Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sarah Palin on Iran’s nuke program. Will Obama “toughen up”?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/30/11

Former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington Prince Turki al-Faisal warns senior NATO military officials that the existence of nuclear weapons in Iran "would compel Saudi Arabia … to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences.”

"We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don't. It's as simple as that," he said. "If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit."

There is only one way President Barack Obama can distinguish his tenure from Jimmy Carter’s and win reelection in 2012. Take out Iran’s bomb making capacity.

AFP reports that Iran secretly tested ‘nuclear-capable missiles’: Iran has carried out secret tests of ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload in breach of UN resolutions, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday. . . . Hague's comments came a day after Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said they had fired 14 missiles in an exercise, one of them a medium-range weapon capable of striking Israel or US targets in the Gulf.

But will Obama, in Sarah Palin’s phrase, “toughen up”? It is the right thing to do but of course it would be murderously immoral to so now for apparent political expediency. But then that has not stopped them before (“Arab Spring,” Libya?).

Nevertheless, it is work that needs to be done and if Obama doesn’t do it President Sarah Palin will. Her political intelligence and instincts are the best. She speaks clearly on this issue and did so when all others were silent. In December, 2010 she wrote in an op-ed piece:

Iran continues to defy the international community in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons. Arab leaders in the region rightly fear a nuclear-armed Iran. We suspected this before, but now we know for sure because of leaked diplomatic cables.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia "frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program" . . . . Officials from Jordan said the Iranian nuclear program should be stopped by any means necessary. Officials from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt saw Iran as evil, an "existential threat" and a sponsor of terrorism. If Iran isn't stopped from obtaining nuclear weapons, it could trigger a regional nuclear arms race in which these countries would seek their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves.

Some have said the Israelis should undertake military action on their own if they are convinced the Iranian program is approaching the point of no return. But Iran's nuclear weapons program is not just Israel's problem; it is the world's problem. I agree with the former British prime minister Tony Blair, who said recently that the West must be willing to use force "if necessary" if that is the only alternative.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

“100 million Canadians”

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/29/11

I wrote my editor friend in New York daily ten years ago that I was watching Canada being born – the Creation Myth being the first game led by Hayley Wickenheiser in the Canadian women’s to win gold against America in the Winter Olympics of 2002, with an even better night to follow when the men beat the Americans. From then on there has been a lot of downhill skiing for the U.S. But things keep looking up for Canada. Housing and economy are booming. Canadian banking is the envy of the world and the Canadian dollar is at parity with the American. There is more to Canada today in foreign eyes than just good hockey, good manners, good government and Tim Hortons. There is oil.

But are there enough Canadians to manage the upswing in good fortune?

“Canada should be a country of 100 million people,” University of Toronto scholar Irvin Studin writes in Global Brief, a journal of world affairs in the 21st century. “It has been said before. Apocryphally, by Winston Churchill himself; more recently, by the countless immigrants, newcomers and visitors to the country who are able, it must be observed, to see in Canada what incumbent Canadians oftentimes do not: that Canada could be a proper world power – a country of global consequence – if only… “

Canada’s first francophone prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, was likely tapping into this hypothetical when, in the early 20th century, he declared that the century would be Canada’s, writes Studin. That optimistic impression of the Great White North has endured in certain quarters: at the end of the Cold War certain Chinese measures of ‘comprehensive national power’ rated Canada as among the seven most powerful countries in the world. And in a 2007 speech in Calgary, Tony Blair easily declared that “Canada will become one of the most powerful nations in the world.”

At 34 million, Canadians largely fancy themselves citizens either of a ‘small’ or, at most, a ‘middle’ or ‘principled’ power.

“To this notion of ‘smallness,’ the outsider . . . retorts: ‘What smallness? Canada could be a country of 100 million. Its territory is huge – second only to that of the Russians; it has hyper-abundant natural resources; it is rich in indigenous fresh water and food sources; it has (natural) borders to protect it (and, since 1871, no ‘natural’ enemies); it has stable governance; and, to be sure, it is exceedingly underpopulated; that is, strategically speaking, it is well below carrying capacity.’”

A Canada of 100 million, “ . . . through the force of new domestic structures, coupled with growing international impact (and prestige), undergoes an evolution of the national geist – one arguably appropriate for this new, more complicated, more international century.”

Our family’s most memorable experiences involved camping above Lake Superior in the Canadian wilderness when the children were young. The feeling that there was no one above you and nothing but forest and stars to the Arctic Circle and well beyond added to the serenity. It must be disconcerting now knowing that someone is there. Russians. Americans. Others. All are heading north.

