Sunday, June 3, 2007

Things that Make You Hmmm

* 3475 of our military people have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war - 131 were killed in May 2007, the 3rd deadliest month of the war - 9 have been killed so far in June 2007.

- There will be a hearing by a military panel in Kansas City on Monday to determine if Marine Corporal Adam Kokesh should be discharged from the Marines and if so, what type of discharge it should be. Actually, Corporal Kokesh had already been honorably discharged from the Marines but he is still part of the Ready Reserve. Should his discharge be changed to one that is less than honorable, he would risk losing the benefits, such as pension and healthcare, that flow from being a veteran. Corporal Kokesh's crime was appearing in uniform at an anti-war rally. He wore fatigues from which the military insignia had been removed.

The government says this is unacceptable but the VFW, (not a left-wing organization, I presume), disagrees. Gary Karpius, the VFW National Commander, says, "trying to hush up and punish fellow Americans for exercising the same democratic rights we're trying to instill in Iraq is not what we're all about." He goes on to say that the military needs to "exercise a little commonsense before this turns into a circus."

Excuse me, but don't I see military people all the time in their uniforms serving as a backdrop for President Bush and his views? If they can be used as props for a pro-administration political campaign, then they surely have the right to to be visible as veterans on the opposite side. We are still a democracy. Aren't we?

- Our new Iraq embassy is due to be complete this month and guess what? It is the only building project in Iraq that is on schedule and on budget. The U.S. has spent $592 million so far to build the largest embassy in the world and the most expensive! It is 104 acres (which translates into 80 football fields - the average embassy is 10 acres) and will contain 21 buildings, including 2 enormous office buildings, a school, 6 apartment buildings, a gym, a pool and a food court. It will be completely self-sufficient with its own power generator system and water purification treatment plant. It will have 1000 employees, almost none of them Iraqis (because we can't trust them, don't you know). The primary contractor is a Kuwaiti company.

This doesn't sound much like we are going to be leaving Iraq any time soon, does it?

- Here we go again. I seem to remember that back during the Bush/Gore campaign, the media consistently characterized Al Gore as "wooden" and "inauthentic". Now they are doing it to Hillary. It seems that if the Liberal Media (ha!ha!) decides they are going to frame a candidate a certain way, they just beat that horse until its lying dead on the track. In the same way, Al Gore never said he invented the internet; he never said that Love Story was based on him and Tipper; he never said he discovered Love Canal, but the press reveled those stories and presented them as if they were gospel, labeling Gore a "serial exaggerator" at best and a "pathological liar" at worst but who was actually the serial liar here? In many cases, it was the media itself.

Meanwhile, that good old boy, cowboy hat-wearing, pick up truck-driving, chain-saw-wielding George Bush was portrayed as the candidate you'd most like to invite to your barbeque. I heard this over and over - "who would you most like to have a beer with?" And the answer, "why ole gen-u-ine George Bush, of course."

Competence? Intelligence? Intellectual curiosity? Those were qualities the media thought were boring. So they made Gore, the candidate who represented those things, boring and negative as well. They thought it was cute to have a presidential candidate who couldn't pronounce nuclear (and even all these years later, Bush persists in saying "nucular", as in "I'll damn well pronounce it the way I want to pronounce it because I'm the Decider!") They thought it was charming that, even though he was rich enough to travel anywhere he wanted to go, George Bush wanted to run the world even though he'd never been interested enough to want to actually see the world.

And so now we've come to the 2008 presidential campaign and once again, the media declares Hillary as wooden and inauthentic but who are they falling all over as the authentic candidate? That would be Fred Thompson, who drove a old red pick up truck around on the campaign trail in his candidacy for senator from Tennessee. Except that Fred was caught leaving the pick up behind with an aide, while he switched to a luxury sedan after the parade was over. Oh, yeah, that's authentic all right. We're talking the same Fred Thompson who was a Washington insider during Watergate, who left the senate to work as a lobbyist for eight years afterwards, Fred Thompson who is going to run as the outside-the-beltway candidate and will probably get away with it too (maybe its the southern accent that so enthralls the media).

And remember the last presidential campaign? Remember how Kerry was labeled a flip-flopper? Remember, "I voted for the $87 million before I voted against it?" Flip-flopping was the kiss of death in 2004 but does the media care about flip-flopping in 2008? Nah, not so's you'd notice because flip-flopping is an epidemic among this current group of candidates. Changing your position is old hat now and not anything the media takes seriously.

Hillary has also been accused of being "ambitious" and "calculating". Wow, imagine that - a presidential candidate who is ambitious and calculating. Don't you think anyone who is running to be President of the United States is, by definition, ambitious and calculating? Seems to me I detect some sexism here. Why is it only a woman who gets attacked for these particular qualities? And for being shrill and grating, which I've also heard it said about Hillary. Don't believe I ever remember a male candidate characterized as being shrill or grating.

- Doesn't sound like the latest terrorist plot to blow up JKF airport was very serious (as seems to be the case with most of our home-grown plotters). Not that the people involved might not have been serious but they seemed neither smart enough nor sophisticated enough to know what they were doing or how to go about getting the allies or resources they would have needed to try. Still, we should all be glad that our law enforcement people - NYPD and the F.B.I. - were on the ball as the next group might be both brighter and more well-connected. Oh, what did I just say? Our law enforcement people! Because, yes, discovering and stopping terrorists is primarily a law enforcement operation and not a military one, just like John Kerry said.

* Okay, Rick, here you go!