Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolutions for Other People - 2008 Edition

For those of you who follow my other website,, I've done New Years Resolutions for Other People for the past couple of years. This year, I'm going to do it on my blog. :-)

The concept is simple. I'm very bad at making and keeping New Years resolutions, so one year I decided to help others by making resolutions for them. (And, yes, I'm using "help others" very loosely here.) If they decide to try to keep my resolutions, it saves them time and might actually do them some good. If they don't, they don't have to endure the guilt of not living up to the resolution. It's a win-win situation all the way around! And I do it...because I CARE, dammit!

So, strap yourselves in and prepare for the 2008 edition of New Years Resolutions for Other People!

- To George W. Bush, I resolve that you get some better people around you so that you can serve out your final year as President without the drama of the past 2-3 years. Half the headaches you had to endure seemed to have come from the people around you and their deeds or misdeeds. If you want to have any chance of salvaging any legacy that isn't written by your political opponents, get better people around you.

- To Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, I resolve that you both start looking for a Plan B. What you two knuckleheads have done in the House and Senate is nothing short of disastrous. When you promised change in the way Congress did things, we didn't think you meant negative change! Get your acts together and LEAD or you two will see yourselves out of the jobs you worked so hard to convince people you deserved.

- To Hillary Clinton, I resolve that you go to Al Gore to learn how to act and seem more human. If there's ever been a candidate more stiff, more scripted, and less appealing as a human being running for President, I haven't seen him or her...and I'm glad of that fact. Drop your guard and let us see the real you. Then, we'll feel a lot more comfortable voting against you because we'll have a legitimate reason.

- To Mitt Romney, I resolve that you let your guard down regarding your faith. Of course people are going to try to malign your faith because they don't understand it, and most Americans don't either. Your speech about faith went a ways towards rectifying that, but not far enough. If we're going to get comfy with your Mormonism, you have to trust us enough to open up and remove the mystery.

- To John Edwards, I resolve that you level with us for a change. I know you're trying to convice voters that you're fighting for the common man, but you made a fortune off hurting big companies with lawsuits. Who do you think got the axe? The people you claim you're fighting for if you become President. You don't need to pretend to channel a dead child to know that's not doing right by your voting base.

- To Ron Paul, I resolve that you spend the next four years paying attention to the Middle East. Some of your ideas make sense to me, but your foreign policy and terrorism approaches leave a lot to be desired. Before you get to have access to "The Button" I want you to get a serious education on what's going on in the Middle East and understand that America isn't to blame for it. They hate us for reasons other than our foreign policy, and the only thing that the extremists will understand is force.

- To Rudy Guiliani, I resolve that you make public amends with your past. The press will be relentless when trying to uncover anything you may have done wrong, from an overdue library book to shady dealings with shadier people. The sooner you exorcise these PR demons, the better you will be, and the more electable you will be.

- To the parents of Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears, I resolve that you stop trying to create stars and start being real parents. You've screwed up two kids so far, and once they realize it, there will be a reckoning you won't be prepared to face unless you face up to what you have done and make amends.

- To Hollywood, I resolve that you get some ideas and talent. Seriously, do we need another "American Pie" sequel? Or another movie based on a TV show? Or another horror film on the verge of being a snuff film? Or another romantic comedy so predictable even Kelly Pickler could figure it out within the first ten minutes? You guys say you're only giving the public what it wants, but remember your box office numbers have been declining in recent years. Gee, there might be a connection!

And finally...

- To the readers of my website and blog, I resolve that you keep me on my toes and call me on the carpet when I screw up. I'm a smart guy, but there are times when I don't see a problem, so I rely on you all to let me know what you think needs to be improved. (And, no, me not writing anymore is not an option.) You know how to contact me, and I will listen, even if I don't take your advice.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Predictions for 2008

As we're within days of a new year, I thought I'd give a few predictions of what we're about to see. I should mention that I'm not a professional prognosticator (or a professional anything, for that matter), so please, no wagering. Not to mention, if I'm right you can marvel at my precognitive skills, and if I'm wrong you can mock me. It's a win-win for everybody!

