Next Right
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened." - Winston Churchill


The governing council on Friday nominated Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite Muslim and former intelligence officer, to be the Prime Minister.
Shouldn't the US keep their distance from this guy? Give him time to develop relationships with major leaders and the community, without looking like a pawn of the US. Wouldn't it be smarter to give him strong private support, but show some doubt publicly? Maybe even orchestrate some situations, where it appears he stands up to America. Have the new Prime Minister demand quicker elections, and the US can balk at the idea. Then appear to back down. That would create a win-win situation. Wouldn't this help diffuse some of those who are following Sadr? Wouldn't that give the interim government legitimacy.

posted by Sean McCray | 4:19 AM |

Criticism of Iraq War
I was and remain an avid supporter of the war in Iraq. I feel it had to be done sooner or later. The longer we put it off, the weaker we would look. I also understand that hindsight is 20/20. I am not sure our troop level should be higher as many critics are claiming. The majority of the country is pacified. The Iraq war was not an urgent issue, important and high priority, but not urgent.

My biggest complaint is the inability of the Bush administration to put out a consistent message. Why haven't they explained over and over that they had planned for a humanitarian disaster as a higher priority than the military issues. Why haven't they explained over and over that they had contingency plans, and what they involved. Why isn't Bush giving regular updates on the war to the public? Highlighting stories of heroism and successes? How can Wolfowitz appear before Congress and not know how many casualties there are? (It looks callous) Bush has the bully pulpit, act like it! ( I am not going to start on the weaknesses of the Bush campaign so far.)

It does appear that they did not prepare for a worse case scenario. Why didn't they expect the number of troops that are presently being used? Troops should not have been there more than six months. Why were troops not prepared in case we needed more? Knowing the timeframe needed to move troops and get them in place, why didn't the administration move troops from Germany, the UK, South Korea and the hundreds of other bases? Isn't it better to have more available and not need them, than to need them and not have them available? The use of the reserve doesn't bother me, but using them for more than six months is a breach of the implied agreement the military makes with the reservist.

Why are Hummers not reinforced? Why hasn't the administration called for companies to increase output of the armored Hummers? They didn't plan what to do about the Iraqi military? Plans should have been in place for multiple circumstances. Why is the military running out of bullets? This is absolutely ridiculous. This is not even about pre-war planning, they have had a year in Iraq. Again, it looks as if the administration does not prepare for a worse case scenario. This worries me. War is serious, and has serious consequences. To enter into a war unprepared to deal with many obstacles, known and unknown, is irresponsible. After a year, to still be unprepared is unacceptable.

The gamble to democratize Iraq is worth the sacrifice. I strongly believe that Kerry will not complete the task. Only Bush can, but will he? He has to take greater command. To just turn things over to Brahimi, is passing the buck. Showing loyalty to those under him is laudable, but sometimes you have to fire people to make a statement. By not firing anybody, the blame then falls on Bush, and he looks weak. Why hasn't he explained what the end game is? What Iraq will look like when America can begin to withdraw? Why hasn't he told the American people, that Iraq will have internal issues and fights that they will have to handle on their own? Explain that the birth of a nation is full of pain, chaos and confusion. That our troops are not there to pacify the country, but to strengthen the ability of democratic institutions to take root. Why not take an approach similiar to Afghanistan? Use the military to train their forces, and support the main government functions. Just isolate the areas where there are problems, and let Iraqi's deal with them when they choose to. Why hasn't he explained the involvement of Syria, and Iran as reasons why we are needed to keep the peace?

Many people have criticized Powell's seeming hesitation about this war. But could Powell be the one who is correct? That the administration should have slowed down, and been prepared to use overwhelming force. Even if they ultimately didn't use the extra forces.

