Archive for the ‘The Washington Times’ Category

Ethnic dispute tears al Qaeda, Hayden says

March 12, 2008

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
March 12, 2008

Internal divisions between Saudi and Egyptian leaders of al Qaeda are producing “fissures” within the terrorist group and a possible battle over who will succeed Osama bin Laden, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

General Michael Hayden
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Mr. Hayden, an Air Force general, also said that al Qaeda regrouped in the past two years inside tribal areas of Pakistan and linked up with Pashtun regional extremists in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
Bin Laden is now an “iconic” figure hiding in the remote border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mr. Hayden said in a wide-ranging interview with editors and reporters of The Washington Times.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080312/NATION/169481933/1001

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Michelle Obama Takes Heat for Saying She’s ‘Proud of My Country’ for the First Time

February 19, 2008

Provided by Fox News
February 19, 2008

Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, is under fire for leaving the impression that she hasn’t been proud of her country until now, when Democrats are beginning to rally around her husband’s campaign.

Speaking in Milwaukee, Wis., on Monday, she said, “People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and … for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

Greeted with rousing applause after making the comment in Milwaukee, Obama delivered an amended version of the speech later that day in Madison, Wis.

“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country … not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change,” she said. “I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment.”

Obama was born in 1964, meaning her adult life began in 1982. Critics quickly seized on the newfound national pride.

“I am proud of my country,”  John McCain’s wife, Cindy, said at a campaign stop in Brookfield, Wis., Tuesday. “I don’t know if you heard those words earlier … but I am very proud of my country.”

Peace and Freedom Thought:

Knowing that the Republican front runner was a former military man and POW alone should have forced Mrs. Obama to think through her remark a bit better.  This was a gigantic gaffe for a liberal who will now be branded, and maybe appropriately, by many as un-American.

************

Inside Politics

By Greg Pierce
The Washington Times
February 20, 2008

‘Reallygate’
.

Comments uttered by Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, in Wisconsin on Monday have led some conservative bloggers and pundits to question her patriotism. The Obama campaign said her remarks were misinterpreted.
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During a rally in the Milwaukee, Mrs. Obama said that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am proud of my country, because it feels like home is finally making a comeback.”
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Later in the day, during a rally in Madison, Mrs. Obama altered the phrase’s meaning by adding the word “really” — “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.”
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A spokeswoman for Mrs. Obama said any assumption that Mrs. Obama hasn’t always been proud to be an American is false.
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“In the context of her remarks, her point is clear — of course Michelle is proud of her country,” Katie McCormick Lelyveld told reporter Sean Lengell of The Washington Times.
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“What she meant is that she’s really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans who’ve never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grass-roots movement for change.”
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Political strategists and pollsters contacted yesterday said the incident will have little or no negative impact on the Obama campaign.
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David Winston
, a Republican strategist and pollster, said because Mrs. Obama had made no controversial statements previously, voters will pay little attention to her comment.

“Once is an incident; twice is a pattern,” Mr. Winston said.

Bud Jackson, a Democratic media consultant, said only political foes of Mr. Obama will infer that his wife is not a proud American.

“They are going to agree with the spirit of what she is saying that they are especially proud that the country appears more engaged than ever and ready for a change,” Mr. Winston said.

‘Very revealing’

Michelle Obama [on Monday] said that ‘for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction,’ ” John Podhoretz notes in a blog at www. commentarymagazine.com.

“Really proud of her country for the first time? Michelle Obama is 44 years old. She has been an adult since 1982. Can it really be there has not been a moment during that time when she felt proud of her country?” Mr. Podhoretz asked.

“Forget matters like the victory in the Cold War; how about only things that have made liberals proud — all the accomplishments of inclusion? How about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991? Or Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s elevation to the Supreme Court? Or Carol Moseley Braun‘s election to the Senate in 1998? How about the merely humanitarian, like this country’s startling generosity to the victims of the tsunami? I’m sure commenters can think of hundreds more landmarks of this sort. Didn’t she even get a twinge from, say, the Olympics?

“Mrs. Obama was speaking at a campaign rally, so it is easy to assume she was merely indulging in hyperbole. Even so, it is very revealing.

“It suggests, first, that the pseudo-messianic nature of the Obama candidacy is very much a part of the way the Obamas themselves are feeling about it these days. If they don’t get a hold of themselves, the family vanity is going to swell up to the size of Phileas Fogg’s hot-air balloon and send the two of them soaring to heights of self-congratulatory solipsism that we’ve never seen before.

“Second, it suggests the Obama campaign really does have its roots in New Class leftism, according to which patriotism is not only the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the first refuge as well — that America is not fundamentally good but flawed, but rather fundamentally flawed and only occasionally good. There’s something for John McCain to work with here.”

Prophetic Briefing: What Bush Learned Before 9/11 Is Mostly Gone Now

January 2, 2008

By F. Andy Messing
The Washington Times
January 2, 2008

On July 16, 1998, in Austin Texas, then-Gov. George W. Bush received his first Defense and Foreign Affairs briefing, with Joe Allbaugh present. Numerous concepts were included, like when it was logical and under what circumstances America could employ military might to defend ourselves. It highlighted the coming energy problems, particularly with China, that would stress our economy.

There were solutions presented that Mr. Bush should consider to prevent the coming turmoil. Mr. Bush grasped the essence and reflected some of these views initially. Examples at the start were when he said America would have a “humble” foreign affairs policy, and five days after September 11, 2001, that Afghanistan would be a ” Special Operations” war.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080102/COMMENTARY/325526510

China Claiming “Major Advances” in U.S. Relationship

September 20, 2007

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
September 20, 2007

On Saturday, September 15, the official communist news agencies in China were buzzing with news of a new “White Paper” from China’s government stating that China and the U.S. were having a wonderful year of comity and togetherness.