So, without further ado, here's what I think will happen in 2008.

- Republicans retain the White House and retake the Senate. Democrats retain control of the House due to the sheer number of seats the GOP has to keep and obtain. But the Senate is attainable, thanks in no small part to voter dissatisfaction with Democrat leadership in both houses of Congress.

- President George W. Bush will serve out the remainder of his term, not without controversy, but without a serious impeachment threat. Some will chalk it up to the length of time Bush has been in office, others will chalk it up to Democrat inaction, and others will chalk it up to there being a lack of impeachable offenses.

- Cindy Sheehan will fail in her bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi, but will pull enough votes away from her to make the race competitive. This will further empower the Sheehan Wing of the Democrat Party, further dividing the Democrats.

- Agents Compean and Ramos will be pardoned, if not in 2008, then by no later than the middle of 2009.

- An anti-war movie will win a Best Picture Oscar. And nobody will care.

- Hollywood's box office slump will continue with a summer movie season filled with some big ticket films flopping badly.

- The price of oil will go above $100 a barrel briefly, and then stay in the $90-$100 range.

- President Bush will use his veto power more frequently in his last year in office, which will further cement the notion that Congress is a "do-nothing Congress."

- Due to a combination of talk of the "housing bubble" and the rate of foreclosures, the housing market's lean times will continue. But the hidden truth is that the housing market will continue to make gains, albeit at lower-than-expected levels.

- The surge in Iraq will continue to get positive results, which will get no coverage in the press.

- John Murtha's legal woes will continue and he will have to face the slander charges against him in relation to comments he made about Marines in Haditha. It will hurt him in his reelection bid, but it will not be enough to unseat him.

- The media will try to turn the 2008 election into a referrendum on the Bush Presidency, but it will not be. It will be a referrendum on whether the public trusts Democrats to run the country.

And finally...

- I will finally finish my first book. Whether it gets published...that's a different story. :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Before I left on my holiday trip, I wanted to wish all of my readers (even the ones who disagree with me) a Merry Christmas. And for those of you offended by people who say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," I have a special message.

Merry Frickin' Christmas. Now, shut your pie hole.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Family Affair

I caught a bit of CNN yesterday and they were making a big deal about Hillary Clinton bringing out her mother and Chelsea to campaign with her in New Hampshire. Hearing CNN talk about it, it was the greatest campaign idea ever! (Then again, CNN is the Clinton News Network.)

This campaign cycle, families have taken on much more importance. Usually, families are brought out to introduce a candidate or to stand behind them as the candidate gives a speech, but this time they've actually become key parts of the campaign. Elizabeth Edwards, for example, has come out and made statements on behalf of the campaign that John himself couldn't make because of the impact it would have on his campaign. (Of course, going after Ann Coulter while there were important issues like the war on terrorism is rarely advisable, but what do you expect from a guy who spent $400 of his campaign's money on a hair cut?) Michelle Obama has also made statements on behalf of her husband's campaign, although her comments were against candidates and positions, not against conservative authors and speakers of no real portent to the 2008 election.

Families can also be used as shields against criticism. Bill and Hillary Clintons were masters of this during his Presidency, but lately some Republicans have gotten into the act. Mike Huckabee and Rudy Guiliani have both used their families (Rudy to a lesser extent because his offspring don't much like his new wife) to deflect or blunt statements or allegations made about them. Who could continue such blistering assaults on a candidate when his family is right there behind him, supporting him? (I mean, besides me.)

In some cases, family can even become targets. Pundits have attacked Fred Thompson's wife, Jeri, as being a "trophy wife" because she's much younger and more attractive than Fred. Yet, the same statements aren't being made about Dennis Kucinich's wife, who is equally as young and attractive as Jeri. Then again, that would require the media to pay attention to Kucinich, and we know that ain't happening anytime soon...

