Archive for June, 2008

Meeting Caroline Glick

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I had the pleasure of meeting Jerusalem Post writer Caroline Glick at a recent Santa Barbara retreat that was part of a weekend set up by David Horowitz. Like many who have been through the Israeli Army, she is a kind person with a steel interior. She is deeply concerned about Israel and its survival. Unlike many, she actually understands the problems, and has sensible solutions. Her columns are often on the front page at

She was part of a panel on understanding and combatting Islamofacism.

With that, I offer the remarks of Caroline Glick.

“I was in the Israeli Army for 6 years.”

“We are teating Iraq as a war, rather than as a campaign in a larger war.”

“Israel has Iranian proxies on its borders. According to the head of Mossad, Iran will have nuclear weapons by next year.”

“Israel lost its power of deterrence in 2006 due to the Lebanon war.”

“The Israeli government is doing nothing. The diplomatic situation is awful. College professors in America want to recognize Hamas. Israel is becoming a pariah state.”

“The European Union has never recognized Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”

“The propaganda is so bad. Israel is part of the terror, yet Israel does not exist.”

“We are not even allowed to label terrorists as terrorists. What should we do, fight a war against meanies or a war against people with bad table manners since terror affects Muslims and hurts their feelings?”

“Those targeting Israel are part of a larger Jihad. This means we must acknowledge Jihad, and develop a plan to fight it. We deny it because we do not wish to fight it.”

“Genocidal ideologies have nothing to do with Palestinian statehood.”

“We must wise up before Iran nukes Tel Aviv.”

A questioner asked Ms. Glick why Israel insists on aiding its enemies, such as providing Palestinians with food, water, electricity and medical care. Her response was as truthful as it was unsettling.

“Israel aids its enemies because it wants to be liked by the United States State Department and be treated well at the Davos World Economic Forum.” Israelis are taught to be nice to foreigners calling on the telephone. One has to descend to second or third grade schoolyard behavior to grasp this logic.”

“We are weak. There has been an erosion in the belief in the justice of our cause, which has been ground down by a global refusal to accept Israel as an equal.”

“The elites in Israel gave up fighting.”

(It seems weak, groveling, and sniveling elites is a universal and global problem in itself, whether it be 1940s France, or Israel and America today.)

“We have a largely corrupt and ideologically dead Israeli leadership in its last throes.”

“Condoleeza Rice smiling is not a strategic victory for the Jews.”

“The United States will not admit that they and Israel are the same.”

I will say it again, in less eloquent terms than Ms. Glick. Dialogue works when both sides truly want peace. The United Sates having dialogue with the U.S.S.R. made sense. It was also helpful that the dialogue occurred with Ronald Reagan having unclear weapons pointed at the U.S.S.R., along with a promise to outspend them into bankruptcy.

Dialogue with genocidal lunatics who see armageddon as the end itself, and not the means, cannot be reasoned with.

Caroline Glick is a very pleasant person, and I appreciate her warmth, as well as her stone cold common sense.

I will speak for myself and not her, and say that if the Israeli people truly get it, they will immediately fire Ehud Ohlmert and bring back Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. Bibi was elected as a hardliner, and then turned into a pragmatist. I hope and pray that he has learned form this mistake, and that his current hardline saber rattling as a candidate will be how he is upon once again becoming Prime Minister of Israel.

The survival of Israel itself depends on this.


More from Dennis Prager

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

I have had the pleasure of seeing Dennis Prager on several occasions. I will be seeing him again at the end of the month at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. I just saw him several days ago at the David Horowitz weekend in Santa Barbara. He was the final speaker of the conference.

On more than one occasion he has agreed to do an interview with me, but he is so incredibly busy. I have tried to strike the right balance of persistence and politeness.

When I saw him a few days ago, I handed him a note after his speech. The note had several questions, and a reminder that I would see him on the 29th. The note said that if he failed to answer my questions, the sun would come up the next day, which I would expect to be th 30th. Translation…I would like him to do it, but it is not life and death. I hope he was amused. He knows me ona first name basis, and has not had security throw me out of the room, so I guess he is ok with me.

Anyway, his assistant producer got back to me today, and told me to email the questions again. I did.

The risk of seeing and reporting on one person too many times can lead to the risk of a repetitive message and boring blogging. Even the best politicians get stale when giving their standard stump speech. I did radio for many years, and I cannot wait to skip over my own voice and listen to the music. Luckily, Mr. Prager has so much of value to say that his most recent speech was fresh for me. It was also very enjoyable.

With that, I bring more wit and wisdom from Dennis Prager.

“I live in Los Angeles. I go to Seattle for the weather.”

“Joseph Lieberman is being pressured to not speak at the republican convention.”

“The ugliest human trait is ingratitude. Jews that hate Christians, or who refer to Jews that love Christians as Jewish Uncle Toms, are psychopathological. Hating people who love you, which is comfortable for those on the left and uncomfortable for those on the right, is a sickness.”

“In college I learned nothing about life. Everything I was taught at Columbia was wrong. Men are not the same as women. The United States was not the same as the U.S.S.R.”

“The desire for meaning in life is greater than the desire for sex. People can live without sex. They cannot live without meaning. Europeans found out that art, Mozart, and good places to dine cannot replace meaning.”

“Compassion is the holy word of the left. It is the ultimate feeling word.”

“Jews are told not to follow their heart. The heart is the worst guide towards helping on find meaning.”

“All religions have nonsense, but religious nonsense is still better than secular nonsense.”

“All humans need non-rational beliefs to exist, religious or not.”

“I don’t care of you believe that God is a turtle, as long as you believe something. This is because the opposite of belief in something is not nothing. The opposite of belief in something is believing anything.”

“I believe that God choosing the Jews is one of the most monumental silly things that could have been done.”

“People can be deeply rational outside of religion.”

“I am a Christian’s second favorite Jew. This is because I do not assess another person’s theology. Theology is not equal to values. There are Judeo-Christian values. There is no Judeo-Christian theology.”

“The New York Times (Jayson Blair Times for readers of this blog) Editorials are the equivalent of a hysterical page. They are always angry. There is too much anger. I get angry at angry talk show hosts, whether on the left or the right. Michael Savage is angry, but he is an altar boy next to Keith Olbermann.”

“John Hagee is not equivalent to Pastor Wright. John Hagee has a huge moral bank account. If you subtract his bad words, he is normal. Jeremiah Wright has a debit.”

“People point to the fact that Jeremiah Wright collects for the poor. We all collect for the poor. All religious institutions collect for the poor. I am not comparing Pastor Wright to a terrorist, but Hamas collects for the poor in their area. Hamas tortures and murders, but at least they do not steal like the PLO.”

“Barack Obama left his church after 20 years when it became politically necessary. He has said he does not support the more inflammatory comments made during those 20 years, even though he was unaware of them. What needs to be asked of Obama is how he explains all the members cheering those remarks. Do they believe what they heard? Does he renounce them?”

“Michael Moore has said that because of slavery, whites cannot judge blacks. Because of what blacks went through, whites cannot pass any moral judgments about them. This says that black people are beneath judgment. They are beneath contempt. This is racism. Does the Holocaust mean that we cannot pass judgment on Jews? Of course not. This is because Jews are respected.”

“Pastor Hagee has been attacking Christian antisemitism that goes back to Martin Luther. Therefore, Jews are attacking Christians that are actually attacking other Christians.”

“Pastor Hagee did not call the Catholic Church a whore. He was quoting a biblical passage verse by verse.”

“The Anti-Defamation League has said that the biggest threat to Jews is the Christian right.”

“Jews on the left are not concerned with antisemitism. They simply endorse anti-right wingism.”

“John McCain became aware of Pastor Hagee while running for President. Barack Obama has known Pastor Wright for 20 years.”

“Pastor Hagee stated that God sent Hitler to cause the Holocaust, which would then lead the creation of Israel. I judge a man by his deeds, not his beliefs. God judges behavior.”

“Orthodox Jews believe that Pagans that are good can get to Heaven, while Jews that commit evil deeds cannot. We are about deeds. Christianity is about faith. As a Jew, this is why I judge people by their deeds, not their beliefs.”

“Yet many on the left are critical of Christians for their religious beliefs. The irony of this is that secular leftists are judging religious people based on their theology.”

