Sunday, March 30, 2008

Who Says There’s No Smoking Gun Between Saddam, al-Qaeda?

Many Democrats and liberals have been hell bent to say that President Bush lied about his alleged claims that former Iraqi President and dictator Saddam Hussein had connections with terrorist group al-Qaeda may want to take a peek at a recently released report.

“The Iraqi Perspectives Project Primary Source Materials for Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents,” was recently released and while it stated that there were no direct links (or smoking gun) between Saddam and the terror group, which claims responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, there sure does seem to be enough dots to show that the bloody dictator had Sunday Tea with a few members of al-Qaeda.

For example, it has been known for a long time, and this report mentions it, that Saddam had a long relationship with terrorist organizations and supplied them with training grounds, funds and equipment. What many Bush critics don’t want to acknowledge is that al-Qaeda and Iraq’s former dictator had common objectives and a limited working relationship.

“At times, these organizations (Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network) would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust,” stated on page 559 of the report.

And then there is the liaison with Ayman al-Zawahiri, prominent leader of al-Qaeda and leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

“Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al-Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives,” stated on page 62 of the report.

So, just using those two passages alone, the report does state that there was a strong link to Saddam and al-Qaeda. Granted, no one is saying that Saddam had bin Laden over for poker night but there was a type of link there. And that is just al-Qaeda.

At the moment, there is no proof that both parties worked on the 9/11 attacks and President Bush never stated such a thing. But the fact that Saddam Hussein was a loose cannon who already had an established history of lying to the U.N. and breaking resolutions, among other things, America could not stand quietly by, waiting to be attacked again.

Going into Iraq to determine if Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was the right course of action. Taking military action so soon after U.N. weapons inspectors went in there is up for debate, as mentioned before in The Times Observer.

But the job of any American president is to protect the people and to ensure their safety. And that is what the president was doing. We may not agree with how President Bush went about it but it was something that had to be done to finally determine how much of a threat Saddam actually posed to America.

To read the complete report, please click here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Survey: Political Blogs Are Losing Their Luster

An online Harris survey found political blogs are as about as unpopular as a sex scandal during election time.

According to the Harris poll, 56 percent of Americans are not reading political blogs, while 22 percent say they read it a few times a month or more. And apparently, people who are more than 63 are reading political blogs more than those who are 40 and below, according to the Harris poll.

Now, I’m going to show my ignorance here and please forgive me for my lack of polling/surveying understanding but the Harris online survey only polled 2,302 adults back in January. I’m sorry but 2,302 seems to be a very low number and it’s hard to see how it accurately reflects the blog-reading public.

First, let’s take a look at the method of how the survey was done. It was done by online. While I can’t find an article of how the poll was conducted, I can only guess that it appeared as a popup ad, like so many surveys I’ve seen before.

Well, I don’t have time to take surveys, so when these surveys popup and are blocking an interesting article that I’m reading, I quickly click the little X to do away with the annoying intruder. And my guess is so do the majority of blog readers.

And from personally experience, I once created an online poll and even though nearly 30 people visited the Web site, only three people took the poll.

So these two experiences should tell you that the Harris online survey does not reflect what I believe is a far larger blog-reading public.

And since political blogs have a history of breaking major news stories before mainstream media, such how Mike Rogers outted Idaho Senator Larry Craig before the infamous, alleged gay bathroom incident happened and how Josh Marshall’s blog Talking Points Memo lead the media crusade over the controversial firing of U.S. Attorneys, I don’t see them going anywhere any time too soon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Weather Channel Founder Wants Honest Debates, Sue Gore

You know what I love about extreme tree-hugging environmentalists? It’s their hypocrisy that I cherish the most.

For years, they have been saying that they want truth and honest debates about global warming but yet viciously attack and belittle anyone who mentions scientific-based research that says that man may not be the cause of alleged Earth warming.

And there are a number of scientific explanations for any change of weather patterns or temperatures, such as increase output from the sun, natural climate patterns to explain the thinning and thickening of polar ice sheets, or how there are no major changes to ocean and weather patterns.

Because there is a lack of debate, it has caused John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, to want to sue former Vice President and “An Inconvenient Truth” star Al Gore in court just so the browbeaten side of global warming can have their side in some type of forum.

“Since we can’t get a debate, I thought perhaps if we had a legal challenge and went into a court of law, where it was our scientists and their scientists, and all the legal proceedings with the discovery and all their documents from both sides and scientific testimony from both sides, we could finally get a good solid debate on the issue,” Coleman told FOXNews.

The biggest question is: Why don’t environmentalists, especially the non-scientists who take Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” as the gospel truth, refuse to see the other side of the issue with open minds? Why isn’t good, scientific debate not being made available and get the same grand media attention that “An Inconvenient Truth” got? Granted, there was some awareness when a British judge blasted Gore’s documentary but there hasn’t been a huge, popular debate about it.

If we truly want people to have a good grasp of what is or isn’t happening to our planet, then they need to know both sides of the issue. And it’s a shame that Coleman has to resort to this type of frustrated hype to get that much-needed spotlight.