Getting Canada to 100 million would be a project, but necessity may find a way because progress brings its own momentum. It is a force of nature. It cannot be stopped, and like decline, it cannot be avoided.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

World meets Jessica Mah (“The spaceship has landed”)

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/27/11

Say what you like about Whitey and Catherine, but they went in the right direction, to southern California. And in the end they made a handsome couple in that excellent and iconic courtroom drawing, their final portrait together; Whitey Bulger with that distinguished beard, like a South Boston white trash Lawrence Ferlingetti, his handsome mistress framed slightly behind and to his creative left side. The west is the best, and the best final destination for those of us who like Whitey’s family and mine and Tip O’Neill’s and five generation of Kennedys lived virtually on the same block since we arrived from Ireland these last 150 years.

Whitey’s epic journey may well be the last for the Southie Irish and all of Europe’s “huddled masses” who made the Atlantic crossing. It might even mark the end of Europe as long-term economic forecasters have been suggesting; the final death cough of life as we learned it in Europe: 500 years, described by Jacques Barzun from “Dawn to Decadence” with Whitey and Catherine at the very end sunning in Santa Monica.

Because as the Pacific rises all the energy and karma shifts to the west. It is the dark side of Mike Mansfield’s “Pacific Century” – dark for Europe; so far from the action and passion in Singapore and Hong Kong and Mumbai; Europe, surrounded and infiltrated now with enemies of a thousand years, but good of course for Singapore, Hong Kong and Mumbai. And very good for America as well because America is a Pacific country too.

The European transit may only have been prelude and the real awakening and action just ahead. Those like Whitey and Catherine who made it west have made two great journeys; one from Europe to Boston, another from the northeast to California. In each, interfering ancient memory recedes by a quantum beat and the ability to awaken to new thinking flowers.

When the Irish families came to Southie, they came for a purpose, to work in the factories of southern Massachusetts and a new world marked by naked capitalism and unbounded enthusiasm. They were free from their ancient bonds and boundaries and able, if they had the guts, to follow Horace Greeley’s command in 1865, “Go west, young man.”

But today another slogan marks the day: the phrase Apple entrepreneur Steve Jobs used to describe his new building in Cupertino, CA: “The spaceship has landed.”

There is thinking subtle and perhaps sublime in this statement, reflecting back even to Walt Whitman’s 1869 commentary on American vision soaring across the continents, “to Sirius and Jupiter” then returning. And at the return “the true Son of God shall come singing his songs” to begin a new era.

The building is a monolith, a symbol which should mark the rising age. It is a perfect circle, flat on the ground, which reminded one southern California scientist of Stonehenge and suggested “Anthropos”; the “first Human Being” - the awakening of an era of original consciousness. Our American generations will begin again here and Jobs’ magic mirrors like iPad and iCloud will be their talismans.

To watch this century rise Google “Jessica Mah Meets World,” web site for Jessica Mah, founder and CEO at, “the fastest growing way for businesses to track their money online.” She is 20 years old. The unbound and uninhibited enthusiasm and creativity of Jessica and friends – she has been lining up classmates to be on her boards of directors for varying enterprises since fourth grade – brings to mind the first days of the American trasit, the first days of every awakening, days when it is suddenly possible to see more clearly ahead than to see behind.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rick Perry because . . .

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/23/11

WSJ editor James Freeman writes yesterday: “A Republican campaign veteran tells us that Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided to run for President, though the official word from Team Perry is still a definite maybe.”

From The Hill on Dec. 9, 2008 (five months before Tea Party began):

“Could be that we are all destined to be born again as Americans in Texas. Could be that something will happen in Texas to make us different kinds of individuals in the world and a different kind of country. Something from which there will be no turning back. Could be that destiny awaits us in Texas . . .

“Conservatives are reaching a fork in the road; a split between the small government trend which took its initiative with Ronald Reagan, and more traditional conservatives like H.W. Bush with sensibilities formed in the Northeast . . .

“[There] is the fork in the road for conservatives and each trail now has a premise and a tradition. Soon each will have its own leader. The moderate, Eastern conservatives like Colin Powell and Peggy Noonan will call for Jeb or somebody just like him with hopes of following in the tradition of Father George. But a new path is growing here . . . . The natural leader for this new direction is Rick Perry, Governor of Texas.

“Here he is with [then South Carolina Governor] Sanford in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed: As governors and citizens, we've grown increasingly concerned over the past weeks as Washington has thrown bailout after bailout at the national economy with little to show for it . . . In the process, the federal government is not only burying future generations under mountains of debt. It is also taking our country in a very dangerous direction -- toward a ‘bailout mentality’ where we look to government rather than ourselves for solutions. We're asking other governors from both sides of the political aisle to join with us in opposing further federal bailout intervention for three reasons. First, we're crossing the Rubicon with regard to debt.