“Did God direct the Holocaust, or did he just watch? There is no Jewish answer.”

“Some want to get rid of Indian sports names. They ask how we would like it if a team called itself the Jews. We would love it! For 3000 years we have wanted fans! I would love people in the crowd yelling ‘Yyyaaaaayyyy, Jews!’ Gimme a J!”

“As for Pastor Hagee, Jews at AIPAC applauded him.”

“The year is 1938. Armageddonijad (sic) equals Hitler…no, we are not traveling back in time. After all, Jews do not have too many enemies. Of course we should attack our friends, and negotiate with people who want to destroy us. Chosen people? This is tested with regularity.”

“Christianity has been left out of the EU charter.”

“In the U.S.S.R, the joke was that the future is known, it is the past that is always changing. This is the American left.”

“Can you imagine if we had affirmative action for classical music? I am a part time conductor, and while I am sure there is some wonderful Albanian or Buddhist music, most classical music came from white, German, Austrian, Christians. We cannot offer what feels good in place of the truth.”

“I have said before that Europe will either have a civil war or be Islamic within 50 years. I still believe that.”

“DOn’t judge religions. Judge practitioners.”

“Chinese nationalism is equal to the Chinese religion. It got to the point where the government had to subdue anti-Tibet demonstration.”

“Jews were once a convert seeking religion. Paul would travel miles just to find one more Jew. Today Jews still seek converts…to liberalism, not Judaism.”

“My son played on a baseball team that came in last place. His team was given a trophy. We now give trophies just for showing up. What is next? Do we give a death trophy when they leave? This is why U.S. kids are last in math among industrialized nations, yet first in their confidence of their ability in math.”

“Multiculturalism is not equal to ‘E Pluribus Unum.’ Secularism is not equal to ‘In God We Trust.’ Equality is not equal to liberty. The French tried to have equality and liberty at the same time. This is not possible. They are directly opposing ideas. The left wants forced equality. The right believes in liberty.”

“Alan Dershowitz and I agree on very little, but we both support Israel. However, the difference between Dershowitz and myself comes in the form of belief. There are times when Dershowitz disagrees with the Torah (Old Testament). When I asked him if in those circumstances he thought the Torah was wrong, he replied, ‘Yes.’ When I disagree with the Torah, I do not claim that I am right. I do not put myself above God.”

During the question and answer session, I asked a question.

“Dennis, the people in this room are the converted. We appreciate your words, but what can be done about the remaining 70-80% of Jews that are liberal? Short of giving these people the verbal equivalent of cranial-glutial extraction surgery, what can be done to get your message beyond this room?”

Dennis, as always, was impressive in his answer.

“It is easier to do bad than good. One person can spread bad deeds to 100 people, but it often takes 100 people to get one more person to do good. One person can persuade 100 people to become suicide bombers. It might take 100 people to save one human life.”

“People are not born anti-semites. When I invite some of these young anti-semites onto my show to discuss their opinions, I asked them if they felt this way as children. They almost always say that this is not the case. So I ask them what happened to them. In almost every case they invariably start their explanation with the phrase, “I went to University…”

“I need to go to Universities more. I do go sometimes, but not enough. ”

“Atheists allow for opposing speakers, and yet liberals will not. I attend a Reform (liberal) Shul (Synagogue), and even they will not have me.”

After the event ended to thunderous applause, I went up to give Dennis my note. I told him that I appreciated his answer, and that I also do not go to the universities enough. I told him that I do go, but I absolutely could go a lot more. I thanked him for making that point. A couple students were there, and they offered to coordinate with him. They also told me that they would let me know about student events requiring speakers as well.

I told Dennis that I would see him at the Reagan library on the 29th. He said, “See you there, Eric.”

I did not tell him my name this time, so the fact that he remembered it means he now officially remembers me as the pain in the rumpus trying to get an interview with him.

I let him know in my note that if on the 30th the questions were not answered, and there was no sun, just 40 days and nights of rain, I would not blame him as long as he refrained from blaming me.

I look forward to seeing him again and hearing him speak, as I always do.


Meeting Dick Morris

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

I had the pleasure recently of meeting uber-strategist Dick Morris in Santa Barbara at the weekend retreat put on by David Horowitz.

I have been critical of Morris in the past because while he a brilliant strategist, he is not a visionary. However, to his credit, he has never claimed to be one. His focus is on helping his clients get elected. It is not about policy or governing.

I met him the first evening of the retreat, and the next day he spoke at lunch. While he has agreed to do an interview with me, his remarks at the lunch contained so much red meat that political junkies everywhere should be temporarily satiated.

In 1980, Bill Clinton was fired from being Governor of Arkansas. He turned to Dick Morris, who normally consults for republicans, most notably Senator Trent Lott. Dick Morris told Clinton to apologize to voters, and keep his wife Hillary hidden. Clinton came back in 1982 and won his old job back.

In 1994, Bill Clinton lost both houses of Congress. He turned to Dick Morris, who again told him to apologize to voters and keep his wife hidden. He won reelection.

Morris has said on many occasions that he likes Bill, but not Hillary. He also reminded people when he was working for Bill that he was not ever working for Hillary.

With that, I present the remarks of Dick Morris.

“This is my fourth year being here. Whenever I am invited back somewhere, it is a reminder that people remember what I previously said. I said Hillary was inevitable. Now I think Obama will win.”

“Obama read the rulebook. He understood that money dries up. Other financial sources are needed. Obama went after internet dollars, and did not rely only on large donors. Also, when someone buys an Obama t-shirt or button, he gets your email address. Direct mail doesn’t work as well. You spend money. The internet is free. This is the Howard Dean model, and these people being reached are the true believers.”

“For others, the fear of losing is greater than the fear of selling out. After Super Tuesday, Obama simply went back to the internet and asked for money. It was only a click away. Al Gore got the internet, but Bill and Hillary can’t type. Obama knew he would lose Super Tuesday, but he had more access to more money.”

“Obama was in it for the long haul. He understood and prepared for the caucuses. He lost New Jersey by about a 60-40% margin, but then he would win Idaho by a 12:1 margin. This allowed him to collect delegates, and it is all about delegates. Obama organized in the post Super Tuesday states, and Hillary never recovered.”

“Hillary ran as the candidate of experience. She had none. When Bill was President, the White House Pastry Chef had 8 years of experience. Democrats are revolutionary. and Hillary ceded the change argument to Obama.”

“Hillary loves negative campaigning, and so do her people. She wanted to make Obama an ingenue, so she had to be experienced.”

“Hillary has lost. That is an applause line. Nothing can save her.”

“Prolonged campaigns are good for ratings. I like that.”

“If Obama does not die, then Hillary might be willing to settle for Vice President. I wouldn’t sell this guy life insurance if he does agree to make her VP. If he does, he gets saddled with all of the Clinton scandals. Also, you don’t want a VP who hates you and you hate.”

“Hillary stays in the race to get in one last punch so she can hurt Obama and elect McCain. Here 2012 campaign slogan is ‘Itold you so.'”

“Hillary is disloyal if she says something negative about Obama after she drops out. However, anything she says the day before she drops out is merely campaigning. That is why she stays in. She cannot attack him after she drops out.”

“Now, for my next rash prediction. Without political parties, McCain wins. He has the versimilitude to handle tough questions on ‘Meet the Press.’ He was tortured in Hanoi. He is also the spokesman for consensus in America.”

“With political parties, McCain is in trouble. Republicans are dead in Virginia, Colorado, and New Mexico. Republicans are dead in Alaska, where Ted Stevens should resign immediately. He is a disgrace. He should withdraw from the race immediately. New Hampshire is gone, with Sununu trailing former Governor Jean Shaheen by 15 points. Cornyn is tied in Texas. McConnell is tied in Kentucky. Coleman is shaky in Minnesota. Republicans are ahead in Mississippi, Oregon and Maine, but those could go bad. We could see a filibuster proof 62 democratic Senators and a pickup of 25-30 democratic House seats.”

“The irony is that the republicans are doomed to defeat, yet they have a great candidate for President in John McCain. The democrats are expecting major victories everywhere, but they have a weak candidate for President in Barack Obama. America likes McCain, but not republicans. The question is what matters more to voters, and what will triumph, the party or the candidate.”

“Obama has gone from being desperate to prove he is not a Muslim to desperate to prove he did not go to church.”

