Fred Thompson states his case

Fred Thompson states his case

Republican candidate speaks in Newport Beach



Republicans angling for a better choice of 2008 presidential candidates have set their sights on “Law & Order” regular Fred Thompson.He’s got elements of Ronald Reagan in him: Conservative credentials, folk wisdom and, of course, a certain star quality.

The latter has its limits: On his way to a major speech, Thompson said a woman approached him with an excited look in her eyes and said, “Do you shoot the show out here, Dr. Phil?”

That humor was on display on Friday night, as Thompson spoke in Newport Beach, Calif., before the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in what was

regarded as a prelude to a possible White House run. Reagan, who was a member of the group, spoke there before entering politics in 1966.

Thompson sounded conservative themes of small government, lower taxes and strong defense, and pressed for continued U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq. He warned that should the U.S. pull out now, there will be major destabilization in the region.

“Even if we leave in the best of circumstances,” he noted, “even if we are able to assist in the stability there, giving that government the chance to work … we are going to find a world that is still very dangerous.”

The speech itself was free of many specifics. But in contrast to many of his potential rivals, who debated at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Thursday, Thompson made a big push for bipartisanship, noting the caustic nature of Washington.

He even suggested that the two parties could come together on solving runaway costs of Social Security. It’s an idea that many politicians have

been unwilling to touch, given that it would affect so many seniors.

“I think if a credible case is made to the American people, if mom and dad and grandmom and granddad will be more than happy to make the adjustments necessary to protect their kids and their grandkids in the next generation,” Thompson said.

Hovered over a podium and showcasing his roots as a country lawyer, Thompson paid tribute to Reagan, whom he first met when Reagan was governor and campaigned for a candidate Thompson was backing in Tennessee. That was before Thompson rose to prominence in 1973, as minority counsel on the Senate Watergate Committee, when he famously asked presidential aide Alexander Butterfield, “Are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?”

It was a role in the 1985 movie “Marie” led to a series of character parts, often as figures of authority, in films such as “No Way Out,” “Cape Fear” and “In the Line of Fire.” He won a Senate seat in 1994, serving until 2003, when he retired and took a role as Arthur Branch on “Law & Order.”

In his time away from D.C., Thompson noted, government has only expanded, not contracted as he had so hoped during his Senate tenure.

Lamenting the federal bureaucracy, he said, “I think the idea should be, ‘Do what you are supposed to be doing. Do it competently. Then we might give you something else to do.’”

Thompson is expected to make a decision on whether to run by early summer. Should he get in the race, Thompson signaled that he would zero in on big government, just as Reagan did.

Introducing Thompson, Lincoln Club president Richard Wagner quoted one of Thompson’s often-repeated lines from his early days in the Senate, “I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.”

New Tape: Al Qaeda No. 2 Wants 200,000-300,000 U.S. Dead in Iraq

Is China Ruled by a Military Oligarchy?

Is China Ruled by a Military Oligarchy?

Who rules China?

Until recently, the answer has been obvious: the Communist Party. More specifically, a nine-member standing committee of the party’s politburo controls the country, though political power ostensibly resides in the 3,000-member National People’s Congress, which rubber-stamps politburo decisions.

But times–and opinions–change. China’s provocative anti-satellite test in January and comprehensive military expansion–the likes of which the world has not seen since the re-arming of Germany in the 1930s–has led a small number of intelligence experts to question the conventional view of Chinese elite politics. For the first time, analysts are seriously entertaining the notion that China may actually be a military dictatorship posing as a party-ruled, authoritarian (formerly totalitarian) state.

According to this intriguing theory, the People’s Liberation Army allows the party to manage domestic and foreign affairs–up to a point. Should domestic unrest or dangerously democratic tendencies ever get out of hand, analysts speculate, the PLA would intervene–under party cover. In other words, the party has allegedly become the tool of the military, and real power on the Chinese mainland (in contrast with democratic Taiwan) comes from the barrel of the PLA gun, which is no longer controlled by party leaders.

