is it just me or has anyone else noticed how interesting TIME magazine has become lately? For the first time in years I find myself buying it off the newsstand at airports even though I subscribe. The stories are too compelling for me to wait to get home to my own copy.
I confess that I moved to television cable news long ago. My subscriptions to newspapers and magazines expired. They were too late with the news, too predictable in their interpretation and just beyond vanilla to the point of bland. The new TIME has something rare for our age, old fashioned journalism. It’s coverage of the crisis in Ukraine was actually ahead of television news. (How can you trust a television reporter who cannot pronounce Sevastopol?)
And there is something new for TIME, raw, beyond-the-stale-boardroom predictable perspectives. I may be wrong about this but as a reader, it appears to me, that after years of trying to cram their version of he world down our throats the Gods at TIME have turned their talent lose.
Today, the George W. Bush library will be dedicated and a long list of luminaries will laud the life and legacy of our 43rd president. I first met the future president in 1986, in Corpus Christi, Texas. I was an independent businessman at the time, and simultaneously, working for his father as an adviser. As the host of a business event held at the Corpus Christi Convention Center, I invited in George W. Bush to speak to the group. He did a great job. And afterward I took he and Laura and the twins to a Mexican restaurant where we talked politics.
In March, 19987, he joined his father’s campaign and co-opted my work with coalitions so I reported directly to him. It was then that he learned the power of the evangelical vote and how to tap into it.
I may be the first person, outside of his own random fantasies, who actually thought of him as a future president. Shortly after his father was elected I wrote a 44 page memo on presidential children. In the study I learned how many sons pursued the presidency themselves. Not just the first son born to a president, which was John Quincy Adams, but nine others. A few of them came close, including John Van Buren and Robert Taft. So I wrote about that possibility for the young Mr. Bush and talked about him to journalists, including a description in an article dated 1991. (George Jr. exhibits clout in Bush White House. Denver Post. December 15,1991, p6a.)
George W. Bush has a dynamic personality, a cunning sense of humor and was the most decisive person I had ever met in my life. While I never stopped praying or rooting for him, personally, I publicly parted ways with him over the war in Iraq. It was a decision that would cost me dearly in my career. Even before, when a 1998 CNN/Gallup poll showed George W. Bush as the leading presidential contender, I warned my wife. “If he wins the presidency we will go to war with Iraq and we will kill Saddam Hussein and we will kill his sons.” After 9-11, I watched helplessly as our war against Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda shifted to a war against Saddam Hussein, the man who had tried to kill Bush’s father.
There were many unintended consequences to the war in Iraq and to the subsequent upheaval across the Middle East. It was called “the Arab Spring” as dictatorships toppled. But Democracy, offered to voters in the region is routinely voted down as soon as it is won. The people want theocratic dictatorships. And they choose them at the ballot box.
Christianity, which existed in Iraq for 2,000 years and traced its lineage to the apostles , numbered one million believers before the Iraq war. It has been cut in half, with churches destroyed and members killed or fleeing to Jordan. Now the Coptic Christians of Egypt, one of the oldest Christian communities in history faces possible annihilation.
In 2011, when the whole West, including President Obama, were celebrating the change of governments in the Middle East, I was hotly criticized for throwing cold water on the celebration. It was not out of any loyalty to the dictatorships they replaced. But rather to the naive confidence with which we so easily brushed aside the tenuous house of cards that were in place. We did so by what we said and did and what we did not say and did not do. And we accomplished this without debate or adequate consideration, acting on instinct rather than logic. The consequences have meant death to many and the blood bath may have only begun.
Today, supporters of President George W. Bush say that he kept America safe and never raised taxes. Opponents say his war in Iraq had unintended consequences that are unhinging the whole Middle East and his spike in spending wrecked the economy.
Presidents spend their time in office trying to shape what happens and when its over they spend their time trying to shape what we think happened. Both with limited success. Today, President George W. Bush has begun his campaign for his legacy. What do you think? How would you rank the president’s time in office? Today the former president has a a 47% approval rating which is exactly the same as President Obama.
Participate in this poll and learn the results.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 680,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 12 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!