According to China’s Foreign Ministry, the relationship between China and the United States has been stable in the past year, with some “major” advances.

The next day, two newspaper items caught the eye.

The first headline is rather self explanatory: “China recalls leukemia drugs in safety scare.”

The headline “Quality control urgency” brought readers to a commentary in the Washington Times by Herbert Klein. The essay begins, “Toys, toothpaste and pet foods are only a small part of the U.S.-China trade. But the angry public reaction to the sale of contaminated products demands priority attention from both nations.”

Hardly the stuff of a smoothly sailing international relationship.

The relationship between China and the U.S. is complex and multi-faceted, certainly. But to allow the communist government and their state controlled media to distort the facts unanswered is unconscionable.

China views the world this way, according to an amassed pile of Chinese Foreign Ministry press releases and state controlled media stories during the past year:

–despite several food, toy and other product safety scandals this year, more than 90% of China’s products are safe and China continues to strive for product safety perfection.

–while the West questions China’s intent as it expands and modernizes its military, China only seeks better self defense and no nation should be alarmed.

–critics say China has a pollution problem but China is a developing nation exempt from the Kyoto treaty and other measures and China is working very hard to lesson pollution everywhere.

The facts in all these issues may be debatable. But in the view of many China watchers, international diplomats and international organizations including the United Nations, the counter arguments to China’s Foreign Ministry and state controlled media look like this:

On food and product safety, the central government in Beijing has little control over a vast and far-flung array of farms, factories, entrepreneurs, middlemen and vendors.

According to Les Lothringer, a China expert based in Shanghai who has done business in China for many years, “It is quite impossible for any Chinese official to guarantee anything in China because of the lack of control that the government has and the lack of standards we take for granted in the West.”

On the issue of China’s military build-up, China has embarked on a huge military build-up. But nobody knows how much China is spending on defense, and procurement projects are shrouded in secrecy.

Since late last year, a Chinese ship-attack submarine surfaced within sight of a U.S. aircraft carrier before being detected for the first time in history, China demonstrated an anti-satellite missile capability the first time in history, and China has continued to verbally bully Taiwan.

During this last summer, both Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and a Defense Ministry “White Paper” from Japan voiced concern about China’s defense matters.

In Australia, Mr. Howard said, “The pace and scope of its military modernization, particularly the development of new and disruptive capabilities such as the anti-satellite missile, could create misunderstandings and instability in the region.”

Japan’s paper on defense said, “There are fears about the lack of transparency concerning China’s military strength. In January this year China used ballistic missile technology to destroy one of its own satellites. There was insufficient explanation from China, sparking concern in Japan and other countries about safety in space as well as the security aspects.”

With regard to pollution, China has the worst pollution of every kind in the world.

“I wouldn’t expect a world record in the marathon in Beijing [the Beijing Olympics, Summer Games 2008],” says Marco Cardinale, a doctor who advises the British Olympic Committee. “The issue isn’t just air quality, but the combination of heat, humidity and bad air.”

Michael Mueller, a German environment ministry official said that the Chinese delegates to a U.N. environmental meeting had been “masters of deception and the art of interpretation.”

”It is a very awkward situation for the country because our greatest achievement is also our biggest burden,” says Wang Jinnan, one of China’s leading environmental researchers. ”There is pressure for change, but many people refuse to accept that we need a new approach so soon.”

China lowered its energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by just 1.2 percent last year — against a goal of four percent — while pollution emission levels actually rose by two percent.

And meanwhile, China continues to build coal-fired power plants at a rate of more than one a week.Finally, in another example of Beijing’s lack of effective central control, U.N. inspectors found that factory managers not closely situated near Beijing generally took the attitude of, “We’ll use coal, produce more products and ignore Beijing as long as we continue to increase profits.” Beijing has told the U.N. it can significantly reduce pollution.

These differences between China’s view of itself and the views provided by less biased observers doesn’t even mention the vast gulf between China and international groups like Human Rights Watch on the issue of rampant human rights abuses in China.

In short, China is boasting of its wonderful relationship with the U.S. during this past year including some “major” advances. The U.S. should clearly set the record straight.

Mr. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc. and a frequent contributor to the Washington Times.

U.S. watches Syria, Israel after air strike

September 18, 2007

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
September 18, 2007

U.S. intelligence agencies have stepped up monitoring of Syria and Israel for signs of a new military confrontation after a recent Israeli air strike inside Syria, Bush administration officials said yesterday.

Israeli military forces remain on alert but not as ready as shortly after the night raid Sept. 6 into northern Syria, said defense and security officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The air strike was followed by press reports that the raid was carried out against a secret Syria-North Korea nuclear facility.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070918/NATION/109180060/1002

Bush Again Proves Soft on China

September 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 7, 2007

President Bush again showed himself to be soft on China at this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Australia.

For good or bad, this American administration is following a conciliatory, pro-business policy line toward China.  Some believe this leaves human rights issues at best marginalized and perhaps totally forgotten.

During this week, western newspapers were alive with reports of Chinese government computer hacking — including into private Pentagon files.

President Bush was asked if he intended to discuss China’s hacking with president Hu Jintao of China.  The president said, “I may.”

In fact, he did not.  The president emerged from the meeting with the Chinese President to say, “He’s an easy man to talk to. I’m very comfortable in my discussions with President Hu.”

This strikes us as reminiscent of the president’s first term reflection on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin: “I looked into Putin’s soul and saw a man I could do business with.”

Since late last year, a Chinese ship-attack submarine surfaced within sight of a U.S. aircraft carrier before being detected for the first time in history, China demonstrated an anti-satellite missile capability the first time in history, China has continued to verbally bully Taiwan, and Human Rights Watch and other advocacy groups have given China their lowest ratings for lawful behavior in the international community.