“McCain can win by entering the democratic primary. He has to be a democratic opponent to to Obama. He should be a populist, and win over Hillary voters. Cops, firefighters, and others in places like West Virginia hate Hillary, but their racism is greater than their sexism. It is close though.”

“McCain needs to talk about global warming, Enron and Arthur Anderson, and other issues that fire up democrats.”

“Even Hillary voters prefer McCain over Hillary.”

“We cannot make McCain move right. We have to let him go. He shuold make Joseph Lieberman his Vice President.”

(At this point I was ready to turn into the Incredible Hulk. I believe the emotion I felt was rage.)

“I cannot advise McCain and go on Fox News and get paid for both. However, I can write anything I want.”

(For those who find this to be the worst aspect of politics, at least Morris is honest about his motives.)

“McCain needs to hit Obama hard on the notion of withdrawing from Iraq. If you ask Obama what we do now, he is too smart. He will finesse the issue. McCain needs to ask him what he will do if we pull out, and the situation gets worse. We ask him about next year. Does Obama understand that if we pull out, pessimism would be everywhere and disaster would follow? McCain should then tell America, ‘Well then listen to me now! If you remember what happened in Cambodia, and you believe that if we reenter Iraq there will be five times as many casualties, then we should just stay!”

“We must get McCain elected. Obama will fleece us. My new book is called “Fleeced” for this reason. Under Obama, taxes will go up, Capital Gains taxes will be doubled, taxes on dividends will be doubled, and social security taxes will go up. We know this because he tells us this. Labor remains, but capital can go anywhere. People will stop investing in the United States. We will have a decade of 1% growth just like Japan went through.”

“As bad as that is, taxes can be undone. Health care cannot. Obama claims that there are 47 million uninsured. This includes 12 million illegal aliens. They can go home if they want health care. We need to go to Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and focus on the Federal subsidizing of health insurance to illegals. ALso, 15 million without health care are on medicare or medicaid.

When you have the same supply, but increased demand, prices go up. This means rationing. So how will health care be rationed? It will be rationed by age, health, and likely life span. That means that a 78 year old war veteran with a bad heart will be rejected, while a 28 year old illegal alien needing basic care will be accepted. Those who get rejected and want second opinions will be told there are none, and to get lost. The old war veteran may try to offer to pay for the operation himself, but the system will not allow it. When government controls health care, they decide what is important. Doctors will be able to perform abortions, but not heart bypasses. Forget Social Security, we cannot even gut rent control in New York City.”

“Then there is terrorism. The media does not get terrorism. They have diversity guidelines. The Society of Professional Journalists has a handbook. Journalists cannot refer to anyone as an ‘Islamic terrorist’ or ‘Muslim extremist.’ Any mention of terrorism has to include the KKK and the Nazi Party. Alongside images of terrorism victims there must be pictures of Arab kids crying to show that we are all equally in this together.”

“The Patriot Act is lied about. An Arab was arrested in a library after he was monitored discussing a the London bombings. He was the head of the London plot. The words Brooklyn Bridge do not translate well into Arabic. Luckily we have warrantless wiretaps. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly flooded the area with police officers. Boats underneath intercepted the communications. Yes, Khalid Sheik Mohammed might have gotten wet during his interrogation, but he confessed to the Brooklyn Bridge plot. Kelly was afraid to take credit for preventing this attack because that would have meant confessing to the existence of warrantless wiretaps. He did not answer “no,” when asked if we did anything special out of modesty. He did it so that he could continue to be effective. He was able to overhear conversations of the terrorists saying that the Brooklyn Bridge was ‘too hot.’ This led to the attack being called off. Obama strips us of President Bush’s preventative measures.”

“Anybody predicting 2008 is nuts. It is not going to be close, but it is far from over. Either way, it will not be close. I predict Obama. That may scare the living daylights out of you, but that is so that we will all be ready.”

(Mr. Morris then gave out his email address to the crowd.)

A questioner then asked how we can defeat the press, who will obviously take Obama’s side during the campaign. Mr. Morris responded.

“This goes beyond Dan Rather. it is about more than the Sorosites or Scott McLellan. People say there is too much political propaganda. ‘4 Score and 7 Years Ago’ was political propaganda. McLellan’s book said nothing. He was not being disloyal. He just allowed himself to be portrayed that way.

Real danger comes in the Fairness Doctrine, or as I call it, the Alan Colmes Full Employment Law. The issue will not be the on air radio personalities. The issue of fairness will force stations to have liberals in radio management. That will allow more liberal regulation of programming behind the scenes.”

I then asked my question. I waited long enough for my hostility over his recommendations for McCain to win the election to subside.

“Mr. Morris, I want John McCain to win as well, but what is the point of offering a triangulation strategy? If he is insincere in his intentions, how can he possibly govern effectively as a conservative upon getting elected? SHouldn’t he run as who he is?”

(I believe that one reason Bill Clinton could not govern was because he ran as a centrist and tried to ram through a liberal agenda. Ronald Reagan was able to enact a conservative agenda because he ran as a conservative. People may have disagreed with him, but they knew what to expect. The same was the case with George W. Bush. Liberals trying to revise history say he ran as a moderate, but that was never the case. John McCain is a conservative on many issues, and while I want to win elections, as a pragmatist, outright deceit crosses the line.)

Morris was unapologetic in his response.

“No! No, no, no! This is the worst year for republicans since 1974. It might be the worst year since 1964. We are looking at a complete wipeout. Obama can’t lose. We need to win.”

Tammy Bruce then springboarded off of my question by continuing it for me. I cannot print her remarks, but I was in complete concurrence with her. Dick Morris would not budge.

“We have to co-opt the left’s positions. We need a populist agenda, and more regulation of oil, in the same way we regulate stocks.”

Bob Zubrin, who is an expert on issues related to energy, asked Morris if it was politically feasible to forget about climate change, since he did not see it as being a major concern as the media does. On this issue, Morris was receptive.

“You may be right, I have to poll it.”

One thing I said to Morris in jest before his speech made me think deeply after hearing him.

“Dick, I love your columns on Hillary, but I need to ask you a favor. Can you stop working for democrats and stick to republicans? The last time you worked for a democrat, you beat our brains in. Stay on our side.”

His response was unsettling.

“I might work for a democrat again. I probably won’t. I don’t see it happening.”

The difference between me and Mr. Morris is that I am a true believer, and he seems to love the game.

I think his prescriptions are wrong and immoral for any self respecting republican. However, I also want to win. I hope McCain ignores his solutions on embracing the left and wins anyway. If I have to choose purity or winning, I still want a victory.

I also understand that it will be much tougher for him to govern as a conservative unless he runs as one.

Liberals may say that it would be better for America if he ran as a moderate, but they would never be saying this if Obama were to win. They would want a hard left government.

I did enjoy meeting Dick Morris, but the respectful sharp disagreements are there.

Morris wins elections. He is a very good strategist. It is the day after the election I care about.


Meeting Undersecretary Douglas Feith

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

At a recent Santa Barbara retreat set up by David Horowitz, I had the privilege and honor of meeting former Undersecretary Douglas Feith.

Whether for or against the Iraq War, one cannot overstate Mr. Feith’s relevance to the conflict. Along with Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Mr. Feith played an instrumental role in the Iraq War. He is a Neocon, and I thank him for it.

Below are the remarks of Undersecretary Douglas Feith.

“There are two questions I am often asked. First I am asked why President Bush decided to go to war with Iraq. Then I am asked why I decided to write a book about it.”

“Iraq was an inherited problem. There were two choices. We could overthrow the regime, which was considered in 1991. Or, we could contain the danger.”

“Containing the danger was a worthwhile experiment. With the collapse of the U.S.S.R., we thought that the United Nations for once could actually protect people, not ignore them. Saddam Hussein then undid the containment measures, such as the No-Fly Zone, sanctions, and inspections.”

“In 1998, Saddam, Saddam announced his non-compliance. He threw out the inspectors. This was followed by tough talk from Nancy Pelosi, Carl Levin, Al Gore, Jay Rockefeller, and Bill Clinton. In December of 1998, Operation Desert Fox occurred. It was a three day bombing campaign.”

“U.S. forces were shot at daily in the No-Fly Zones. Containment was failing.”