Ron Paul surprised delegates at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference last week by quoting long portions of the Bible to buttress his political views. Romney, Bachman, Pawlenty and most of the other GOP presidential hopefuls showed up at the event. The Faith and Freedom Coalition is organized by Ralph Reed and is referred to by some as the new Christian Coalition. But while some of the speakers stumbled uncomfortably over Christian buzzwords, likely supplied by their handlers, and other speakers ignored the special character of their audience altogether, Ron Paul launched into a scriptural defense of his views.
Paul reminded his audience of the Biblical story of 1 Samuel chapter 8 when the Israelites demanded a king and God warned them what would happen. They would be burdened with taxation and the King would take their sons away to die in distant wars.
“I don’t think we need a king,” Paul told the audience, “and we don’t need Washington to act as if they’re the king of this country.” His speech evoked the largest applause and cheers of the day.
Ron Paul’s recent appearance and the reaction of his audience reflects a growing trend among evangelicals who see the erosion of the constitutional right of freedom of religion to be the new threat.
“This is no longer about Christians trying to force prayer in schools or an end to abortion,” a famous televangelist told me. “While we have been busy talking about those things we have had the constitution stolen right before our eyes. This is now about whether or not we have the right to worship freely. The battle is now over the constitution itself.”
Last year Ron Paul was criticized by some Christian leaders for defending the rights of Moslems to build a Mosque in New York City. Libertarians, who defend the congressman point out that less than 1% of the American population is Islamic. 76% are Christians. If the government is given the power to decide where and when a house of worship can be built the Christians, not the Muslims, will suffer most. In recent years Christian pastors and denominational leaders have grown frustrated as State and County governments use zoning boards to block the construction of new churches, keeping the land on the property tax roles. In some of the largest counties in America a new Christian church cannot be built.
“More and more Christians are seeing the critical importance of Ron Paul’s message,” says Brian Jacobs, a former consultant for the Billy Graham organization. “If we compromise the constitution, even to promote something we want, in the long run, we are undercutting ourselves.” Jacobs helped arrange the meeting between Billy Graham and George W. Bush in Jacksonville, Florida, the day before the national election in 2000. Jacobs is now actively supporting Ron Paul’s candidacy.
Bill Spiegel, a former member of the Senior Bush President’s Economic Council and the Southern Baptist Liaison for George H. W. Bush says, “Much of the money that was going to evangelical lobbies in Washington is now going to Ron Paul. And the Christian leaders in Washington have been taken by surprise. It is because the people are seeing what the leaders are missing. They don’t want power they want to be left alone to worship in freedom and Ron Paul is the only candidate who is defending that right consistently.”
Ron Paul shared with the Christian activist audience his own experience as an OB doctor, delivering more than 4,000 babies. And why he supports Right to Life. “Let me tell you,” the congressman said, “life does begin at conception.”
Perhaps his biggest applause came when he told the audience, “We have, as a people, lost our confidence and our understanding of what true liberty is all about and where it comes from. It doesn’t come from the government. Our liberties come from our Creator.”
In a statement released after the president’s speech, Thursday, May 19, 2011, Congressman Ron Paul took Barack Obama to task. “Unlike this president, I do not believe it is our place to dictate how Israel runs her affairs.”
Ron Paul’s statement, released immediately after the speech, reflected the congressman’s long held views against American leaders meddling in the affairs of other countries. “Israel is our close friend,” the statement reads, “While President Obama’s demand that Israel make hard concessions in her border conflicts may very well be in her long-term interest, only Israel can make that determination on her own, without pressure from the United States or coercion by the United Nations.”
Paul argues that America must stop trying to rule the world and dictate policy to foreign capitals and bring its armies home from its endless wars. Warning that the country is facing annual deficits of $ 2 trillion the congressman’s statement read in part, “Our military’s purpose is to defend our country, not to police the Middle East.”
Ron Paul has been at the forefront of a growing movement of Americans who feel that our national interventionism has gone to extreme and is making us enemies all over the globe. In the 2008 presidential debates, while Mitt Romney and John McCain argued over how long American troops should stay in Iraq, Paul was alone in saying that they shouldn’t have gone into the country in the first place.