It's not unusual for politicians to use members of their families for one reason or another, but you have to wonder how strong the family unit is that would allow itself to be used for political purposes. On the one hand, it can be said that the family is part of the candidate's life, so they should be willing to step up and do whatever is necessary to help the candidate fulfill his or her dreams. On the other, it can also be said that using family members for personal or political purposes dehumanizes the family, turning the members into mere pawns to be moved around as needed. Over time, that has to wear on a family, or at least wear on the family that recognizes what a family is supposed to be. Speaking personally, I know I wouldn't ask my mom, dad, and brothers to defend what I say on a daily basis because a) it would cause a strain on our relationship, b) they may not agree with what I say, and c) they might just tell the truth about me.

It's nice to have your family support you in a particular venture, but when politics and family mix, it can degrade the heart and soul of the latter. And an elected office just ain't worth it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'll Be Outsourcing for Christmas?

I was listening to a recent episode of the Laura Ingraham Show and the subject was Christmas decorating. Apparently, there's a new industry for the on-the-go people who just don't have enough time to put up decorations. They're hiring people to do it. Whether it's making out Christmas cards or stringing up lights, people are hiring a company to take care of the "little details" of this season because they're just too busy.

The hell?????

I understand that some of the people out there who put up more lights than the Vegas Strip might need to prepare a couple of months in advance, but who doesn't have time to write Christmas cards? You don't even have to write a long greeting, either. Just sign the thing and move on. And if you throw in a "year in review" piece, all you have to do is write one and make copies. Not much effort in either case. If you're hiring this out, maybe you should cut back on an activity or two for a day.

Even the people who take the calls for this service don't do everything. If you need help hanging lights, the company will hire out someone else to do the work. That means there's another company making money off this really odd practice. As much of a capitalist as I am, there are some things you shouldn't hire out to have done. Unless you're working every waking hour on curing cancer, AIDS, or the absolute suckiness of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" you can make the time to take care of the holiday "chores."

Decorating the house was always a big day in my house growing up. Putting up the tree, putting on the garland and foil icicles, finding spots for the ornaments, listening to Christmas songs on the stereo. These are memories I wouldn't trade for anything, and they are tasks I would hire anyone else to do in my place. And these are memories you can make with your children or just for yourselves with only a little shuffling of schedules. Christmas isn't about the decorating or the cards; it's about the feelings you bring to the work. Hiring someone to do the holiday chores for you may save you time, but you lose the heart and soul of the holiday.

Still feeling good about your decision to outsource for Christmas?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Michael Moore, Nostra-Dumbass

I was watching a Canadian documentary about Michael Moore titled "Manufacturing Dissent" by Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine, and there was a scene from Moore's 2004 college tour to try to get college students to vote and unseat George W. Bush. (And we all know how well that turned out.) Here is a quote from Moore's speech at Central Michigan University during said tour:

George W. Bush has run out of troops. There is no way he can continue even this war without bringing back the draft and that's exactly what he's going to do if he gets another four years. You're going to be called up. You're going to be called up. You're going to have to go and fight George Bush's war.

Let's see...the surge is working with no draft. George W. Bush has a little over a year left to be President and the draft hasn't been raised as an option by the Bush Administration, only by...New York Congressman Charles Rangel, a Democrat. The war has continued without a draft, and contrary to what Moore and his ilk have said, the war has gone relatively well.

Then again, what would you expect from a man who thought Ralph Nader and Wesley Clark were Presidential?

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Shape of Things to Come?

A year ago, Democrats were confident to the point of cockiness with their election wins. They had control of the House and functional control of the Senate, and they were ready to make a difference. It was going to be a new day in American politics.

With their first year in the Congressional driver's seat almost over, things are not looking good for last year's victors. The Washington Post is reporting that Congressional Democrat leaders are pointing fingers at one another about who's to blame for the collapse of the Democrats' plans. The House is blaming the Senate, the Senate is blaming the House, and everyone's blaming the Republicans. A real change in leadership there.

The lack of progress in Congress is translating into declining approval ratings. Bush may not be lighting things up in the approval ratings, but when you consider Congress has dropped from around the mid-thirty percent range to barely sneaking over 20%, and close to 10% in some polls, it's clear the public may be regretting their Election 2006 decisions. Big talk with little action after the fact doesn't sit well with people. The Democrats promised change and honesty, and they delivered...pointless show investigations and naming post offices. Not a good way to leave a lasting positive impression on history.