“9/11 did not resolve the debate. At that time the debate was still open. After 9/11, the Iraq policy was reexamined.”

“If you murder enough people, you get rewarded by appearing before the U.N. General Assembly. This is a sympathy play. Having weapons of mass destruction is not good for sympathy.”

“The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was the terrorists looking for mass destruction. The building was supposed to fall into the next building, which would have created a row of dominoes knocking down building after building. Luckily, this did not occur.”

“It just so happens that the leading terrorist supproters are also the leading concerns in terms of nuclear proliferation.”

“So what should be the approach? Law enforcement? Retaliation? The purpose is to prevent the next attack.”

“At that point we were looking beyond the group behind 9/11. We were looking at more than Al Queda or the Taliban. This led us to the Axis of Evil.”

“We then debated the risks of removing Saddam vs leaving him in.”

“If we left him in, and we were attacked, critics would ask why President Bush left him in. The left could then say that they were tough, that they wanted to remove him, but that the President was weak. It would be his fault that Saddam attacked. They would be right.”

“President Bush was not determined to go to war upon being elected.”

“Contrary to what many think, Rumsfeld was the voice of caution, not Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, or George Tenet.”

“In my book, unlike others, I only used quotation marks for actual quotes. I hope I started a trend.”

“100% of the proceeds of my book are going to charities of veterans and their families.”

“The War on Terror strategy remains sensible, and the main goal has been successful for six years.”

“Bashing our political rivals does no good for our country. A serious and civil debate works best.”

After the speech, I had a chance to speak to Mr. Feith.

“Mr. Undersecretary, it’s an honor. I just want you to know that I will go to my grave believing that the Iraq War was the right thing to do. I don’t care if the President’s poll number approach zero, I believe it was right.”

Mr. Feith was obviously thankful for that comment, as anybody would be. I did not expect nor desire a lengthy conversation with him at that time. I just wanted to look in his eyes. Seeing a man’s face in certain situations absolutely matters. I asked him one question.

“Mr. Undersecretary, is President Bush the good, decent man I see on my television? You see him in real life. Is he the same man?

Mr. Feith replied very simply.

“I do know him personally. I have seen the personal side of him. Yes, he is a good, kind, decent man. He is the same person.”

As pleased as I was by his response, I was more pleased that he agreed to an interview by email. Yet even with that, I was even more pleased that he did not back down or give an inch to his critics. People should only do that when they are wrong. He is right, and should keep emphatically saying so. His critics will never give in, but this at least keeps his supporters motivated.

I said to several people in the room that night that two men had recently written books about President Bush and the Iraq War. The other man will quickly be relegated to the ash heap of history. Mr. Feith will not have that problem. He was too busy making history.

Saddam is gone, and the world is a far better place for it. It is impossible to be delighted about Saddam’s removal without giving the credit to the men who did it, that being our military. Everybody praises our troops, but those of us who believe in the truth know that praise and gratitude must also be given to those who gave the orders to do it to begin with.

President Bush gave the ultimate order, and his cabinet got the job done.

Thank you again Mr. Undersecretary. It was my honor.


Meeting John Fund

Monday, June 16th, 2008

June 16, 2008 at 9:08 am (POLITICS)

I had the pleasure of meeting Wall Street Journal Editorial Writer John Fund.

At the Santa Barbara retreat sponsored by David Horowitz, the best and brightest assembled to discuss serious issues. This was not a pep rally. It was a policy conference. To have a conference with the best and brightest on political issues mandates that the Wall Street Journal be represented.

While I have backed away from the claim that “The Wall Street Journal is never wrong,” this is only because the uneducated with time on their hands would then start cherry picking.

Without giving details that Mr. Fund would probably not want discussed, he did seem exasperated with some people at the conference that would not stop frothing at the mouth over illegal immigration. It is one thing to have passionate beliefs. It is another to force your beliefs down the throats of others. Conservative activists are just as unpleasant to me as liberal activists. I am proud to be a “Wall Street Journal Conservative,” and I let Mr. Fund know this.  He was in better spirits when some of the more rabid de facto border guards were given tranquilizers in their food.  No, not really.

While he has agreed to do an interview with me, for now I present his remarks from the panel he was on.

“In an era of declining readership for other newspapers, the Wall Street Journal  has grown in circulation and ad revenue. “

“Things have not changed since Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp purchased the Wall Street Journal. The only difference is that the receptionists answer the telephone, ‘G’Day Mate.’”

“David Horowitz spoke earlier about the psychological warfare of the left. There are two types of leftists. The first group are the ideologues. The second gorup are those that want to win a governing majority.”

“Since 1944, no democrat has won a majority of the vote except for LBJ. The United States does not naturally elect democrats. Bill Clinton initially won 43% of the vote, and only received 49% in his reelection against Bob Dole, who was not a strong candidate. Jimmy Carter did not win 50.1% as is sometimes reported. He won 49%.”

“Republicans have had a Bush, Nixon, or Dole on the ticket every election since 1948 except one (1964).”

“The media, their surrogates, and the deepest areas of the Bush cabinet do not like getting their ankles wet. This demoralizes the GOP months before the election, so that there is no need for us to fight.”

“Americans have only one vote. They want to just get on with it and get it over with. They focus on the Fall election after the World Series is over.”

“Democrats worry about the issues. They could start by buying Michael Barone’s Almanac of American Politics. Yes, I was one of those 12 year old policy nerds that bought my first one over 20 years ago.”

“This is a center-right nation, which is why the left has trouble. Even on health care, the democrats are only ahead in the Spring. If the republicans stick to issues, they will win.”

“Even Obama would not make Nancy Pelosi the Secretary of State. Her tray table is not in its full and upright position.”

“Gerald Ford made up 30 points against Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan was behind until late in the campaign against Jimmy Carter. Bob Dole was down 19 points to Bill Clinton,  and came within 8 points. George Herbert Walker Bush trailed Michael Dukakis by 17 points in the spring, and won by 8 points. When Americans pay attention, the GOP moves up in the polls. It says a lot that John McCain is tied now.”

“The republicans have a shallow gene pool, but the democrats are like kids on blind dates that keep falling in love. They fell in love with Carter, Kerry, Dukakis, and now Obama. Then they go to family functions, and the relatives don’t like them. He looked so good in the beginning, and then the family meets him and says, ‘but his eyes are so creepy.’”

“Barack Obama talks about ethics on the campaign trail, but he was silent on the issue in Illinois. Illinois has had a governor indicted again, this one a democrat, and the previous one a republican. David Axelrod is Obama’s campaign manager. He also, like everybody else in Chicago politics, worked for Mayor Daley. He also produced the documentary on Pastor Pfleger.”

“The GOP has one equivalent of a Hail Mary Pass they can throw. It was first tried in 1996, with success. An ad should ask what is in store in the future if the democrats controlled everything. In 1996, the ad said, ‘Annoy the media, vote republican, don’t give Bill Clinton a blank check.’ Voters like divided government.”

The democrats have an ace up their sleeve. Obama was a lawyer for ACORN, which is a large voter fraud organization.”

“The GOP loses if we give up and ignore history.”

In meeting Mr. Fund, I let him know that he was not alone in understanding that one can disagree with others on one issue and still be a good conservative. I want dead taxes and dead terrorists. Mr. Fund concurred.

While I was speaking later that  night with Tammy Bruce, he came over and said hello. He was genial,  and he liked my recommendation that we just raise taxes on liberals and give the money to conservatives, which would make everybody happy.

His mind is sharp, and his arguments are simple, yet piercing, logic.

I would expect nothing less from the Wall Street Journal. They are the gold standard of news in America.

For those who want proof of this, just look at the numbers. People are actually reading it.

This can only lead to a brighter nation.


Dad, I will call you when I wake up

Monday, June 16th, 2008

June 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm (Uncategorized)

To quote rock group Spinal Tap, “The more it stays the same, the less it changes.”

With that, here is my column, “Hey mom, Wish dad a happy Father’s Day for me.”

Naturally, there are some minor edits for 2008 to give it the illusion of originality.