A Chinese military oligarchy. It’s an intriguing and compelling concept … which may even have the added advantage of being factual and true. We’re not sure. Whether the PLA rules, competes with, or is still ruled by the party, this much seems certain: China’s military rise constitutes a strategic threat to the United States, because China’s generals have decided that the US is China’s main adversary, even though it is also China’s principal trading partner and a key to China’s modernization. Seventeen years of double-digit “defense” spending stems from the PLA’s determination to eventually replace the US as the world’s leading military power.

More immediately, the PLA is preparing for war with the US over Taiwan. The PLA is obsessed with taking back the island and has essentially given the party a limited time-frame for achieving peaceful reunification. If there is no substantive progress by 2010–two years after the Beijing Summer Olympic Games–the military will move. Not for nothing has it amassed an arsenal of some 1,000 ballistic missiles opposite the “renegade province” and adding approximately 100 missiles a year to the ominous array. Not for nothing is the PLA blinding and blasting satellites in space….

Post Script: The PLA allows the party to appear in charge of the military, analysts speculate, through the titles held by China’s Paramount Leader, Hu Jintao. He is President of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman of the Central Military Commission and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. The Central Miilitary Commission is technically an organ of the Communist Party, not the state.

Backed by the Army, Turks Rally Against Islamism

WIth the support of their military, guardian of Turkey’s secular system, the Turkish people are taking to the streets to defend their way of life and stop the crypto-Islamists from taking power.

The courage of the masses is inspiring, in sharp contrast with the cunning and cowardice of the Eurabian (aka European) Union, the UK, and, sadly, the US State Department. Across the Muslim world. America’s dumbbell diplomats are bent on engaging–i.e. appeasing –Islamism in a cynical, self-defeating attempt to divide and defeat the Nazi-like movement.

Your tax $$$ at liberal work

Your tax $$$ at liberal work

Ethel C. Fenig
 Graciously helping another financially struggling student get through school without breaking her parents’ bank account or causing Dad to miss any haircuts. From

National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg. . . is hiring the daughter of liberal Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards as a summer intern, and her NPR bosses “gave the green light, since the election is still 18 months away.”

Well that should certainly  be a relief to her parents who, like so many others,  have to choose between making the mortgage on their 28,000 square foot house, paying their restaurant tab or supporting their children.

America! Why have you abandoned us?

America! Why have you abandoned us?

By Gerd Schroeder

An open letter to the American People

My fellow Americans; what have the American Fighting men and women done to cause you to abandon them in a foreign land, surrounded by sinister people that are bent on killing them and all Americans? Do we believe that these people, who think nothing of killing men, women, and children of their own race, culture, and religion, will hesitate a moment if given the chance to destroy us, our families, and our freedoms?
And they know that Congress has cut off spending for our troops.
Where is the sort of overwhelming swell of outrage of the American people that caused the rather benign “Dubai Ports deal” to be killed in less than a month?  Why have the halls of Congress and the Whitehouse not been overwhelmed by citizens outraged over the abandonment of our fighting men and women?   Is the silence a sign that shock jocks, and dead playmates are more important to American than our soldiers?
While politicians on both sides of the political spectrum have quibbled about timelines, a date for withdrawal from Iraq, and $24 billion in pork to buy votes, the American Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been all but forgotten.  The American people’s silence is morale-crushing and a betrayal.  For whatever purpose we believe our soldiers have gone to war, surely abandonment in a hostile, foreign land was not it.
Over 200,000 American Warriors, deployed around the world in austere and hellish conditions, are always in the crosshairs of evil people bent on killing them.  Over 3350 have freely, and honorably, given their lives; over 24,300 have been wounded and maimed for us, for our families, and for our freedoms in this war.  They sacrifice, not for money, education, and world travel – as some have suggested.  They sacrifice their lives for their oaths to us.  Their oaths are not to the President, Congress, or a military commander.  Their oaths are to us. To the American People.
This is the oath of the American enlisted Soldier, Marine, Airman, and Sailor:

“I, (your son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister, neighbor, and friend), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

The oath of an officer is similar:

“I, (your son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister, neighbor, and friend), (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

The Warrior Ethos:

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

The following are four examples out of tens of thousands of warriors fulfilling their oaths to you.
I will always place the mission first.
“Mission First” meant more than mere words to Sgt. Christian P. Engeldrum.  The 39-yearold firefighter from Bronx, N.Y., served on active duty in the Army from 1986 to 1991 and was in Operation Desert Storm.  He returned to New York, trading his Army uniform for a policeman’s.  Several years later, he became a New York City firefighter.  He was awarded a N.Y. Fire Department citation for bravery on July 15, 2000, for successfully rescuing two people in a fire on West 110th St. in Manhattan.
September 11, 2001 was a turning point in his life. On that day, he and fellow firefighters from Ladder 61 in the Bronx responded to the World Trade Center attacks.  For the next few months he assisted in the recovery effort, digging through the rubble. 
Sgt. Engeldrum then rejoined the Army, serving with the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, of the New York Army National Guard.  “He loved his country, he loved being a firefighter and he was 100% Soldier,” said one of his fellow firefighters. 
Sgt. Engeldrum is the first New York firefighter to die in Iraq since the U.S.-led war began. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “I join all New Yorkers in mourning his loss and pray that his family finds comfort in the innumerable ways he touched so many lives.”  Sgt Engeldrum is survived by his wife Sharon and two sons Royce, 16 and Sean, 18.
I will never accept defeat.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded, in the name of Congress, the Medal of Honor to

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, United States Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.
I will never quit.
Army Capt. David Rozelle, 31, lost part of his right leg below the knee in a June 2003 land mine explosion near Hit, Iraq.  But Rozelle was not about to quit. While going through an oftentimes, painful recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he spearheaded the effort to put together a team of other amputees from the medical center for the Army Ten-Miler race in October 2004. Dubbed the “Missing (Parts) In Action team-Some Assembly Required”-the team included troops from each of the military services.  Rozelle ran the 10-mile race in just 1 hour, 38 minutes-just 16 months after the loss of his lower leg in what most would term a “debilitating” injury. In addition to running the race, he returned to the Ski Slopes in Colorado at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic.

But Rozelle was not just interested in his own recovery. He wanted to help other injured Soldiers.  Rozelle sees sports as a healing tool for Soldiers like himself. He is working to establish an amputee support group at his duty station, Fort Carson, CO, where he knows of other Soldiers with prosthetics. The group will not only focus on networking Soldiers with prosthetics, but getting them involved in outdoor sports as well. “I want to give Soldiers someone to talk to who has made it through what they’re facing, let them ask questions, and have them see me walking,” he said.  But most incredible of all, Rozelle wanted to remain on active duty and return to Iraq. And, the Army granted him his wish. He was the commanding officer of Regimental Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, a unit that deployed to Iraq in early March 2005.  While Rozelle’s story is compelling, it is not unique. He is just one of many Soldiers who demonstrates daily their commitment to live by the ideals contained in the Warrior Ethos, “I will never quit” and “I will never accept defeat.”
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major.  Ron Riling was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Al Rammadi Iraq on April 6, 2004.   He said he was honored to be awarded the Silver Star, but he‘d gladly give it back if it would bring back the 12 Marines who lost their lives that day in Rammadi.  Riling said the decision to enter the fray was an easy one.  “The colonel looked at me and said ‘Sgt Major, let’s go” Riling quickly organized his forces and rushed to help.  They immediately came under fire from every direction.  The Marine squad has been pinned down by snipers and was in terrible shape.  The squad leader was dead, and three of the seven Marines were seriously wounded.  Riling absorbed the Marines into his team and they fought their way out, taking with then all their dead and wounded.

