From the the shores of Los Angeles, analysis of Politics and Culture from the Valley of the Shadow!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The "Fairness Doctrine" and the fare to pay
Want to hear about my San Diego trip? Read it here.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
--- First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Simple language, written by giants of men. Especially this part: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech," So, why, oh why, is there a need for Congressional Democrats to re-create "The Fairness Doctrine"
As a partisan, I agree that there should be a battle of ideas. Fight in the papers (untouched by the Doctrine), fight on the Blogs (still untouched by the Doctrine), fight on television (also untouched by the Doctrine) and fight in person. Be civil when you're done, but argue the point. If the doctrine becomes law, it shuts down debate, not opens it up. Again, Congress abridging speech.
Recently, MSNBC found television and print reporters give money to Democrats (partisans, PAC's, and candidates) 3 to 1. Play the role of a Republican candidate, not only are you facing your Democratic opponent, but also a hostile member of the press. Reverse it, and the Democrats have an ally writing their press releases. I'm sorry, but I remember the election of 1992. Bush pere could do nothing right according to the press.
By the way, Stephanopoulis worked for President Clinton (D-AK); Russert worked for Governor Cuomo (D-NY). Should I really go further with that idea? As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't believe in conspiracies, but I do believe some areas of our society suffer from "Group think" The press is one area that suffers from it -- hence the rise of the Blogs and Fox News.
Again, why the Doctrine? Senator Inhofe (R-OK) was in a "Senators Only" elevator when he heard this conversation between Sen. Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Boxer (D-CA). The battle of ideas must be fought cleanly. Using the power of the State to shut down any of the debate, is un-constitutional (Again, Congress abridging speech). Think on this:
First they came for Don Imus,
But I was not an Imus fan,
Then they came for talk radio hosts,
But I don't care for talk radio hosts,
Then they came for the Bloggers,
But no one spoke for me....
The Democratic Party claims to be for "Free Speech." Here is a test for every Liberal Blogger , can you defend speech of someone you don't like? I can and I have. Should Congress abridge Free Speech Rights for those you don't like? Who will speak when it is your turn?
The San Diego Surfer
......is not me.
Last weekend, I went to San Diego for the third time. The first time was at 1996 Republican National Convention, the second time was at the 2004 California State Republican Convention, this time was I went unaffiliated.
It's been a while since I took a trip, but since I am planning something for the Fall (Announcement after July 4th -- Editor), so this trip allowed me to come full circle. Before I moved to California in 1999, I went to California solo in 1996. Even though I was in Orange County and Malibu with my Dad in High School for a short visit, San Diego brought me in.
This trip I stayed in the Little Italy section. Every day I was there, I ate a Filippo's Pizza Grotto -- the pasta and pizza was just like eating in New York. Yum. At night, I ate a The Fish Market and Kansas City BBQ (All 3 times, I've eaten there). I'm getting hungry thinking about those restaurants.
I only had one goal this trip: Learn to surf. Well, I learned. I got the balance. I got one knee up. The rest is in pictures. It was fun. Just because the waves beat me this time doesn't mean I won't try again. After the announcement, I'll figure out the next time. Mind you, I have gone skydiving, scuba diving and snarling. Losing 1 and getting 3 are pretty good odds.
If you want to see the pictures (and see me totally embarrassed), treat me to a slice of pizza. Until then, keep reading the Valley!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Friends, Romans, Countrymen: A Comment Primer
In the morning, I'm driving down the 5 to San Diego. Before I leave for the weekend, I want to pull back the curtains for a minute and help you understand what makes a comment printable.
Aurora, Chess Novice and Jason play different roles, but they are all a major help in bringing the posts in the Valley alive. So, first, a personal thanks. And keep up the great comments.
For the rest of the audience, what do I look for in comments?
1) Relevance -- In Star Wars (the original), one of the Rebel fighters is worried about the Gun turrets on The Death Star. His squad leader reminds him, "Stay on target," If the post is about Iraqi as Pillar in American Foreign Policy, focus on that. If the comments turn from Iraqi as Pillar to Iranian nuclear capabilities, go with the tide, but try to relate to the original post.
