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THURSDAY through SATURDAY, December 27 through 31, 2005
A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO ALL.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, December 26 through 28, 2005
THE END IS NEAR...the end of the year, that is. On balance, this has been a difficult year for Americans. And the antics of our dysfunctional federal givernment have not made it any easier to cope with things like the Middle East and with natural disasters. For that, "a pox on both their houses"...both Republican and Democrat. Everything has been politicized beyond recognition 1) Iraq: this administration never conducted the post-war effectively, failing to establish security initially and thus losing the confidence of the Iraqi people in our ability to protect them and to improve their lot; the Democrats continually undercut both the administration and by extension the efforts of our military. 2) Katrina: Democrats and Republicans keep trying to pin the tail on the donkey or on the elephant, while recovery efforts and pace are abysmal. Both the administration and the Congress are to blame here. Even the rebuilding of New Orleans is being trivialized by ridiculously low projections of time and cost needed, while the experts' estimates are five to ten times higher. 3) Public Education continues to produce numbers that should make any "educator" blush: low literacy, science and math skills right through the college years. 4) Homeland Security, the charge of this administration, reportedly not much better than on 9/12, while Democrats try to blindfold our forces against our enemies with shrill and unsubstantiated claims of attacks on our rights. 5) Energy Independence, not even on the radar screen.
Who will lead us out of this political wasteland? Surely not all these incumbents, the vast majority holding "safe seats". So let us demand term limits, loophole-less election reform, and an end to gerrymandering that "shocks the conscience". What America needs today is another grass-roots revolution similar to that of the "Nader Revolution" of decades ago. Let's make that goal our New Year's Resolution. Folks, we can't go on this way; we aren't that strong.
SUNDAY, December 25, 2005
MERRY CHRISTMAS / HAPPY HANUKKAH / HOLY RAMADAN...
Whatever our Faith or system of beliefs, there is more that unites us than separates us. In fact, as suggested in a magazine article published months ago, we all may have been hot-wired by our "Intelligent Designer" to yearn for our return to our origin.
All the organized religions existing in the world today were preceded by a multitude of belief systems held by our ancestors. See any comprehensive work on antiquities, or see the recent book entitled "1491" - about the original ancestors of the inhabitants of the "New World", going back several hundred thousand years. (In fact, the original "indians" may have been Poles!, having come across the Bering land bridge.
But let's get back to today. An article today in the Denver Post addresses the relatively rare concurrence in time of Christmas and Hanukkah and how dual-belief families cope ("Families Weather Calendar Collision", by Eric Gorski, Sec. C1). They cope generally quite well, partly due to the fact that Christians consider themselves of Jewish origin also. Is it so important for us today...living out our preliminary lives before our return to God / Yahweh / Allah... to agree on one or on two visits from the Messiah, or to take issue with those who do not accept the prophet Jesus' God-ship, or even to vilify those who don't believe in God at all?
The important thing is that the merciful God who created us all in His image will sort it all out soon enough - including the atheists...although He may give them a special remedial assignment before they return.
MERRY CHRISTMAS / HAPPY HANUKKAH / HOLY RAMADAN, HAPPY KWANZAA...
TUESDAY through SATURDAY, December 20 through 24, 2005
MONDAY, December 19, 2005
The furor over "domestic spying", as the Democrats and their fellow travellers call it. First of all, in my humble opinion, in-coming or out-going international calls are not "domestic". Secondly, the applicable statutes are evidently far from clear on the intent of their scope and effect..."arguable" is the appropriate word. Thirdly, whatever you think of the relative powers of Congress and the Presidency, in great flux since Watergate, the veritable state of war in which we find ourselves will cause the vast majority of Americans to give great deference to the Commander-in Chief. That is why I believe that the Democrats are now in a game of strip poker, considering even betting the "impeachment" chip...and that they will lose their shirts and more. By all means, let's have an investigation of the issue, consistent with national security, as soon as Feingold, Feinstein and company catch their collective breath.
SUNDAY, December 18, 2005
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, December 16 and 17, 2005
Don't try to find a pattern in this pot pourri.