June 17, 2007 at 1:50 am (POLITICS, Uncategorized)

On Mother’s Day, a groundbreaking new blog expressed the following sentiments…

“I love you mom. Happy useless symbolic holiday. I love you too dad. Happy useless symbolic holiday in advance, in case I forget to call. It is Sunday. As always, I will give you the best gift that you always wanted, the one you never had when I was growing up…peace and quiet. I will call in the afternoon so as not to wake you up. Ok, who am I kidding, you will be up 5 or 6 hours before me anyway. I will call you in the afternoon so I can sleep in and get peace and quiet.

I would ask you when ’son’ day is, but then you would remark about how every day for 18 years was son day, and that you have the grocery bills to prove it.”

(2008 Update…My parents have dipped into their retirement savings because I still eat like a great white shark, and they have set up a food fund for me for my visit in December.)

Anyway Mom, today is Father’s Day. I know how it works. I call him up, and he asks me “Son, do you own stock in the telephone company? You just called a couple days ago.”

I actually have a very good relationship with my parents, but they are practical people, and not big on ceremony or symbolism. Outside of Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day, there are no important holidays. My dad wishes we could have “Shut the hell up and go to work Day,” where everybody just did that.

He is not interested in idle chatter. In past years I called him a couple days before Father’s Day, in case I forgot Father’s Day. Then I would remember, call again, and he would ask his favorite question “Is there a point to this conversation?”

I live 3000 miles away. Getting lunch is not possible. He is retired, and has no use for another necktie. The gifts he really wants I simply do not have the power to give.

“Dad, if you want the border protected, talk to the President. I have nothing to do with it.”

“Dad, I have no idea why Californians act like that. No, they are not my people. I just live here. I have already apologized for them.”

“Dad, just because I watch sports does not mean I turn over cars. I have no idea why they do it. No, they are not my people either.”

“Dad, I will get married on my timetable. No, I am not dating anyone seriously. Don’t worry, I will find somebody wonderful for you to hate very soon.”

(2008 update…The Chicago Cannonball and I are very happy. She insists my dad will like her. She might be right. He sometimes even likes me.)

Some of my dad’s gripes are totally valid. I grew up in a “Father Knows Best” household. Television today treats fathers like imbeciles, just another child for the mother to raise. My father was not a clown. He had a sense of humor, but he was serious about providing for his family. That is serious business.

He did not drink, do drugs, gamble away the rent money or sexually abuse the kids or the animals. Heck, in fact we had dogs, cats, birds, fish and iguanas, and he took care of them, as he did everything else. What was he supposed to do, rely on the kids to do it?

He made it clear when I was a kid that he was not my buddy. He was my father. We were not going to pal around. We still don’t. We have different interests, and lead different lives.

(2008 update…His hobbies still bore me to tears. My life of excitement underwhelms him.)

As I have mentioned before, he is a Holocaust survivor. There is not much to say about that except that it rendered him incapable to listen to me complain about how tough social studies class was.

Anyway Mom, tell Dad he has an exceptional son, and not in the “sit in the back of the little yellow bus” kind of way. So of course you both get a lot of the credit for that.

(2008 update…I am as delightful as ever.)

The truth is Pop, after the year you have had, all I really want for you on Father’s Day is to have what I want for you every day of the year…happiness and health. You had open heart surgery less than two months ago. I am glad you are already fishing again.

(2008 update…My Uncle Joey, my dad’s best friend, had quintuple bypass surgery a couple days ago. It was deemed successful. As for my dad, he is alive, but his surgery for some reason did not go as well as it could have. It was only a single bypass. I just wish the doctors would get it right already.)

For this Father’s Day, I want you to have the peace and quiet that eluded you while trying to raise children, deal with school systems, fix the roof, and deal with local bureaucrats who would not let you rig explosives to the mailbox to deal with the kids that kept bashing it in with baseball bats. I want you to have great weather on Father’s Day so you can go fishing, and not be cooped up inside the house.

I want the batteries on your remote to work properly, since lord knows I know what it is like to get up and have to walk three feet to change the channel. I want somebody somewhere in this world to like the same music as you, because for you to download files, somebody somewhere must have them.

Dad, I know you like brevity, so Mom can condense this column and just give you the fine points. I will make sure the phone call tomorrow is brief and to the point. The bottom line is I love you, and I wish many years of health and happiness to come.

(2008 update…I slept in, and will call you tonight. I hope your day went well. I know mine did. As I said, I slept in.)

Oh, and I have not done anything in the last few weeks that would cause you or Mom to have to change your last name or move addresses again.

(2008 update…Maybe it is better I just say nothing.)

I also checked the local milk cartons, and none of the kids are mine.

I am alcohol, drug and disease free, so between you and Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign, I turned out alright.

No, I will not stop watching football. I know you don’t get it. That’s ok. I don’t have to like the things you are interested in to love you as my dad. This is good, because I usually don’t like them.

Also, don’t tell me the next time I call that you are watching the Sopranos. I happen to know the show is over. I know, Thursdays is House. Mom can let me know about any other scheduling conflicts.

(2008 update…The Sopranos Finale sucked. I never understood what you and mom saw in a bunch of guys bada booming and bada binging. Now I can call on that night.)

Happy Father’s Day Dad. Oh, and wish Mom a Happy Mother’s Day for next year so I can get a head start, again in case I forget.

I love you both. Now can I go back to watching tv, since I know you want to do that as well? I watch Letterman, and you watch Leno, and some gaps cannot be overcome.

You know Dad, as much as I would have liked to have been the product of inherited wealth, for non-millionaires, you are the best parents a guy could ask for. No, I am not asking for money, I mean it. No, I did not get in trouble, I am saying it anyway.

I love you both. Happy Useless Symbolic Holiday, and Dad, good health and happiness always. You can’t be as cantankerous as you’re sometimes made out to be, because too many people are delighted to still have you around.

(2008 update…Never mind…you can be.)

Oh, and about that incident involving me, the neighbor’s mountain goat, my Asian friend, and beefaroni flavored pasta…don’t read the paper today. I will talk to you about it another day. I would rather you have a peaceful Father’s Day.


Tim Russert and me

Monday, June 16th, 2008

June 14, 2008 at 11:16 am (POLITICS)

Tim Russert is on my mind, which is normal at this moment. Yet he will be on my mind for a long time after the last eulogy is read. Before adding any other thoughts, my heartfelt prayers go out to his wife, his young son Luke, and his father “Big Russ.” The ultimate parental nightmare is being pre-deceased by your children, and the pain does not go away.

For the sake of full disclosure, I have never watched Meet the Press or any of the other Sunday talk shows. As much as I like politics, I like sleeping in more. The only thing I watch on Sundays is football.

Nevertheless, I have watched Tim Russert many times on various evening news programs, as well as on some Presidential debates. He was the consummate professional.

His untimely death has me thinking adult, grownup thoughts. I hate that, since it interferes with my ability to think about the sophomoric stuff that drives my family insane. Today was supposed to be a day dedicated to R Kelly. The jokes will be there at a more appropriate time.

One train of thought is the random, and perhaps arbitrary, nature of it all. My father was given a second chance, and even a third chance. My Uncle Joey has been given his new lease on life. Yesterday he had successful quintuple bypass surgery, with my dad having had his bypass surgery a few months ago.

As relieved as I am that my father and my uncle survived, my dad’s close friend never got that opportunity. He was four years younger than my dad, and at age 53, two weeks after seeing my dad, he just died. Like Tim Russert, only five years younger, he was gone. Why did Bill Cooper and Tim Russert not get their chance? Why did Eddie Small, the father of neighborhood kids, not get his second chance? I have not thought about Eddie Small in a couple decades, but now I wonder why his kids were not as lucky as I was.

Is God really up there spinning a wheel like Pat Sajak?

It cannot be based on merit. From all published reports, Tim Russert seemed to be a fine human being.

In some cases, people ignore their doctors. My dad’s father would always want to know what college the doctor attended, and what his grades were. After all, why should a 90 year old man listen to a 45 year old about preservation of life?

Tim Russert seems to have just been an unfortunate innocent victim.

When I got the news, I was about to eat a monstrously large burger, as is my habit. I am only 36, but it was still scary to eat.

I hate exercise. When I told my friends and family that I joined a football league, I had to explain to them that I meant playing, not watching. I even did some walking recently, and have vowed to do some sit ups.

I like playing sports. I just had nobody to play with. Now I do, so I play. Going to a gym is not my thing.

