Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Interview with Congressman Tom Tancredo


Interview with Congressman Tom Tancredo, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, recorded Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 5:00 pm by Tom McLaughlin for Family Security Matters.

Thank you for calling Congressman. I’ll be recording this interview if that’s all right.

Sure.

You were the first government official I ever heard raise the issue of illegal immigration, at least from where I live here in Maine . . .


Yeah.

. . . and you must be pretty gratified that ah . . .

I am. I am. It’s almost a - last night when we passed the amendment that I had proposed to the Justice Department funding bill, and it said that no funding from this bill can be used for the incarceration of Messrs. Ramos and Compian, I’m telling you - that alone is the most amazing thing I have ever seen here. First of all, it’s a unique undertaking that had never been tried before. And secondly, to have it pass with a voice vote because Democrats did not even want to have some of their members exposed by having to cast a recorded vote, so they could not require a recorded vote - they just passed it on voice . . .

Um-hmm.

That will mean that we’ll have to watch them carefully because they’re going to have to try and take it out during the Conference Committee that will occur after the Senate passes their version of the Commerce-State-Justice. But nonetheless, the point I’m trying to make is that it is an amazing change of attitude and atmosphere around here - something almost unbelievable to me.

They were pretty shook up last month when a [illegal alien amnesty] bill they thought was a sure thing went down.

That did it. That did it. It was a seismic shift there - I mean it was amazing. On Tuesday we had only thirty-six votes. On Thursday we had fifty-three and every one of them were senators who were up for reelection who changed their votes. It was only because of the massive outpouring of sentiment, and that made everybody understand what we’re really dealing with here. Until then, I don’t think people really believed that Americans paid attention to it or were concerned about it. They really believed they could finesse the issue, you know?

Yes. Yes.

. . . just slip it by - nobody will really care - no big issue with most Americans. Democrats looked at it as new votes coming in. Republicans looked at it as cheap labor.

Right. That about sums it up. It was quite a shift all right. Do you think the “new media” could take some of the credit for that?

You bet your life. Talk radio and the internet - those two things. The entire playing field is different here and it’s because of the fact that people are willing to participate in this process we call a democracy - or more accurately, a republic - and the fact that they are getting information they would not get through the traditional media. I announced my candidacy for president on talk radio and I did so because, as I told John Michaelson on his show in Iowa, I’m doing this, in a way, because you guys are the ones who brought me to the party. I’ve done now almost three thousand radio shows and that’s [only since] we started keeping count about five years ago. Talk radio has given me - and certainly others - given me a megaphone that I would never have had otherwise. Then what happens is you can pick it up in the blogosphere and all the rest of it. It’s amazing and I just can’t tell you how pleased I am about this and how important it is because, really, I must admit to you that I am fearful for the republic. When only 14% of the general public actually gives approval of the Congress - and twenty-something percent for the president - you know it’s not because I’m an incumbent. The fact is I would rate us poorly also - the fact that there are 85% of the people out there who are disconnected from their government, who don’t believe it works, and you know what? It doesn’t work. It doesn’t. And I mean people see it and they become disillusioned. That’s why it’s so neat that phones rang off the hook in the Senate and it changed the bill. It reaffirmed the belief that people’s voices can be heard. I will tell you, I did feel at certain points in time, and have mentioned this to others who have agreed - during the debate on that bill I had the feeling, recognizing the intensity of the debate out there in the country itself . . .

Um-hmm.

. . . that had it passed, I believe there would have been violence, in a very limited - don’t get me wrong - I’m not talking about a revolution with everybody in the streets with arms - but I’m talking about certain areas, small, maybe on the border, there would have been violence. It’s amazing how intensely people feel about this issue. And thank God there was a revolution of sorts, a small one just the ballot box at this stage - at the email and telephone stage - of stopping legislation.

Yes, indeed. Um, I want to stop right here for a minute so I can do a check. I hope that cell phone is working. (I checked my computer recording equipment because I was getting very weak audio from him. He was in the Capitol and he took the opportunity to cast a vote. I called him back on a land line but still the signal was weak. We continued anyway, but the audio was so weak I can’t make a podcast.)


I’m going to the twelve basic questions which I think Mr. Moore gave you?


Actually I don’t believe I have them but go ahead anyway.

Okay. When and why did you decide to run for president?


It was about four months ago and it was because I had talked to and listened to the other people who had expressed a desire to run. I spoke personally to Romney for instance and asked him about his position on immigration and it was not satisfactory. And when I recognized there was no one there, there was absolutely no one there who was going to take this issue on, I decided that I had to do it. I have to tell you there is no allure to the office of president. Of course it’s enormously powerful but there’s no allure to it. I do what I do because issues need to be advanced. I articulate them as best I can, and if I’m president of the United States I will implement them. I did not begin this by simply seeking the office of president, if you know what I mean. It wasn’t me saying: “What will I do today? I know. I’ll run for president.” I did it because I could find no one else who will address these issues in the way that I believe they need to be addressed.

Okay. What do you see as our biggest domestic problem? Probably the immigration issue as we just discussed.


Of course it is. The most serious domestic policy issue would have to be immigration.

What do you see as our biggest foreign policy problem?


The Middle East. Actually, the war on Radical Islam.

Um-hmm. I like the way you phrased that. In our struggle against Radical Islam, which is the way I phrased it here [also], how important is the propaganda aspect of it - the propaganda war?

There are two ways to fight any war: one is with the force of arms, and the other is with the force of ideas. They’re equally at issue.