American allies including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia have expressed concern over China’s military investment and build up.  Prime Minister Howard of Australia has called China’s build up “destabilizing.”

China teamed with Russia a few weeks ago to conduct their largest combined military exercises ever.  And China, along with Russia, has blocked almost all U.S. initiatives in the U.N., including sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.

China has joined Russia in denouncing U.S. and NATO plans for missile defense in Europe.

U.S. military leaders believe China is supplying arms to the insurgents in Iraq and to Hezbollah in Lebanon, among other places.

China has been complicit in genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

China has failed to meet U.N. environmental goals and China lied repeatedly about poisoned food and other unsafe products it exports around the world.

China has the highest rate of death by execution in the world.

President Bush has looked the other way.

When President Hu invited President Bush to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Bush immediately agree — then said he was only interested in the sports at the Olympics and not the politics.  Yet we have historic precedent that leaders like Adolph Hitler worked hard to get the Olympics in their homeland because the political facet of this showcase cannot be discounted.

Washington Times analyst Bill Gertz reported in today’s editions that, “The president repeatedly has called relations with China ‘complex’ but has avoided all criticism of China’s military activities, including the provocative anti-satellite missile test in January, and growing Chinese information warfare capabilities. He has limited criticism of China’s repressive political system to its lack of religious freedom.”

“It’s the Goldman Sachs China policy,” said one defense official, referring to former Goldman Sachs executives Henry M. Paulson Jr., now Treasury secretary, and Joshua B. Bolten, White House chief of staff.

The bottom line: America has put money and deals before human rights.

Related:

Bill Gertz, “Inside the Ring”
http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070907/NATION04/109070053/1008

China sees ‘danger’ in Taiwan’s U.N. intent

China repeats denial of military hacking

China: ‘Trust but verify’ needed

As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes

Permanent President Putin?

Cold War Redux?

Distrustful of China’s Government at Almost Every Turn

If China Has Nothing to Hide, Why Do They Hide So Much So Often?

Japan Worried By North Korea, China

Australia PM: China military rise risks instability

Permanent President Putin?

September 5, 2007

James T. Hackett
The Washington Times
September 4, 2007

Russia may be a democracy, but it is rapidly morphing back into an authoritarian state. President Vladimir Putin looks very much like a man running for re-election. The question is whether he plans to scrap the constitution and become president for life or rule from behind the scenes and return to office later.

The constitution adopted in 1993 by the new Russia states in Chapter 4, Article 81, “No one person shall hold the office of president for more than two terms in succession.” Mr. Putin was elected in 2000 and won re-election by a landslide 71 percent in 2004. He will complete two terms next year, so is ineligible under the constitution to stand for re-election.

Elections to the Duma will be held Dec. 2, after which the political parties will nominate their candidates for the presidency. That election will take place March 2, with the new president taking office May 7. Barely six months before the election, Vladimir Putin dominates Russian politics like a colossus, with polls showing an approval rate as high as 80 percent.

Videos have been released showing Mr. Putin in campaign mode, a vigorous 55, horseback riding and fishing, stripped to the waist. For months he has taken step after step to appeal to the majority of Russians who yearn for a return to the great-power status their country lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. He has been taking advantage of the booming global market for energy, renationalizing the oil and gas industry and using the proceeds to rebuild the Russian military.

For years Russia has been developing the Topol-M mobile ballistic missile, the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, the S-400 missile interceptor, a new evading warhead, fifth-generation fighter planes and missile-launching submarines. Progress was slow and funds were scarce, but the surge in oil and gas wealth made it possible to overcome problems and accelerate these programs.

Now Mr. Putin is using his improving military to throw his weight around, confronting countries from Georgia to Norway. He has resumed long-range nuclear bomber flights, refuses to cooperate with Britain on a KGB murder, claims the North Pole for Russia, sells air defense missiles to Syria and threatens to target NATO countries by basing missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.

Instead of joining Europe and America to oppose the threat of militant Islam, Mr. Putin has turned to China, Iran and other authoritarian regimes against the West. He is recreating the Warsaw Pact in Central Asia — the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Known as a “dictator’s club,” it is led by China and Russia and includes four former Soviet republics but expected to grow with Iran and other countries seeking to join.

All this is fine with most Russians, who have the strong leader they wanted. A poll by the Yuri-Levada Institute published in February found 68 percent of Russians said their top priority was “security.” Democracy was hardly mentioned. Other findings were that 75 percent consider Russia a Eurasian state, while only 10 percent think they are part of the West.

Mr. Putin has said he will honor the constitution.  Nevertheless, he could decide to emulate his friend, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, and make himself president for life. Amending the Russian constitution requires large majorities of both the Federation Council and Duma, which he undoubtedly could get from these rubber-stamp bodies, but it would require payoffs or concessions he may not want to make.

So he appears to be grooming First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as his successor. Since the constitution bars him from running more than twice “in succession,” but leaves open the possibility of a later return, he may plan to have Mr. Ivanov run next year for one term and then replace him. Meanwhile, he would expect to control the country as a “gray eminence” from behind the scenes.

But that is easier said than done. Mr. Ivanov is a highly capable former KGB officer and defense minister. If he wins the vast powers of the Russian presidency, it may not be easy for a former president to control him. Once out of power, Mr. Putin may find it hard to get back in. Of course, he could anoint a more pliable candidate to serve as caretaker president.

Russian democracy is at risk. For the future of his country, Mr. Putin should honor the constitution and retire permanently next year.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

The essay above was used with permission.