After the 2006 elections, Democrats, their followers, and pundits all started talking about the country moving to the left. They've had a chance to pick up some seats here and there, but there were more than a few elections that should give the Democrats a reason to be concerned. One was the governorship of Louisiana. The public may not be that keen on Republicans, but Bobby Jindahl, a young Republican, won the gubernatorial election in what proved to be somewhat shocking to Democrats and their allies, given the electoral makeup in Louisiana. But it really wasn't as shocking as some might think. After the disasterous reign of Kathleen Blanco during Hurricane Katrina, the very way Democrats swept into control of Congress came back to bite them.

But one gubernatorial election does not a trend make, right? Not so fast. This past Tuesday, Republicans ran and won elections for open seats in Ohio and Virginia. Some have tried to write it off as a fait accompli due to the makeup of those respective districts, but if the country truly did distrust Republicans in positions of power, the Democrats should have taken those seats. The fact they didn't should be a matter of concern.

Then, there's the Democrats running for President right now. I'm going to torque off supporters of Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, but there are only three main candidates for the Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. Clinton is polarizing and has been looking more like Wile E. Coyote than a President. Obama has a good heart, but I don't see him convincing enough people that he's ready for the Oval Office. Edwards has been lagging behind Hillary and Obama and hasn't been able to put together a strong message to show how he'd be different from his two main rivals. The Republicans may not be much better in this regard, but remember it's the Democrats who have to take back the White House. All the Republicans have to do is retain it, which may be easier than people think.

With Code Pink targeting Hillary for her support of the Iraq War, Cindy Sheehan mounting a campaign against Nancy Pelosi, and the fringe left starting to make noise to get Democrats to dance to their tune, the Democrats are facing problems from their left flank. But to appease their left flank, they risk alienating their right flank, which helped them take control of Congress in 2006. This political schitzophrenia may be the very thing that keeps the Democrats out of the White House in 2008.

Put simply, the ground is being laid for Election 2008 right now. The Democrats are hoping to ride the Election 2006 results into further success, but the cards aren't there for it to happen right now unless the Democrats take some actions to address the multiple problems they face. Unless they do, they'll fiddle while their 2008 hopes burn.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Christmas Wish

With there being 12 days until Christmas, most people have a lot on their plates between shopping and writing Christmas cards. If I may presume to make a request to add one more thing on your list of things to do, I think you'll find it's for a very good cause.

Ever since I heard the case of Jose Compean and Ignancio Ramos, I have been outraged at the Bush Administration. For those of you unfamiliar with their case, Compean and Ramos were two U. S. Border Patrol Guards who were sent to prison for shooting a known drug dealer sneaking across the border into America. Due to a series of highly questionable events, the drug dealer and lawyers under Federal Attorney Johnny Sutton testified under oath and got Compean and Ramos sent to federal prison. But the part of the case that cannot be overlooked in this miscarriage of justice is the fact that the drug dealer, the attorneys, and Sutton all lied and have been called out on it. Yet, Compean and Ramos still sit in prison for doing their jobs.

This is where my request comes into the picture. If you are so inclined, please send Compean and Ramos Christmas cards if for no other reason than to brighten their days. Whether you agree with President Bush on this issue or not, you have the ability to show the spirit of the season to two men who need a bit of it.

Their addresses are as follows:

Ignacio Ramos #58079-180
FCI Phoenix
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N. 45th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85086

Jose Compean #58080180
FCI Elkton
PO Box 10
Lisbon, OH 44432

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This Is Your Campaign. This Is Your Campaign on Drugs. Any Questions?

Has the Hillary Clinton campaign lost its ever-lovin' MIND???? Granted, that's assuming they had a mind to lose, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here because something as stupid as what they did today could only take the keen calculating mind of a complete moron.

The national co-chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign, Bill Shaheen, called Barack Obama on the carpet for his past drug use, saying that it could be used against him by the Republicans. Here's what Shaheen said:

It'll be, "When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?" There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome.