And a lot of the doom and gloom spouted by environmentalists are scaring many needlessly without solid evidence to back up their claims.

And if we are going to honestly teach others that there is another, unheard, scientific side to this debate, then they also need to be made aware that there are alarmists and extremists on both sides of this issue, as stated before in The Times Observer. Who can forget that back in the 1970s that scientists were predicting a global cooling in such a terrifying scale that they said by the year 2000 the world would be in the middle of another ice age?

So, let’s drag the one-time presidential hopeful and many of his closed-minded supporters into court and have a real debate about this issue. That way, with both sides presenting their scientific-case findings, the people can truly be the jury of this important global topic.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spitzer Screws Himself
In A Poetic Justice Style

Unless one has been living an a rock the past few days, New York Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced today that he’s resigning amid findings that he allegedly paid $80,000 for hookers, or super delegates as some are calling them these days.

Spitzer has a long career of fighting corporate corruption and various types of fraud and you would think that someone with his track record would realize that eventually, someone will do an undercover investigation, such as the infamous New York Times. And that’s what the New York Times did. They said, “Let me whip this out,” and aired one of Spitzer’s hooker’s dirty fishnet stockings for all the world to see. Also, do hookers at the Emperors Club VIP, where Spitzer allegedly found his “constituents,” even wear fishnet stockings or is that a tired cliché?

And that’s the most puzzling aspect of all of this. It’s not that happy Republicans were calling for Spitzer’s resignation or why his wife of more than 20 years was standing by her man (and probably the number of a divorce lawyer in her pocket), far more were wondering why he didn’t think he would get caught.

After all, this has to be one of the biggest, ironic comeuppance in political history … until next week when some politician, who never heard of the charges against Spitzer, gets his hands caught in a cookie jar or a foot under a public men’s bathroom stall or any number of shenanigans.

And what does this say about the intelligence levels of our elected leaders? If Spitzer has to sleep with a number of hookers (and that seems to be a huge burden that many politicians seem compelled to take on), I wouldn’t want him caught. Because if he’s caught, not only is it hypocrisy on his part because of his work at the New York District Attorney’s office, but it shows we have a stupid politician. Personally, I want my elected officials to be crooked and smart. But that’s just me.

All kidding aside, just for the moment anyway, let’s give Spitzer some credit. While he hurt his loved ones and colleagues, at least he didn’t let it drag out, which would further hurt his wife and the Democratic Party. Despite what he did, I do give him a lot of credit for that.

But watching politicians screw up on this level has become a favorite past time for many political junkies. It’s far more entertaining than watching a rare, exotic one-eyed cockatoo. While we savor the juices that Spitzer found himself in, we can only wonder what type of elaborate trap some dimwitted elected official will find himself in next.

And on a side note, because of the time of year it is, one has to ask: Is paying for hookers at the swanky Emperors Club tax deductible?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Ron Paul’s Swan Song?

I would like to say that presidential candidate and Republican Congressman Ron Paul reads the Times Observer but even I don’t have that big of an ego. He told his supporters in a video on his campaign Web site that “though victory in the conventionally, politically sense is not available in the presidential race ...”

Many have been speculating that this is his swan song and he’s packing it in, even though he hasn’t said it outright. Yet.

Personally, I liked a lot of the things that Paul had to say on some of the issues he was addressing that the major, traditional presidential candidates wouldn’t want to say behind closed doors much less to a national audience.

However, in my last editorial I said that it was time for the Texas congressman, Democrat Mike Gravel and independent Ralph Nader to pack it in because of their lack of support. I expressed my views on a few comments pages of videos about these gentlemen on YouTube and got a good number of thumbs down marks for my troubles.

And while Paul hasn’t come right out and say that he is quitting the race, his 7 1/2-minute video isn’t exactly encouraging his supporters to keep up the good fight until he’s sitting in the Oval Office. Hopefully, his supporters will accept that Paul is stepping down, if that is indeed what he’s doing. After all, why give your all for someone when the odds are overwhelmingly against him?

But what is the sense of supporting a candidate that you want to be the next president of this country if he truly doesn’t have the delegates, money or poll numbers to help him gain that? It’s like beating a dead horse. It serves no purpose but again, many diehard supporters refuse to acknowledge that their candidate’s ship is sinking when it has already hit bottom.

Working for real change is something that would make many frustrated voters happy, since many are tired of using binoculars to see the soaring costs of living and health care that are climbing higher with each passing day. However, a good dose of realism, support and order is needed to accomplish this almost impossible goal.

And to Paul supporters; don’t worry about your favorite presidential candidate. Texas Republican primary voters wanted to keep him as their U.S. representative, which Paul won. The District 14th seat won’t have to get used to anyone else’s backside for a few more years.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It’s Time To Pack It Up, Boys

Like that drunk guy at a party who doesn’t know it’s time to go home, that pretty much sums up presidential candidates Mike Gravel and Ron Paul. And in many respects, let’s throw in Ralph Nader as well.

Republican candidate Mike Huckabee had the good grace to bow out last night. He was clearly not even close to gaining the delegates that John McCain was able to secure to getting the GOP’s nomination.