THURSDAY, December 15, 2005
Today, December 15, 2005, the day that successful democratic elections took place in Iraq, will one day be considered a pivotal day in the legacy of President George W. Bush...as well as a pivotal day for the success of some sort of democracy in the Middle East. To support this perspective, I can offer nothing better than the following interview with Bernard Lewis, Princeton Professor of Middle East Affairs, and long-time advisor to presidents. All this should go a long way to relieving what commentator Norman Podhoretz has termed "the panic over Iraq".
Bernard Lewis, the British-born Princeton University historian who was one of the intellectual fathers of the Bush administration policy of Mideast transformation, worries about Iraq's future ahead of this week's parliamentary elections.
But not for the reasons one might think.
Mr. Lewis's concern is less about insurgent and terrorist violence and more about growing U.S. domestic opposition to President Bush's Iraq engagement. "I would describe my position as one of cautious optimism," he says in an interview. "My optimism derives from events in the Mideast and my caution derives from observing the United States."
At age 88, Prof. Lewis's voice has never been more influential. After Sept. 11, 2001, when the Bush administration was trying to understand the roots of the al Qaeda attack and how to respond, Prof. Lewis was available with a fully formed philosophy that the problems were emerging from failing Islamic states that had to transform themselves. His ideas helped shape the policy thinking behind U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraqand the shift from tolerating and supporting dictators to promoting democratic change.
"I may have had some influence but I think this is greatly exaggerated," says Mr. Lewis, who previously declined to be interviewed by The Wall Street Journal regarding his policy role. (See "Historian's Take on Islam Steers U.S.Policy,"4 from Feb. 3, 2004.)
Although Mr. Lewis insists he was never a "formal" consultant, people familiar with the matter say he recently met with President Bush and is particularly close to Vice President Cheney. Several other U.S. officials have called upon his counsel. His impact on the administration's thinking on the Mideast has been compared to that of George Kennan's "containment," doctrine during the Cold War.
He has scoffed at notions of a "Lewis Doctrine," but when asked to characterize his equivalent thinking to "containment," he uses a single word: "Liberation."
When prompted to elaborate, Mr. Lewis adds, "Enable them to achieve or recover their freedom, to which they are entitled no less than anyone in the world. . Our job is not to create democracy. Our job is to remove obstacles and let them create their own."
Mr. Lewis has differed most with the Bush administration over its failure to hand over control of Iraq quickly enough to capture the momentum of its surprisingly easy military victory. He had favored the preparation and rapid installation of an interim Iraqi government instead of "setting up a kind of viceroy arrangement in the style of the 19th century British empire."
For all the problems the Bush administration has faced in Iraq, however, Mr. Lewis believes the region and the world are better off now than before the war. "Despite internal difficulties and external sabotage, the process of democratization has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams," he says. He points to last January's elections where millions of Iraqis voted despite risks, to the constitutional referendum that followed, to increasing Sunni involvement in the process and most of all to the evolving democratic habit of political give-and-take slowly taking hold.
Mr. Lewis believes change in Iraq has also been in no small part responsible for Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon and democratic progress there, and "glimmerings" of change in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That said, he does share concerns about the success of the Egyptian Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood in recent elections. He has less concern about the rise of Iranian-backed Shia parties in Iraq.
"In Iraq, I am not so worried," he says. "Democracy doesn't come all
at once. It has to be developed in stages, and it seems to be doing very
well. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt represents a real danger. Yet if
they come into power they will have to cope with the monstrous problems
Egypt faces. If, like the theocracy in Iran, they fail to deal with these
problems, they will have to face the anger of their own people. The danger:
they wouldn't leave office by the same way they came, through free elections."
For all his belief in the need for transformation, Mr. Lewis is just as convinced that future change is unlikely to come at the end of an American gun-barrel. He instead favors outside assistance for opposition forces and developing civil society. "Iranians and Syrians with a little help from the outside can do the job themselves," he says.
He's a little more concerned about the American role in Iraq. One of the great ironies of our times is that the country that has done the most to shape our current world often underappreciates the historic importance of its actions. "In American English, if you say 'That's history,' it means 'It's over and done with and of no current interest or relevance.' Yet there is a sort of basic instinct for what is good and right in a society and that seems to work surprisingly well."