“Americans phoned and emailed into Congress ten to one in opposition to the Wall Street bailout first proposed by Hank Paulson. Neither party in power spoke to that group. Sanford and Perry do and if this is an awakening constituency, we too will have crossed a river; the Mississippi, like Davy Crockett, on his way to the Alamo . . . “

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Let’s hear from General Petraeus

for The Hill on 6/23/11

When we went to war at the beginning we were fully unprepared. We went from peace to war overnight. Our army under Tommy Frank and administration with Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush had no hands on experience and Congress was made up of peace time people concerned with housekeeping issues. Not until Secretary Robert Gates came to position did a steady hand come to policy in the Middle East conflicts. But General David Petraeus also brought stability and success to a mess he did not create. At his confirmation hearing today to become the next CIA director he should speak plainly about his assessment of the situation as we enter the post-Gates period.

Because President Obama can no longer be trusted on this issue. Drawing down 30,000 troops in opposition to the voice of his military advisers appears to politicize the situation to fit not the needs of the troops on the ground in harm’s way and our allies and friends abroad, but the upcoming presidential election. The wisdom of his recent Libya incursion is questionable as well.

I opposed the invasion from the first day because it was misguided, advanced by those who had never served in war but did in political influence groups, and because the Congress, including leading members then like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden acted out of weakness and expediency. But to leave too soon is as wrong and dangerous as it was to go into the wrong war in the wrong way.

Every historic period ends with a military general and a philosopher politician. Rightly so, as a military officer on the ticket symbolizes the first and foremost job of a president; to lead the armed forces. In our history, Jefferson/Washington, Lincoln/Grant, Roosevelt/Eisenhower. There is no reason why our time should be any different. It has been said that General Petraeus would like to seek the presidency and he could well be chosen as vice president in 2012 or 2016.

It has been ten years since 9/11 and we are ready now to listen to mature and honorable voices be they Dennis Kuchinich’s or Wesley Clark’s or Jim Webb’s. Americans tend to trust Gates and Petraeus, likely more than they do Congress or the press or the president today. Let’s hear what Petraeus has to say.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jon Huntsman Jr. is our own Dr. Carlisle Cullen

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/212/11

When two separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper advises. So for a minute there watching the clip of the most elegant and handsome Jon Huntsman, Jr. it was like that de ja vu thing all over again which Yogi Berra talked about. I thought I was back in the movie theater with my 13-year old daughter watching “Twilight.” Out of the mystery and danger; out of chaos, blood lust and barbarism, comes the handsome, young, dependable and strong father figure, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, who brings us back to order. A stunning figure, Huntsman/Cullen, but not really one of us. One who was one of us, but evolved beyond his bestial nature to a higher form; a celestial one, but one who was led back to us by compassion; back to us mere mortals who are still driven by the beast, come to us now to help us along, to guide us, to cure us. That is Carlisle, the Cullen patriarch, and that could well describe Joseph Smith, who led a small group out of the utter moral and spiritual confusion of 1830s Vermont, to a structured new enlightenment in the desert of Utah. And now, Huntsman comes out of exile and brings it back to us.

Huntsman is picture perfect and could well play Dr. Carlisle Cullen, father of the “good” vampires in the “Twilight” saga, and maybe for the first time in the post-war saga we can say that populism has failed us and has failed the world. Huntsman/Cullen is not “one of us.” He is better than us. And now, here because we need him, because if we continue along the populist path we will not only fail – we have already failed; no, this time we will fall apart. But maybe Jon Huntsman, Jr. can save us.

It is serendipitous that the movie version of the fourth and final book in the “Twilight” series, “Breaking Dawn,” which sold 1.3 million in the first 24 hours, will be released on November 18, 2011, when the campaign is in full swing. Because the connection between Jon Huntsman, Jr. and Dr. Carlisle Cullen in looks and personality can be mesmerizing.

The books and movies were at first met with denial. Possibly because the vampires in this series are not bad, they are good and they are better than the humans. They are angels or “gods” and have risen to a greater nature than that of the everyday pudknockers of Forks, Washington. And these books appeared as a dream in the heart of a Mormon novelist, Stephanie Meyer, who learned to write, she said, to get it all down. They are not “Mormon books” and work ethic, discipline, a moral life and compassionate commitment, a commitment to becoming better are not exclusively moral values. But they are Cullen values and they are the values of Jon Huntsman, Jr.
In the four books a mythic marriage takes place. It is an American creation myth incorporating Native American heart with Mormon moral order. It bring in myth the return of the “white queen” – the chess figure on the cover of the last book; that is, it brings the white queen, Bella, to victory over the red queen, who’s name happens to be Victoria. This begins the historic cycle of the English-speaking people described by mythologist Robert Graves back to its beginning, and in that regard, it is an American “creation myth.”
It should be interesting. Maybe that is why they don’t like Mormons. They are intelligent, they are compassionate and they are better than us who have not yet conquered the beast.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry adds TSA bill to special session

- from Tenth Amendment Center

Texas Gov. Rick Perry presented legislation for consideration this week in the ongoing Eighty-Second Texas Legislature, First Called Session that would ban intrusive TSA pat-downs.