2) Pick a side -- I don't care if you are Republican, Democrat or Independent. I don't care if you like the sauce more than the cheese on your pizza. The Blogosphere is the new Speaker's Corner. In debates, it's good to have allies and opponents. Aurora is a great ally to have; Jason is an opponent who can give as good as he takes; Chess Novice brings the facts. I would be more than happy to sit down over a beer with any one of them. Picking a side is important, but don't forget a lost rule of debate: If you can't sit down afterword after the debate/argument, you have lost far more then you won.
3) Be Accessible -- Except for a few friends at work and at home who don't want to be noticed that much, I rarely publish anonymous comments. Those I do let through, I rebut and ask where is their link? I am a partisan, nor do I hide that fact. If I throw down and be Pro-something or Anti-something else, why can't you?
A) I read your site and it is a "9/11 Truther" or a continuous attack on Israel -- Sorry, shoe scum has more say then conspiracy theorists. You walk down that path, and soon you are walking into the Jedi temple with troops and a light saber. I've interned on Capitol Hill and have political and policy friends at different levels and different parties; Conspiracies only exist in the mind of the weak.
B) Your comment disparages the United States -- My country, it is flawed in many ways, but I love it all the same. I respect people who don't run to another country when their candidate loses an election. Four years later, wow, a new election. Two years, a new battle for Congress, and in between, your town and cities battle it out for control. If you find fascism in the United States, then please explain Venezuela.
Thanks for reading. And thank you for enjoying the Valley.
Mayor Bloomberg and a pile of warm spit
John Nance Gardner (D-TX), FDR's first Vice President, said "The Vice Presidency isn't worth a pile of warm spit," Rumor is, the last word was misquoted. As a former New Yorker who learned politics from the Democrats (who has become a Conservative Republican since then), Mayor Bloomberg switching to an Independent is worth exactly that same pile.
Let me explain:
In 2002, Mayor Giuliani's term was up, no successor was in the background at that time. Crime was down significantly, the homeless accosting people on the streets were almost gone, business' re-discovered midtown Manhattan. The Democratic field was crowded, so Bloomberg (a Liberal Democrat himself), re-labeled himself a Republican (in an mostly empty field) and readied himself for the New York City Mayoral Primary. Does anyone remember when the NYC mayoral primary date was? Until 8:46AM, 9/11/01 was primary day in New York City.
If you followed the earlier link, I actually had a stake in the 2001 Primary. If my friend's father's boss had won the Primary and the General, he would have been appointed Deputy mayor (Spin City, anyone?). One of the lessons I learned from the former Tammany people was: Always support your friends, when you move higher, so do they. I wasn't a Democrat since 1992, but I've always supported my friends.
How does this play for 2008? Suppose there is a Trifecta of New York candidates on the November ballot?
To start with, if Tammany hadn't gone away in 1961, Robert F. Kennedy would never have become a Senator, neither would have Hillary Clinton (D-NY). New York City politics is defined by your block, your neighborhood, your borough, your team (Yankees or Mets, Giants or Jets). Upstate is a different animal. If Senator Clinton cannot win New York City in the General, she can kiss New York State goodbye.
Mayor Giuliani (R-NY) is home-grown and can tell you which pretzel stand in New York is the best. He won the city twice and stands for his beliefs against Democrats and Republicans. New Yorkers like fighters. In a Trifecta, he could take NYC away from Bloomberg and Clinton.
Mayor Bloomberg (I-NY), as discussed earlier, was not much of a Republican. His leaving didn't make anyone else of prominence leave. Bloomberg is like Schwarzenegger in the fact that he is only looking out for himself. the New York State Republicans could not even field a candidate against a "Carpet bagger" why should he support them? However, his issues fall under "Nanny State" governance, not Republican issues. Would he win NYC in a Trifecta? No third party candidate had ever won the Oval Office, there is no precedent for it to change in 2008.