While Mr. Bush continues his U.S. campaign to rally support for his
Iraq engagement, Mr. Lewis provides some dramatic context for why Americans
ought to pay attention. U.S. officials, many of whom served during the
Cold War, have likened the Mideast challenge to the democratic transformation
of the former Soviet bloc. Mr. Lewis instead compares the threat to Europe
at the beginning of World War II.
He believes the threat in some respects is greater than even that of the Nazis, as radical Islam is fanatical, violent, global in its reach and enjoys significant support. Beyond that, the terrorists have suicidal tendencies and nuclear potential. Another difference: The world's will to stand together is much more lacking now than it became then. "If Churchill and his team had to face the same sort of opposition as does President Bush, Hitler might well have won the war," he says.
Write to Frederick Kempe at Thinkingglobal@wsj.com18 with your thoughts.
THE FIGHT FOR IRAQ
Q&A With Bernard Lewis
December 13, 2005
The Wall Street Journal's Thinking Global columnist Frederick Kempe talks with Bernard Lewis, a historian and intellectual force behind U.S. policy in the Middle East. They discuss the short American attention span, the effort to spread democracy, Iraq vs. Vietnam, "liberation" vs. "containment" policy, and the scope of the threat from Islamist radicals.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: As a historian, do you believe Americans appreciate the gravity of the moment in Iraq?
BERNARD LEWIS: Two things. One, in this country I think you will agree there is a general lack of interest in history, even a certain contempt for history. In American English if you say, "That's history," it means, "It's over and done with and of no current interest or relevance."Second, there is a tendency not to take much notice of other cultures and other civilizations. Yet there is in America a sort of basic instinct for what is good and right in a society, and that works surprisingly well.
Q: One U.S. general recently told me he worries that the American attention span is too short for an initiative that may take years to show success.
A: The American attention span is too short. I would agree with him on that. There have been several examples through the '90s. Two obvious ones are Lebanon and Mogadishu..
Q: The most compelling argument the Bush administration puts forward of why to stick it out in Iraq is an appeal to our sense of history and that we'll all be happier ten or twenty years from now.
A: The strongest argument is the astonishing success now of the democratic process in Iraq. This is a country that has been through decades of ruthless dictatorship. Yet within a comparatively short time, first they hold a genuine, free, honest, contested election in which millions of Iraqis consciously, knowingly risk their lives standing in lines to vote. That is a remarkable test. Following that, the results of the election were inconclusive. So the Iraqis advance to the second test of democracy, negotiation and compromise, which is probably more difficult than even holding the election. And they've been doing that. Then there was another election, a referendum on the constitution, and now this week they are going to vote on a national parliament. Despite internal difficulties and external sabotage, the process of democratization has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations.
Q: Yet some worry that democracy can produce a worse outcome than what we now have. The success in Egyptian elections of the Muslim Brotherhood is a case in point.
A: The process of democracy is neither quick nor easy. There are dangers. Hitler came to power through a free and fair election. But the dangers are increased when we are seen as supporters of corrupt and repressive regimes indifferent to the freedom and well-being of their subjects.
In Iraq, I am not so worried. Democracy doesn't come all at once. It has to be developed in stages, and it seems to be doing very well. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt represents a real danger. Yet if they come into power they will have to cope with the monstrous problems Egypt faces. If, like the theocracy in Iran, they fail to deal with these problems, they will have to face the anger of their own people. The danger: they wouldn't leave office by the same way they came, through free elections.
Q: Some would argue that the strength of the Iraqi insurgency shows the outcome hasn't been a better system but either a worse situation or even anarchy.
A: Fear was expressed in Europe and in certain circles of the United States that democracy couldn't work in Iraq. There is a much more deadly fear in the Middle East that democracy in Iraq will work, and that fact that it is working relatively well is why that shabby collection of tyrants who rule most of the Middle East are dead scared. Also, when the terrorists attack a wedding party in Amman, these are desperate measures. They feel they're losing. And they are.
Q: If this victory is so clear, why aren't Americans feeling that way.
A: My specialization is the Middle East and not the Middle West.
Q: Tack a crack at it anyway; U.S. popular support will be important in shaping the outcome.