"We applaud Gov. Perry for presenting this legislation," Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said. "James Madison said states are duty bound to interpose when the federal government overreaches its constitutional limits. Nobody can argue that requiring citizens to get groped by a badged agent in order to get on an airplane doesn't step way over the line."

The bill passed the Texas House unanimously in the general session in May and was poised to pass the Senate when a letter from U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy threatening to shut down air travel in the Lone Star State scared Texas Senators into backing down.

"It's an opportunity for redemption. Now its time for the Texas legislature to do its job and get this bill passed," Maharrey said.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lord Stanley returns to the center of the universe

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/20/11

Those who took a course in journalism 30 years ago may recall the famous headline, “Hub man dies in Chicago fire.” It is how the populist press in Boston referred to the great Chicago fire. The fire itself was inconsequential. The big story was that a Boston man died in it.

Because Boston was “the Hub” and the Boston Bruins today is sometimes referred to as “the Hub of Hockey.” Actually the phrase was coined by Oliver Wendell Holmes as “the hub of the solar system” modified to “the hub of the universe.” Because the universe is not peace then but conflict and countervailing forces.

It was the height of arrogance unless of course the assessment was correct and Boston is the hub of the universe. Black Elk said the “center of the world” is wherever you are so maybe it works like that.

But this explains the symbol on the chest of the Boston Bruins who won the Stanley Cup last week and brought it back to Boston for the first time since 1972. It is an eight-spoked wheel, known in the study of the I Ching as a bagua. Viewers of “Lost” know it to mark the four corners of the universe or the totality of human consciousness; four, then four again in shadow, and then in the center – the hub – where the “B” is, resides the Creator.

For someone who grew up here it is interesting because the “land of the free,” the Constitution, Jefferson and Adams then were awaiting abstractions. Real life consisted of a fight on the ice between French and Irish working people. It became institutionalized in the game and now the great kids from Dartmouth, UNH and U Vermont who play fight to honor the tradition.

As they should. It is everything. It is freedom, it is being, it is the creation. A fight on ice between Montreal and Boston in Montreal on St. Patrick’s Day,1955, caused a riot with $100,000 damages, 37 injuries and 100 arrests. But it also brought about a new cultural movement and reformulated Quebec to a more Jeffersonian vision of cultural autonomy.

There is a beast in the heart of Canada today and it brings the gift of life. It is the most sacred and vital part of Canada. It comes from Boston and the Bruins flamboyant trickster coach Don Cherry brought it to Canada. Without it, Canada would not gel; it would fall apart. Without the kind of hockey Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver (and Pittsburg and the Broad Street Bullies) play together, Canada would be Vermont.

So I was not disappointed to see the Vancouver fans riot in the streets after St. Timmie snatched victory from the strange red twins of Vancouver and brought the cup back to Boston. Vancouver is booming; the average price of a house is around 900 thousand. It is called the Paris of the west. The sight of turbans and beards on Sikh members of the RCMP at the anthem indicate a strong, authentic and creative multiculturalism. But it is new to the world and new to North America.

Vancouver is said now to hate Boston even more than Maurice (“The Rocket”) Richard and the Montreal Canadiens did back in the Fifties. This is good. It will form them to what they will be and what they will not be. It will make them whole as it did Quebec. It will make them strong, it will make them free and it will make them Canadian.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rick Perry, Ron Paul and the “flatliners"

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/17/11

Ron Paul said on Fox News Thursday that Texas Governor Rick Perry “doesn’t identify with the people who are disenchanted with the status quo.” But a Texas Lyceum statewide poll conducted a few weeks ago showed Paul ahead of Perry by only an inch, Paul at 10% and Perry at 9%. And Paul has been campaigning constantly now for almost four years while Perry hasn’t even entered the race yet.

Paul is a different man today than when he ran as a quixotic anti-war outsider in 2008. He is part of the establishment; proud and smug at the grownups table after all those years. Today he quips knowing asides about Sarah Palin to the other black suits . . . not one of us, don’t cha know. Today he does interviews with the quintessentially mainstream Al Hunt on Bloomberg TV. Gone are the days when only outsider libertarian and tiny apocalyptic political journals listened. Days when he hoped to shock on Fox by quoting utopian socialist Upton Sinclair: "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross,” - suggesting of course the last Republican administration. I didn’t hear that in the Hunt interview.