Related:

Cold War Redux?
(Our own commentary on Mr. Putin and Russia)

Leadership, Accountability and the Media

September 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
September 5, 2007

I became a believer in the “freedom of the press” and the great importance the media plays in good government and accountability during the last eleven years. It was eleven years ago this summer that I retired from the U.S. Navy, an organization with a sometimes jaundiced eye on the media. Just eleven years ago this summer I decided to become a journalist myself.

During this eleven year journey, I have seen the power of the free press “up close and personal,” as they say, here in the U.S.A. I have also witnessed the terrible and disgusting disregard for truth and free media in places like China and Vietnam. In those two countries and others, the lack of a free and open media allows government human rights abuses and downright malfeasance to thrive.

Here in the U.S. I am proud to say that I supported The Washington Post in its campaign to right the many wrongs of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and its lack of appropriate follow-up for soldiers under their care. We have also applauded many papers who stimulated the Congress to pay more attention to the equipment sent to support our soldiers during the current war.

Every now and again a journalist, even a fledgling like me, gets to see some small product of his or her work reflected in one of the great bastions of journalistic excellence.

Today I was reminded of something I wrote in 2003, which echoed across the pages of the Washington Post and New York Times just recently.

In the Washington Times on October 26, 2003 I was proud to see published my essay “District Leadership is a National Disgrace.” The piece pointed toward numerous leadership and management lapses on the part of the elected and appointed caretakers of the government of the District of Columbia.  A part of that essay dealing with the D.C. schools read, “As the school year started in 2003, School superintendent Vance was shocked to learn that the entire school system’s budget would only pay his system’s staff until Sept. 30. The superintendent is also a ‘fat cat’ with an enormous salary. Meanwhile, the schools are in a decrepit state of repair. Last winter, several school days were lost at more than one school because the furnaces wouldn’t start. Cost of educating the elementary school students in the District? Among the highest in the nation. Grades and measures of effectiveness? Among the lowest.”

Fast forward to 2007. In Fact, take a peak at the New York Times editorial of September 4, 2007, under the headline “National Disgrace.” That editorial reads in part, “remaking the schools [of the District of Columbia] will inevitably mean dismantling a central bureaucracy that has shown a disturbing talent for subverting reform while failing the city and its children in every conceivable way.”

Bravo New York Times. And Bravo also to the Washington Post, which earlier this summer ran a multiple part series exposing the many problems of the D.C. school system. And Bravo finally to the Washington Times, which has been exposing the malfeasance foisted upon the people of the District of Columbia by elected and appointed highly paid “public servants” for years.

In today’s Washington Times, a page one headline reads, “D.C. textbook chief appealed firing.” You see, one Donald Winstead, the lone manager of the school system’s often-troubled textbook department, was fired by former schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman in 1998 after books were not delivered in a timely manner. The Times’ Gary Emerling wrote that, “Mr. Winstead was reinstated in his position Dec. 19, 2000, following a settlement reached a day earlier between Mr. Winstead and the school system through the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals.”

Needless to say, the textbook situation in D.C. schools is still a disaster. In an August 7, 2007 Washington Times article Mr. Gary Emerling wrote, “The new [D.C. school system] chancellor has faced several difficulties that have plagued the system for years, including news that at least half of the city’s 146 schools may not have textbooks by the time school starts and that others will not have air conditioning.”

So, to those who doubt that a free and open media is a good thing for our nation, our society and, in fact, all nations everywhere; we ask them to look no further than the capital of the United States of America. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Washington Times may just help bring change to a very troubled and corrupt school system.

We are proud of these newspapers and the journalists who serve the people.

This brings us to the case of Virginia Tech.  Parents, in good faith, entrusted the University and the Commonwealth of Virginia leadership with the safety, care and education of their children.  Last April, many of those children died unnecessarily.

Last April 16, at Virginia Tech, two students were found dead in a campus dorm room.  This had never before occurred.  Not on this campus.  Not at Virginia Tech.

The police “assumed” a domestic dispute was the cause.  The campus remained un-alerted.

During the last academic year, at Virginia Tech, an English teacher had a student exhibiting such unusual, some said evil, writing and actions that other students would not come to class if he attended.  The teacher alerted the university and nothing happened.

The school sent the student for medical care — a mental evaluation in fact — and then never checked to verify his status or condition.  He may have been diagnosed as a threat to the university population yet the school didn’t follow up.

The Virginia Tech study panel that reported to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine recommended no accountability from anybody following scores of deaths on the campus.

Kaine said the school’s officials had “suffered enough” without losing their jobs.

The parents of the dead have questions.

USA Today asked, in a September 4, 2007 editorial, “Why did so many keep Cho’s [the Virginia Tech killer] problems to themselves? Certainly they underestimated the threat. But more important, many incorrectly believed that privacy laws prevented sharing the information. Interpreting the law narrowly is the ‘least risky’ path for a university to take, the report concludes.”

We wonder why more news media members and commentators have not spoken out about the lack of accountability at Virginia Tech?  Where is the uproar similar to the one that engulfed Senator Larry Craig and maybe will cost him his job?  More than thirty innocent students and teachers are dead and nobody is accountable.  Yet because of the media a Senator has offered his resignation.

The relatives of the Victims in the Virginia Tech massacre deserve to be heard.  And they deserve more appropriate action from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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District Leadership is a National Disgrace

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
October 26, 2003

Just after hurricane Isabel passed, there was some talk that the leadership of the District of Columbia had been less than cordial in its dealings with the federal government throughout the crisis. Metro, some said with city blessing, shut down on Thursday at 11 a.m. without very much consultation with the federal government. Consequently, the feds were compelled to cancel the workday entirely.

After the hurricane, city officials cited city ordinances in an effort to get more of the FEMA financial aid pie than their neighbors in Maryland or Virginia. FEMA and its parent, the Department of Homeland Security, rightly rebuffed District officials.