A: I have the impression that a considerable part of the American people don't really believe the rest of the world exists. There is a certain impatience. Things have to be done quickly or not at all. We saw that on various occasions in the past, and sometimes it's self-destructive. Our enemies love that. If you look at the writings and pronouncements of Osama bin Laden and his associates, they have learned the lessons of Vietnam and Mogadishu very well, much better than people here have learned them.
Q: Some say Iraq is a new Vietnam.
A: The comparison is often made with Vietnam. Now one may have differing views on Vietnam, but withdrawing was a disaster for the Vietnamese. A million or more of them became refugees, risking everything to get out of the hell in which we left them. But that was the end of it. The Viet Cong didn't follow us here, nor was there any danger they would. But this is different. They are here. We are dealing not with a local enemy but a global enemy. They have made this perfectly clear they see this as a war in three phases. The first phase is evicting the infidels from the lands of Islam, the second phase is recovering what they see as the lost lands of Islam -- which means Spain, Sicily, and the Balkans, and of course Palestine -- and the third one is taking the war into the enemy camp to achieve final global triumph.
Q: Do you feel the Bush administration is wavering in its commitment to Mideast democratization?
A: It's difficult to read. Sometimes it looks one way and sometimes
it looks another way.
There is a school of thought which would run something like this, not just for the Middle East but for Central America and all sorts of other places of the world as well. It goes, "These people are incapable of decent democratic or civilized government. Whatever we do they will be ruled by sons of bitches, and the aim of diplomacy should be to ensure that they are our sons of bitches and not otherwise. That is a well-known philosophy, still shared by certain [U.S.] policy-makers for the Middle East. I think it is a dangerous fallacy. Yet it's strongly held and still being advanced.
Q: It's been said that you are the closest thing we have today to George Kennan in setting out the doctrine for this administration in the Mideast in the way he did for the Cold War with "containment."
A: Mutatis mutandis. Make the necessary adjustments. What I am afraid of is that what we may be doing is creating in the Middle East the same situation we had in Central America, where they have a choice between Castro and Noriega, dictators hostile or submissive.
Q: Some say we should introduce a new form of containment now instead of putting our own soldiers' in harms way in the region.
A: Containment won't work now. With the Soviets we were dealing with a government in power and mutual deterrence could work. Before very long the so-called Islamists will have nuclear weapons and if they are used it will not be by governments but by terrorists, they will be used by terrorists, and they won't have any return address on them.
Q: If you look at the Bush administration now, it doesn't seem to have any stomach for regime change in Syria, where most of the terrorists cross to Iraq.
A: Syria's government is obviously faltering. The government is under attack at home. It has already withdrawn from Lebanon. A democratic process is reviving in Lebanon. And there are even glimmerings in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In the Palestinian territories, you see an awakening of democracy. In recent months I've been able to have conversations with people in Arab countries of a kind that would previously been impossible.
Q: For example?
A: People are more ready to express disgust with their own leadership, there's a growing desire for more open and free society. One hears things that would have been shocking previously, such as: "Israel is not the first priority. There are other things we have to deal with first." There are even people who speak with respect of Israel . I've been with people in Arab countries who watch on Israeli television an Arab member of parliament standing up in the house and denouncing the policies and direction of the Israeli government -- on Israeli television, For them it is a mind-boggling experience. It doesn't make them love Israel any more, but it does give them some appreciation of the democratic process. It seems that one can do better as second-class citizens in a democracy than as a first-class citizen in a dictatorship.
Q: So why do you think it was the Iraq war that has helped set off changes elsewhere?
A: It simply is not true that Saddam Hussein's form of government is normal in this part of the world. This kind of arbitrary dictatorship has no roots, either in the Arab or the Islamic past. The traditional form of government isn't democratic, it is authoritarian, but it is not despotic, it is not arbitrary and it is not above the law. They have a very strong political tradition of government according to law and political limits. (See "Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East"4 by Bernard Lewis in Foreign Affairs.)
What was important for the Middle East in Iraq was the fact that a tyrannical regime was removed, that the people are free to express themselves, that the United States did not try to install a tame tyrant but really tried to open the way for the people of Iraq to choose their own government, and this is something new and wonderful.