My prediction for the Trifecta: Giuliani wins the City, Hillary wins upstate and Bloomberg wins Massachusetts.
Monday, June 18, 2007
You've been Tagged
Later this week, I am going on vacation to San Diego. Unless something interesting happens, we'll have a few light posts. Battling in the Blogosphere is hard work. The Israel/Palestinian issue will always be with us; Let us take a breather and laugh.
Rules of being Tagged
Tagging in the Blogosphere means, that if you've been picked, you have to pick five to ten others to follow suit. Here are some questions and answers. The questions in brackets can be changed when you "tag" some other blogger. Read the next section for the list of tagged Bloggers. If you're tagged, answer the questions on your Blog. Meantime, enjoy the music from my friend Jon Winquist.
Who is Tagged?
B) Ann Althouse
C) Jason Buckley
D) Chess Novice
E) John Stodder
1) Name your favorite band and singer. (The singer can't be from the band)
Band: Depeche Mode Singer: Peter Gabriel
2) Favorite historical politician (domestic)? (Historical = Dead)
3) [Favorite historical politician (International)?]
4) You're giving a Hollywood pitch (25 words or less) about your Blog -- GO:
A Blog about Geopolitics, domestic politics and their influence on each with a touch of art.
5) [Other then where you live now, what city do you like?]
6) Favorite modern politician? (In office now)
Rep. John Boehner (R-OH-8)
7) Are you a Wilsonian Idealist or Nixonian Realist in foreign policy?
With the Middle East, Wilsonian Idealism should be given a chance with bi-partisan support. Dealing with Asia and Europe, Nixonian Realism would work.
8) [Favorite obscure movie?]
Murder by Death
9) What is your favorite restaurant?
Oyster bar in Grand Central Station, New York, NY
10) Choose a music video on YouTube. Why that one?
Great song and the photography of Midtown New York and the Lower east Side is priceless.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Hamas, Heathlander and the hatred of Jews
During World War Two, at the Concentration Camps, there were Jews who did the Nazi's bidding in the hope they would be killed last. These Jews were called Sonderkommandos.
The Heathlander publishes his celebration of Hamas' victory on the Daily Kos reminds me of these Sonderkommandos. In over 171 posts on his Blog and the Daily Kos, he talks of a Palestinian state to the exclusion of Israel; But State Building requires compromise and building investments for the future. Hitler was elected in 1933, so was Hamas. But Hamas never built schools, roads or diplomatic niceties with the neighbors.
Look at The Heathlander's posts on The Daily Kos; Not one word on the acceptance of Israel as a State. Who has these same views? Neo-Nazi's (who ironically find a home at the Daily Kos). A week ago, I challenged the Heathlander to find me three posts that called for the return of the missing soldiers unharmed, that Israeli civilians are not to be targeted and whether or not Israel is a legitimate country. He refused to answer the questions and he refused Jason's peaceful overtures for an airing of views between a Pro-Israeli and himself. Who is the true warmonger? I accepted Jason's deal.
In 2005, Israel disengaged from Gaza. Every single Jewish settler was kicked out by Sharon's government. Now that Hamas run Gaza, what did they do? Kill everyone that is not Hamas.
I give you quotes from two Israeli Prime Ministers; One from the Left, and the other from the Right -- 40 years apart:
1. "Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate Israel." -- Golda Meir
2. "If the Israeli's put down their guns, it will be a slaughter; If the Arabs put down their guns, it will be peace." -- Bibi Netanyahu
The Heathlander is playing revolutionary; He is Suha Arafat in Paris. He expects others to die for his beliefs. If he was a true revolutionary, he would be in the Gaza Strip tomorrow instead of Hampstead Heath, London.