The Wall street Journal’s Daniel Henninger, on Rick Perry’s New York visit this week: “Say this—if the Texas governor gets in, you won't see another debate like last Tuesday's GOP flatliner in New Hampshire.”

Paul is no longer the “rooky pest.” He is now one of the flatliners.

Paul was a charming maverick during the war in Iraq, the kind we used to sprout regularly up here in New Hampshire; seemingly touched by the Lord and out of touch with the world. He brought old ideas like the gold standard and Austrian economics into the conversation and they are good ideas. Thanks for sharing. But Perry brings management abilities like those of no other governor and certainly well beyond anything a gadfly like Paul could manage. As Henninger correctly put it, Perry brings to America at large, “Texas, Texas and the Tenth Amendment.” That would be the Texas where up to 40% of new jobs materialize and where California companies are fleeing to.

Tenth Amendment is the stuff and substance of the Tea Party. And economic competition between the states and regions which Perry pioneers is in fact a Petri dish for Hayek and the Austrian economists

And while Paul was till preaching to the few, Rick Perry was thinking of the many. On Dec. 2, 2008, well before the phrase Tea Party was born, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “As governors and citizens, we've grown increasingly concerned over the past weeks as Washington has thrown bailout after bailout at the national economy with little to show for it . . . In the process, the federal government is not only burying future generations under mountains of debt. It is also taking our country in a very dangerous direction -- toward a "bailout mentality" where we look to government rather than ourselves for solutions.”

Perry speaks as a governor to other governors like Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, South Carolina’s Nikki Perry, Virginia’s Bob McDonnell, Butch Other of Idaho and others who are revolutionizing governance on a primary Constitutional level. It is a door that has opened that will not be closed.

Paul will always have a useful role. He will be to this rising political sensibility much as Ralph Nader was to the receding cycle of liberalism of the past 40 years. And like Nader, his place will ultimately be on the margins.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weiner and the end of liberalism

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/15/11

One of the more curious aspects of the Weiner situation – it might be called the Weiner phenomenon – is that it went on for so long and the messages got stranger and stranger. This morning’s Drudge headline: “New pictures show teen Weiner cross dressing and ’oiled up’ . . . .” He seemed to want to get caught. There is desperation to his behavior like that of the Soviets at the end of empire or Kim Jong-il threatening the entire outside world with wilder and crazier schemes when he is virtually alone and crated in isolation. My thought was that Weiner is not a stupid guy. He isn’t really perverted in any conventional sense. He is simply acting out political action and behavior to offend; oppositional behavior to offend the “Bible Belt” which he sees, probably correctly, as the rising wellspring of conservative cultural and economic vision in North America. Like the wacky Kim Jong-il, Weiner, so very distant from the center of the circle; so far from the master’s voice, acts out an inchoate end game. Possibly we are seeing the desperate end of western liberalism.

“It’s New York City. This isn’t Bible Belt tolerance; that’s not a New York thing,” Robert Liff, a New York Democratic political operative told McClatchy newspapers. “We’re a live-and-let-live city.”

It’s those gnarly red necks out there in the Bible Belt; cooking hot dogs on their Webber grills, doing cannonballs in their suburban swimming pools, going to church. Going hunting. Having children.

Worth suggesting the end of liberalism because that seems to be going on in Canada. In the recent election conservative Stephen Harper won again after serving since 2004. For once, Canada did not follow America’s cue and send up a pseudo-Obama. The Liberal Party won the fewest seats in their history and party leader Michael Ignatieff was defeated in his riding.

What is significant here is that Michael Ignatieff, a retired Harvard professor and liberal writer, won only 34 seats. It has been said that in Canada, the old liberalism – Roosevelt, Obama, Weiner-style liberalism – is dead.

My guess is that we are seeing something of the same happening here with the rise in influence of people like Ron Paul, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

Ted Kennedy, not only the Senate champion of liberal thinking, but the bearer of a family vision of liberalism which has dominated America and the west since 1960, has been dead now almost two years. Looking back to Jefferson, to Victoria and Eisenhower, an “avatar” or archetypal quality of leadership can be observed: When the archetypal leader dies the movement dies with him and the country quickly moves on. Just as the heartland moved to the rustic, two-fisted populist Andrew Jackson of Tennessee’s frontier just three years after the historic revolutionary Jefferson’s death.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Sarah Palin show trial (Sarah Palin/Nikki Haley ’12)

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/11/11

From Washington Post coverage of Sarah Palin’s email cashe: “Palin, who since coined the phrase ‘Mama Grizzlies’ to warmly describe female conservatives, wrote an impassioned e-mail to an aide in March 2008 about criticism of female politicians: “ ‘they’ said the same thing throughout my career — ‘too young’, ‘pregnant’, ‘kids’ . . . ‘She won’t be able to do it’ . . . This coming from good ol’ boys who don’t like change . . . And so far along in my career we’ve proved them wrong at each turn.””