A successful democracy in Iraq, for example, would be very dangerous for the present rulers of Iran. A largely Shia country practicing democracy would be very worrisome across the border.
Q: Do you believe military means can bring about further changes in the region. Syria? Iran?
A: If you mean U.S. military means, I am against it. I think that there is great opposition in both Syria and Iran to their governments. Iranians and Syrians with a little help from outside can do the job themselves.
Q: What is your general view of the situation, in Iraq and the Mideast? Are you growing more or less confident of positive change?
A: I would describe my position as one of cautious optimism. My optimism derives from events in the Mideast and my caution derives from observing the United States. The situation in Iraq is vastly better than what you would know from reading the media, which really do often present a misleading picture of what's happening. In many, many ways Iraqi life has improved enormously, in terms of freedom of press, economic and social improvements, the educational system is reviving. The terrorism is only limited to a certain area, but the terrorists and their sponsors are becoming more and more desperate because they see they are losing.
Q: The daily reports of killings can lead one to believe otherwise.
A: What's astonishing when they blow up half the people standing in line at a recruitment center, kill them, is that the next day the other half are back there waiting to enroll. That's remarkable. It's happened time and time again.
Q: What have we done wrong in Iraq?
A: The sooner we get out the better, but we cannot just cut and run. The people I talk to in Iraq say we could do a lot better in handing over, in giving Iraqis a bigger share in, for example, the recruitment and training of security personnel.
There were several stages when we could have avoided all these problems with very little trouble. When we had Saddam Hussein on the run [in 1991], we could have finished the job in a matter of hours. The argument at the time was that would have meant going on to Baghdad and setting up an imperial administration, which was nonsense. The Iraqis would have been capable of doing it themselves, but we stopped and let Saddam reconstitute his government. We backed down at a crucial moment.
There was then a free zone in the [Kurdish] north. There were interesting possibilities. It was one-fifth of the territory and one-fifth the population of Iraq. They were beyond Saddam's reach. There were lots of things we could have done from there at the time, but we didn't. That was another missed opportunity.
Q: And mistakes regarding the war?
A: What was really striking was the ease with which the conquest was completed. There was virtually no resistance. Saddam's army just faded away. The country was peaceful for a while. That was an opportunity that was lost. One could have installed something more genuinely Iraqi. It would have been perfectly possible at the time. Setting up a kind of viceroy arrangement in the style of the 19th century British Empire was not a good idea. Looking back now, the actual defeat of Saddam Hussein and occupation of Iraq was remarkably peaceful and easy. People speak with derision about Iraqis not welcoming us. They did. They would have welcomed us much more readily if we hadn't let them down ten years earlier.
Q: What's the lesson?
A: Our job is not to create democracy. Our job is to remove obstacles and let them create their own. That is what we did in Germany, Italy and Japan, and it is what we should do in Iraq. And now we seem to have moved in that direction.
Q: If George Kennan's doctrine was "containment" how would you characterize your own for the Mideast?
Q: Would you expand?
A: I think that's clear enough. Enable them to achieve or recover their freedom, to which they are entitled no less than anyone else in the world.
Q: So more activist than was our Soviet policy of containment. Why?
A: Well, we were dealing with the Soviet Union, a mighty imperial power, and we're not dealing with anything like that in the Middle East. But comparatively small terrorist movements now are potentially more dangerous than the entire Soviet Union because mutual deterrence won't work. In any case, the Soviet Union did not use suicide bombers. Suicide was not part of Communist ideology.
Q: It's said your influence has been decisive on the Bush administration.
A: I may have had some influence but I think this is greatly exaggerated. I have never at any time been a formal consultant..
Q: Do you believe the Bush administration is wavering on this liberation policy?
A: "It's difficult to read. Sometimes it looks one way and sometimes it looks another way."
Q: How do you best take on the insurgency in Iraq?
A: This is a military question for which I am not competent.
Q: It's a central question. Any general thoughts?
A: We should look more closely into the places from where the insurgents come, Syria and Saudi Arabia and look there.
Q: So what is the historical context you think Americans and Europeans are missing?
