincidence and only makes this project’s intent even more questionable and its construction that much more objectionable.
The construction of this mosque, using this name, at this location would be akin to the Israelis attacking Mecca, destroying the Masjid al-Haram (the largest mosque in the world) and then building a synagogue in its place. The Islamic world would never tolerate such an act.
And while we’re discussing what the Islamic world would never tolerate, these “tolerant”, “sensitive” people would never allow a Christian church or a Jewish synagogue to be built anywhere in their countries, much less on or near hallowed ground. Make no mistake, Ground Zero is hallowed ground and should be treated as such. The only memorials or markers that should be built in or around the site of the World Trade Center should be to those that were murdered there, including the brave men and women of the New York City Police Department, the New York City Fire Department and the Port Authority Police of New York and New Jersey.
As someone that lost a family member in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, I must say that I am appalled at the insensitivity of, not only the people behind the Cordoba Initiative, but of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and all the other New York politicians that are supportive of building this mosque so close to Ground Zero.
This is, once again, political correctness run amok. There may be no legal reason to block this project. But there are certainly moral and common sense reasons to prevent it from being built.
It should be noted that the New York City Landmarks Commission’s decision was not on whether or not the Cordoba Initiative’s project should move forward. It was simply a vote on whether or not the current building should be designated a landmark. This writer disagrees with the commission’s decision and believes that the fact that an engine from one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center came to rest there is reason enough to designate the building a historical landmark.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Hard to believe it’s been just over one year already that I launched my first internet radio show, Conservative Republican Forum on BlogTalkRadio. It seems like yesterday I invited my friend and co-host Daria DiGiovanni, author of Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal to join me in this excellent adventure.
As I reflected on the experience, I first took note of the fun we’ve had interviewing candidates for public office – mostly for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate – giving our audience the opportunity to get to know them and their positions on the issues. We continue to offer many grassroots candidates who might otherwise be ignored by the media, a forum from which to reach out and connect with potential voters and contributors.
Then I began to reminisce about the many notable people we’ve had the honor and pleasure to interview and – in some cases – meet in person. Our first big name guest was Florida U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, who we interview for the first time in June of 2009 – long before most pundits even considered him a contender for the seat. At last January’s Freedom Forum in Miami, site of our first and only on-location broadcast, we interviewed Rubio for the second time.
Two weeks later, we had the opportunity to interview author, columnist and regular ‘Red Eye’ guest, S.E. Cupp. At the time, she was busy promoting her book Why You’re Wrong About the Right. And that was when our show really started to develop a following.
Since then, we’ve spoken with such well known personalities as Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter; former CIA operative Mike Baker (who has become a true friend of the show); Kellen Giuda – a founding member of the NYC Tea Party and co-founder of Parcbench.com; comedienne Ellen Karis (who has become a personal friend); wildly popular congressional candidate Lt. Col. Allen West; Greg Gutfeld, Andy Levy and Bill Schulz of Fox News Channel’s hit show Red Eye; author and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin; former Fox News Senior Military Analyst Major General Paul E. Vallely (U.S. Army retired); current Fox News Military Analyst Lt. General Thomas McInerney (U.S.A.F. retired); Michigan Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; and Iowa Congressman Steve King.
The fact that all of these influential Americans took time out of their busy schedules to talk with us and our audience is a testimony their generosity and character. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting some of them in person and each was just as nice face-to-face as on the air. In particular, General Vallely, S.E. Cupp and Ellen Karis spent a great deal of time with my friends and me when we had the opportunity to hang out with them.
In 2010 we initiated our “Grassroots Candidates Series”, expanding our format from one-hour to an hour-and-a-half. This series has allowed us to feature several congressional and senatorial candidates – from Hawaii to Massachusetts – in what we consider to be a public service to the nation in this crucial mid-term election year.
When we started the show, I never could have expected that so many high-profile people would willingly agree to appear on our little Internet radio show; I certainly never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to not only spend time with any of them off the air, but to actually call them friends.