I’m trying to ask all the candidates the same questions and the next one is about immigraton again, but let me rephrase it: As president, what is the first thing you would do?

I’d turn to my Attorney General and tell him that he should begin a vigorous enforcement of the law against hiring people who are here illegally. Employers who are violating the law I’d want to be one of the top priorities. Then I would turn to the Homeland Security Secretary and say, you are to secure that southern border and then start securing the northern border with, first of all, a triple-layer boundary fence, and secondly the human resources behind it that need to be there in order to secure it.

Okay. How do you understand the first part of our Fourteenth Amendment?

I’ll tell you what - it has absolutely nothing to do with illegal immigration. It was a response to the Dredd Scott Decision. It was made entirely for the purpose of assuring that children of slaves would have benefit of citizenship and it has nothing to do with illegal immigrants [anchor babies]. There’s specific wording in there which would indicate, ah, the case. I think the phrase is, ah, “people have be in the United States and under the jurisdiction thereof,” Umm . . .

Yup.

And, ah, that is an important phrase.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof . . .”

Yeah.

Okay. Interesting little quote. I hadn’t looked at it that way before. Would you require states and/or cities to restrict federally-subsidized social services to citizens only?


I would if I could. The social services - if they’re not federally funded the federal government really doesn’t play a role in this, but any social services that have federal funds attached - absolutely. Now that’s almost everything to tell you the truth. I don’t know that there’s any county in the United States of America that doesn’t administer some sort of social service benefit that’s supplemented by federal funds, so yeah. Citizenship has got to mean something.

All right. What would victory in Iraq look like?

Well, it would look like a stabilized Iraq. It would not look, geopolitically like we see it today, but it would be a place of some degree of stability, and a place that is a buffer in a way between the Shia crescent and the Sunni crescent.

Okay, and how would you get there?

Ah, the first thing we would have to do is disengage as the police force in Iraq. It’s not the appropriate use of our military. It must be turned over to the Iraqis and I mean now. But we cannot withdraw from the area. We will be there for a long time and I don’t care who is president, there is no way we will not have troops in and around Iraq and in the Middle East - in that area - for a long time. There are national security interests that are at stake there - that keep us there - but we cannot continue to be the police force in Iraq. Impossible. That job has got to be taken over by the Iraqis - the patrolling of their streets in their own Humvees or in those we give them. I don’t care. The simple police, the constabulary activities in Iraq have to be done by Iraqis and there may be a great deal of violence, I know, but there’s a great deal of violence, of course, every day. And civil war? Well it could certainly be defined that way now. But one thing I do know is that civil war eventually - eventually ends in civil peace. It may be a long and ugly period of time, but we’re going to have to turn the keys to the house over to the Iraqis, and we should do so as soon as possible. I mean right away.

Okay. How important do you see democracy in the Middle East?

It may not be something we necessarily picture or define that develops over there, and I didn’t say democracy. I just said stability.

Um-hmm.

We have created an embryonic democracy. Whether it remains that way or not is still sort of, ah, something that is up in the air. What I want is stability. The idea of a democratic Iraq is not imperative. Preferable, but not imperative. What we want is a stable Iraq - not attached to either the Sunni or the Shia, and that dominates the world around them. That is preferable, but is it possible? Oh boy - another question entirely.

Okay. Next door - how would you deal with Iran?


Iran is a huge question mark because we don’t know exactly the extent to which the internal politics of Iran are playing out. There is hope. Oh, hang on a minute. Gotta vote . . . (I waited on the line until he came back) . . . Okay. What I was saying is, a great deal of information - mixed messages - a great deal of mixed messages are coming out of Iran that would suggest we have a possibility of a transition, a regime change, a modification of the regime, all because the population there is very mixed. It’s only 60% Persian. There are a lot of Sunnis even. There are a lot of Christians. There are a lot of Kurds, and it is a relatively well-educated population and, if you can believe polls taken there, Americans are thought of very well by a large percentage of the - especially the younger population - so the tricky thing is to bring about a modification of their government and not do so with boots on the ground which would be, certainly, a disaster and an embroilment in the conflict that I’m not sure we can be successful in. We have to, on the other hand, do what we can to make sure that a guy [Mahmoud Ahmadinijad] who believes he is the transition point for the return of the Twelfth Imam . . .

Um-hmm.


. . . you know in that case you’ll recall there are all kinds of catastrophic events that have to occur in order for the Twelfth Imam to return - and this guy thinks he’s going to bring them about. I just don’t think that it’s a good idea to give this guy a bomb or a nuclear weapon or let him obtain one. So it’s challenging - to say the least it is challenging, but you can work with the Iranian diaspora - there are a lot of people outside of the country and a lot of people inside of the country with whom you can work . . .

“You can work with the Iranian . . .”?

Diaspora. Uh, there are the . . .

Diaspora [Iranian nationals living abroad]. Oh, okay, yes right . . .

Because they want change, believe me.

Um-hmm.

So you have diplomatic, economic and military choices, and they are sometimes enormously challenging. For instance, we need to provide support - economic and moral, if you will - to the people inside of Iran who are working to overthrow the regime. But if we announced - if we actually said that - it puts a target on their back. I mean that’s exactly what the Iranian government wants to show the Iranian people - that any dissent whatsoever is like an American plot being paid for by the CIA.

Um-hmm.

So how do you get that done? You need to provide financial support, but you sure as heck cannot announce it. We’ve actually made this mistake. We just announced the other day we’re going to have $75 million that we’re putting into a variety of different accounts for “democracy in Iran” but, boy, that’s putting a very big target on the back of every Iranian dissident. And so it’s a tricky process, I’m going to tell you that.