A: The threat we face now is more like that of the Third Reich than that of the Soviet Union. It is more militant, more violent, and commands a good deal of support. We are much more threatened than we ever were by the Soviet Union. I would compare where we are to Britain in 1940 add the threat of Hitler and the Nazis. I began the year as a very junior teacher in the University of London and ended the year as a very junior member of his majesties forces. At that time, we were alone, the Soviet Union was supporting Hitler, the united states was at that time resolutely neutral, nevertheless I and my contemporaries had no doubt we would win. I wish I were as confident now as I was then of our final victory.
Q: Why are you less confident now?
A: By 1940, we had no doubts or hesitations. We knew we faced a ruthless and dangerous enemy and we knew we had to stand together. I think now when I look back that if Churchill and his team had had to face the same sort of opposition as does President Bush, Hitler might well have won the war. They are more dangerous than Hitler because we are not as firm as we were with Hitler. And also times have changed. We didn't confront the possibility of nuclear terrorists with suicidal ambitions.
Q: But a difference with Hitler is we also have no territorial target.
A: It makes it more difficult.
Q: It also means they can't occupy us.
A: The danger is not to occupy but to devastate. They have all the modern possibilities. And in Europe, in some respects they are taking over already. You see that in many ways. Already the Muslim religion enjoys an immunity from criticism that Christianity has lost and Judaism never had. In this Christian West it is much safer to criticize Christian values than Muslim values.
There are some good Democrats out there. I used to be one, until they left me. Now I try to get responsible Republican positions some understanding and traction, as the following author is doing.
Maybe you're a Republican???
In today's America, ask a growing number of high school and college students; their teachers and professors; the self-anointed media elite and/or hard working men and women of all ethnicities, the question, "What is a Republican?", and you'll be told ".. a rich, greedy, egotistical individual, motivated only by money and the desire to accumulate more and more of it, at the expense of the environment. the working poor .and all whom they exploit..."
I am a Republican . I am none of those things ... and I don't know any Republicans who are.
WHAT I, AM. first and foremost, is a loving husband of some 52 plus years, the father of four and an American who's proud of his country...and his country's heritage
WHAT I AM is the grandson of immigrants who risked everything, including their lives and those of their children, to escape tyranny in search of freedom.
WHAT I AM . is a man who grew up during the Depression and witnessed, first hand, the effects of the Stock Market crash and the soup lines that followed. I watched as both my parents and grand parents, who had very little themselves, share what food they had with a half dozen other families, who had even less.
WHAT I AM is someone who worked his way through college by holding down three and four jobs at a time and then used that education to build a better life.
WHAT I AM is a husband who, at age 24, started his own business for the "privilege" of working 60, 70 and 80 hours a week, risking everything I had, including my health, in search of a better life for myself and my loved ones.
WHAT I AM is a businessman whose blood, sweat and tears.... and plenty of them..., made it possible for me to provide a secure living, not only for my family and myself, but also for literally hundreds of my employees throughout the years. Employees, who in turn, Were able to buy their own homes, raise their own families and give back to their communities and their country.
WHAT I AM . is a man who believes in God; a God who has blessed this country... and all for which it stands.
WHAT I AM .. is someone who knows, if you doubt miracles exist in today's world, you need only to look into the face of those who received them ... and the eyes of those who give them.
WHAT I AM is an American who's proud that his President embraces a belief in God; proud of a President who understands, as "politically incorrect" as it may be, there is evil in this world and for the security and safety of all freedom loving people everywhere, it must be confronted . and it must be defeated.
WHAT I AM is an American who takes comfort in the knowledge that our President refuses to allow decisions concerning the very safety and security of this nation, to be governed by the political whims of foreign governments.
WHAT I AM . is tired of hearing from leading Democrats who see only negativity in America; racism in her people; class warfare in her society and "political incorrectness" in her character.
WHAT I AM is a former democrat who now understands that it is the soldier and not the reporter that guarantees us our freedoms of press, speech and dissent.
WHAT I AM .. is a man who believes in the sanctity of life. A man who is repulsed by the pandering of the political left for votes, at the expense of the unborn.
WHAT I AM . is a husband and father who believes in the sanctity of marriage and the preservation of the family unit.