Here are a few tidbits of information we have learned about the District of Columbia during the last few years (much of it from The Washington Times).

–The police chief continues to collect perks and pay raises year after year. He was hired to reduce crime. In fact, crime is up. The crime rate in D.C. is about 50 percent greater than other cities with similar populations. What is down is the police department’s success rate in crime-solving (one of the lowest in the nation). The disgracefully inept execution of the Chandra Levy case reminds us of how badly the police department functions.

–Our fire chief a few years back, one Ronny Few, had apparently “padded” his resume to secure his job. When exposed by the newspaper, he blamed the mayor’s office. Finger-pointing in City Hall ensued but nobody took responsibility for the shoddy way candidates for city jobs are vetted. The chief had also hired several cronies. Their resumes, we discovered, were also inflated, falsified or otherwise inaccurate.Meanwhile, several fire stations were in a decrepit state, a house fire had to be doused by a nearby garden hose because the fire truck had so many problems, and someone actually died due to the inefficiency of the 911 operators.

–Recently, the District’s inspector general resigned. His resume was also inflated. Do we see a trend beginning to emerge? The incumbent mayor’s re-election committee forged many of the required signatures to get the mayor on the ballot. If he is such a great leader, how can he tolerate such conduct? And why was fraud preferred over obtaining legal signatures?

–The president of the University of the District of Columbia lives in a publicly owned mansion. The taxpayers recently paid for a “renovation” of this estate that cost more than $215,000. “Repairs” included the addition of Italian granite and marble countertops worth more than $9,000. The university president also has a handsome salary. Yet the University of the District of Columbia’s Law School is rated dead last among more than 230 law schools rated by the American Bar Association. The percentage of graduates that pass the bar the first time is 22 percent. Only two colleges have rates in the 30th percentile and two schools are in the 40th percentile. All other law schools can boast that at least half the graduates pass the bar on the first try. The cost of educating a law student at UDC? The highest in the nation.

–As the school year started in 2003, School superintendent Vance was shocked to learn that the entire school system’s budget would only pay his system’s staff until Sept. 30. The superintendent is also a “fat cat” with an enormous salary. Meanwhile, the schools are in a decrepit state of repair. Last winter, several school days were lost at more than one school because the furnaces wouldn’t start. Cost of educating the elementary school students in the District? Among the highest in the nation. Grades and measures of effectiveness? Among the lowest.

–The D.C. coroner recently resigned. The morgue is in such disastrous condition that opportunities for forensics resolution to many crimes is seriously doubted. Overall, working for the District of Columbia government provides the best pay, bonus and retirement structure of almost any city in the nation.

Finally, the District of Columbia would like to tax commuters who come to the city to work. This is one way the banana republic preys upon its neighbors. Traffic enforcement cameras, predatory parking enforcement, towing and other practices contribute to the city coffers and to the ill will the city engenders in the neighborhood.

So I ask the voters in the District of Columbia, “Do you have the best government money can buy? Are you satisfied and content? Are you proud of your city and your flag?”

Related:

D.C. Schools: A National Disgrace

Rhee raps D.C. schools ‘bureaucracy’
http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070807/
METRO/108070064/1004/metro

D.C. textbook chief appealed firing
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/METRO/109050074/
1001&template=nextpage

Virginia Tech: No Accountability

Life After Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech: ‘Least Risky’ Path Raises Risk

China: ‘Trust but verify’ needed

China Saying No to News

Pentagon says it acts as quickly as it can to meet needs
*******************

The article above was written before the full implications of the sex scandal in D.C. fire houses was completely understood.

See:

Sex in The City

China’s Worthless Stooges

August 9, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 9, 2007

Below Beijing’s leadership, who runs China’s sprawling bureaucracy? The cadre of loyal communist worthless stooges.

Yesterday The Washington Times published an article I wrote entitled “China: Less than the Whole Truth.” I pointed out that after more than seven months of bad news concerning Chinese food, drug and other product safety, the vice minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China said, “We can guarantee food safety.”

Anyone who could read knew that not to be true: both in China and everywhere else in the world.

In another possible case of the bureaucrats talking beyond their understanding and ability, The Telegraph newspaper in the UK reported today that “Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning – for the first time – that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.”

The Telegraph’s report continues, “Described as China’s ‘nuclear option’ in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.”

One source the British newspaper cited is Xia Bin, finance chief at the Development Research Centre (which has cabinet rank).

The second source is He Fan, an official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

A British friend in Beijing said to us, “Here is the problem. Because so many party member, even of fairly high rank, make unsubstantiated remarks, it is hard to extract truth and reality from all the other rubbish one hears. That makes these party members and their remarks very dangerous”

Presto: exactly the problem. China’s communist party members are at the least undisciplined and badly directed. Or some see the scheming evil hand at play. Consider Hu Jintao telling the functionaries to get the word out, and then reserving denial for himself.

However you figure things, there is always a layer of deceit when dealing with the Chinese. Even at the top of the government.

In the case of the food safety controversy, why would a seemingly high but certainly not elite member of the communist party and government bureaucracy say something in public that was so patently wrong? Why would a member of the government of China make a statement so obviously wrong that journalists like me laughed at the red meat provided by such a preposterous statement?

I thought I knew the answers but many others helped out by sending me email. Several sources are British, European or American expatriates living and working inside China so it is better not to disclose their names.

One asked, “Don’t you know that this is an indictment of communism and the communist system everywhere? When jobs are doled out because of party loyalty instead of experience and competence, you end up with the village idiot running the local government.”

I did know. And in my email back to this Brit Expat (he won’t mind my slang) I said, the tiers of government starting just below the elite that run China are filled with “worthless stooges.”