Bush needs to wake up, stand up and lead. If he doesn't soon, then he will have to watch his legacy be destroyed by President Kerry. It is serious, if Kerry wasn't such a weak candidate Bush would be in irreparable trouble. The time is running short though, once certain negatives become ingrained they become difficult to change. Like father, like son. I hope this turns out to not be true, but if things continue on its present course that will be the reality.

posted by Sean McCray | 12:03 AM |


Kerry is being pressured by Democrats to lay out his plan for Iraq. I said previously that Kerry was making a mistake by saying the UN should be involved, and having that as his main difference with Bush.

"Kerry's position is being eroded," said one top Democratic foreign policy analyst who asked not to be named. "Kerry is in a position where the best he will be able to say is that Bush is finally doing what I said to do all along."

Compounding Kerry's problem, doubts are growing among Democrats to the open-ended commitment in Iraq that he echoes Bush in supporting. In an ABC/Washington Post survey released Monday, 53% of Democrats said the U.S. "should withdraw its military forces from Iraq … even if that means civil order is not restored there."

Now that the UN is involved, Democrats want to see Kerry take a more anti-War stand. This would open him up to the charge of flip-flopping. This could really help Nader, the anti-war crowd believes they have a moral imperitive to stop the war.

posted by Sean McCray | 4:52 PM |


I am not sure terrorist attack before our election would be a big boost for Bush. It would depend on what type of attack it is, and how deadly. Also, it depends on how far from the election it occurs. An attack in June or July, will not have the same effect as an attack in October.

posted by Sean McCray | 4:31 PM |

Every time Gore gives a speech, I am relieved that he didn't win in 2000. Talk about a strange person.

posted by Sean McCray | 4:30 PM |


The Bush Speech
I was disappointed to find out that it was not carried by the major networks. I think Bush did a good job, laying out his plan in a way that was easy to understand. I do think he should have given more information on a timeframe for our troops withdrawing. He can always began withdrawing troops, and if something happens, increase the number of soldiers. Especially if we withdraw from Iraq but keep a large number of troops in the region, at other bases. Bush needs to understand the domestic politics of the situation.

If soldiers began withdrawing on June 30, this would send a strong message to the world. It would also force our allies to put up, or shut up. We could justify being more aggressive with the military during June. Turn up the heat on those that will create problems. Then stop, and began withdrawing June 30. This will make the withdrawal more obvious to the citizens of Iraq. It would also help the US justify aggressive actions against people like Sadr. Most Iraqis should not come in contact with our military after June 30. It should be extremely rare. We have to do what we have done in Fallujah. Let them figure some of theses issues out. We will stand back on the sidelines, able to move when needed.

posted by Sean McCray | 6:03 PM |

I have had three interesting conversations lately. One with a soldier who was in Iraq, another with a soldier who has not been to Iraq. The other with an Egyptian.

The soldier told me that they were welcomed by most of the Iraqi people. He gave me stories of freely walking around Baghdad to shop. He also re-enlisted in the Army, despite knowing he could be called to return to Iraq.

The other soldier is in the Air Force. He states there is a lot of grumbling within the Air Force. They don't feel the duty in Iraq is being spread evenly, and the extended duty is harming lots of families.

The Egyptian, allowed me to at least hear a different perspective. I am amazed by people who live under a dictator, can so easily try to judge America. But I realize that many of these people really have no concept of what democracy is, and how it works. Their view of America is filtered through their own experience under a dictator. Many have never known anything but a dictator. When he began to criticize my country, of course I became a little defensive. Especially considering he had just told me that they have a very strict caste system in Egypt, and that most Egyptians feel they are superior to most Arabs, because they are descendants of the Pharoahs. I just advised them that when they can go to a public rally, wearing a f*ck Mubarak t-shirt, while burning an Egyptian flag, during a time of war. Then they could criticize how my government treats its citizens.

posted by Sean McCray | 5:52 PM |


The sooner Bremer leaves, the better. It does appear that very little has gone right under his watch. He seems to have done very little to create or encourage Iraqi leadership. His style definitely has dictatorial overtones. Every sensitive issue he has mismanaged. This is a man, some were saying could be the next Secretary of State?

posted by Sean McCray | 1:27 PM |


Questions about David Berg
The beheading of David Berg is an abhorrent incident. I don't want to give any impression that I feel anything other than disdain for his killers.