WHAT I AM is a movie go-er who is repulsed by those insecure, socially inept, elementary thinking, ego-inflated "entertainers" who have appointed themselves "experts" in the fields of national security and geo-politics and then use their forum to attack this nation, its leaders and its actions.... much to the delight and encouragement of our enemies.
WHAT I AM . is an American who understands the difference between "censorship" and "choice." Evidently, these individuals do not, because when these same "celebrities" receive public ridicule for their offensive actions, the first thing they yell is "Censorship!". What they seem incapable of understanding is... the right of free speech and dissent is shared equally by those offended... as well as those who offend. I support and will continue to support those films and performers whom I choose to and refuse to support those I don't. It is my right as an American a right I will continue to enthusiastically exercise.
WHAT I AM . is a voter, tired of politicians, who, every time their voting records are subjected to public scrutiny, try to divert attention from their political and legislative failures by accusing their opponents of "attack ads" and "negative campaigning".... and the news media who allow them to get away with it
WHAT I AM .. is a Catholic who loves his God and his Faith... and who's been taught to respect all religions whose teachings are based in love, peace and charity. As such, I am embarrassed and ashamed of those individuals, in both private and public life, whose decisions and actions are devoid of any sense of character or morals; individuals who are only driven by what's best for them .. rather than what's right .. often times at the expense of many ... including our national security.
WHAT I AM .. is a realist who understands that the terrorist attack that murdered hundreds of innocent Russian children could have occurred here, in our heartland. That's why I sincerely believe America needs now, more than ever, a President who sees with a clear and focused vision and who speaks with a voice when heard by both friend and foe alike, is understood, respected and believed.
WHAT I AM . is eternally grateful to Ronald Reagan for having the bravery to speak out against Communism and the courage of his convictions in leading the fight to defeat it; and George W. Bush for the vision, courage, conviction and leadership he has shown in America's war on terrorism amidst both the constant and vicious, personal and political attacks both he and his family are made to endure.
WHAT I AM . is a human being, full of numerous faults and failures, but a man nonetheless, who, though not always successful, has continually strived to do "what's right" instead of "what's easy". A man who is challenging the religious leaders of all faiths, to not only preach to their congregations the fundamentals of "what's right" and "what's wrong", but to also then hold them accountable for their actions in both the public and private sectors.
WHAT I AM . is disgusted with the Courts who, on one hand, call the murder of a pregnant woman a "double homicide" but then refer to the abortion of her baby as, "pro-choice."
WHAT I AM is someone deeply troubled by a political party which embraces a candidate whose primary "leadership" qualities center around his protesting of the Vietnam war and his labeling the honorable men and women who fought in it, (50,000 of whom gave their lives in that action), as rapists, and war criminals. (John Kerry) That same political party then stepped forward this year to block the appearance of a true Vietnam war hero, retired Admiral and former United States Senator, Jeremiah Denton, (a man who spent seven years and seven torturous months in a North Vietnam prison), from speaking before an open session of the California legislature as part of that state's 4th of July celebration. The reason Democrats gave for refusing to allow this American hero to speak before their state legislature was because of the "conservative" nature of his views. As an American, that troubles me deeply ...as well it should you. (Are you listening Mr. B?)
WHAT I AM . is a man who feels the need to spend, ONE HUNDRED & FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED & FIFTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($104, 655.60, tax paid) of his own money, to purchase this advertisement, in order to set the story straight. Some may say this money would have been better spent feeding the world's poor. At the risk of sounding self-serving, as an American and as a Republican, for the last six decades of my life, I have done exactly that.. and more. Following the examples of my parents and grand parents, I have used my earnings to feed the poor, shelter the homeless, provide housing for the elderly and medical care for the sick.... and continue to do so... and I'm not alone in that work.
WHAT I AM . is someone who is paying for this announcement, at my sole expense, in hopes of opening the eyes of those led blindly by ill-informed elements of our great nation, who, through either ignorance, or malicious intent, repeatedly attack and belittle those of us who belong to a political party that holds true to the belief, "... the rights of the governed, exceed the power of the government". For those interested, I am speaking only as a tax- paying individual who is in no way associated with The Republican National Committee, nor with any of its directors, or delegates.