I also want to thank my friend and co-host Daria for taking time out of her life each week to ride shotgun with me on the air. Her support and encouragement have made the show enjoyable, and to be perfectly frank, she’s also saved my bacon from time-to-time, particularly when we’ve experienced the always-unavoidable technical difficulties or had a missing-in-action guest who failed to call-in.
Looking back on this first-year anniversary, both Daria and I sincerely hope our guests have enjoyed being on the show as much as we’ve enjoyed hosting them. As for our audience, we cannot thank them enough for tuning in each week, and we hope they continually find something of value. With their continued support, it is our fondest wish to remain on the air for a long time to come.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
There is no question that times are tough. The national unemployment rate is around 10%—probably higher when you count the under-employed, those whose unemployment benefits have run out and those who have given up looking—and in many states the unemployment rate is even higher that the national average.
While the Democrats didn’t start the out-of-control spending, they did accelerate the deficit spending. Now they are making the problem exponentially worse by increasing taxes and fees.
The only segment where employment is increasing is in government. But the government doesn’t produce anything except bureaucracy, fraud and waste.
We have an opportunity to change the way government works and get our nation back on track this November. But in order to do this we must support good constitutional-conservative candidates. While most of these candidates call themselves Republicans, they are often not supported by the Republican establishment—a simultaneously good and bad thing. On the plus side, non-establishment candidates will work for the people who elect them, not special interest groups. On the negative side, lack of establishment backing also means they must struggle for both money and media attention to get their message out to the voters who have the power to send them to Washington, D.C., their state capitals, their county seats or their city halls.
It is imperative for each and every one of us to help these candidates in any way possible. We all know that money is tight and just paying the bills is a struggle. But if we miss this opportunity in November of 2010, our nation may be unrecognizable by 2012. So, if it means making a sacrifice to contribute ten dollars to a candidate you feel is worthy, do it.
But what if you truly can’t afford those ten dollars? Then get involved directly. Walk precincts for your candidate to get the word out. If you have a blog, write about the candidates you support. If you have an Internet radio show, or know someone who does, get that candidate on the air to get their message to as many people as possible. Offer to hold a fundraiser or a meet & greet at your home or business. Be creative, but find a way to get the candidates you support elected.
We are at a crossroads in our republic and it is time to take a stand for our liberty, for our Constitution and for our children’s future.
Simply voting on Election Day is not good enough. Get involved. Get some skin in the game. We get the government deserve, so let’s make sure we deserve a great one!
General Stanley McChrystal served his country for 34 years. He began his military career as a Second Lieutenant in 1976 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and was promoted to 4-Star General in June of 2009 when he took command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
His career was distinguished and decorated, including the Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters) and the Bronze Star. He deserved better than to be relieved of duty because of some off-color remarks made in a bar, that were reported in a dying left-wing publication like Rolling Stone Magazine.
With all that said and with all due respect to his service to our nation, he and his staff showed an incredible lack of judgment by allowing that reporter (and I use the term loosely) to be embedded with them in the first place. This lapse in judgment left President Obama no choice but to ask General McChrystal to submit his resignation.
Unlike generals like Douglas MacArthur and George Patton who had won unprecedented battles and were storied heroes of World War II, Stanley McChrystal was fighting an increasingly unpopular war. Many now question the wisdom of invading Afghanistan in the first place, while still others criticize the strategy and tactics employed in the effort. McChrystal was in fact on the losing end of a war where American soldiers and marines were dying as a direct result of his own Rules of Engagement.
The counter-insurgency tactics he successfully championed and sold to President Obama are controversial to be sure. The ROE imposed upon our military in Afghanistan were unpopular with the soldiers on the ground and many military analysts here at home.
I have had the privilege of interviewing retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely and Brig. Gen. James Cash, as well as former CIA operative Michael Baker about the war in Afghanistan. Although all of these men expressed great respect for General McChrystal, they expressed staunch disagreement with the wisdom of the tactics he was employing.