I drink diet soda instead of regular, and the taste is terrible. I even try to eat kettle cooked potato chips, instead of the regular ones. Of course, a bag of Doritos on occasion is a must.

I should do more, but I refuse to say something I know I will not actually do. All I know is I do not want to die. Sometimes I wonder if these little things even matter. If they don’t, I would go back to regular soda in a heartbeat.

While I have only questions about what “it” all means, I have clear answers on why Tim Russert is considered the consummate professional.

Tim Russert, above all things, was fair. The media that was praising him will hopefully actually learn from him. I doubt they will, in the same way I doubt I will eat that much healthier.

Tim Russert in his life was partisan. He was a democratic operative. He worked for former Governor Mario Cuomo, a staunch liberal. Yet Tim Russert as a journalist put his partisanship aside. He was tough, but there was no question that he wanted to get to the truth, which is the whole point of journalism.

The reason the media is a disaster today is because the professional journalists are practically all gone. Chet Huntley and David Brinkley are gone. Bernard Shaw of CNN has long since retired. Outside of Jim Lehrer, there are not many unbiased journalists left.

I should not say they are unbiased. We are all biased. Some of us know how to put our biases aside. I manage 75 people. They know my political views. They also know that my politics will not cloud how I handle situations. When a left wing coworker faced tough times, it meant a lot when she looked at me and said, “I know you’ve got my back.”

I am thinking about this heavily because I know two rabbis that are both left wing. They were both in positions where they had to be neutral. One of them simply got tired of being neutral, so he left his position and joined a partisan organization to do advocacy work. I will miss him, but am totally supportive of his decision. He needed to feed his passions, and he wanted to do so without violating his professional oath as a rabbi. I always knew that this rabbi had my back, and that although he disagreed with my politics, he was there for me.

The other rabbi simply lets his politics interfere with his job. He cannot stop. He is not a bad person, but I told him the other day that he might want to consider leaving his temple and joining a partisan organization.

I am a blogger, and I am biased. I freely admit that. I also know that when I am at my day job, I am “Joe Neutral.”

Tim Russert became Joe Neutral. He did this because he valued his integrity and his professional reputation more than his politics.

His death is a potential death knell for journalism itself. I hate to imply that an entire industry can be crippled by the loss of one man, but if journalists today do not learn from why Tim Russert mattered so much, they will not reach his level.

Life is about making things better, and that can start with improving ourselves. Tim Russert worked hard. He did his research. He waded through stacks of paper because getting the story right is what mattered.

Tim Russert valued the truth. That is his legacy.

He will be missed.


Fireworks and shocks from UCLA to NBA to Florida

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Today will be one of those days where my words will be completely jumbled, because that is where my thoughts are. So much has occurred in such a short time span, that to process it all would make sense. Instead, I will write without processing things, bringing you my half baked column that will lack everything except sincerity.

I do have more meetings with muckety mucks to discuss, but real life muck comes first.

In real life news, my Uncle Joey, who has never had a health problem, is going in for quintuple bypass surgery. He is not an uncle by blood, but he and my Aunt Debby have been best friends with my parents for over 40 years. My Uncle Joey has always been a calm sounding board for me when things with my dad were tough. My dad had his own bypass surgery earlier in the year, and while it was only a single, it was not as successful as originally thought. Nevertheless, my dad is an amateur now compared to my uncle. Five bypasses are needed, and all I can do is pray. I ask others to do the same.

When my mother emailed me earlier today, the only thing I could express to her was, “It just does not stop.” He is in my prayers.

Anything I could say on other matters would be trivial, but shutting out the world is not how I do things.

If it was not for things with my uncle, I would be in a jubilant mood right now. The evil empire of basketball, aka the Los Angeles Lakers, suffered a historic collapse yesterday. Make no mistake about it. They are down, but not out. Until the stake is driven through their heart, they are alive. If the Celtics win on Sunday, it would be a sweet Father’s Day indeed. Well, for me anyway. My father could care less about sports. His favorite sport is grousing, and they do not give awards for that. Besides, as a republican he would not be in the top 1000 grousers.

A close friend of mine asked me the other day why I hated the Lakers so much. I will answer that question after the NBA Finals, regardless of who wins.

I have been harshly critical of Kobe Bryant, but I give him credit for a press conference that was lacking in self pity and blame, and chock full of talk of responsibility and crystal clear analysis. His best comment in answering why the Lakers blew a 24 point was, “We wet the bed. It was not a little one. It ws a big one, where a whole blanket would not cover it. We blew it.”

Whether Kobe was saying what people wanted to hear, or whether he has truly grown, is not for me to decide. We all evolve, and I used to have an intense dislike of Shaquille Oneal that went beyond basketball. I realized one day that my criticisms of him had no basis in fact, and that I was wrong. I do not see that happening with Kobe, but his press conference was appropriate. He did not make excuses. He did not blame the referees. He simply stated that as terrible as the team felt, he was going to go to work tomorrow and try and win the next game. He was professional.

While many kids can learn positive ways of dealing with adversity, which I never ever thought I would say in the same sentence as Kobe, kids can also learn from the Celtics. I wrote a column about Tony Romo awhile back on the same subject.

The Celtics were down by 24 points, and even down by 20 halfway through the third quarter. A special honorable mention has to go to coach Doc Rivers. Rivers cited Superbowl Champion Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy in one of his speeches during an earlier game, and the comparisons are valid. Rivers, like Dungy, stayed calm, and expected his team to do the same. Dungy’s main expression is, “Do what we do.” Rivers says, “Let’s get the little things right.” Yes, these may seem like cliches, but motivation does not have to be original to inspire.

The series is not over, and one player on the Celtics was quoted the statistic that no team in NBA history has won the NBA Finals when being down three games to one. The player responded that the statistic was meaningless, because the Lakers could be the first to do it. After all, it was the Lakers that almost came all the way back from being down by over 20 points earlier in the series.

In sports, as in life, one does not stop until the final gun has sounded. To bring it back to my uncle and my dad, as long as they are alive, I will pray for them. My grandmother is gone, but not until she had extracted every ounce of life that she wanted. My father and uncle will not live forever, but now is not the time for either of them to go. I know I have no say in the matter, but my uncle is not a quitter. The doctor will do his job, and my family will all take it from there.

Completely reversing gears, again keeping in mind that my brain is like a pinball machine on tilt, I still wish Kevin Garnett would have remained with the Minnesota Timberwolves for reasons unrelated to basketball. I thought it was cool to have a player on the Wolves who actually looked like a wolf. I am aware that this statistic interests only me, but any man with his kind of goatee and stare in his eyes belongs on a team named after Wolves. I always wondered if I met Kevin Garnett, would he let me call him “Wolfie,” since I used to have a dog by that name. I mean it as a compliment, but he might not take it that way. Anyway, I hope Wolfie leads the Celtics to another championship.

As for the various shocks occurring in my family in Florida and the basketball game in Downtown Los Angeles, I was not around for either event. The call from my mother went unanswered, but at least I got her email. I left the game at halftime, and did not tivo it since it seemed over. Ok, fine, I tivoed O’Reilly and Hannity instead.

I was within walking distance of my home attending a political debate at UCLA. It was meant to be a civilized debate, but unfortunately it nearly turned into a WWE smackdown. I will go into greater detail in the coming days, but a peace activist heavily involved with the promotion of the event apparently favors peace for everybody except conservative republicans. I know the man personally, and he has always treated me kindly, despite our differences. He even shook my hand before the event. Therefore, I will wait until my head is clearer before elaborating on an act of left wing hostility in the name of peace.

I will say that it is not the man’s politics that bothered me. It was abusive behavior towards a republican friend of mine whose only real crime was being republican and existing. It was simply ideological bigotry, which seems to go hand in hand wherever liberals, especially liberal Jews, congregate.

I have liberal friends. Heck, the Chicago Cannonball is liberal. It is not about the politics. It is about some people spreading love and others spreading anger in the name of tolerance.

As long as I blog, I will do my best to advance a conservative republican agenda without denigating those I disagree with.

Anyway, I could mention we live in a world that is going down hill fast, since the liberals on the Supreme Court want Guantanamo Bay prisoners to be treated like common criminals. Justice Kennedy really messed this one up, but I am still glad I live in a nation where I can criticize Justice Kennedy without getting shot.