Every history lesson about the Jews relates how we are attacked "in every generation," As a Jew, I pray for the Heathlander to see the wrongness of his writings. As a former Democrat, I worry that the Daily Kos will stop supporting Isreal and so will go the elected officials; As a Republican, I promise to use every word on the Daily Kos written by the Heathlander as a weapon against the Democrats.
We should have left the Sonderkommandos in Germany in 1945; They should not be writing for the Democrats in the 21st Century.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Realpolitick in a Unipolar world
During the Cold war, smaller nations played for one of two teams: The Americans or the Soviets. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the world took a breath. Globalization poured forth due to Free Trade Agreements, the merging of the European Union (in 1992) and the new "Information Superhighway"
In due course, came the Anti-Free trade riots in Seattle in 1999, the the dot-com implosion and finally September 11, 2001 which ended the world's "silly season."
In 2007, America is the last power standing. We spend the most on military because our bases are in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Europe is building it's own version of a United States by merging economies and sovereignty's.
Asia has come back after "The Asian Flu" hit during the 90's. Americans are learning that China does not want to fight, but they are busy expanding their economy like Japan did during the 1980's
The Islamic nations are proving to be the only balance to American power. Within their societies, they are having an internal Revolution. September 11, 2001 turned America into Martin Luther for the Muslim world. Turkey and Dubai understand modernization, Palestine and Saudi Arabia do not. There is a new trend of "Islamic Economics" to help expand corporations and ease debt in the Muslim world.
America, as the only power on the scene, is in the Middle East to create something that was missing since 1979, stability and free markets. The Old World is slowly catching up; Asia understands, especially China. The race is not towards Military might and real estate acquisitions, but economic stability and future investments. Realpolitick lies not in the bombs in the streets, but the seller who yells, "Buy."
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Reagan the Pragmatic Wilsonian
20 years ago today, President Reagan spoke about spreading Democracy, and the INF treaty with Secretary Gorbachev. Republicans have been Wilsonians for a long time; Does that mean the Democrats believe in Nixonian Realism? For now, watch the speech:
Monday, June 11, 2007
The Missing Four Minutes
Did you catch the end of the Soprano's? Let's go over the spoilers before we tackle some other issues; This will be done as was the Soprano's minute by minute....
First Minute -- [SPOILERS -- Here There Be Dragons]. Here's the recap. The scene goes black in the diner. My predictions were wrong; Phil Leotardo died, Paulie stayed loyal to Tony and life goes on? Before any hit in the Sopranos, some crew member would tail and then attack (i.e. Phil Leotardo). The code is families were not to be attacked, but Tony was still a target due to the indictment coming down. And if you remember The Godfather, "Leave the Gun, take the Cannoli's," The Gun was in the bathroom. The scene goes black because Tony is shot. We don't need to see what happens next. [END SPOILERS]
Second Minute -- Jason, tried to make peace between The Heathlander and I. I played Netanyahu in 1998 at Wye River, The Anti Semite Heathlander played Yassir Arafat at Camp David in 2000. The allies of the Palestinians prove they do not want a two-state solution (as evidenced by The Heathlander's words and actions); they want to kill every Jew in Israel. If the Palestinians were interested in a state, where is their Parliament? Their schools? Their roads? Their Central bankers? None exist because they wish to destroy Israeli's first.
Third Minute -- To follow up with Jason's (Hey, he tried to build a bridge, The Heathlander blew it up) conclusion post on Israeli-Arab fight; That is not what I'm focusing on but this is where I am looking at: Arab-Democratic party alliance. Back when I was a Liberal Democrat in NYC in the 1980's, I met some old Tammany folk who explained if you want to rid your party of troublemakers, the old men must step in and quell "the young whippersnappers," For all those Lefties who cry about "Coulter, Limbaugh and Hannity." Who will step in for Maher, the Huffington Post and the Heathlander? This should be handled by the Democratic party partisans, but even the cicada's are louder.
Fourth Minute -- I am trying to set up a couple interviews for the Valley. More news as it arrives. As you enjoy Jason's Blog, don't forget to read Aurora's.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Which Sopranos Character Are You?
