Experience Not Required...
Talking today about Brad Gray - the rumored new head of Paramount Pictures - Jim Wiatt [chief executive of the William Morris Agency] said:
"I actually think he's an inspired choice. His strength is his character, his discipline and judgment. If there's any deficit to him, it would be lack of experience."
January 03, 2005
Bush finally remembers WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) !!!
Monday January 3rd 2005 -- 10.30am PST
The TV crews that just covered President Bush's announcement of a massive Tsunami relief drive to be led by two real presidents (Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr.) accidentally missed covering the last words uttered by George W. Bush:
"...And inspired by the philosophy and actions of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - and because profligate greed in this time of tragedy is an obscenity - I am hereby irrevocably repealing all the tax breaks I have ladled out over the past four years to the richest one per cent of Americans - and proudly donating all that vast surplus wealth to the suffering people of the world - whose primary need is far more important than the greed of a few obscenely-rich fatcats. Praise be to Jesus for reminding me what He would do..."
January 01, 2005
Response to an American Pal (see his letter in blogging entry below)
Thanks for your very thoughtful and heartfelt note.
Matching the love of this country that native-borns feel is the love of those (like myself) who came to this country of their own desire to live in America. Believe me - you have to love and respect this great nation to leave your own country and choose to live here.
And among the reasons why so many foreign-born folks such as myself love this nation is its incredible tradition of free speech.
It's what distinguishes this nation from most others. Especially how America eventually stood up to the cynical bullies within its own shores in the mid-1950's who started the abysmal McCarthy period of persecution. Also the way America grew in stature as it confronted - then dealt with and rejected its own imperfect beginnings. I refer to its growth in civil rights especially in the 1950's and 1960's. To make right what had been wrong before - some of the shortcomings of the otherwise very wise Founding Fathers - took the courage of some to speak up against what was the prevailing wisdom of the day.
It didn't weaken the nation - nor impugn the patriotism of the existing leadership for some to articulate that America needed to go still further in its long march to become a better nation. Eisenhower wasn't diminished by the fight for Civil Rights in the 1950's. America was strengthened.
So I understand why you want people to "zip it up" or leave the country if they don't support the President - but with all respect - that would be contrary to the wonderful tradition of this truly great nation. There is nothing more patriotic or respectful of America than honest debate. It's one of the very freedoms that America's brave military are fighting for. it would be a shame to fight for it overseas and unwittingly lose sight of it at home.
We shouldn't waste time right now arguing about the Iraq war. But I am touched by the words of your nearby refugee from Iraq. How dreadful it was though that it was munitions and military supplies that came from the America presided over by Reagan and Bush Sr. - and from Thatcher's Britain to their big buddy Saddam Hussein - that sustained that madman in power. Our taxpayer money - handed over to Saddam Hussein in friendship by American and British leaders - was used to kill many of those people in Iraq. That fact still troubles many people.
And the removal of Saddam from power (a long-standing US/UK policy objective for many years) was NOT cited as the primary reason for the invasion of 2003. That's not what we - nor the brave military were told. America doesn't start wars. It ends them. Afghanistan was harboring al Quaeda. That's why it was right to go there.
We know incontrovertibly that there was zero relationship between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. The US government has even conceded the point. (Though a shocking 45% of Americans who watch Fox News still think that there WAS a connection.) The nearly 1,200 brave Americans who have died - and the over 8,000 injured and maimed so far - at least deserve to know why we really went and why we are still there.
And more importantly - they deserve to be led by men as brave, competent and accountable as they are. Which is one of the reasons why REPUBLICANS such as Senators John McCain, Chuck Hagel, Susan Collins and even Trent Lott - have all called for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. Are those Republicans being disloyal or unpatriotic? Or perhaps they are being truly noble, loyal and patriotic.
On the topic of the aid to the victims of the tsunami - Americans are noted for their immense generosity. Which is precisely why the initial offer of only $15 million seemed so totally out of character. That it more than doubled to $35 million in one day - and then increased tenfold to $350 million yesterday in response to criticism - underscores how low the first amount was. Of course to compare raw amounts of money from one nation to another nation is not the sole criterion of generosity. Each nation has a different size population. The criticism that there has been of America is not about the amount of dollars per se. But the contribution expressed as a percentage of the Gross National Product. ie what each nation can afford.