My friend agreed wholeheartedly.

In the case of the two party members making threatening noises about U.S. financial system, President Bush had the right answer: he doubted the report was based on sources from the office of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

胡锦涛
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was just in China last week said Wednesday that fear of such an action was “absurd” and that the top officials he had met in China had not indicated such plans.

The fact is, too many issues have to be cleared up at the very top of China’s government. And the further you get from Beijing and other major metropolitan areas, the more worthless the stooges seem to become.

Especially now that China’s economy is boiling, the smart college educated and competent youngsters want to get real jobs, make money, buy a condo and drive a Mercedes Benz.

They also don’t want to obey all of the communist rules meant to govern their lives.

One sign of this is the fact that more and more affluent young couples are choosing to have more than one child, in defiance of Beijing’s “One Child Policy.” But the affluent young couples tell me, “We can afford to have the family we want, just like an American couple. We can also afford to send our children to college — maybe even to a college in the United States.”

All this makes me wonder about the government bureaucracy running another communist country: Vietnam. The Vietnamese economy is also off the charts — so why would anyone think the government of communist Vietnam is attracting “the best and brightest”?

My belief is that in Vietnam the situation is even worse than in China. In China, at least, the top level of the government is well educated, poised, adroit, suave, sometimes worldly and knowledgeable.

Consider Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪), China’s former ambassador to the United Staes. He speaks English fluently and now serves as Foreign Minister. Yang, 57, studied at the internationally well-known London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom from 1973 to 1975.

In Vietnam, there is a slightly different story.

When President Triet of Vietnam visited the U.S. last June, he demonstrated by several ham handed actions and pronouncements that he was, let us say, naïve to the ways of the west and almost completely unschooled in how helpful or damaging the western media can be.

After Mr. Triet returned home to Vietnam, his government sent to The Washington Times a commentary piece, in the form of a letter, under President Triet’s name, extolling the fine attributes of doing business in Vietnam.

Former Hanoi Hilton guest-resident (prisoner) Mike Benge noticed immediately that the letter was almost word for word from a document that was months old. The letter claimed to be the president’s personal reflections on his trip to the United States. In fact, the letter was an old formulaic communist pronouncement that had seemingly, to Hanoi, “worked before so it will work again.”

When the U.S. was recently seeking more assistance from China in dealing with North Korea, Senator John McCain pointed out the necessity of China exerting its influence.

Senator McCain also said he didn’t understand China’s hesitation towards North Korea “unless they are immature and do not understand the consequences of their failure to exercise a beneficial influence,” adding that their actions could have been a result of “a degree of naiveté on the part of the new Chinese leadership.”

We agree with Senator McCain on these statements.

Most U.S. “leaders” choose their words so carefully or just lie to keep themselves “politically correct” so often that governments in Beijing and Hanoi misunderstand U.S. intent.

So we stand by our not-so-politically-correct assertions. Below the elite in China the government is largely run by worthless stooges. Many (even most) are immature, naïve, and not very worldly. In Vietnam the situation is worse. Many of the leaders there are infantile in their inability to conduct foreign affairs and internal government in a polished, articulate and appropriate manner.

********************
Postscript: When we first drafted this essay, the title was merely “Wothless Stooges.” But an email from an experienced American government watcher in Los Angeles said, “When I read that headline I thought you were writing about the U.S. Congress. Better add ‘China’ to that headline!”

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich would probably almost go as far as calling the current congress “worthless stooges.” In his National Press Club address on Tuesday, August 7, 2007, he said our U.S. Congress had become detached from the beliefs of the founders, too reliant on lobbyists and focus groups, and had become an example of how to fail. He said FedEx was a good example of how to succeed. He said there was more computing power in every FedEx truck than in Apollo 13.

New Gingrich For President

Related:

China: You Won’t Get The Truth

China: Countdown To Olympics 2008 Has “Truth Harbingers Exposing Evil”

China Threat: “Nuclear Option” Against U.S. Economy

On August 11, 2007:
“Shrink-Rap”: China Cuts Role of “Stooges”

Beijing is rushing to make its air clean for the 2008 Olympics, but experts say it will be impossible for the site to be totally safe for athletes at the global sporting event.
Beijing on a “clear” day…..

What are we Americans really made of?

August 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 7, 2007

 A bridge collapses into the Mississippi River, bringing death to the households of average Americans including a Native American and a Mexican immigrant.

A hurricane ravages a major American city, killing many and leaving scores homeless and without jobs.

Islamic extremists attack symbols of the United States’ economic and military power: the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon.

And how have we Americans responded to these crises?

Here is how noted American Psychologist Elizabeth Carll, Ph.D., reflected upon 9-11.

Dr. Carll is a clinical and consulting psychologist in private practice in Long Island, New York and the author of “Violence in Our Lives: Impact on Workplace, Home, and Community.”

“It was a few minutes before 9 AM on September 11, 2001, and like many typical days I was in my office returning calls and completing paperwork prior to the arrival of my 10 AM patient, when I received a call from my husband informing me that a airplane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center (WTC). While he was describing the incident to me, he saw on TV the live newscast of the second airliner crashing into the other tower. At this point we both realized the horrible implications of this disaster. Within minutes all television networks were reporting the shocking breaking news. When I conceived and established the New York State Psychological Association Disaster/Crisis Response Network in 1990, I had no idea that we would be responding to such a terrible tragedy on our own home grounds, but felt gratified that we had a database of over 250 trained psychologists in NY State alone to respond to this tragedy…..”

“Therapy sessions were punctuated by calls from other therapists for advice, consulting, and support.”

Just a note of shocking news to Americans. This is not for everybody but to those who leap toward therapy, drugs and the help of others when a crisis strikes: not everyone in the world responds this way. Not everyone has that luxury.