Um-hmm. I’m glad you know who the Twelfth Imam is and how that’s a factor in what Ahmadinijad is trying to do over there.

Yeah.

You’re the first candidate who has voiced that and I’ve interviewed four of them. Ah, what do you think of the old quote: “That government governs best that governs least”?

That’s exactly right. I may have mentioned in our conversation - I can’t remember - our converation has gone back and forth. I may have mentioned that most people believe that, ah, the government is not working. And that’s because it isn’t.

Um-hmm.

And that’s because it’s too big. It can’t do all the things that people ask of it. Everybody has got to realize that. We cannot provide health care for every American; education for every American; social services for every American. The federal government was never designed for that. Never. The Constitution is clear about what our role is. We’re going to protect and defend. That’s it. If we just focused on that and let the states take care of the rest of the stuff, frankly, we would be able do a better job at what we can do. But, you know, demands are constant. Every time I speak, even in New Hampshire, Iowa, the heartland - where you think you are among the folks who - you know, New Hampshire, lets say. “Live Free or Die” right?

Yeah. I’m right next door.

[People are saying] “Live free or die? I don’t think I want to die, and I want to ask the federal government to make sure I don’t. You know, it’s going to protect me with a bubble. I don’t ever want to ever be ill, and if I do I want you to pay for it.” It’s astounding. We get what we demand and what we get is huge government and everybody complains about the deficit or the intrusive nature of government. Well, yeah! It’s take your pick. What do you want?

How would you shrink the federal bureaucracy?

Believe me. It’s called veto. It’s called a veto. I would veto appropriations bill for these departments until they shut down the government.

Hmm.


I have no qualms about that. I lived through it. I was in Reagan’s Administration when we actually - I used to send him faxes because didn’t have emails - I was a Reagan appointee and I worked in the US Department of Education. My task was to help bring that thing to a closure. We couldn’t close it individually but our task was to shrink it as much as possible because we couldn’t even get legislation passed - after only two years, we could not reverse it [establishment of the DOE under Carter]. So the task was, okay, we’re going to go in - we’re going to reduce it dramatically. I went from 222 people working there in a regional office to 60. It’s probably 500 now for all I know, but . . .

Um-hmm.

. . . and periodically the president would veto something, like a budget bill, and it would last over the weekend into Monday. I used to fax things like: “Mr. President: Please don’t open that door. Don’t give in. Keep it shut. Let’s see how long it is before anybody knows it’s closed.”

Interesting. How would you interpret our Second Amendment?

Quite literally. There are people in the country, of course, who should not be allowed to have a gun. They are in prison or they are felons or they are a danger to themselves or others - but other than that, every law-abiding American should be able to keep and bear arms. I have my own concealed-carry permit and I will feel much safer when the District of Columbia ban is thrown out - when that appeal is upheld, I mean when the appeal is thrown out. One court has already overturned the thing.

How would you handle efforts to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine?


I would kill it fast. Certainly nothing would get across my desk. I guarantee it.

Okay. Last question: Is it possible for the federal government to monitor and keep records of crimes committed by illegal aliens?

Of course we can do it. I mean, or we could ignore it just like we’ve ignored all the laws about immigration and continue to erode the whole concept of rules.

Thank you very much for your time, Congressman, and I apologize for the technical difficulties. I don’t think I’ll be able to make a podcast, but I got it clearly enough that I can hear it and transcribe it - which I’ll get onto right away.


Thank you very much.

You’re welcome. Good-bye.

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Hunter is Different

This column ran in local newspapers July 19th in association with the Hunter interview posted below

Congressman Duncan Hunter is running for president and I had a chance to interview him last week for a web site I’ve been working at called Family Security Matters. My experience with candidates running for national office over the years has been what I’d have to call underwhelming and I was bracing myself for more of the same, but I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that Duncan Hunter is different. Here is a man who knows exactly what he thinks and he states it plainly. I wasn’t ready for that, but I found it refreshing - very refreshing. If this man gets more exposure, I suspect that many other Americans will like it too. Every time I asked a question, I got a straight answer. He didn’t equivocate. I don’t think it’s in his nature.

Hunter is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, a former Army Ranger. He’s been a congressman for twenty-six years and was chairman of the House Armed Services for four years until Democrats regained majority control last November. Although lacking in name recognition, Hunter is strongest on the two issues that have emerged as those which concern ordinary Americans most - national security and illegal immigration. I’d never heard of Duncan Hunter until I saw him debate the rest of the Republican candidates on television. He stood out and I wondered, “Who is this guy?”

Two weeks ago, the president and the Congress were trying for the second time this year to ram through an illegal alien amnesty bill. Although it had bipartisan support, a vast majority of Americans strongly opposed rewarding people who violated our laws by sneaking into the United States and giving them priority over other immigrants who waited in line and went by the rules. As a vote for cloture came up in the Senate, their switchboard short-circuited due to an unprecedented volume of calls, nearly all in opposition. Twelve senators switched their votes at the last minute and the bill failed again. I began to realize that Congressman Hunter has been out front on this issue for years - and nobody in government has done more to stop the invasion across our southern border than he has.