But the more I read, the more questions I have.

There is a report, that he had been investigated years earlier because he inadvertently let a terrorist use his email. That is not a small thing that can be ignored, the odds of a terrorist using someone's email is pretty low. He seems to have an ability to incidentally cross paths with terrorists.

Why would a Jewish person go to Iraq, and not desire protection?
Why did he feel so safe in Iraq?
Why would he turn down a flight home, instead wanting to travel across land to Kuwait or Jordan?
Why wouldn't a person there for business keep in touch with the CPA?
Why wouldn't a person there for charitable reasons not keep in touch with humanitarian organizations?
Had he visited Iran?
Why did he have Farsi and Iranian literature on him?

There are lots of oddities in this entire story. If the family keeps pursuing this in the media, they may discover things that cause them more pain.

posted by Sean McCray | 2:18 PM |

America Idol needs to make some changes to its voting system. The judges should be allowed to overrule some of the voting results. It would have to be unanimous and rare. After watching LaToya London lose last night, it is obvious that something is wrong. I think that the show has become victim to its success. There are people who are voting to keep mediocre people in the contest. I know I will not watch the rest of the season, none of the three left are American Idols.

posted by Sean McCray | 2:13 PM |

The media is really out of touch. This headline, i assume is suppose to be "big news", and of course negative. LOL.
Most people will read that and say "Great!"

posted by Sean McCray | 12:52 AM |


Terrorists are clueless about the America.
They think killing an unarmed non-military American, while hiding their faces, will create fear?
It will not, it will create anger, and greater support for a greater show of force.
We are not France, Spain or the coward Arab dictators they are use to dealing with.

I have to admit, I am amazed at how different the American mentality is from most of the world. But the idea that Martin Luther King Jr stated "Peace is not just the absence of tension, but the presence of justice" seems to be the idea behind how we view war and conflict.

posted by Sean McCray | 2:54 PM |


Kerry Takes Convincing Lead in Polls.
That is the headline you would expect to see, after the past few weeks. Actually after the past few months. Has Bush had any 4 months that were worse than Jan-April 2004?
Kerry even began his ad campaign. But the polls still show Bush leading, and more Bush people are sure of their vote, and more Bush people are voting for their candidate. To make things worse, a California poll shows Kerry only beating Bush by 1 point!

Here is what I think is happening. Kerry has failed to neutralize the foreign policy issue. The public has already come to its conclusion on Bush in that area. Bad news will move the polls only slightly. Similar to the effect "Monica-gate" had on Clinton. Once people make a conclusion, things are not good-but Bush is the best at correcting it-then all further bad news gets discounted, or placed in that framework. People are saying "ok, I know that already, now what? Kerry's inability to give clear answers is seen by people as not being ready. The UN is not an answer, most Americans know this. The popularity of the UN is at a low here. The one thing Kerry has been consistent on, is a loser idea.

posted by Sean McCray | 10:57 PM |

Andrew Sullivan appears to be promoting the idea of McCain as the best VP choice for Kerry. I think Sullivan's opposition to Bush's stance on gay marriage has effected his views.

First: I do not think McCain would accept the VP position. Not just due to party loyalty, but there is a better reason. Ego! McCain wants to be President or remain Senator. In those positions he is in control. Being VP would submit him to Kerry's whims, and I don't think McCain trusts Kerry. McCain is a moderate, but he does value principles, Kerry's constant moving on the issues is not something McCain would feel comfortable defending.

Second: If McCain did accept the VP position, it would be more implosion than explosive. The two would get along as well as water and oil. Both men are unable to hide their personal attitudes about opponents. In the democratic Primary debates, Kerry's disdain for Edwards and others was evident. Remember McCain has a temper and gets defensive when attacked. McCain's persona is huge, and would cast a shadow over Kerry's personality. The press has a mixed relationship with Kerry, but loves McCain. This would be a ticket where people will wander why it isn't McCain-Kerry, instead of Kerry-McCain.

posted by Sean McCray | 12:44 PM |


Victor Davis Hanson's newest article is worth a read:

"So our enemies realize that the struggle, lost on the battlefield, can yet be won with images and rhetoric offered up to alter the mentality and erode the will of an affluent, leisured and consensual West. They grasp that we are not so much worried about being convicted of being illiberal as having the charge even raised in the first place.