WHAT I AM . is a man who understands, "the American way of life" is a message of self-empowerment for all.
WHAT I AM . is an American who is grateful that our nation gives each of us the opportunity of self-determination and the right to benefit from the fruits of self achievement.
WHAT I AM . is an American who wants to preserve that way of life for all who seek it.
WHAT I AM . is blessed to be an American.... and proud to be Republican.
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, December 8 and 9, 2005
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, December 5 through 7, 2005
"...A DAY THAT WILL IN INFAMY." Let us all remember that lesson, as some Americans urge returning to the days of appeasment, "America First" and "Fortress America". It didn't work then. It won't work now...and the stakes are even higher.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, December 3 and 4, 2005
FRIDAY, December 2, 2005
On immigration, you can see that the following is entirely consistent with my earlier comments.
WILL we still be the Country of choice and still be America IF we continue
to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries that
came to live in America because it is the Country of Choice??????
Think about it .
All I have to say is, when will they do something about MY RIGHTS? I
celebrate Christmas, but because it isn't celebrated by everyone, we can
no longer say Merry Christmas. Now it has to be Season's Greetings........
It's not Christmas vacation, it's Winter Break Isn't it amazing how this
winter break ALWAYS occurs over the Christmas holiday? We've gone so far
the other way, bent over backwards to not offend anyone, that I AM
now being Offended. But it seems that no one has a problem with that.
This says it all!
This is an editorial written by an
American citizen, published in a
Tampa newspaper He did quite a job--didn't he? Read on, please!
I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we
are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11,
we have experienced a surge
in patriotism by the majority
of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had
barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about
the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.
I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone
who is seeking a better life by coming to America . Our population is almost
entirely made up of descendants of immigrants. However, there
are a few things that those
who have recently come to
our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a
multi cultural community
has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we
have our own culture, our
own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.
We speak ENGLISH , not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese,
Russian, or any other language.
Therefore, if you wish to become part
of our society, learn the language!
"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian,
right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men
on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.
It is certainly appropriate to display it
on the walls of our schools. If God
offends you, then I suggest you
consider another part of the world as
your new home, because God is part
of our culture.
If Stars and Stripes offend you, or
you don't like Uncle Sam, then you
should seriously consider a move
to another part of this planet. We
are happy with our culture and have
no desire to change, and we really
don't care how you did things where
you came from. This is
our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the
right to express his opinion and we
will allow you every opportunity to do
so But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag,
our pledge, our national motto, or our
way of life, I highly encourage you
take advantage of one other great American freedom,
THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.
More on "Intelligent Design" and the Theory of Evolution. Thanks to the continuing fine efforts of Sean Nunley, Editor of the monthly newsletter published by Knights of Columbus, Seaside Council #17, New London, Ct., the following is offered verbatim on the subject of Church Teaching and Evolution.
What is the Catholic position concerning belief or unbelief in evolution? The question may never be finally settled, but there are definite parameters to what is acceptable Catholic belief.
Concerning cosmological evolution, the Church has infallibly defined that the universe was specially created out of nothing. Vatican I solemnly defined that everyone must "confess the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing" (Canons on God the Creator of All Things, canon 5).
The Church does not have an official position on whether the stars, nebulae, and planets we see today were created at that time or whether they developed over time (for example, in the aftermath of the Big Bang that modern cosmologists discuss). However, the Church would maintain that, if the stars and planets did develop over time, this still ultimately must be attributed to God and his plan, for Scripture records: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host [stars, nebulae, planets] by the breath of his mouth" (Ps. 33:6).
Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.
Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that manís body developed from previous biological forms, under Godís guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that "the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matteró[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.
While the Church permits belief in either special creation or developmental creation on certain questions, it in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution.
It is equally impermissible to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Gen. 2Ė3) as a fiction. A question often raised in this context is whether the human race descended from an original pair of two human beings (a teaching known as monogenism) or a pool of early human couples (a teaching known as polygenism).
In this regard, Pope Pius XII stated: "When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own" (Humani Generis 37).
The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states, "The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents" (CCC 390).
From Catholic Answers www.catholic.com