These are our Soldiers

Are the actions above of someone just after money for an education?  Of a person seeking a poor paying job?  Of a person trying to defraud the American people of their money?  If this is what we think, then America is truly in dire straits. We know that this is not how the majority of good Americans view their Soldiers. But then why the lack of strong, decisive action in defense of the American Soldier? 
Soldiers like these, and thousands of others like them, have been forsaken by the American people, who are failing to engage the elected officials of this government.  By our silence we allow our elected government to play games with Soldiers’ lives for personal gain, ego, and selfishness.  During the month that this funding cutoff debate debate has gone on, over 100 brave men have lost their lives in Iraq alone, protecting the American people. 
Stories like these number in the thousands.  Each story is a sacrifice for our families and us.  It is imperative that the American People understand their power, and responsibility in compelling the passage of this measure by the elected officials of this country. Without our intercession, on behalf of our military, the funds that the troops need will not arrive in time.  Soldiers will suffer and die needlessly.
The bill that came out of conference, passed by the Congress, and has been vetoed by the President is an embarrassment to this country.  It is a slap in the face to all the military families that have consecrated their loved ones to us to preserve our freedom.
Perhaps some have waved off the critical nature of this impasse, and think that in the end, and in time, the Congress and President will come together.  This is a dangerous assumption.  Heavy pressure from the American People on all 535 members of Congress and the President is the only way to shake them from their power-induced stupor. 
Does America deserve the sacrifice the U.S. Military makes for them?  The people’s inaction is an indictment of leadership in the White House and Congress; but more disheartening, it is an indictment of the American People in their abandoning the military in time of war.  A blanket of shame has covered this great land, its leaders, and people.  Americans should hang their heads in shame, for a moment, and then overwhelm the government of this country in protest supporting the troops in time of war. 
Gerd Schroeder is a Major in the United States Army.  His views are his own.  He does not speak for the US Army or Department of Defense.

Prepared Remarks for Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner

Excerpt: Prepared Remarks for Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner

Delivered in Orange County, California, Friday, May 4, 2007

So we meet again, and I’m honored, because I know we’re here for the same reasons: Love of our country and concern for our future.

A lot of Americans have these concerns tonight. They are concerned about the way things are going in our country right now. Some fear we may be in the first stages of decline. We’ve heard this malaise talk before.

Of course Iraq is a large part of it. Not only is it tough going, but the effort is besieged on all sides. From those playing the most crass kind of politics with it at home to criticism from around the world.

Even at home, as we enjoy the benefits from one of the best economies we’ve ever had, people seem uncertain; they raise concerns about global competition or a growing economic disparity among our citizens.

These are challenges. But how we react to them is more important than the challenges themselves. Some want us, to the extent possible, to withdraw from the world that presents us with so many problems, in the hope they will go away. Some would push us towards protectionist trade policies. Others see a solution in raising taxes and redistributing the income among our citizens.

Wrong on all counts. These are defensive, defeatist policies that have consistently been proven wrong. They are not what America is all about.

Let’s talk about the issues here at home, first. A lot of folks in Washington suffer from a big misconception about our economy. They confuse the well-being of our government with the wealth of our nation. Adam Smith pointed out the same problem in his day, when many governments mixed up how much money the king had with how well-off the country was.

Taxes are necessary. But they don’t make the country any better off. At best they simply move money from the private sector to the government. But taxes are also a burden on production, because they discourage people from working, saving, investing, and taking risks. Some economists have calculated that today each additional dollar collected by the government, by raising income-tax rates, makes the private sector as much as two dollars worse off.

To me this means one simple thing: tax rates should be as low as possible. This isn’t anything ideological, and it really isn’t some great insight. It’s common sense arithmetic.

That’s why the economy booms when taxes are cut. When the Kennedy tax cuts were passed in the 1960s, the economy boomed. When Reagan cut taxes in 1981, we went from economic malaise to a new morning in America. And when George Bush cut taxes in 2001, he took a declining economy he inherited to an economic expansion — despite 9-11, the NASDAQ bubble and corporate scandals.

The Democrats, of course, want to raise taxes. They only want to target the rich, they say. A word of advice to anyone in the middle class — don’t stand anywhere near that target. Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of worrying so much about how to divide the pie, we could work together on how to make the pie bigger?

On globalization — we’re not afraid of it. It works to our benefit. We innovate more and invest in that innovation better than anywhere else in the world. Same thing goes for services, which are increasingly driving our economy. Free trade and market economies have done more for freedom and prosperity than a central planner could ever dream and we’re the world’s best example of that. So, why do we want to take investment dollars out of growth, and invest it in government?

I’d say cash flow to the government is already going quite well. Over the past year our current tax structure generated record levels of revenue for Washington. In fact it’s time to seriously consider what we’re getting for our “investment” in government.