When I asked him how, as president, he would deal with illegal immigration, he said: “You know, I wrote the bill that mandates a border fence that was signed into law by the president. That’s the 850 miles of border fence that is now mandated to be constructed across Arizona and New Mexico and Texas . . . it’s a double fence with a border patrol road in between. I built the fence in San Diego which has reduced the smuggling out there of people and narcotics by more than ninety percent. The 854-mile fence is mandated to be constructed across the major smuggler’s corridors in those three states . . . That will go a long way toward enforcement of the border, which is key not only to the immigration issue, but also to the security issue. So . . . I’d just simply carry out the very law that I wrote as a congressman . . .

He believes the United States will prevail in Iraq and defines victory as “ a country that is a friend, not an enemy of the United States - a country that has a modicum of freedom and which will not be a state sponsor of terrorism.” When I asked him how important the propaganda war is in our struggle against Radical Islam, he responded: “Here’s what I would say: with the emergence of mass media since [World War II], the emergence of things like the internet, the proliferation of television stations and radio stations around the world, has minimized the ability of any one entity to shape the news. Now I would say that what I call the “American example,” that is, just the basic decency and goodness of the American people that is manifested in lots and lots of activities, like the fact that we undertook - in the tsunami - we undertook an airlift that was bigger than any airlift since the Berlin Airlift. We responded with the American fleet to humanitarian requirements in a way that was totally unprecedented. I think the world takes note of that. I also think that in Iraq, al Qaeda for example, in driving these bomb-laden trucks into crowds of women and children, has damaged its image in the Muslim world. I think that’s been evidenced by the new move by the Sunni population in Anbar Province against al Qaeda leadership and the turnaround that we’ve seen in cities like Fallujah and Hamadi.”

When I asked him how he interprets the Second Amendment, he said: “Well, the right to keep and bear arms - I think that’s a very important part of homeland security. The ability of a person to own and maintain a firearm and to protect his house and his community and his country is an important part of our national security. I’m also a big hunter but I think hunting is not the reason you’ve got a right to keep and bear arms. [It’s for] personal security and the security of our community and our country.”

Here is a genuine conservative candidate. Republican conservatives disappointed with their party’s performance of late will find Congressman Duncan Hunter very refreshing. You can read the entire interview on my blog here.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Know Your Enemy


Our Islamofascist enemies know us better than we know them. They know they’re in a long war against us, but too many Americans don’t realize we’re even at war. Not really. For many of us the two biggest theaters of the war, Afghanistan and Iraq, are little more than inconveniences - unless you have a friend or loved one there. Then you know it’s a real war. An increasing percentage of Americans just want it all to stop. Our Islamofascist enemies understand this and that’s their advantage.

What’s even worse is that our enemies know us better than we know ourselves. The “us” and the “we” I’m referring to here are people who comprise what used to be called “western civilization.” If you’re old enough to remember the courses you took way back in high school or college called “Western Civ I” and “Western Civ II” - the courses which have since been expunged at leftist campuses (which most are) - then you know I’m referring to Western Europe, the United States, Australia, Canada, etc. Islamofascists are enemies of Western Civilization. They want to take over the whole world and make it Muslim - and they’re willing to die in the process. Very few westerners understand this. It’s not a secret - they’ve declared it over and over in fatwas, in the mosques and in the madrassas - but they know westerners are so busy celebrating diversity and multiculturalism, they cannot fathom that Islamofascists seek worldwide monoculturalism.

Our enemies see us as the once-mighty coalition that won World War I, World War II and the Cold War, but has become soft, decadent, salacious, satanic and lacking will to fight. They believe they can defeat us because they believe they defeated the godless Soviet Union in Afghanistan. It took an assemblage of Radical Muslims from all over the Islamic world ten years to do it, but they did and they watched the USSR disintegrate right afterward. Critics claim Radical Islam’s victory was due to the weakened state of the Soviet Union at the time more than the strength of Radical Islam. But no matter - our enemies believe it was Allah’s will that prevailed over the godless communists because Muslims practiced jihad there, and they expect the same result in their war against the west.

They know Western Europe and the United Nations are paper tigers. After they attacked the United States on September 11th, they were surprised when we counter-attacked and took over Afghanistan in a few weeks - and did it from the other side of the world after the ten-year Soviet effort failed from right next door. The even quicker defeat of Iraq shocked them again and we had them on their heels. The Libyans started kissing up to us - the Lebanese and Egyptians too. Syria and Iran were isolated as terror-sponsoring states.

Radical Muslims stuck to their plan though, believing that Americans had no stomach for a long conflict. They expected leftist Democrats to undercut the American people’s confidence in their commander-in-chief just as they did in Vietnam. Our enemies knew they could parade the Palestinians as Muslim, poster-child victims of western “imperialism” perpetrated by Israelis and Americans that and leftist Democrats would lap it up. They knew the American left hated its military and that hatred could be exploited just at the Vietnamese communists exploited it through leftist stooges like Jane Fonda and John Kerry. Our enemies knew that if they staged a demonstration, they could count on our liberal media to be there, to film angry, Muslim, young men burning American flags, and to lead with that footage on the evening news. They believed a steady diet of this would wear down American resolve and that weariness would be expoited by leftist Democrats in biennial elections. They believe we’ll pull out of Iraq, just as we pulled out of Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia.

Are they right? It looks that way so far. Every candidate for the Democrat presidential nomination demands either an immediate pull-out or a timetable for withdrawal. So do leftist Democrats in Congress. Does this encourage our enemies? Of course. Yet every leftist candidate insists (s)he supports our troops and withdrawal isn’t defeat. It’s “redeployment” - kind of like the old Three Stooges line: “Advance to the rear!” Americans who agree expect the result will be as it was in Vietnam - that the war would just stop for Americans, that there would be peace - in the US at least, and Radical Muslims will just leave us alone too.