The one caveat they have learned? Do not provoke us too dramatically to bring on an open shooting war, in which the Arab Street hysteria, empty threats on spec, and silly fatwas nos. 1 through 1,000 mean nothing against the U.S. Marines and Cobra gunships. Instead, their modus operandi is to push all the way up to war — now provoking, now backing down, sometimes threatening, sometimes weeping — the key being to see the struggle in the long duration as a war of attrition, if you will, rather than a brief contest of annihilation.

These rules of the strategy of exhaustion are complex, and yet have been nearly mastered by the radicals of the Middle East. First, shock the sensibilities of a Western society into utter despair at facing primordial enemies from the Dark Ages. The decapitation of a Daniel Pearl; the probing of charred bodies with sticks, whether in Iran in 1980 or Fallujah in 2004; the promise of torturing Japanese hostages — all this is designed to make the Western suburbanite change channels and head to the patio, mumbling either, "How can we fight such barbarians" or — better yet — "Why would we wish to?"

Too bad we have politicians and a media that is so willing to comply.

posted by Sean McCray | 12:23 AM |


Here is my problem with the anti-war faction. I have not heard a credible solution to the problem we faced with Saddam. They have attacked every solution that was tried. They called the sanctions inhumane and felt the no-fly zones violated sovereignty. They say there was a rush to war, but don't say at what point the war would have been timely.
It is very hard to take people seriously, who only complain.
I think many people who supported this war agree that it was not an emergency situation. I just don't hear any type of intelligent argument from those who oppose it.

posted by Sean McCray | 12:42 PM |

I am a political junkie and this campaign already has me tired. Every move of the polls in one direction or the other. I think the reason it is becoming an irritating campaign, is because the issues are not being dealt with.
Bush has pretty much set out his beliefs.
Kerry has yet to take the upper hand on any issue. Circumstances are still are dictating his issues. I think he is trying to postpone having to state a clear agenda as long as possible. This only feeds into the idea he is a flip-flopper. It will continue to do that, because he will continue to be a nuanced candidate. There are those who say Kerry is a person who always does better late in a campaign. But if you look at his history, he does better because he changes his positions and attacks the opponents with questionable statements.
The first debate will be huge in this election. I think Kerry will be forced to clarify his positions.
This election is about the incumbent, but lets remember incumbents is a powerful thing. Reagan barely beat Carter, and Carter was clearly a disaster. Kerry also has to make people feel comfortable with him as President. He has to be seen as a person with an agenda. He cant keep offering all these new spending programs, and tax cuts, and reduce the deficit. How long does he feel he can get away with this.

posted by Sean McCray | 2:08 AM |


GOP hopes black mayor can nab House seat in N.Y.

Long Island's first black mayor, James Arthur Garner, is a conservative Republican who the GOP believes can unseat four-term Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and attract black voters to the party he has re-christened "The Grow Out Party."

The GOP is definitely running more black candidates with each election.

posted by Sean McCray | 10:01 PM |

Bishop George D. McKinney to Endorse President Bush

Not sure how big an impact this could have. It really depends on if blacks become more angry about gay mariage than about the war. If the head of the Church of God in Christ, Bishop Patterson endorsed Bush, it would have an impact.

posted by Sean McCray | 9:54 PM |

Check this out.
ATLANTA the new "black Mecca", home of black colleges

Atlanta's Segregated Schools, in 2004

Here are a few parts:

"Fifty years after Brown, APS consists of 96 much larger schools serving 55,812 students of all races, and more than three quarters of them are still in schools where one race has a 90 percent majority.

Atlanta’s private schools today draw students from the same basic geographic area as APS, yet they are significantly less segregated than are the public schools.