You are Tony
Take this quiz!
This quiz can only mean one thing: The End of the Sopranos. I've only missed one episode since it began, but here is my guess on what is going to happen:
A) The war between New York and New Jersey: New York has someone inside the New Jersey mob -- I'm guessing it is Paulie Walnuts -- and they will take down Tony and Sil. Phil Leotardo started this war to move someone new into Tony Soprano's position. Who else were they implying?
B) Betraying Tony -- Paulie wants to go back to making money. He will face Tony mano a mano. Whoever survives runs the family. If you read I Claudius, the history is clear.
C) Dr. Melfi's guilt -- By rejecting Tony, she has put herself in the line of fire, which could be where the betrayal takes place.
That's my guesses for now. Watch tonight.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
A challenge to the Anti-Semite Heathlander
It seems the Heathlander responded. Woo hoo. If I was accused of hating a race or a country, my first reaction would be: "I am not Anti-Semitic! Here's proof." Instead he ranted on how an invasion of Iran on Israel is a "thought experiment." If you wish to do a "thought experiment" (otherwise known as a hypothesis, use a dictionary), how about "What if the Palestinians worked on State Institutions rather then bombing soft targets?" or "What if the Arabs rescinded their Economic Boycott of Israel?"
He writes on International relations but doesn't understand Wilsonian idealism or Nixonian Realism; Mind you, those world views affect America's presence in the Middle East -- maybe you should be awake in school Heathlander.
But here is my challenge, if you respond effectively, I will not call you "an Anti-Semite," "Quisling" or that you wish "to push the Jews into the sea," in any other post. I will not tie your words to any Democrat running for office or in office now. Three things:
1) If you are not Anti-Semitic, I'm sure you wrote a post during the Israeli-Lebanon war about returning Galid Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser safely and unharmed. Find me that post.
2) If you are not Anti-Semitic, I am sure you have written between 1 January and 1 May 2007 that Israel citizens should not be attacked. Find me two posts.
3) Answer me this: Do you believe that Israel is a legitimate country?
a) If yes, what should they do to defend themselves?
b) If no, what should be in Israel's place?
Heathlander, if you do not answer by 5:00PM, Monday, Greenwich Mean Time, I will continue to let the world community know that you are an Anti Semite and that you wish death for the Jews. Prove me wrong.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Riddle me this, Are Democrats Wilsonian or Nixonian?
This is my busy week so I don't have time to post regularly. However, I read and ponder during this week. After spending a lot of time on the Palestinian and Israeli issue (I will go back again -- there is the question of the Anti-Semitic Heathlander to deal with); But for now, I have a query.
Back in my younger days when I was an Idealistic Democrat, I protested Gulf War I in college. The main line that was promoted during these protests was that the United Stated Government should not "Support Dictators," Now I am a Pragmatic Republican (yes, there is a difference), who wonders where those protests went.
Now with Iraq in play because of the Wilsonian in the White House, the Democrats who protested against dictators now believe in dealing with Repressive Governments (i.e. Iran and Venezuela). In an earlier post, I define Wilsonian idealists and Nixonian Realists.
My questions to my readers all across the political battlefield, if the Democrats, as far back as JFK's inaugural address, believed in Wilsonian ideals then, have they abandoned them for Nixonian realism now?
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Boycott the British University Professors Union!
Talk about synchronicity. While discussing the Anti-semitism and Palestinian rights among the Left, what rears it's ugly head in the land of the Heathlander?
The University and College Union [A British Professors Union] has called for the "Grey listing" of all Israeli academics from working in England.
I wonder, how many University Professors voted for New Labour or Liberal Democrats? More and more Anti-semitism can be found in these left-wing bastions.
Since the UCU proposes to boycott Israel, I propose a boycott of every UK British Professor who comes to these shores. No lecture should be listened to, no book should be bought by anyone who has signed onto the Israeli boycott.
And will anyone ask the Daily Kos not to align with the UAU? I doubt it.