Of course, Hillary's people tried to distance themselves from the comment, but you'd have to be a Clintonite to think this wasn't planned out. Let's not forget the fact that Obama has been making great strides towards taking the frontrunner position from Hillary in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, the first three tests en route to the nomination. And with the multiple gaffes from the Hillary campaign in recent weeks, it's a pretty safe bet that Hillary is looking for anything to stop her slide.

But going after Obama's drug use and blaming it on the Republicans? Please. You were on more solid ground when you lashed out at Tim Russert for "playing 'gotcha'" at one of the recent Democrat debates. It was a weak and dirty trick that reeked of desperation. You're a Presidential candidate, for the love of Pete! Start acting like it!

As for Obama, I can't say as I agree with what he did in his past. But I'm leaving it where it belongs: in the past. If it comes out that Obama's tooting on the campaign trail or shooting smack in between campaign stops, then he should be questioned about it. In the meantime, making stupid mistakes in the past shouldn't disqualify someone unless it directly impacts the present.

Like thinking Hillary Clinton is presidential.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Helping People...Into Globalism?

President Bush's plan to help out customers with subprime mortgage loans seemed like a gesture of good will and smart money. Freezing interest rate on some subprime mortgages will certainly help some people, but not everyone. Certainly there will be people who will not be able to make their payments even with the rate freeze. Then what?

Knowing government like I do, it will only be a matter of time before some government type tries to help even more by suggesting another solution, perhaps a federal program to help subprime mortgage customers make payments. And if that doesn't work, there might be another solution and then another solution. Before you know it, there's going to be a call for someone to set up an agency to address this situation.

They won't have to look too far for a model. All they need to do is look to the World Bank.

For the uninitiated, the World Bank's job is to loan or grant money to underdeveloped countries for infrastructure and other important needs. The loans are often low interest and usually don't have to be paid back within a certain timeframe. If the country needs more money, the World Bank can grant or loan more money with few strings attached.

See the pattern here? Both Bush's solution for the subprime mortgage crisis and the World Bank are joined at the hip because of the type of people being helped. Most likely, the people helped by either are not capable of meeting their financial obligations for one reason or another, which makes them prime targets for additional assistance. Each new person on this dole becomes a way for government to expand.

Now, let's say for the sake of argument that a governmental type here decides America can't handle the subprime customers' needs. It's only a slight change of stationary for the subprime mortgage crisis to come under the pervue of the World Bank. That, ladies and gentlemen, would bring us more in line with globalism. If that happens, say goodbye to American sovereignty as we know it.

But hey, at least some subprime mortgage customers get to keep their homes a bit longer, right?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Example #536 of How Government CARES About You

Senator John Kerry is a lot of things. A guy who flip-flops more than an IHOP cook on speed working commission. A Senator from a state that spawned the man-whale that is Ted Kennedy. A political opportunist with a horrible sense of timing.

And now, he's showing his true colors as a football fan. Kerry recently sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell and National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow regarding the NFL Network showing some high-profile games only on the NFL Network. There's been a lot of finger-pointing about this, but it's nice to see that a powerful and well-known Senator used all of his governmental write a letter.

Before you get on Kerry's bandwagon, let me point out a couple of things to you. First off, this situation has been known for quite some time without Kerry even acknowledging it. But now that the New England Patriots (who, surprise surprise, play in the very state Kerry represents) is on the verge of possibly having a perfect regular season schedule, Kerry all of the sudden CARES! And guess who is having a game broadcast on the NFL Network in the very near future? The New England Patriots!

Pandering for votes so soon, Senator?

Here's the other side of the equation to consider. The NFL Network is a premium network, meaning not everybody will get it. If you have the money and desire to get it, you can. And the NFL is in the business of professional football to make money, and the NFL Network is a way to do that. (An admitted stupid way to make money, I grant you, but a way to make money nonetheless.) In order to make money, you have to offer an attractive product or service, so the NFL Network would have to pick some of their high-profile games for them to make their service attractive.

Now, here's the radical part. They're giving customers...what they want!