Leftist Democrats aren’t quite ready to cut off funding for the Iraq war as they did for the Vietnam War, but they’re getting closer. They’re licking their fingers and holding them up in the wind. The leftward wind is a wayward wind, and it’s picking up.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Duncan Hunter Interview


Telephone interview recorded on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 2:30 pm EST by Tom McLaughlin for Family Security Matters.

Hello. This is Duncan Hunter.

Thank you for calling, Congressman. I’ll be recording this conversation. Is that all right with you?

It is.

Okay. Let’s get started. I have twelve basic questions for all the presidential candidates, but I have one especially for you given your background. You served your country as a soldier in Vietnam. You must be having some thoughts about what happened in 1975 when the Democrats were in the majority in the United States Congress, and what is being threatened today for Iraq now that Democrats have taken control of Congress again.

Well, I think we’re going to prevail in Iraq, and I think the government of Iraq is going to hold and that the army will hold. There are a hundred and twenty battalions that make up the Iraqi Army. They’re being trained and equipped right now and a lot of them are getting quite a bit of combat operational experience.

Um-hmm.

In my estimation, Iraq will move along. It’s an inept government as most new governments are, but I think it will mature over a period of time. I’m reminded that in Vietnam, Congress totally cut off aid to South Vietnam - which was a left-wing reaction to the Democrat, left-dominated Congress. It really, to a large degree, was a function of Watergate.

Um-hmm. Yes it was. Do you have as much confidence in our Democrat-controlled Congress as you do that the Iraqi government will hold?

Yes. There are much smaller margins and a less left-leaning Congress now than we had right after 1974. Nixon was paralyzed by Watergate in 1974.

Yes. Well, I hope you’re right. Have you seen the rest of my questions? I sent them ahead of time to Mr. Tyler.

No. I haven’t seen them.

Well, I’m going to them now. First of all: When and why did you decide to run for president?


Well, I’ve always been focused on national security issues during my entire career in congress - twenty-six years - the last four years as chairman of the Armed Services Committee. I think the next five to seven years are going to be years in which national security is a major focus for our country, and I believe that I have particular credentials, strong credentials, to commander-in-chief. I’ve served the country. My son has served two tours in Iraq, and I’ve been a member of the Armed Services Committee for twenty-six years and a chairman of the committee for four. That means I can look the American people in the eye in a military crisis and say, “We’re all in this together.” I think that’s an important element, or dimension, to bring to national leadership. I also think the country needs a rebirth of its economic base, and particularly its industrial base. Right now we’re suffering under what I consider to be very bad trade policies, in which our trading competitors benefit from an uneven playing field, in which our manufacturing industry is double-taxed when it exports, and in which our competitors pay no taxes. We’re allowing China to cheat on trade right now and that unbalanced or uneven playing field is accruing to our detriment. It’s caused massive trade imbalances - massive trade losses for the US and the resultant losses of jobs and business. I want to change that as president.

Okay, that’s the why of it . . .


I’ll stop the Chinese from cheating on trade.

Okay. When did you make the decision to run?

I thought about it over the last several years and it was a decision I made about four or five months before I announced.

All right.


So, I don’t have a particular, ah, moment, but it was decision that was a long time in the making.

Okay. What do you see as our biggest domestic problem?


I think, ah, high-paying jobs and a strong economy for this next generation, so they can have the opportunity they deserve and the educational opportunity they deserve. That’s going to require a strong industrial base. That’s why it’s so important that we renew America’s manufacturing base. I think that is, in fact, our biggest problem because the manufacturing base is important to Americans for two reasons: One, it supports high-paying jobs that will allow this next generation to support an aging generation which will be dependent upon them. But secondly, a strong industrial base is important to national security. As the industrial base erodes and moves off-shore, that’s going to make it very difficult for the United States over a period of time to be able to continue to have the support that it needs in the industrial base to be able to maintain all of the weapons systems and the weapons development that we need.

Um-hmm.


Basically, America’s industrial base - what FDR called the “arsenal of democracy” - won World War I, World War II and the Cold War for this country. That industrial base is being fractured and moved off-shore right now. We need to stem that hemorrhage of industrial capability and bring some of it back to the United States. I think we should take down manufacturing taxes to zero in this country. We need to stop the Chinese from cheating on trade. That means passing the Hunter/Ryan bill which stops currency devaluation on the part of China - they’re devaluing their currency by forty percent right now - and that will provide some stability to the manufacturing base in this country.

So, you are not against what is commonly referred to as “free trade.” You would like to re-negotiate the position of the United States in that realm. Would that be a safe way to sum it up?

Yes, but in two areas: One is that China is cheating on the trade rules as they stand right now. When you devalue your currency by forty percent, that’s a species of state subsidy and that allows Chinese products to undercut the costs of American products across the board. The other one is that the trade deal we signed after World War II, when most of the world was burned out, was very uneven. It gave other nations the ability to subsidize their industries by rebating their taxes to them - allowing that to take place for every nation except the United States. The United State is the only one of the top ten trading countries that cannot rebate its taxes to its manufacturers.

And that’s because of some policy made domestically and not because of some international agreements?

No, that’s an international deal that we made. We agreed under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that we would be treated unequally from all the other trading countries of the world. It was almost foreign aid. We did that after World War II when the rest of the world was in pretty bad shape. Today the countries that were burned out now have robust manufacturing capability.