I think we should deport all Gitmo detainees to San Francisco, preferably in a prison near Nancy Pelosi. I do not wish any harm on the Congresswoman. I just wish to prove that she is another NIMBY (not in my back yard). We have to put these people somewhere. Unless Congresswoman is willing to place them in a liberal democratic district, then she should back off. The Gitmo detainees have more human rights than American taxpayers.

As for the Chicago Cannonball, she is back in Los Angeles tonight. She is a fabulous human being, and I will not let the events in my life mar her visit. She is supportive, but she needs to receive support as well.

Besides, she will play an important role this weekend. She is helping me purchase a new cellphone. My current one has some digits that do not work, so my text messages are garbled hieroglyphics. Also, I cannot check my messages because my password contains one letter and one number that do not work.

Contrary to what people think, throwing objects against walls does not fix them. Two negatives do not always result in a positive.

Also, the Chicago Cannonball will be helping me crawl to my car after I play football tomorrow. The kids that play now are younger, faster, and everything-er more than me. I may need surgery myself after playing a game I should have retired from a decade ago.

Yeah, that is me. Making jokes during serious situations. It is how I cope. My Uncle will be fine, and then I can worry about my struggles, not only in playing football, but in getting out of bed before noon on a weekend to make it to the park.

Fireworks and shocks are overrated. I could use a calm blue ocean right about now.

I could also use a beverage. Forget gasoline. Why is soda over $1 a gallon?

I do know that like my car, I don’t have time for diet soda, which tastes like unleaded. My brain is fried, and I am going to fill myself up with regular.

Yeah, my dad has diabetes, but on days like today, either I get a beverage with flavor or I will go bonkers.

Oh, and mentioning Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith are solely to drive up the number of hits on this column from search engines. Now that those people are here, please pray for my Uncle Joey so I don’t have to blister you for what you look for online.

Ron Paul suspended his Presidential campaign. Nearby, a tree fell in the forest.

Oh, and as David Letterman pointed out last night, between the salmonella scares on tomatoes and lettuce, the healthiest part of a BLT is not the bacon.

Bacon comes from pigs, and pig valves save lives in many heart patients. My dad has an artificial valve, and his valve is how I like my soda…artificial, not natural.

There. Now I have covered everything, and wrapped it up in an incredibly messy uneven bow.


Meeting Tammy Bruce

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

At the David Horowitz weekend in Santa Barbara, I met Tammy Bruce. Tammy is the former head of the California chapter of the National Organization for Women. She is politically openminded, which is most likely why she clashed with the national NOW brass.

She is brash, brazen, and cusses like a sailor. I suspect she gets away with it because she is brilliant and drop dead gorgeous. People tend to give extra latitude towards smart, hot women.

The only issue I have ever had with Tammy Bruce is that she is a lesbian.

I am pro gay rights, just not for her. In fact, I am pro gay rights for everybody except her. I mentioned this to her, and explained that back in college, it was depressing for me and some of my friends to accept the fact that we had no shot (This creates the illusion that if she was straight, we would).

I suggested to her that since Al Gore brought up the issue of carbon credits in the form of offsets, maybe the same could be done with her way of life. Perhaps Roseanne Barr could be donated to the gay community in exchange for Tammy Bruce.

Did I mention she was hot?

Anyway, to reduce the risk of getting in trouble with an even hotter woman that cusses equally fierce, I shall reluctantly move on. Tammy moderated a panel dealing with the 2008 elections.

“I’ll be brief. This might be the first time that ever happens. Yes, you have all witnessed a miracle at the Biltmore.”

“This past February, I changed my affiliation from ‘democrat’ to ‘declined to state.’ That might be the only time I decline to state something.”

“I am not happy with the choices before me. I voted for Obama in the primary, but I was a Giuliani girl.”

“The democrats are planning an invasion of the White House. I say invasion because this party has gone from JFK to Howard Dean.”

“Democrats can’t even persuade their own base. They believe in forced efforts at equality. This is how they came up with proportional representation for delegates, where victory means nothing.”

“They want ineffectual failure to run the government.”

“Obama is not a uniter. He can’t even bring his own party together.”

“The namecalling, racism and sexism of this campaign has all been done by the democrats.”

“Obama is better than Hillary at having proxies deliver his negative messages.”

“Republicans should not enjoy the meltdown too much. John Kerry almost won.”

“John McCain loves La Raza.”

“We are not afraid of a black guy. We just don’t like Marxists who want to nationalize our industries.”

“John McCain is not a conservative. He is closer to Hillary Clinton.”

(Somebody in the crowd then yelled, “Oh please!.” Tammy quickly reacted by saying, “See! Dissent! Republicans allow for that!”)

“Republicans think that republican Presidents will get them the Supreme Court they want. Former President George HW Bush appointed David Souter. President George W. Bush tried to appoint Harriet Myers.”

“Liberals would put Jimmy Carter on the court within 10 minutes of getting elected.”

“Republicans rolled over on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They just rolled over. Did they get rewarded for this? Of course not. Their nominees still get fought.”

“John McCain is not even close to Ronald Reagan.”

“I have hit the Clintons hard, including this campaign. Yet I admire Hillary’s tenacity. She will not get forced out or quit. I respect that.”

Tammy Bruce also said that she is pro-choice, and that abortion is a big deal for her. She does not know who she will vote for in the general election. She voted for Obama because she disliked Hillary, but probably would not do that today. She still wishes Rudy Giuliani had won the nomination.

“Pro-life does not necessarily mean conservative. Mike Huckabee is pro-life, but he also is a tax raiser.”

“Democrats have to sound like people of faith because they know the voters are.”

“Mike Huckabee did get 48% of the black vote while Governor. They like his commitment to faith based issues.”

“Hillary should run as an independent. This will weaken George Soros and keep the Sorosites from affecting the election. Joseph Lieberman was proof of the rejection across America. Obama is the National Ned Lamont.”

“Bipartisanship means conservative surrender. To hell with bipartisanship.”

“Obama kept himself a blank slate. Voters like him personally.”

“I really want John Bolton for President.”

I told Tammy later that evening that I would report back to my republican friends and let them know that she was a lesbian, so that she did not get inundated with marriage proposals.

Her response was par for the course with her.

“They can ask me all they want, but they might have to get used to me saying no.”

She did use the word “might,” but I could have imagined that.

Anyway, even if I was not happily involved with the Chicago Cannonball, I would not have asked Tammy Bruce if I could give her the ketchup bottle treatment. She would slap me silly, in a way I would not like.

She agreed to an interview, and I informed her that despite my offbeat nature, the questions would be dignified and respectful. Her response was, again, typical her.

“In that case, I will try to answer them in a dignified and respectful way.”

As for Ms. Bruce, she has a ruthlessly effective tongue, and I will avoid the overkill sophomoric remark. I will merely say that I am glad she uses it more often than not on our side of the fence.


My Interview With Congressman Tom Tancredo

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

At the Santa Barbara weekend retreat put on by David Horowitz, I met Congressman and former Presidential Candidate Tom Tancredo. I am pleased to report that whatever one thinks of his politics, he is a very nice guy.

The Tygrrrr Express has not been a fan of Congressman Tancredo, and the few columns dedicated to him were harsh in nature for reasons that I believed were legitimate.

Having said that, he agreed to do an interview, and could not have been friendlier.

Preceding the interview, Congressman Tancredo was part of a panel on illegal immigration. His remarks were on the record.

“Mexico is as close to a failed state as ever. Six states in Mexico have been taken over by the drug cartel. U.S. Citizens are being kidnapped in the United States on a daily basis by criminals from the other side of the border.”

“The group committing crimes is a group known as the ‘Zedas.’ The Zedas are Mexican Army guys, and they were trained at Fort Benning, Georgia.”

(Zeda is the Yiddish word for “grandfather,” but I can assure Jews and others reading this that he was not blaming elderly Jewish grandfathers for any crimes whatsoever. He would rethink this if he saw the checkered golf pants they wore in Palm Beach, but those people, dress codes notwithstanding, came here legally.)

“This is a war between Western Civilization and Radical Islam. In ‘The Art of War,” two things are needed to win. First, you have to know your enemy. Second, you have to know who you are. I don’t know if we know who we are.”

“The immigration problem is leading America into a cultural, political, and linguistic Tower of Babel.”

“The military is at war, and the rest of AMerica needs to be at war as well.”