How can this be? Aren’t schools of choice supposed to be the ones that foster “balkanization” and increase racial segregation? Indeed, National Center for Education Statistics (search) data show that almost 60 percent of Atlanta’s 53 private schools have single-race majorities of 90 percent or higher. But 79 percent of Atlanta’s public schools are that segregated."

For those who scream "mo money, mo money!!" :

"Increased spending itself doesn’t do much to improve schools. And while spending is not irrelevant, the idea that high-achieving districts do well simply because of money is a myth. Two of Atlanta’s most affluent suburban districts – Gwinnett and Cobb Counties – both spent less per student than APS did in 2002, and achieved better results. (Gwinnett spent $7,107 and Cobb spent $7,047, compared to Atlanta at just under $10,000). Granted, Atlanta has a higher percentage of poor and at-risk children, but APS is one of the highest-spending districts in Georgia, and has some of the worst outcomes to show for it."

$10,000 per student!!! Georgia State University tuition for a year is only $4,000 for in state students. Most private schools cost less than $10,000. And we should poor more money into a broken system? thats like pouring water into a broken glass.

posted by Sean McCray | 9:41 PM |

NATO is having problems expanding the international force in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a UN mandate, and NATO approval. So I am suppose to believe that they will send troops into Iraq?

posted by Sean McCray | 12:06 AM |


Jobless Claims Lowest Since 2000
I will not be surprised if employment numbers disappoint tomorrow.

posted by Sean McCray | 3:16 PM |

Looks like my Lakers are in big trouble. They just dont seem to be focused, or determined. It appears that the past year is having an effect on Kobe, he has never been this inconsistent.
We will see.

posted by Sean McCray | 2:26 PM |


Are African-Americans becoming anti-Semitic
I have spoken with a lot of African-Americans and they seem to tow the standard extreme liberal ideas about Israel, Jews and Palestinians.
I do not know where this has come from.

Am I getting a false impression, or are African-Americans becoming more anti-Semitic?

posted by Sean McCray | 4:52 PM |


Privatizing Social Security seems like a no brainer to me.
The Social Security trust has been raided by both parties to pay for their expansive government programs.
Social Security will start running cash flow deficits in 2016.

The present system has to be changed or we could see payroll taxes as high as 30%

Check out these calculators, and see what privatizing would do for you:
I have to wander why anybody would oppose this after looking at the numbers.

Heritage Foundation Calculator

A 30 year old male, earning $25,000/year:
Current System- Taxes Paid into SS $205,751, will recieve a monthly benefit of $1,743. That is a rate of return of .38%

Personal Retirement Accounts (PRA) - If you were allowed to invest the amount you are paying into payroll taxes.
Assuming even a very conservative investment plan (Placing all investments in Govt Bonds)
At retirement your PRA would be worth $369,936, That is a rate of return of 2.92%. This would give you a monthly payout of $3013.
OR you could choose a payout of $1507, and bequest $246,107 to your surviving family.

Change your investment mix to 50/50 (Corporate Stocks/Govt Bonds)
At retirement your PRA would be worth $586,098, That is a rate of return of 4.92%. This would give you a monthly payout of $ $4,774.
OR you could choose a payout of $ $2,387, and bequest $ $472,594 to your surviving family.

posted by Sean McCray | 11:10 AM |


Spain's Prime Minister Zapatero, this guy is the modern day Chamberlain. The left will embrace him. But now his country is hostage to terrorist demands. If he thinks going to jail, will put fear into terrorist, he is a fool.

In recent speech, he makes it pretty clear that he hopes we fail in Iraq.
"The mission in Iraq, which is showing itself every day to be a failure, should serve as a lesson to the international community: preemptive wars, never again; violations of international law, never again,"

Does this sound like an ally? Somebody please tell me what international law was broken??

posted by Sean McCray | 9:33 PM |


John Kerry's Speech on Iraq

I am only going to look at a few parts of his speech. The parts that I feel expose why Kerry is not ready to be President.