The good ol’ boys who don’t like change brought their women with them when they went after Palin in 2008. They also went after South Carolina’s new governor Nikki Haley with even more despicable attempts, reviving old South strategies used effectively during Jim Crow. What was telling in both these cases that women in the press stood to the side when Haley was under attack and in Palin’s case, actively initiated scrorn and contempt.

But there is a spider woman quality that lurks behind these women: Haley has since been on the cover of Newsweek and is commonly mentioned now as a vice president candidate in 2012. And South Carolina’s legislature, considered one of the worse in the country, is feeling her scourge. While those who lashed out at Palin or attempted to sandbag her (not “one of us” – she uses a Garfield calendar and reads C.S. Lewis, has children, shoots bears and eats them) like those who tapped the Egyptian crypts are followed by bad luck: Chrales Hanson and Katie Couric after deceptive, dishonest, garden path interviews are retired to the reading room after decent interval; after the giggles, Letterman found himself in a heap of trouble, and after the NYT’s, in one of the most bizarre and propagandistic pieces of front-page reporting in the history of the written word, claimed she was responsible for a mad killer’s shooting in Arizona, the editor was sent back to the trenches.

The Washington Post’s initial coverage of the Palin emails, which hordes of reporters are filing through in an unprecedented action obviously looking to publically embarrass the VP candidate of 2008. One investigative reporter reported that she once said, “Sheesh” and is this time strangely fair and eventhe NYTs and Wa Post issued open calls to readers asking them to “investigate” emails fro mher tenure as governor of Alaska.

But headlines and leads are remarkably even-handed: “A cache of e-mails released Friday add vivid new color and fresh details to the complicated public portrait of Sarah Palin, who displayed many of the same strengths, and shortcomings, as Alaska governor that she would later bring to the national political stage.”

From McClatchy Newspapers: “Emails released yesterday from Sarah Palin’s time as Alaska’s governor show a double-fisted Blackberry user fully comfortable with handling nearly every aspect of state government from her private and state email accounts.”

Prediction: This will bring an Ollie North moment. In July 1987, Oliver North, a Marine colonel, was called to testify before televised hearings of a joint Congressional committee that was investigating Iran-Contra. Cards of support which came in were left in piles on the desk. The show trial attempts flipped and Col. North became an overnight national folk hero.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Is Romney sincere in his Tea Party pitch?
By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/7/11

I’d say so.

“I’m going to insist that Washington respect the Constitution,” he told an audience up here in New Hampshire last week. He said he would “return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs – and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare.”

Many who claim Tea Party status have already forgotten that was/is what it is all about: Constitutional government and state sovereignty as outlined in the Tenth Amendment. But Romney was listening to Tea Party ideas as governor of Massachusetts several years before the phrase Tea Party even appeared.

And he was first to use the phrase “one size does not fit all” in opposition to federal government long before it became popular with others.

Romney inherently understands state sovereignty as it is outlined in the Constitution. He didn’t have to “re-learn” it as so many others have done. Even when gay marriage arose as a political position in Massachusetts, he used a states’ rights defense. In a speech to the Federalist Society, he said that judges should not be able to trump state legislation and that Massachusetts already has statutes governing marriage. In contrast, Michelle Bachman, pride of the Tea Party, proposed a federal solution.

His claim that when elected President he would immediately grant a waiver on Obamacare to every state is clever and offers a path to easing into a solution without chaos.

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney showed that he would learn from new ideas and that he understood the contours of change on a historic scale. He was among the first of “establishment” conservatives to support the Tea Party movement and with Sarah Palin, came forth without hesitation to support beleaguered Tea Party favorite Nikki Haley in South Carolina.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Dems find courage, conviction and common sense in Dennis Kucinich

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/6/11

Kucinich’s anti-war Resolution might be the moment on which the Democrats can regroup and even begin again. Last Wednesday, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made the following statement after his resolution, H. Con. Res. 51, to end the war in Libya was pulled from the Floor calendar and postponed:
“I am disappointed that the President and leadership feel the need to buy even more time to shore up support for the War in Libya. It’s not surprising that some are now wondering if a preliminary vote count on my resolution came out in favor of defending the Constitution.”

Been a long time coming. A turning seemed to be ahead five years ago when Marcos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos and a commentator at The Hill, talked of a new generation rising in the Democratic party with former governor, now Virginia senator, Mark Warner and Virginia Senator Jim Webb. But conservatives stole the agrarian fire.