When the City of Saigon was invaded by communists in 1975, and the entire nation of the Republic of South Vietnam disappeared from the map in favor of a communist suppressor from the North; there were no therapists for the people.

After Saigon fell to the Communists and was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after the Communist war lord in 1975, several human rights abuses quickly became apparent. In Communist Vietnam, the rules changed to the will of the Communist party leaders and the abuses included and today include:

–Systematic abuse and imprisonment of any and all people who assisted in the war effort against the Communists or who helped the Americans in any way. The most infamous aspect of these “Trai Cai Tao” or remote jungle or highland “re-education centers” were periods of detention normally from seven to almost twenty years. My Bac or Uncle Chi was in this system for 8 years. But I do know of cases where intelligence officers or others with special skills were in prison for 17 years.

–Leaving Vietnam became a crime. Many of the “Boat People” who escaped did so after being caught trying to escape and suffering through prison terms for their “crimes” several times. I have one friend who went through this system at least 9 times. My wife went through three or four times.

–Life as a refugee was no picnic. Many of those that successfully survived their time at sea (and many starved to death, drown, or were raped and tortured by pirates) reached places like Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines. They were refugees with hopes of reaching western lands like Canada, Norway, Australia, the United States and other nations. In Hong Kong women of child bearing age we sterilized so they would not add to the crush of largely unwanted refugees. My wife spent 8 years “detained” in Palawan, the Philippines. She lived in a hut with about 40 other men, women and children. Her cousin was in the Philippines for 16 years awaiting permission to legally enter the U.S. They were awaiting permission to emigrate to America. And there we no “illegal aliens” in this group: you cannot walk from Asia to the United States.

–Loss of all privacy. In Vietnam, neighbors were encouraged to all the police if they noticed anything “unusual” about you or your household.

–Denial of religious freedom. In fact, Catholics were forced to renounce their faith in writing in communist Vietnam.

–Denial of freedom of speech and expression. All media was taken over by the communist machine.–Systematic repression and in some cases genocide against the ethnic minorities that had assisted the Americans. These included the tribal peoples of the Khmer Krom, Montagnards, Hmong Lao, and the Khmer Rouge.

–Unlawful imprisonment. Anyone, at any time, whoever angers the leadership of the Vietnamese Communists becomes subject to unlawful imprisonment. This continues today. An American citizen, Mrs. Cuc Foshee, is such an example. In the autumn of 2006 she was released from prison after 14 months held without charges by the communist government of Vietnam.

I would submit humbly that this experience of an entire nation, an entire people, was a traumatic crisis.Certainly American clinicians would mandate extensive therapy, groups sessions, perhaps a drug regime and other forms of care.

None of that was forthcoming to the people of the former South Vietnam.

What did the former “South Vietnamese” do?

Those that chose to leave rather than live under the communist regime, decided they had to endure any sacrifice or pain in order to achieve the goal of freedom.

“We endured. We lived. We became refugees. We continued to seek our goal: freedom in the United States. And when we got here we got jobs, we applied for citizenship,” said one of my wife’s uncles to me when I asked. He had been an Ambassador to two nations: Germany and Australia. When he got to America he got a job in the construction trades and hauled sheet rock.

I have a friend that was a high ranking and esteemed Naval Officer who commanded six ships in the service of South Vietnam. When he came to America he became a school teacher.

No complaints. I have never heard a single complaint from any of the Vietnamese I know.

“We had no time to worry, complain or seek therapy because we went to work rebuilding our lives,” a Vietnamese friend told me.

That quote is from a Vietnamese “survivor” I know. But I heard almost the same quote from a man near New Orleans who went through Hurricane Camille (1969) as a young man and Hurricane Katrina just recently. He said, “My Dad, my brothers and I rebuilt. What else can you do? We had no time for therapy because we were rebuilding and you know what?  We all turned out fine!”

So I asked my Vietnamese friend, “And why are the bookshelves and movie theaters not full of your stories of endurance, self sacrifice and survival.” I am so naïve.

The answer surprised me: “Because we all have the same story. There are millions of stories. And ask any refugee.  Ask the Iraqi refugees. Nobody interested in their stories. Americans want a spy movie or a car chase. Nothing sexy about the experience of refugee.”

My wife still calls her Vietnamese contemporaries “Survivors.” Those at church, the shopping mall, and other places are called not “Other Vietnamese” or “Vietnamese Americans.” She often, if not always, says “Survivor.”

So this is an observation of two cultures and not meant as a criticism of anyone.  And I do believe in therapy and the proper treatement of PTSD (which I wrote a six part series on).  I just think many Americans have lost their way: partly because they have so much money, time, so many blessings, and so few bedevilments that cause them to sacrifice.

If you never sacrifice, a long line at the supermarket is burdonsome.  Nothing seems to bother my Vietnamese frieds.  They are just happy to be “Survivors.”

Many Americans believe other people can cure you. Not God and not your own inner strength and fortitude. Many believe and seek “rehab” before adjustment, adaptation and a peaceful mind. Many praise at the altars of the wrong gods: “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” We watch glued to TV screens watching Paris Hilton make a train wreck of her life and a mockery of the court.

The Vietnamese I know don’t watch. “She seeking wrong happy. She never be happy that way,” one told me.

So when I heard on TV a woman in Minneapolis say, “When you give up hope, you give up life,” my Vietnamese friends and relatives sprang into my mind.

We Americans are engaged in a great world-wide geopolitical struggle. Yet many of us have become a pampered people of shoppers and spenders.

The NBC TODAY show had one of those invaluable “news” reports I relish, on August 6, 2007.

The topic was SPAs.