No one wants the American military to kill innocent Afghans. We all want to limit collateral casualties if possible. But it’s important that when we put our brave men and women in harm’s way that we give them the resources they need to accomplish their mission and protect their lives as well.
When the rules of engagement include such things as not being allowed to fire until fired upon, not being able to call in air strikes in populated areas, or pursue Taliban fighters into populated areas, we are tying the hands of our military and putting them in unnecessary and unacceptable peril.
As we witnessed in Somalia, in what became known as the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Mogadishu, when political concerns trump military considerations our soldiers die. In the Battle of Mogadishu, political concerns about having too big a footprint caused Washington, D.C. to withhold AC-130 gunship support and prevent armored vehicles from being used. The results were dead Army Rangers and Delta Operators. The images of our dead soldiers being dragged through the streets by Somali militiamen led to our withdrawal from that troubled country and was a demoralizing blow to the morale of our troops.
With all due respect to General McChrystal, who obviously believes in the COIN strategy, in my opinion (for what it’s worth) he was the wrong general, fighting the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. He should not have been given this assignment, in the first place. But that of course is not his fault.
The fact that President Obama dithered for four months before giving the general only 30,000 of the 40,000 troops he requested for his “surge” in Afghanistan must have frustrated McChrystal tremendously, and the fact that Vice-President Biden strongly opposed the COIN strategy and favored a counter-terrorist strategy instead, also was a point of contention for the general.
McChrystal and his staff were obviously blowing off steam when they made the comments that Rolling Stone printed. But they let their guard down with the enemy in their midst and he cut them down just as surely as a Taliban infiltrator would have.
Now we have to hope that McChyrstal’s replacement, General David Petraeus, tapped by President Obama, will change the Rules of Engagement to effectively grant Obama the necessary time to defeat the Taliban and get the Afghan Army and police to defend their own people and nation.
In order to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan peasant-farmers, Petraeus might consider allowing them to grow poppy to be purchased by western pharmaceutical companies, rather than trying to destroy the crops or forcing the Afghans to grow some other much less lucrative crop.
We need to manage our expectations and realize the futility of trying to turn Afghanistan into a Jeffersonian democracy—or even into an Iraqi-style democracy. We can only hope to make it a functioning country that is not a haven for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Much has been made of the fact that President Obama did not attend the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery this Memorial Day, choosing instead to take a vacation in Chicago. Some even claimed it was the first time a wartime president had failed to pay his respects to the fallen at the nation’s most esteemed military cemetery.
Upon first reflection this seemed like a terrible slight to our armed forces. But after further research and analysis it seems that on at least two scores this may have been overblown and factually incorrect.
To begin with, this not the first time the President of the United States has been absent from Arlington on Memorial Day—even during wartime. Ronald Reagan had a deputy defense secretary fill in for him. In 1992, while the Gulf War was taking place, George H.W. Bush (a WWII Veteran) missed the annual event, but actually spoke to a veterans group in Kennebunkport, Maine. Years later in 2007, while our troops were fighting valiantly in Iraq and Afghanistan, George W. Bush sent Vice-President Dick Cheney to Arlington in his place.
This year President Obama attended a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois, hardly ignoring this important day of remembrance. Vice-President Biden, the father of a son that has served in Iraq, laid the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington in the president’s place.
Second, those that take issue with our commander-in-chief might consider that Biden, a man who has had a son in combat, might be better qualified to understand the feelings of veterans and their family members than Obama who does not share that experience.
If critics of Obama, his administration and his policies are to maintain credibility we must take care to keep our criticisms based in facts and not in the kind of irrational hyperbole that the left so often engages in.
There is cause for criticism to be leveled at President Obama for taking another vacation at this time, but it should be for the fact that he does so while there is an environmental disaster occurring in the Gulf Mexico and along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and while millions of Americans are out of work and struggling to pay their essential expenses. It seems heartless, elitist and tone-deaf for Obama to be taking yet another vacation while so many Americans are suffering and losing so much.