Indeed. Well, what do you see as our biggest foreign policy problem?


I think that, obviously, the development of nuclear weapons in Iran - the pursuit of nuclear weapons in Iran, the fact that North Korea has some now and is racing to develop the means for delivery, and the emergence of China as a new superpower stepping into the shoes of the former Soviet Union.

Um-hmm. Okay. In our struggle against Radical Islam, how important is the propaganda war?


Here’s what I would say: with the emergence of mass media since [World War II], the emergence of things like the internet, the proliferation of television stations and radio stations around the world, has minimized the ability of any one entity to shape the news. Now I would say that what I call the “American example,” that is, just the basic decency and goodness of the American people that is manifested in lots and lots of activities, like the fact that we undertook - in the tsunami - we undertook an airlift that was bigger than any airlift since the Berlin Airlift.

Hmm. I didn’t realize that.

Yes, and we responded, with the American fleet, to the requirements - to the humanitarian requirements - in a way that was totally unprecedented. I think the world takes note of that. I also think that in Iraq, al Qaeda for example, in driving these bomb-laden trucks into crowds of women and children, has damaged its image in the Muslim world. I think that’s been evidenced by the new move by the Sunni population in Anbar Province against al Qaeda leadership.

Um-hmm.

And the turnaround that we’ve seen in cities like Fallujah and Hamadi.

So, as president you would use the bully pulpit to call more attention to actions like that.

Yes, I’d say to what I call the American example, the example of spreading freedom and supporting humanitarian operations around the world - all the good things that are manifest in America.

All right. How will you deal with our legal and illegal immigration problems?


You know, I wrote the bill that mandates a border fence that was signed into law by the president. That’s the 850 miles of border fence that is now mandated to be constructed across Arizona and New Mexico and Texas. I wrote that bill. They’ve only built thirteen miles of that fence so far. Putting up a fence across the southern border - it’s a double fence with a border patrol road in between - I built the fence in San Diego which has reduced the smuggling out there of people and narcotics by more than ninety percent. The 854-mile fence is mandated to be constructed across the major smuggler’s corridors in those three states that I mentioned - Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. That will go a long way toward enforcement of the border, which is key not only to the immigration issue, but also to the security issue. So enforcement of the border is something I would put a lot of emphasis on. But number one - I’d just simply carry out the very law that I wrote as a congressman and that’s the Border Fence Act.

Okay. How do you understand the first part of our Fourteenth Amendment, and I quote: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside”?

(The Congressman’s car was passing through a suspension bridge and there was interference as I read the question) I haven’t had a legal analysis of that amendment lately but I know Bilbray’s legislation, Congressman Bilbray’s legislation, contemplates that there’s not an absolute right to have citizenship as a result of having been born in the United States, and I think that’s a substantive argument which appears to have some merit.

So as president you would, say, use the Attorney General to challenge the way that’s interpreted?

Yeah, well, I don’t think you want a president that makes decisions on fairly complicated legal rulings as he’s driving in a car through a bridge. I would say this - what I’ve seen of that analysis of the Constitutional amendment [in the proposed bill] appears to have merit and I’d look very carefully at that. I don’t think it makes good sense that people can simply be smuggled into the United States and having done that, acquiring citizenship for their child.

I live in a sanctuary state - right on the border between Maine and New Hampshire on the Maine side - would you require states and cities to restrict federally-subsidized social services to citizens only?

I think, generally speaking, one thing about Americans is that we don’t step over people who are dying on the basis that they are not citizens. We handle emergency calls for all.

Um-hmm.

But I would say that of course you would continue emergency medical care - life-saving medical care would not be denied people - but I think I think that it’s absolutely appropriate that taxpayers’ benefits not go to people who are here illegally.

Okay. You’ve already answered some of these questions . . .

Do you remember Proposition 187 we had in California?

Yes.

I supported Prop 187.

Okay. Victory in Iraq: what would it look like? You pretty much described that in answer to the first question.


I would say a country that is a friend, not an enemy of the United States - a country that has a modicum of freedom and which will not be a state sponsor of terrorism.

Hmm. How important do you think democracy is in the Middle East?


Having a modicum of representative government, which I think Iraq has right now, is an important element of the seed that we’ve planted in that part of the Middle East. It is, I think, an important thing, and hopefully something that will - as difficult and as tough as this is - will lead to stable governments that will have a benign relationship with our nation. That should accrue to the long-term benefit of the United States and our interests in that region.

Do you think it would be . . .

It’s not something that comes easy, but I think it’s something that’s worth working for. I think we do that - I think we pursue a modicum of democracy - understanding that it’s being done in a culture that’s been trained to accommodate dictators, and that the change is not easily delivered.

Hmm. Hopefully it will be contagious.

Yeah. Well, we saw little ripples in Lebanon and in Egypt after we, after the elections in Iraq.

We did. We did. How would you deal with Iran? You already partially answered that question as well, but . . .

Yeah. I think Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear devices.

Um-hmm.

And in my administration they would not be allowed.

All methods of persuasion on the table . . .


Yeah.

Okay. What do you think of the old quote: “That government is best that governs least”?

I like that.

Attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but I guess he didn’t say it. I guess it was Henry David Thoreau of all people, but . . .


Is that right?

Yeah.

I think that’s generally a good statement. Of course all those statements are subject to exceptions. There are certain times when you need strong national leadership, especially in time of war, and there are times, for example when you need to enforce your borders and you need to have strong federal action.

Would you shrink our federal bureaucracy, other than the military?