As far as who's to blame for the limited number of people who can get the NFL Network, it doesn't matter. If a particular game means that much to you, you can either buy the service or you can go to some place that has. Any sports bar worth its salt will have it, so all you have to do is go there and have a good time. What the people complaining the loudest about the NFL Network don't get is that they have the power to fix the situation if they thought about it instead of whining.

Or getting a waffling Senator from Massachusetts to whine on their behalf.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Right Speech, Wrong Time

I managed to catch some of Mitt Romney's speech today on faith. From what I've heard (and from what I've heard from commentators after the fact), it was a moving, powerful speech, one that should lay to rest any doubts people have about whether Romney's Mormon faith would play a role in his Presidency should he be elected. I was impressed, but one fact bothered me.

This speech should have been given months ago.

Almost since he announced his intention to run for President, Romney's faith has been a point by which he could be attacked, mainly because not enough people know what Mormons believe. That level of ignorance can lead to irrational fear, which can lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations. That, in turn, can lead to distrust, which is fatal to any political campaign.

When Rmoney's faith was attacked by the left and the right, Romney kept quiet. That has two results: 1) it adds to the mystery, and 2) it makes people believe there's something to the criticisms, no matter how absurd they may have been. (Case in point: the "magic underwear" comment that has been overblown and repeated ad nauseum.) The time to diffuse that situation is not a month before the Iowa Caucuses, but at the point of attack.

By waiting as long as he has, Romney has opened himself up to a criticism, one I haven't heard anyone bring up yet: his speech was pure political posturing. No matter how good the speech was, the timing of it smacks of a manufactured event. If Mike Huckabee had been sucking Ron Paul's vapors, would Romney have come out with this speech today? Probably not.

Should he have given this speech? Absolutely. He needed to quiet his critics and speak to how the left in this country has done to make religious faith into something to attack or something to use as a shield for certain candidates. It needed to be said, and Romney was the best man to say it, given his faith. Huckabee couldn't have pulled it off with the same effectiveness as Romney did.

Now, if only he'd done it sooner.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Hannukah Gift

To any Jewish readers of my blog, I wish you a happy Hanukkah. Although I don't share your religion, I have a deep respect for Israel and Judaism.

Part of it is directly connected to my faith. As a Lutheran and a follower of Jesus Christ, my faith wouldn't exist without you. And contrary to what some might claim, I fully acknowledge Jesus was a Jew. How can I not love a people that gave me my Savior?

Part of it is based on Israel's history. Throughout the centuries, Israel has been an underdog, a people who have endured the machinations of those who wanted to wipe them off the face of the Earth. Yet, they've not only survived, but they've thrived. Out of their little corner of the Middle East, they have carved out an existence that is nothing short of miraculous. It's a testament to who they are as a people and their potential to survive in spite of those who would do them harm.

Part of it is what Israel's presence in the Middle East represents. Compared to the other counties and religious factions in that neck of the world. Israel represents an oasis, both literally and figuratively. Israel is proof that a democratic or near-democratic form of government CAN exist in the Middle East. Consider the scientific and technological giants that have come from Israel! That alone should make a fan of Israel out of most people.

I don't always say it, but my actions almost always reflect it. I am a proud supporter and ally of Israel. To some, that makes me a target for hatred, criticism, or worse. So be it. I'll gladly suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism to defend a country and a people I've grown to love and respect.

God bless you, Israel!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Has Bush Just Beaten Iran?

President Bush has done some things that have had me shaking my head in disbelief on more than occasions. Other things, I've been able to see where he was coming from, even when I didn't agree. Yet other things, I think he's been True North while the rest of us have been trying to fold the map.

With the recent National Intelligence Estimate report stating Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and the White House's reaction to it, originally I had one of those WTF moments. What would possess the Bush Administration to give Democrats, faux liberals, and the media ammunition to further criticize the war on terrorism and the Administration as a whole? Granted, they'd do it anyway, but to give them a reason to do it is political suicide.

Or is it?