Here is the intro to the piece on the NBC TODAY Show web page complete with their own misuse of the word “their”:

“Imagine a week of facials, massages, gourmet meals, hikes, and Pilates classes. Sounds like a great way to spend the last days of summer, right? That’s the sound of a SPA getaway.”

“‘Vacation’ usually means hustling to catch planes, hassling with rental cars, and then squeezing in friends, family, and of course all the major sites. That’s why destination spas make so much sense. According to SPA Finder Inc., there [sic] database counts more than 15,000 spas in the United States.”

15,000 SPAs? That sounds like an extravagance to me.

Until you consider we have over 10,000 high end coffee houses in the U.S. And they are already springing up in places like China.

Many Americans will spend thousands of dollars on themselves in SPAs, hair salons and nail shops. Then on the way home they’ll buy a cappuccino for something going toward $5.00.

I am proud to say I don’t go to a “hair stylist.” Instead I make a small donation to Pete the immigrant barber and he does the job for less than $10.00.  No $400.00 “Style job” (or whatever it is called) for me.

John Edwards: eat your heart out.

The bottom line is this: many Americans will pay whatever it takes to achieve their own few minutes of mental bliss.  Because they have so much money spending it on self centered wasteful things seems OK to them.  God Bless ‘em too!

But ask some of us to really make a real sacrifice; and you may get that “deer in the headlights” stare.

I saw an Army G.I. interviewed on TV a few days ago. He reminded watchers that only about 1% of the U.S. population was involved in the war on terror, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said many Americans slapped an “I support the troops” bumper sticker on their car and they were finished with the problem.

The question is, “Can the people of so many spas, so much pampering and so much luxury prevail in a real terrorized world? Will Americans retreat into themselves?”

The terrorists think the answer is an unqualified “yes.”  Your average Muslim extremists thinks your average American is too pampered and too spoiled and ready for a fall.

So I wonder sometimes: will the people of the United States ever again be able to achieve the likes of the landings on D-Day? Can present day America defeat a tyrant like Hitler? Do we have engineering successes in our future to rival man walking on the moon?

I am usually an optimist.

But the two most recent examples of “The Right Stuff” included a half-crazed astronaut wearing a diaper on her way to kill what she thought was her man’s girlfriend with a BB gun. The other was a report of drunken astronauts in space and in aircraft.

Are these folks too spoiled?  Lost their way?  The terrorists are heartened by stories and people such as these.

When I heard a pundit say what a hard and long “struggle” it would be to replace the Interstate 35W bridge which collapsed, I nearly gagged. We should be able to rebuild that bridge better and stronger in no time. Now I’ve learned that is what the people of Minnesota intend. Bravo!

And I heard a news reader bemoaning “the decaying infrastructure in America.” I thought: we better get on with it and do it right.

We, as a nation, had better take on some of the tough issues facing us like illegal immigration, the war against terror and the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We better not allow our pampered opulence and small tolerance of sacrifice to allow our nation to decay. If we do our grandchildren need to start learning Chinese at an early age.

And if we lose hope we give up on life.  And our way of life.
**************************************

Notes:

Several factors came together to cause me to think about and write this essay.

First among them was Senator Harry Reid, saying, while America has troops engaged in the field at war, that the U.S. had already “lost” the war.  This I find this a very dangerous pronouncement that emboldens the enemy and increases the danger to our troops.

Newt Gingrich also impacted my thought.  He made these comments to the news media:

“So my first advice to the president was, ‘Don’t say anything anymore. Keep quiet.’ Let General [David] Petraeus and [Iraq] Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker speak for the country.’

“And then the Democrats in Congress have to decide are General Clinton and General Reid and General Pelosi really more knowledgeable than General Petraeus.

“It’s very hard to go to the country and say I’m going to abandon the Americans in Iraq. It’s very easy to go to the country and say George W. Bush is wrong.”

“None of you should believe we are winning this war. There is no evidence that we are winning this war,” the ex-Georgian told a group of about 300 students attending a conference for collegiate conservatives on August 2, 2007.

Mr. Gingrich said the proper thing to do is to share the burden of Iraq with Democrats.

Mr. Gingrich’s statements, in my view, are right on target.

Then there are some comments made by the Editorial Page Editor of the Washington Times, Mr. Tony Blankley.

Mr. Blankley said the real possibility of a chemical, biological and even nuclear device being detonated in a major American city is further maximized by the unwillingness of many Bush administration critics to appreciate the dangers associated with the rise of radical Islam. He made the statement during the 29th Young America’s Foundation National Conservative Student Conference.

Finally: an essay entitled “The Can’t-Do Nation” and written by John McQuaid appeared in The Washington Post on Sunday, August 5, 2007.  John was wondering some of the same thought I have been having. He writes as part of his essay: “The United States seems to have become the superpower that can’t tie its own shoelaces.”

Read it all:
The Can’t-Do Nation

I was also moved by Mr. William Murchison who wrote a column I renamed.  He complains that he cannot stay awake watching the likes of Hillary, Barak, McCain and the others.  I think maybe 90% of Americans agree with him.  I think we are on the wrong track…..and I don’t see any smart train engineers in the field!

Read it all at:

Presidential Politics: Are You Still Awake?

Two great essays:
Today’s Complaint: I hate Complainers

Our series on PTSD:

War Wounds of The Mind Part I: Historical Perspective on PTSD

War Wounds Of The Mind Part II: Discussions With PTSD Sufferers

War Wounds of the Mind Part III: The Commanders

War Wounds of The Mind Part IV: A Warning About Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

 In God’s Hands Now: The Passing of a Stateless Soldier and a Good Man

War: Changing Lives in an Instant: Bob Woodruff and Mike Who Has PTSD

War Wounds of the Mind Part VI: Half of Soldiers, Marines Returning With PTSD — Red Alert