I think we can bring the bureaucracy down markedly. We can even bring down some of the bureaucracy in the military.

All right. How would you interpret our Second Amendment?

Well, the right to keep and bear arms - I think that’s a very important part of homeland security. The ability of a person to own and maintain a firearm and to protect his house and his community and his country is an important part of our national security.

Okay. Last question . . .

I’m also a big hunter but I think hunting is not the reason you’ve got a right to keep and bear arms.

Hunting is not the reason? More personal security.


Personal security and the security of our community and our country.

Um-hmm.


You know, especially when we’ve been invaded recently with the attack on 9-11, if there had been a ground attack that had accompanied the aerial attack in a city like New York where all the good people had been disarmed, it would have been devastating.

Certainly. Last question: How would you handle efforts as president to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine?

Well, I think the attempt to muzzle talk radio under the so-called Fairness Doctrine is a reflection of the fact that liberals don’t like that most Americans are conservative. Talk radio is generally conservative because it reflects the views of the American people. The idea that you have to inject liberal views on talk radio [broadcast] to a community that is not liberal is, I think, an invalid concept. I think we’re going to have to protect the free speech of talk radio from the objects of its criticism, and that is - liberal politicians.

Um, if I could ask one more - I saw on your web site that you would increase the size of our military. You were specific about Marines.


Yeah, about ten extra battalions for the US Marine Corps. We made this recommendation when I was chairman of the Armed Services Committee. You’d have to go back and look at the paperwork, but I believe it was ten battalions for the Marines and something like about eight additional Army brigade combat teams.

How big is a brigade?

A battalion is actually about 800 folks, so a brigade is maybe, ah, 3000 folks.

And you made that recommendation about four years ago?


We made it a recommendation two years ago to increase the size of the Army and the Marine Corps over the objection of the Pentagon which said they didn’t [need them] - and I actually increased the size of the Marines over the last couple of years to 180,000 people.

You wrote a bill that was passed that would do so?

The Administration came back this year with a proposal that’s in agreement with that. They do recommend now increasing the size of the Marine Corps and the Army. As a matter of fact, over the last couple of years we’ve increased the in-strength of the Army by 30,000 persons and we’ve increased the size of the Marine Corps to 180,000. I did that by putting in provisions for additional in-strength in the Marine Corps over the last several years.

Well Congressman, I really thank you for your time and Family Security Matters thanks you as well.

You’re very welcome.

And best of luck with your campaign.


Thank you.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Another '60s Legacy

Again I assert that however baby boomers remember the sixties determines their view of the world today. If they believe changes in American life resulting from the sixties have been positive, they’re liberal. If they have a negative view, they’re conservatives.

One legacy of the early sixties - the civil rights movement for black Americans - is regarded almost universally as positive regardless of where one is on the political spectrum. Conservatives, however, don’t agree with liberals that civil rights should morph into a “constitutional right” for women to abort their babies, or into a “constitutional right” for homosexuals to sodomize each other as Supreme Court decisions since the sixties have asserted.

Having commented in two previous columns on the sixties legacy in the areas of drugs and then sex, marriage and family, I now turn to how that legacy has affected America’s view of its military. Sixties slogans such as “Make Love, Not War” or “Drop Acid, Not Bombs” or “What If They Gave A War And Nobody Came?” or the more recent derivative “War Is Not the Answer” are purported alternatives to military action. While many liberal boomers have thankfully stopped dropping acid, they still abhor the military.

Liberals have believed since the Johnson Administration that crime is caused by poverty, and if we can eliminate poverty we can eliminate crime. That Johnson’s $2 trillion “War on Poverty” was a failure and crime rates skyrocketed does not affect their belief system. They apply the same flawed rationale to war, believing firmly that our present conflict with Radical Islam results from “oppression” of poor Muslims by British and American oil companies in the Middle East. How many times have you heard someone insist that “It’s all about oil”?

Liberal boomers saw the Vietnam War as a struggle of poor peasants, championed by the communist National Liberation Front (the “Viet Cong” as our soldiers called them) against neo-colonial oppressors backed by the United States. Many like Jane Fonda openly cheered for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. Others like John Kerry depicted American soldiers as murderers and rapists in the tradition of Genghis Khan. I remember people insisting that oil had been discovered under the South China Sea and that’s why the United States was fighting.

Liberal boomers who comprise most of the mainstream media today believe they stopped the Vietnam War, and they’re not entirely wrong. They certainly undermined America’s confidence in its military and in itself. Many believe they can stop war forever. If only the Wall Street Warmongers would stop exploiting other countries, then poverty would be eliminated and there would be no reason to fight. Everybody would get along. Conservatives know it’s an impossible dream this side of heaven, but liberals believe it fervently.

That they sympathize with our current enemy, Radical Islam, puzzled me at first. Islamofascists stone adulterers and homosexuals to death. They degrade women. They impose sharia law - far harsher than any Republican get-tough policy ever was. They force conversions. All this is antithetical to social policies precious to liberals, so why support them? Then I realized: the ’60s mindset of today’s liberals holds that Islamofascists are victims of US imperialism. Their dogma of multiculturalism preaches that it’s heresy to criticize Radical Islam because all cultures are equal. All, that is, except for conservative American culture which is the root of all evil. Islamofascists call America the “Great Satan” and that fits the ’60s world view pretty well. Islamofascists may say they want to kill us all right now, but when they discover how nice and tolerant liberal boomers are, they’ll lighten up.