For many years, several functions of the federal government have been descending into a sorry state of mismanagement and lack of accountability. I published a 68-page report on government’s waste, duplication and inability to carry out some of its basic responsibilities. That was back in 2001 before 9-11, and it got little attention. Now the government’s shortcomings are affecting our national security and are getting a lot of attention.

The growth of government is not solving these problems; it’s causing a lot of them. Every level of new bureaucracy that is created develops a level of bureaucracy beneath it, which creates another one. Pretty soon there is no accountability in the system. A new head of a department or agency comes in from out of town and, after a protracted confirmation fight, wants to spend his or her few years in Washington making great policy and solving national problems, not fighting with their own bureaucrats. So they just let well enough alone. Then you start seeing the results. Departments that can’t pass an audit, computer systems that don’t work, intelligence breakdowns, people in over their heads.

Yet people in both parties continue to try to federalize and regulate at the national level more and more aspects of American society — things that have traditionally been handled at the state and local level. We must remember that we have states to serve as policy laboratories for innovation and competition. That’s how we got welfare reform. Our system also allows for the diversity of our large country. Our attitude should be, let the federal government do what it is supposed to be doing — competently. Then maybe we will give it something else to do.

The government could start by securing our nation’s borders. A sovereign nation that can’t do that is not a sovereign nation. This is secondarily an immigration issue. It’s primarily a national security issue. We were told twenty years ago if we produced a comprehensive solution, we’d solve the illegal immigration problem. Twelve million illegals later, we’re being told that same thing again. I don’t believe most Americans are as concerned about the 12 million that are here as they are about the next 12 million and the next 12 million after that. I think they’re thinking: “Prove you can secure the border and then people of good will can sit down and work out the rest of it, while protecting those folks who play by the rules.”

Speaking of reforms and our economy, there is nothing more urgent than the fate that is awaiting our Social Security and Medicare programs. The good news is that we are living longer. However, we don’t have enough young working people to finance these programs from their taxes.

People say the programs are going bankrupt. They won’t go bankrupt. Even as these programs sap every dime of the government’s revenue, the folks in Washington will raise the taxes necessary to cover the problem. At this rate the federal government is going to wind up as nothing more than a transfer agent — transferring wealth from one generation to another. It will devastate our economy.

Sometimes I think that I’m the last guy around who still thinks term limits is a good idea. The professionalization of politics saps people’s courage. Their desire to keep their job and not upset anybody overrides all else — even if it hurts the country.

So the entitlement problem gets kicked a little further down the road. This action is based on the premise that our generation is too greedy to help the next generation. I believe just the opposite is true. If grandmom and granddad think that a little sacrifice will help their grandchildren when they get married, try to buy a home or have children, they will respond to a credible call to make that sacrifice — if they don’t think that the sacrifice is going down some government black hole.

I am going to quote my friend, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. I don’t think he’ll mind, even though it was a private conversation. He said, “People talk a lot about moral issues, but the greatest moral issue facing our generation is the fact that we are bankrupting the next generation. People talk about wanting to make a difference. Here we could make a difference for generations to come.”

It’s clear with close numbers in the House and the Senate we need bipartisanship to have any chance at real reform in any of these areas. And there are many responsible people who are willing to try to make it happen. But the level of bipartisanship needed for real progress can only be achieved when politicians perceive that the American people are demanding it. That’s why leaders of reform and hopefully our next President, will have a mandate to go directly to the American people with truth and clarity.

These days in Washington, there’s an awful lot of talk about the need for conversation — that we should talk more to our nation’s enemies; that we should speak “truth to power.” However the speakers are usually turned in the wrong direction. Instead of talking to each other, leaders need to be speaking more to the American people.

The message would be simple: “My friends we have entered a new era. We are going to be tested in many ways, possibly under attack and for a long time. It’s time to take stock and be honest with ourselves. We’re going to have to do a lot of things better. Here’s what we need to do and here’s why. I know that, now that you’re being called upon, you will do whatever is necessary for the sake of our country and for future generations. You always have.”

When the American people respond to that, as I know they will, you will have your bipartisanship.