Problem was the Clintons, said Kos. “ . . . the New York senator is part of a failed Democratic Party establishment -- led by her husband -- that enabled the George W. Bush presidency and the Republican majorities, and all the havoc they have wreaked at home and abroad,” he wrote in the Washington Post on May 7, 2006.

Will these Clinton-era Democrats never go away, asked Kos on his famous blog?

Apparently not. One appears now to be Secretary of State. And I don’t see that Obama has brought the cure to awaken a new liberal strategy and culture. He is an adult. He completes the Kennedy age. But he seems a one night stand and like the Clintons, a parlor liberal, more suited to the blithe sensibilities of the summer crowd at Martha’s Vineyard than to Sarah Palin’s mighty bunch of farmers, fishermen, veterans, bikers, preachers, red necks, guys named Darryl and Ted Nugent.

And this: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. – Barack Obama, Dec. 20, 2007.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Kucinich’s anti-war resolution on Libya is a repudiation of the current Democratic leadership and direction.

During the war on Iraq, Moulitsas was a big supporter of Howard Dean’s anti-war position. I felt was a mistake: It went to the marginal in a time of crisis. But Moulitsas once mentioned that he first supported Clark. General Wesley Clark had the better ideas about the invasion of Iraq.

Clark was right again this spring in regard to Libya as well. And like Kucinich, he went again in opposition to the main thrust the Democratic leadership would take. Libya didn’t meet the test for U.S. intervention, Clark wrote in the Washington Post on March 11, 2011.

“. . . as Moammar Gaddafi looks vulnerable and Libya descends into violence,” wrote Clark, “familiar voices are shouting, once again: ‘Quick, intervene, do something!’ It could be a low-cost win for democracy in the region. But before we aid the Libyan rebels or establish a no-fly zone, let's review what we've learned about intervening since we pulled out of Vietnam.”

With the impending irrelevance of both Anthony “Sticky Fingers” Weiner (Google it) and John Edwards, north and south aspects of Clinton/Obama-era salon liberalism may be descending. Clinton/Obama seems today the party of the very rich and fashionable, and this is what has brought wind to the sails of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.
Kucinich brings the opportunity to start from scratch, back home with the people.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Dennis Kucinich on 20-years of war

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 5/26/11

War changes people. After the Mexican War, contention between the urban, industrializing northeast and the rustics of the heartland was no longer metaphysical. It began to take form as physical contention. After the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, war which had been brewing – in Churchill’s estimation – since the Boer wars began to bring blood to the streets and it wouldn’t stop flowing until Yalta. It began in 1914 but America wasn’t fully ready to fight until Pearl Harbor, 1941. And as Ulysses S. Grant said about earlier conflict: If you didn’t serve you would be left out. We have been at war for ten years now and those pundits, politicians and salon diplomats most reluctant to go at first lead the way here at the end against Kaddafi. Last to serve, they end up at the front of the parade when the war is over. 'Twas ever thus in war. My uncles and cousins and grand uncles and great grand uncles, participants in peace and war from Cemetery Ridge to Khe Sahn, had a name for them: “flag wavers.”
This war will change us as well. In my opinion it will psychologically empower the heartland as the Mexican War did, because that is where most of the soldiers and veterans live. It already has.
Some of different opinion and culture, have been honorable throughout: Virginia Senator Jim Webb, General Wesley Clark, Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold, the late Robert C. Byrd, senator from West Virginia, and Col. Lawrence Wilkerson come first to mind. But the unique, creative and possibly most singular and different individual in a compliant and appeasing Congress, Dennis Kucinich, representative from Ohio, belongs to the “honorable throughout” group as well and it is worth listening to what he has to say about “Permanent War and the National Security State.”
Because it is more than ten years. It started more than 20 years ago when then President George W. Bush climbed the mountain then turned around, going after Saddam Hussein in 1990, then leaving him standing, like the noble Duke of York, who was neither up nor down.
From Rep. Kucinich’s press release:
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a leading advocate for peace, today offered a broad critique of the National Defense Authorization Act which continues disastrous policies in Libya, and allows for permanent, global war and reauthorizes harmful provisions of the Patriot Act.
“I am offering an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill which would defund the war in Libya.
“The war is unconstitutional. The President did not come to this Congress, he went to the U.N. Security Council, he went to a number of international bodies, but he didn't come to the United States Congress. Last week, the President did not observe the tolling of the War Powers Act, so he's in violation of the statute.
“The action over in Libya has already exceeded the U.N. mandate; it's in violation of the U.N. mandate and there have been violations of international law.
“What are we doing there? Why does anyone think we can afford it? Why aren't we trying to find a path to peace so we aren’t called upon to spend more money there? These are questions we have to be asking; that's why Congress needs to say we're not going to spend more money there.”