Regardless of what criticisms I have with George W. Bush, one thing I have always maintained is that he is a "big picture" thinker and he has reasons for what he does. They may not always make sense, but they're his reasons. That's what made me stop short after my initial reaction. Bush took this action for a reason, and after seeing the whole picture, I think it may be his most brilliant strategic move ever.

One aspect of Muslim society is honor. If you shame a Muslim man or question his honor, he takes it very seriously and can get violent as a result. And guess who is a Muslim? President Imadinnerjacket of Iran. He's been running his mouth for the better part of a year or so, saying he wants to wipe Israel off the map and destroy America. One of the ways he intends to do it is by building a nuclear arsenal, as he believes a nuclear war would bring back the 13th Imam. Furthermore, he's said Iran has a right to get nuclear capabilities.

Now, what do you think it does to Imadinnerjacket to have America say Iran stopped any nuclear programs it had in 2003?

Let me put it this way. Imadinnerjacket ain't happy right now. With two moves, George W. Bush has embarassed him in front of the world...and in front of his Islamic allies. Now without the ability to make good on his threats, Imadinnerjacket becomes a joke, even more that he already has been so far. That means he'll have to do something to regain the respect of his Islamic buddies.

Which will prove George W. Bush was right all along about the potential threat Iran is.

There is another way Imadinnerjacket can react, which is to tone down the rhetoric and make sure he doesn't draw attention to himself. Granted, this is a pretty big and most likely unrealistic hope, but it could happen, albeit remotely. If that happens, Iran will become less of a threat.

Which will give George W. Bush another victory, one without firing a shot.

Am I spinning events? Maybe. Am I being unrealistic or overly optimistic? Could be. Am I right? Time and history will be the judges of that. But if I'm right, Bush may have pulled off the biggest win-win situation of his Presidency, and that will go a long way to securing his legacy.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Just Say No to Conspiracy Theories

The hostage situation at a New Hampshire campaign office for Hillary Clinton ended, thankfully, non-violently and the hostage taker is in custody. But even before the standoff was over, something so sad occurred. Without knowing much hard information, people were already claiming the hostage taker was a Republican. Then, Republicans chimed in and said it had to be a Hillary supporter trying to divert attention from her campaign planting supporters at Wednesday's Republican debate.

But here's the truth. The guy was a nutjob whose sanity went south on him a while ago and didn't leave a forwarding address. Not as sexy as the conspiracy theories being tossed about, but a lot closer to the truth.

These days, it seems more and more people are willing to suspend disbelief and put their faith in conspiracy theories. There are a number of reasons why people do this, but the one I think hits closest to home is that it helps to explain those things we can't get our heads around. Think back to all the conspiracy theories that surround 9/11. On a single day, our national psyche was altered, and not everyone was or is prepared to handle it. People search for answers that make sense to them, even if it's to believe some fantastic story about secret shadowy forces setting pawns into motion. As odd as it is to say, conspiracy theories become our security blankets at times. And just like with Linus from "Peanuts," getting us to let go of that security blanket and move on can be a monumental task.

Lately, though, conspiracy theories have gone beyond the usual crackpot notions and into the realm of political rhetoric. Now, anything that happens has the potential to be turned into a conspiracy theory linking groups of people that more often than not don't really go together. Seriously, would the Hillary campaign go out and find a raving lunatic to hold a campaign office hostage? Probably not. Would the Republicans do it? Probably not. Not to mention, there's the time factor to consider. Finding a crazy person in New Hampshire who would be willing to pull off a stunt like that all in around 48 hours' time would be a big feat in and of itself. Plus, there's a huge possibility that it could backfire because the mentally unstable don't think like the rest of us do and, thus, they may not be too keen on following directions.

It may be fun to spin a tale of conspiracy, but remember there are people out there willing to believe anything. What you take as fun, some people will take as gospel. (Case in point: Michael Moore's followers.) And as fun as it is to use conspiracy theories to take jabs at someone from the other side of the political aisle, we need to be careful that it doesn't replace reasoned thought, especially in situations where there are innocent lives at stake. At those points in time, politics should be the last thing on people's minds.

So, take a cue from your ole pal Thomas Lindaman and just say no to conspiracy theories.