“The Mercado fence does not divide your (Mexican) community. It divides two countries. Let’s build a fence around the Northern part of your community.”

“John McCain says he has ‘gotten the message.’ He will secure the borders ‘first.’ First? What does that mean? What comes second? Amnesty comes second.”

“A virtual fence is great for protecting a virtual nation. The vitural fence building was attacked, and a real fence was put up to protect that building where they are planning the virtual fence.”

“Former footballer and Congressman Heath Shuler sponsored the “Save Act.”

“There were refugees from Burma that came to the United States legally. They were placed in an area of Colorado that had only Casinos. They were forced to drive long drives every day for jobs they did not understood. Then one of them discovered that near Denver there were large potato farms. They are an agricultural people. They wanted to work on these farms. They went to apply for jobs there, and were told that because they were from Burma, they would not fit in. Despite their hard work ethic, the cultural differences would be too great. The people that rejected them were all Hispanics, originally from Mexico.”

After the panel, I met Congressman Tancredo, and our initial conversation was as lengthy as the interview itself.   

Before doing the interview, I wanted the Congressman to have a chance to back out. I feel honesty and integrity matter more than getting the interview.

“Congressman, I am a Wall Street Journal Conservative. I disagree with you on the illegal immigration issue, but I have nothing against you personally. I wanted you to know my leanings because I do not do ambushes or hatchet jobs. If you need to have your people give my blog a thorough vetting, I understand.”

His response was surprising.

“Eric, I have had so many things written about me. I never do a vetting in advance. People will write what they are going to write. I appreciate your honesty. Just tell me, why would a smart guy like yourself favor open borders?”

I wanted to keep the conversation light.

“Congressman, for what it’s worth, my parents completely agree with you. By the time they are done battering me on this issue, I will probably agree with you as well. My selfishness started in college. The universities indoctrinated us by showing us pictures of Maria Conchita Alonso (The former Miss Venezuela looks good now, and 20 years ago was a stunner), and I thought, ‘Heck, let them all in if they look like this.'”

The Congressman laughed heartily. He genuinely found my comments funny.

I then turned serious with him.

“Congressman, I just can’t force myself to be outraged about something that doesn’t bother me. Now one can make the argument that maybe I should be outraged, but I’m just not. That could be complete ignorance on my part, but I cannot fake being upset about something. I just want you to know that I absolutely respect your position. I do not think the people who want to crack down on illegal immigration are racists. I think they are good people with a different point of view.”

The Congressman was appreciative, and continued querying me, although not in a badgering manner. At this point he was interviewing me, but I opened the door. He asked me why I was not concerned about the Mexican border.

“Congressman, I am not saying the Mexican border is unimportant, but I just don’t understand why nobody is talking about the Canadian border. The Mexicans did not blow up the towers on 9/11. Those men came in through Canada. Why are we not focusing on the Canadian border more? Also, if we focused more on Canada, it would severely reduce the ability to portray those that want border security as bigots or brown bashers.”

The Congressman informed me that he attends an annual meeting that specifically deals with Canadian border issues, and that he does take that issue seriously. Canada does get pushed to the side by some, but not by him.

“Eric, I want your parents to work on you on this issue. They are my age.”

I then went lighthearted again, and was glad that the Congressman was ok with that.

“Congressman, my dad does complain about the Florida border, but I pointed out to him that at least the Cubans vote republican. He pointed out to me that I was looking at the wrong side of the state. He wants the Florida border with South Carolina sealed off so that the New York liberals can’t get in.”

The Congressman was genuinely amused.

“Congressman, if you care about border security so much, why can’t you tell the President to seal off the red state borders so that the blue staters can’t get in. Arizona and Colorado are being overrun, but it’s by AARP voters that demand services and drain the economy.”

The Congressman gave the appearance of at least hearing a fresh, if warped, perspective.

“Eric, we can only handle one problem at a time, but I absolutely agree with you.”

“Also, the illegal aliens can’t raise my taxes. Some of them vote illegally, but many of them don’t. Yet elderly blue state liberals raise my taxes, and they have proper identification. The voting booths don’t even try to stop them.”

The Congressman would have many serious policy discussions, but I liked that fact that he was able to “lighten up.” We disagreed on the issue, but could still have pleasant conversation. Then I got serious again.

“Congressman, I think one area where you really ticked off people is when you recommended stopping legal immigration. Do you want to do that?”

His response was fair.

“RIght now I want to reduce it to about 300,000 people per year until we get the borders under control. We have to combat illegal immigration, and then we can focus on allowing in more legal immigrants.”

I wanted clarification.

“Ok, so you want to reduce legal immigration for now, but not eliminate it entirely?”

He was very specific.

“That’s correct. I am not nor have I advocated eliminating all legal immigration. I just want to reduce it now to 300,000 per year so we can focus our efforts on combatting illegal immigration. Once we succeed in that, we can allow for more legal immigration.”

I had to admit, he was not a raving lunatic.

“Congressman, you do understand that if you keep sounding reasonable, I am going to have to tell my readers that you are reasonable.”

He was very jovial about it.

“Me, reasonable? Well, we can’t have that.”

I continued.

“Congressman, you don’t even have tentacles. You look like a regular person.”

We both laughed, and while he did not sway me from my Wall Street Journal Conservative political position, I liked him more as a person than I did before.

I did not bring up his comments at a republican debate where he refused to promise to support the republican nominee. That bothered me immensely, which led to my initial harsh assessment of him. However, I decided to leave the issue be for now. I was not interested in attacking him.

As I was about to do the actual interview, he let me know that what we had discussed so far could be on the record as well. Otherwise, I would not have included it.

His wife of 32 years joined us, and she is a very nice lady. She is also passionate about the same issues that he is, and I respect the fact that the Tancredos practice what they preach. They will not hire illegal immigrant labor, and they do thorough checks. They are aware that some politicians take a hard line on illegal immigration, and then hire illegal workers for themselves. The Tancredos were not hypocrites.

Mrs. Tancredo also thanked me for being able to disagree with her husband, and still be friendly towards him. I let her know that I felt her husband was equally nice, and it was appreciated. They both laughed when I told the Congressman, “My dad thinks most politicians are completely worthless, but he likes you.”

I then asked him the questions.

1) What does President Tancredo do in his first 100 days?

TT: “I send the military to the border by executive order. I also issue an executive order to make the Social Security check system mandatory. Right now i is voluntary.”

2) Who are your favorite three political leaders?

TT: “George Washington would be first. Then John Adams. I just watched the special on him, and I enjoyed it very much. Then Ronald Reagan.”

3) How would you like to be remembered?

TT: “I want to be remmebered as a guy that actually accomplished things and made a difference. I didn’t just take up space.”

4) How do those advocating tough illegal immigration measures avoid the charge that they are engaging in bigotry?

TT: “The ability to sustain Western Civilization depends on our willingness to secure our borders. This cannot be done on a bumper sticker. It is not racial, and it is not chauvinistic.”

5) Since you are retiring fro Congress, what is the next chapter in the Tom Tancredo story? 

TT: “I will still be working on issues that matter to me, including illegal immigration. I will go to states and show them that they can be like Hazeltine, Pennsylvania, as opposed to what is happening in Arizona and California.”

6) What have we gotten right and wrong since 2001?

TT: “Terrorists are not the enemy. Radical Islamists are. We must label it. Again, ‘The Art of War’ requires that we know our enemy. What we have mainly gotten wrong is our understanding of who we are. The concept of being American has been blurred.”

7) If you had 5 minutes to speak to President Bush or Vice President Cheney, what would you say to them or ask them?

TT: “I would ask if they are serious about protecting America and the West. Can they articulate what it means to be an American? This is not about color or religion. The dedication to our nation has to be as a nation, not just  a place to live. When the lights go out in America, they go out all over the world.”

Tom Tancredo is not somebody that I see myself agreeing with on the illegal immigration issue any time soon, despite my parents agreeing with him.

Nevertheless, I absolutely liked him better as a person after meeting him. I was not respectful with him because he was a Congressman. I was respectful with him because even after knowing that I disagreed with him on his main issue, he was respectful of me.

Two people can be on opposite sides of a virtual fence and still shake hands.

We did, and it was a pleasure to meet and interview Congressman Tom Tancredo.