Friday, June 03, 2011

Proposed New York agenda for Texas Governor Rick Perry

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/3/11

From the NY Daily News: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who's been tinkering with the idea of a run for the White House, will be the keynote speaker at the New York Republican County Committee’s Annual Lincoln Dinner on June 14, 2011.”
Gov. Perry’s attendance at the New York County Republican Dinner proves that New York is still the center of the universe, for politics and otherwise, said state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who will also speak.

But is New York City still the center of the universe? The great papers are gone, the Yankees have been beaten by Boston twice in the World Series, and when the stocks crashed in 2007 the bell broke on Wall Street. The legendary investor Jim Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros, said it was all over for New York and London, which had been booming with investor money since the 1980s. You don’t need Wall Street to invest nowadays. All you need is one of those nerd machines; smart phones or something. Rogers moved to Singapore.

Wasn’t always like that. Once was New York City boomed in letters and cash flow, and the most prominent among us – Willa Cather, Truman Capote and editors like Esquire’s Harold T.P, Hayes and Harper’s Willie Morris – were from the heartland. The idea then was that the South and the heartland and places like Texas had something that was part of us and we were only partial without them.

Even Imus – and I hope you talk to Imus when you are up here – said not long ago when NYTs columnist Frank Rich quit to write a column for New York Magazine; “New York Magazine? I haven’t read that since Clay Felker [of Missouri] was editor.”
It is all going on now in places in the middle where all the farms and commodities are, says Rogers, which is practically everywhere between New York City and Los Angeles. He advises his clients to trade in the Macerates for John Deeres and to buy farmland.

The shift of population, economy and influence to the southwest and west, has made us New Yorkers pouty. What role will we have in the Texas Century we wonder? Will 150 years of northern scorn have a price? I hope y’all not gonna hold a grudge. Because the question all Americans have to ask today is: Can France exist without Paris, China without Beijing, Italy without Rome, and America without New York City?

But there is still much timeless and some good new stuff here so here is a proposed agenda: A measure of any major western city today is the quality of its Chinatown and New York’s is the greatest. Lunch there or maybe meet Judge Andrew Napolitano at Fanelli’s CafĂ© between Mercer and Greene. I think the Judge works nearby. Then walk up to the Strand Bookstore, with 18 miles of new, used and rare books, and go left over to Chelsea to the new Rubin Museum of Art which features art from the Himalayas. I hear it’s terrific. Meet Donald Trump at the White Horse Tavern where Dylan Thomas died drinking on Hudson Street in the West Village. I’m sure he will take you someplace nice for dinner.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Anthony Weiner’s problem
By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/2/11

Anthony Weiner’s problem is that he is no longer a good fit for New York. It might be New York’s problem.

One absolutely Aquarian mystery arose in New York City in the real time of “Mad Men” which was about when Weiner was born - the sudden appearance of Jews with long whiskers and black overcoats riding yellow school buses to the diamond district.
When the orthodox Jews arrived from Russia, New Yorkers did not relate to torah as a guide. In the time of “Mad Men,” Israel was a secular state, a socialist state, led by kibbutznik Golda Meir, born in Ukraine but raised in Milwaukee.

But the return of religious, orthodox Jews to New York and Israel is one of the most important events in the post-war period and potentially in the history of faith. New York’s secular Jews like everyone else there then would have a difficult time relating to a sacred state – a state guided by God’s truths as prescribed by torah, and not necessarily John Locke’s or Karl Marx’s.

Caroline Glick, a prominent Israeli columnist, writes that President Obama’s “ . . . icy glares at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office last Friday, his address before the AIPAC conference on Sunday, and his subsequent press briefings have all made clear that he is not sympathetically inclined toward Israel, nor does he consider Israel an ally worth defending.” Why are American Jewish leaders defending Obama, she asks?

One plausible explanation, she writes, is that “Jewish leaders are concerned that their fellow American Jews are more attached to their identity as Democrats than they are to their identity as Jews.”

That is, more attached to Obama or Bill Clinton (who married Weiner, a Jew) than to the path of torah.

As I write about Israel rising today as a sacred state, I regularly receive mail from American Jews with anti-Semetic caricatures of orthodox Jewry and the followers of Dov Ber of Lubavitch.

Weiner has been a strong supporter of Israel, but his neurosis suggests a state of crisis of identity, and it is one that virtually all of my Woodstock Age Jewish friends are experiencing.

American democracy is a secular world (conquering) vision. Israeli today and likely increasing into the future, is rising to be a torah-based state.

They certainly cannot understand it to be a better state, a state of “higher law.” But in the end, the democratic, globalist vision which is the New York state of mind of recent times, and the sacred torah-based state rising today in Israel are incompatible.