But fellow Republican candidate Ron Paul does not want to give up his bid for the White House, even though he hasn’t even come close to second place, much less first. And that’s a shame because Paul was the type of no nonsense candidate who told it like it is and offered real plans, instead of pie-in-the-sky remedies that many love to serve up. It’s that type of gumption that has given him a small but devoted support. Sadly, that support wasn’t enough to allow the Texas congressman to win the Lone Star State, one of many states that McCain snagged away.

And Paul’s Democratic counterpart, Mike Gravel, can’t escape the duo-eclipse of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. There is no evading them, no matter what Gravel supporters might think. Just like Paul, Gravel has not even come close to winning second place. And it seems that he can’t capture the type of support that Paul has been able too. Also, what’s even more embarrassing is that neither CNN, nor FOX News, refuse to even acknowledge him when showing their primary recap poll.

Then we have Ralph Nader, the independent candidate. He wants to change America, which is great but there must be a better way than wasting supporters’ time, energy and money every four years by running a losing campaign. Here’s a hard truth to Nader and his supporters: The American public told Ralph four times that they don’t want him for president! How can a guy not take a hint if he’s only running because he honestly thinks he’s going to win?

Sure, Americans admire the underdog and this is what these three gentlemen ultimately are. And some of the best underdogs have won but sometimes, they lose too. I don’t see these underdogs having their day. What becomes admiration for campaigning against top players like McCain, Obama and Clinton quickly becomes embarrassment if they don’t have the delegates, financial support or major voter turnout. Or not coming close to winning the presidential election four times in a row.

But there is no telling that to the diehard supporters of these three. Some have said that while they won’t win the presidential election, they do bring important issues to light and force the more popular candidates to address them. That sounds like a ready-made acknowledgment that their candidate is going to lose spectacularly but won’t admit it to themselves. Denial can be an ugly thing in politics.

But bringing up important issues is a great thing but running a no-win campaign and raising false hopes in supporters usually makes them look like a joke to the majority of Americans. If they truly want to bring awareness to unspoken issues, then they need to find a better alternative.

And there comes a time when the supporter has to ask the question if it’s wise to even vote for a candidate who is losing badly. The standard reply to that is that these die-hard hopefuls want change from the traditional Democrat/Republican top candidates. We can all see that. But why vote for change if the candidate has better odds of hitting the lottery than becoming president? Here’s another hard truth that supporters have to accept: There really is such a thing as throwing your vote away.

But hey, it’s a free country and one can do that. But it might be wise to actually support and vote for a third-party candidate (and at this point, Gravel and Paul are basically that since neither one is likely to get the nomination) who is strong in the polls, has backing and might have a good chance of winning.

Because if a candidate doesn’t have those three crucial ingredients for winning, and let’s use Nader as an example, then this paraphrase of the popular saying will be true: “A vote for Nader is a vote for McCain.”

It might be best that since these three have great political experience that they might actually work with Congress or organizations that have real pull in Washington and work for change that way.

Because if the only desire to run for the White House is to spread the issues, then running a campaign into the ground with little to no media attention isn’t working. And preaching to the choir only goes so far. There are better ways of doing it boys but if there is no national support like the type that McCain or Clinton has, it’s time to pack it in and think of a better approach.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Recap Before Tomorrow’s Primaries

It’s interesting to see how Senators Clinton and Obama are handling themselves today, as they are gearing up for tomorrow’s primary.

Granted, many potential voters have expressed their disgust over the mud flinging that the two have caused. It’s a shame that those two can’t put more effort of telling the people what they plan to actually do for America instead of coming up with creative ways of bashing each other over the heads like two monkeys fighting over a banana.

And all eyes are on these two Democratic giants, who have been in a dead heat. They have captured the limelight so well that it has cast a long, dark shadow over the lesser-known Democratic candidate, Mike Gravel.

However, the Republicans have their own candidate, who has a strong grassroots support, and that’s Ron Paul. While he’s low in the polls, he has snagged quite a few voters who are disgusted with the shenanigans of the current political figures. Sadly, he’s one of the few candidates who actually tells the American public what his plans are instead of wasting his time and pointing his finger at somebody else on national television.

Another Republican who knows that his chances are far better than Paul’s is Mike Huckabee, but he too can’t seem to escape John McCain’s juggernaut status as GOP front-runner. And since McCain is far closer to getting his party’s nomination than Huckabee, one must question how practical it is for the former Arkansas governor to continue running.

And speaking about not being practical, the only independent who has caused Obama and Clinton to quake in their shoes is none other than Ralph Nader. In fact, he seems to be the only “issue” the two seem to agree on. Sure, Nader’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination is about as likely as Rush Limbaugh’s but if he continues his run after the Democratic Convention, he will be stealing precious votes.

So, keep your eyes glued to the news tonight and see how these candidates act before tomorrow’s primary. Maybe we’ll see Hillary Clinton choking back a few tears just to show how human she is or maybe we’ll see Huckabee pull a rabbit out of his hat. But with the drama of politics, sometimes it’s impossible to predict what is going to happen but it sure is fun to watch.