Point out that Bin Laden, Zawahiri, Atta, the eight British doctor/terrorists and many others are (were in the case of Atta) affluent Arab Muslims from privileged backgrounds and not poor or oppressed. It won’t change their minds.

Eliminate the military and you eliminate war, they think. They apply the same philosophy to guns - eliminate guns and you eliminate killing. Point out that cities with the highest murder rates are also the ones with the strictest gun control laws and it doesn’t sway their thinking, if you can call it thinking. Point out places like Maine and New Hampshire with the lowest murder rates and also the loosest gun control laws and that won’t sway them either.

Liberal boomer President Clinton “loathed” the military, remember? His supporters believed we have wars because we have a military, so he cut it back drastically. Al Qaeda blew up our embassies? Our ships? Exploded a truck bomb under the World Trade Center? Then shoot a few missiles at them but don’t send any troops. That’s what we did in Vietnam and look what happened. Good thing we pulled out of there, huh? Now we should pull out of Iraq too because “War Is Not The Answer.” Send UN Peacekeepers with blue helmets and talk about the problem. When we fight them we only create more terrorists.

That’s the mantra of the new Democrat majority in Congress and the Democrat presidential candidates for 2008. It’s also the predominant theme in Humanities departments on college campuses where ’60s liberals dominate faculties and write the multicultural history books used in our schools.

Islamofascists are aware of how America has changed since the sixties. They know we still have a powerful military, but they’re banking on our lack of will to use it. Bin Laden said as much when he declared war against us in 1996. Perhaps our enemies know us better than we know ourselves.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

More '60s Historical Revisionism

As I wrote in a recent column, how baby boomers remember the sixties often determines how they view the world today. If they’re nostalgic over the fortieth anniversary of the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco’s Haight/Ashbury district and believe that changes in American culture resulting from the sixties have been largely positive, they probably consider themselves liberal and vote Democrat. If they have a generally negative view of those changes, they probably consider themselves conservative and vote Republican.

Most middle and high school textbooks offer a generally favorable view. No surprise because they tend to be written by boomers who are now liberal/left history professors. The following paragraph from Prentice Hall’s “American Nation” - the most widely used text in American middle schools - is a good example:
Many young Americans became involved in the counterculture movement. Like the Beat Generation of the 1950s, members of the counterculture rejected traditional customs and ideas. Young people protested against the lifestyle of their parents by trying to be different. They developed their own lifestyle. They liked to wear torn, faded jeans and simple work clothes. Women wore miniskirts. Men often wore beards and let their hair grow long. Many listened to new forms of rock music. Some experimented with illegal drugs. Members of the counterculture adopted new attitudes and values. They criticized competition and the drive for personal success. They questioned some aspects of traditional family life.

I already debunked the claim that “Some . . . experimented with illegal drugs” as historical revisionism. Drug use was in fact widespread, habitual, highly destructive of countless American lives, and has been ever since. (So did Ted Nugent in a piece yesterday) That the counterculture “questioned some aspects of traditional family life” is just as laughable. They did far more than “question some aspects.” They scorned and trashed nearly all of them.

It would be more accurate to say the counterculture staged a full-scale attack on the very institution of family that is the basic unit of any society, and that the results have been disastrous. Consider just one function of family common to almost all cultures everywhere - that of marriage. Every successful society has regulated it - most by encouraging monogamous, lifelong coupling between one male and one female which recognizes/sanctifies the basic life-creating function of human sexuality. Marriage creates the nuclear family which generates children, nurtures them, and thereby sustains the culture itself. The nuclear family is the best environment in which to raise those children while it also prolongs the life span and general health of mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers who remain faithful to it. Research studies prove it.

The counterculture’s “Sexual Revolution” has resulted in a divorce rate of more than fifty percent, and that figure doesn’t take into account cohabiting couples who join and split with dizzying frequency. An offshoot of the Sexual Revolution - the “Gay Rights” movement has further eroded traditional family life with its all-out push to redefine marriage itself - separating it completely from its primary procreating function.

The family has been so weakened that one in three children today are born to single mothers. Among blacks, it’s three out of four. The “Women’s Liberation” movement claimed “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” as if fathers were superfluous. The effect of fatherlessness is seen most tragically as increasingly violent crime among unsupervised young men. Without positive male role models in the form of fathers who protected and supported their wives and children, the young men (especially young black men) didn’t learn respect for women either. Their hip-hop subculture treats them as if they were sex slaves.

The biggest issue pushed by the Women’s Movement - another counterculture creation - has been abortion. Liberal women’s groups spend most of their political capital promoting abortion. Feminists, as they call themselves, seem to believe American women cannot lead fulfilling lives unless they’re able to abort their babies. More than forty million have been aborted since abortion was legalized - first in liberal states, then in the whole nation by 1973.

The counterculture’s assault on the American family occurred simultaneously with the Johnson Administration’s “War on Poverty” initiatives. Fatherless families were subsidized heavily and they proliferated for decades, pushing them further into poverty rather than lifting them out of it. The results have been nearly lethal for the “traditional family life” as the history books call it. The black family had been making steady gains for a hundred years before the Johnson Administration attempted to “fix” it. Now it’s in the roughest shape since before Emancipation.

The sixties counterculture arbitrarily tossed out lessons learned from millennia of human experience and “liberated” itself from all societal constraints as if that were a wonderful thing. Talk about hubris! Liberal Democrat baby boomers think all this has been terrific. History textbooks written so far seem to agree with them.

This history teacher, however, begs to differ.

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