THE CROW'S NEST:
And the world goes on…
Dribs and drabs from the world we live in.
By Tom Evers
February 22, 2003
I could probably write sixteen pages of stuff, so I'll limit it to bullets on an assortment of topics.
· No doubt that this is a sad advertisement for us at Radio Free West Hartford, but I'd invite you to participate in sending us comments and news stories to our new feature called "The Outpost" located on page 3. We've been having some fun with this, almost too much so, as its prevented me from writing columns.
· Turkey and NATO: After spending significant time scolding our NATO allies about how terrible they are for not coming forward and offering defensive military assistance to Turkey last week, the United States took a slap in the face this week -- when Turkey decided that our aid package wasn't big enough to allow US troops on their soil.
Ok, to be fair - sending troops to Turkey probably isn't just about defense, it's also about our ability to better execute a war against Iraq. But it's in the interest of the entire region (if not the entire world) to see Saddam Hussein's weapon arsenal dismantled.
Turkey claims that they lost billions of dollars in revenue because of the 1991 Gulf War. While it's true that Turkey has been in recession for the last two years, it's debatable that the recession is solely related to the Gulf War. As is, Secretary of State Colin Powell has offered $6 billion dollar loan package and an offer of $20 billion dollars in loans. This should be sufficient cash to satisfy anyone's appetite. The real question is why do we have to pay countries with the same national interest large sums of cash in order to achieve a goal that is mutually beneficial?
How much additional financial instability would occur, if Saddam decided to march into Ankara?
· The Democratic field seems to be expanding as of late. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois have joined the fray. Since both candidates are fairly lack-luster, we can probably count them both out after the first few primaries. While Joe Lieberman has promised to return the country to the Clinton years, Moseley-Braun promises to be the chief opponent to war with Iraq. As you'll recall, Moseley-Braun is an ardent, black liberal - who is remembered for visiting the controversial Nigerian military dictator, Sani Abacha, and she was also a huge proponent of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings. Braun is also known to have had huge personal finance problems. So while she promises to get the US Economy back on track, she might want to concern herself with her own little financial situation first.
· Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, unveiled "Plan 5104" which is reportedly part of the left-wing strategy to segment and focus on a certain portion of the population to bring in votes for Democrats. The plan includes demographic information on 158 million voters. This is obviously not a new strategy at all, it is probably the same strategy under coded words that we have been seeing for years: scare the elderly, class warfare, and race warfare. I'm always looking forward to the next campaign cycle to see what hateful lies Democrats will be using to pollute the political atmosphere.
· I don't know if you've noticed, but there's been an increasing amount of criticism of Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld by opponents of the President's plan. Rumsfeld is one of my personal heroes - he's a plainspoken, straight shooter. I've noticed that the media has been increasingly hostile toward him during his defense briefings - when they know darn well that he isn't going to parade out secret sources and national security information over the airwaves. Also, his comments a few weeks ago about "Old Europe" rattled a few people in Paris and Munich. But the facts are the facts; France and Germany have been dragging their feet for years on this issue. Both countries would be satisfied with indefinite inspections because they both do business with Saddam Hussein. Both countries don't want their pocket books mucked with over a petty squabble with a dictator who posses at least biological and chemical weapons. France and Germany represent a very old and self-serving style of world diplomacy - a "me first" viewpoint in global affairs.
· One of the biggest opponents of Donald Rumsfeld is none other than former General Norman Schwarzkopf. While Schwarzkopf was a hero in the 1991 Gulf War, he was recently quoted as saying in reference to Rumsfeld's TV appearances: "He almost sometimes seems to be enjoying it."
Schwarzkopf continues, "When he makes his comments, it appears that he disregards the Army. He gives the perception when he's on TV that he is the guy driving the train and everybody else better fall in line behind him -- or else."
What's clear here is that Schwarzkopf is way off base. First of all, Rumsfeld handles the media very well - he's does take liberty to poke fun at them once in while, particularly when their questions are annoying. Also, the former general has to remember that Rumsfeld is in a leadership position, and Schwarzkopf is now just another talking head.
Rumsfeld's job is run the Pentagon. With the rather embarrassing attack on our security building on 9/11 -- it's no doubt that he is now running the defense department with an iron fist. He is carrying out the job he's expected to carry out by the President. Recognizing the importance of what's happening here and abroad, I'd expect him to act like he's running the train. And if they don't get in line, I'd expect that he would send heads rolling. Sometimes general, leading properly means upsetting the apple cart.
· Everyone is probably about as sick snow as I am, but fewer are probably as tired of seeing a snowplow as I am. It's particularly annoying to see West Hartford snowplow drivers plowing ice and snow into resident's driveways and walkways. Although its true that these guys do work as hard as any other town employee, its hard to rationalize their eerie smiles as they fly past you at an unnecessary 70 mph, sending huge, unmovable ice blocks into your driveway. Neighbors around me (many who are in their older years) have been complaining about this reoccurring situation. But to no avail. I'm more disappointed with seeing the plows scraping streets where no snow is visible. This kind of activity damages the road - and leads to expensive road repair and - higher taxation. It would be nice to see West Hartford Public Works Director Dana Hallenbeck do something about his personnel. Let's make West Hartford a friendlier, less expensive place to live.
· I was glad to see Don Dodd jump on the silly diversity plan created by the West Hartford Democrats. I guess we'll see how many diverse candidates that the West Hartford Democratic Town Committee will put up next time around. As I recall, diversity on the Democratic side consists of those Democratic councilman who pay property tax and hold a full time job versus those Democratic councilman who are living at home with parents and not paying any property tax at all. Hmmm? What I'd like to see next are the Democrats finding ways to cut spending and reduce taxes in town. If the current tax and spend policy continues, maybe it won't matter who their candidates are next time around.
· Oh, that goes for West Hartford Republicans, too. We expect that Republicans represent a common sense view that higher taxation on West Hartford residents kills property values and strangles new middle class budgets. If the people on Mountain Road want to pay more, than let them.
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