It was a shocking statement at the time and both Romney and McCain smirked condescendingly, but today polls show two-thirds of the American people calling for a full withdrawal of American troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“When will our leaders finally do what’s right for America,” Ron Paul’s statement asks, “And rethink this irrational approach we’ve followed for far too long?”
Paul has been critical of American’s foreign aid suggesting that it is conflicted and the money misused. He once described it as money taken from poor people in a rich country and given to rich people in poor countries. Paul has pointed out the absurdity of our policies. “We give $3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her enemies.”
Obama’s stunning statement, siding with the Palestinian position, calling for Israel to return to its 1967 borders would mean among other things the loss of the Golan Heights and most of Jerusalem.
The statement comes only hours before his Friday meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Many devout Christians and Jews saw the return of Jerusalem to Israel in 1967 as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. An NBC report from Cairo Thursday night showed little enthusiasm among Middle Easterners for President Obama’s speech.
It remains to be seen how deep the anger will be in America. President Obama’s decision may have come at a heavy political price at home with little gain in the Islamic world.
See: Ron Paul Makes Sense
Well, I made it. Today, May 17th, I am sixty five years old.
I love being old. At least I think I do. I have lost my short term memory or my long term memory. (I can’t remember which one. ) Sometimes I think I have my short term memory or else I wouldn’t know that I had lost it. And then at other times I think, well, maybe this has been going on for a long time.
When I was a young man I had a great memory but I didn’t know anything. So I ask you. What’s so great about remembering nothing? At least now I have lots of things that I have forgotten.
I like George Smiley, the old spy in the John LeCarre trilogy. He had to be called back to save the situation. That’s kinda how I see congressman Ron Paul. If there was someone younger who was right on the issues we wouldn’t need to bother him, but sorry, Ron, you are needed once again. Come back and save your country.
People who say that Ron Paul is too old to be president, that old people are forgetful, need to consider this.
He remembered his wedding vows. Not many presidential candidates can claim that. He’s been married to the same woman for 51 years. Politicians try to convince us that private promises don’t matter. A person’s personal life is not relevant to their public duty. But if they lie to their wife and children what makes you so sure they are telling YOU the truth?
Ron Paul has always remembered to pay his taxes. Almost half of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, including his own secretary of the treasury can’t claim that. Oh they say that they will make it all good now but what if they hadn’t been named to the cabinet? You mean there are thousands of people out there who just ignore the rules and get away with it? Only suckers like me pay taxes?
Ron Paul points out some very obvious, common sense things that you can’t get out of your head. For example, according to the constitution the U. S. Congress is supposed to write the legislation and debate it and spend the money but the Federal Reserve actually spends more money than the U. S. Congress. Huh? Nobody elects them or even audits them and their board meetings are closed. I wonder if any of them pay their taxes? Until Obama appoints them to something that requires Senate confirmation we will never know. Not that it matters. They not only have “insider” information, they are the “insiders.” Ha. When they are thinking they are getting insider information. And they can literally make money. I’m not bitter about that. Just troubled by the corruption of the American constitution and troubled for the nation.
Ron Paul may be the oldest candidate but he seems to care more about the youth of this country than any of them. He is the only one who seems to remember that the young people will have to pay for the money we are now borrowing. He is the only one who would stop the endless wars and bring our boys home. That one percent who are dying for the rest of us and seeing their marriages break up and their children bitter and their suicide rates spike.
He is the only one who points out the absurdities of our foreign policy. We give $ 3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her avowed enemies. We invade Afghanistan because they are harboring Osama Bin Laden. Our war results in the death of thousands of civilians and coalition soldiers. But when Bin Laden crosses the border into Pakistan we give that country close to $12 billion in aid. I guess that was to pay for the food for Bin Laden and his three wives. Not to mention, his cable bill, all the extra thumb drives and his porno movie downloads. Even now, only ron Paul is calling for us to stop this nonsense. As of today, we are still giving money to Pakistan. Ron Paul seems to be the only person in public life who remembers what our mother’s taught us about the playground. If you have to pay money to your friends, then they aren’t your friends.
Most of all, Ron Paul still remembers the U.S. constitution and he knows it by heart. And believes in it. You can’t say that about Barack Obama or any of the other Republican candidates. There are the candidates and then there is Ron Paul. He stands alone.
See: Ron Paul Girl