On that basis - some of the poorer, less populated nations of the world have found it in their hearts and impoverished coffers to offer up even more (per capita) in aid than America. That doesn't make this nation less noble. Or the other nations more noble. But it does explain why some Americans who are deeply proud to be Americans - wanted their beloved nation and its president to be even more engaged than it was in the first three days of this disaster.
On September 11th 2001 - within hours of the evil attack on the US - virtually every leader in the world went before the cameras and microphones in their own nations to denounce the attacks that slaughtered 3,000 Americans - and to express public sympathy and support for America.
It deeply troubles some patriots who love America that when a tragedy befell the world - when even initially it was clear that many more than 3,000 had perished - it took over 72 hours before this president actually appeared in public to express his regrets to the world. And the White House spokesman explained that he had not appeared before because he was busy (exact quote) "clearing brush and riding his bicycle."
It would have been such a wonderful gesture to help heal the regrettable divisions that exist in the world after the Iraq War if the president had given up just 10 seconds in those first very long three days after the tragedy - to come before a TV camera and express the same sympathy for the bereaved as the leaders of the world had expressed for America after 9/11.
So - please be open to the fact that people who love this nation as fiercely as you - want their president to be as noble, swift, thoughtful and generous as the American people and American heritage itself. And if - through human foibles and failings - the president does not reach that standard - then there is nothing nobler - nor more American - than to stand up and say so. So that America receives the full respect abroad that its traditions and heritage deserve.
Your British pal
January 01, 2005
A pal defends Bush
An American friend of mine just sent out an email to a dozen pals - angry and hurt that anyone was criticizing Bush or America about its reactions to the tsunami.
Here's his letter: (I have NOT corrected any of his typographical, grammatical, spelling, syntax errors etc. There's only so much assistance I can render Americans...)
My response to his letter follows above in my next blogging entry.
As I site here writing this e-mail, I am over taken by the personal heart break, sadness, grieve, sorrow, pain, helplessness & anger!
The world has been hit by one of the worst disasters in modern times, as over 130,000 people & climbing have perished in a matter of minuets. The tsunami that took there lives and ravaged there homes seems to have again turned the press and peoples of other countries against the U.S and our president.
Weather you are a Republican or a Democrat, George Bush is our president like it or not. I really get angry when I hear people on the street and in the press bashing the United States and our president. What really got me this week is the stories and talk on how the president did not respond sooner to a disaster of such magnitude. So stop for just one minute and put your self in he's shoes, ask yourself what would I have done? I did, and here is what I came up with.
1. We are in two countries trying to help the people have a life of freedom and democracy, at a cost of billions.
( short story on Iraq ) As just about everyone seems to think we should not be in this country fighting and losing life's.
Let me share some insight on how one Iraq man feels about it. His name is Yaser and owns a convenience store by my house.
On a recent visit there I asked him if he thought we should be there, and here is what he had to say. Before he and some of his family were able to leave the country after the first Gulf War, there days were pure hell. They had a mad man running there country, there was very little to be happy about as members of his family and families in there neighborhood were rounded up and taken away never to be seen or heard from ever again. Sounds like Hitler to me! He indicated that all of his remaining family and friends in Iraq were proud and very thankful that our president took the courageous steps to come and help the country of Iraq relieve its self of the gangster that was running this country. Funny you never read or here about how the real people of Iraq feel.
2. We are in most countries of the world fighting starvation and disease, at a cost of millions.
3. We are funding programs at home to educated, feed and house the poor, at a cost of millions.
4. We are spending millions to protect our own homeland from ever terrorist group in the world.
5. We are re-supplying and upgrading our military, at a cost of billions.
6. We are trying to keep our promise to president Kennedy on space exploration, at a cost of billons.
7. We are trying to cope with the very rising death toll to our sons and daughters fighting for freedom in the world, at a cost of life's.
[Martin's note: the attachment was a press clipping showing aid contributions by various nations in order of dollars given - not calibrated by size of nation or Gross National Product]
As you will see again the U.S is the leader in helping and the military is doing the best and largest job getting the relief to the people in the region. Other countries that can either afford to match or donate more because of there billions in wealth set on there pockets and donate what should be considered a slap in the face to the poor people who lost there life's and homes.
I listed to the president on his weekly address and thought to myself why would anyone say he wasn't doing enough! So I would like to say to the people that come to this country to enjoy freedom and democracy, stand beside our president and support the U.S. If you don't like us or our president then go home! If you were born and raised in this wonderful country, then "zip it up" and show some respect and support for a man that has his hands very full.