Kerry's basic argument is that he doesn't have to offer details, people should just trust him. Trust him because he fought in Vietnam. That's his argument. Trust that he will be able to get France and Germany to commit their troops, as we are withdrawing ours. Doesn't make much sense does it?
What will make his coalition different? What will he do differently? Why should we just "trust you" (Most of us don't care about Vietnam)?
Kerry's speeches and public appearances leave people with more questions than answers.

"Like the world that Churchill saw in 1946, today’s world requires that we recast old assumptions and turn to new approaches if we are to prevail in our historic charge to defend our nation and build a new era of alliances. The common foe we face today is different in every way, but fully as dangerous, as the one that Churchill so famously described here."
Kerry wants to fight a new foe, with the same old alliances and methods. He doesn't get it. The UN was a new organization when Churchill made his comments. It was stilll an ideal, a hope. We now know what it and cant do. Why should we hold onto those old alliances? Is our legitimacy determined by popular support from certain nations? These are some of the hard questions Kerry fails to answer.
This speech shows me that he is completely out of step. Does anyone really believe he would have a cohesive and clear policy on any issue?? What are his basic values and principles, where is his line in the sand. Where is his (dare I say) American attitude?

"Of course, not everyone agreed with Churchill. Rejecting his call for closer ties even with Great Britain, The Wall Street Journal said that “the United States wants no alliance or anything that resembles an alliance with any nation.” Well, some things never change."
Was this suppose to be witty? here is an example of Kerry's weakness. Delivered right, it could have been witty, but delivered by him it sounds spiteful.

So you don’t come to Fulton to give a speech; you come to Fulton to honor a tradition and give the country and the world the gift of hard truths and a sense of hope.
Both are needed today as we stand on the eve of an anniversary in this country-the day that major combat operations were declared over in Iraq and the President declared, mission accomplished.
Here was an opportunity to congratulate our troops for the most decisive victory in the history of warfare. Maybe even thank the President, Rumsfeld and Powell on the job they did defeating Saddam. That would show such class.

"As complicated as Iraq seems, there are really only three basic options: One, we can continue to do this largely by ourselves and hope more of the same works; Two, we can conclude it’s not doable, pull out and hope against hope that the worst doesn’t happen in Iraq; Or three, we can get the Iraqi people and the world’s major powers invested with us in building Iraq’s future.

Mistakes have complicated our mission and jeopardized our objective of a stable free Iraq with a representative government, secure in its borders. We may have differences about how we went into Iraq, but we do not have the choice just to pick up and leave-and leave behind a failed state and a new haven for terrorists."
Notice the "Clintonian" parsing of his words. He mentions a representative government, does he mean democracy or just some form of representation? Iran has a form of a representative government. This allows him to get out of Iraq, and declare success, without establishing a democracy.

Notice how he covers for his war vote here. He has differences with HOW we went into Iraq- not why? There is a difference. WMD would be why? Strategy is how.
He is attempting to play both sides.

"Second: The second key element is the High Commissioner. Backed by a newly broadened security coalition, he should be charged with overseeing elections, the drafting of a constitution and coordinating reconstruction. The Commissioner should be highly regarded by the international community and have the credibility to talk to all the Iraqi people."
This is the only thing Kerry states, that would be different than Bush's plan.
Who would this person be accountable to? Probably the UN. Doesnt this idea actually subjugate Iraqi sovereignty to the UN? He wants this person to help write the Constitution! This is not what was done in Afghanistan. Cant the US Ambassador provide counsel? How would this High Commissioner coordinate reconstruction? Who would report to him? Wouldnt it be better to allow the new Iraqi Prime Minister to apoint a cabinet minister to coordinate the reconstruction? The UN should focus on humanitarian aid, and preparing for elections. That task is large enough to keep them busy

" In light of all the mistakes that have been made, no one can say that success is certain, but I can say that if we do not try, failure is all too likely.
If the President will take the needed steps to share the burden and make progress in Iraq - if he leads - then I will support him on this issue. "
No, Mr. Kerry. Try saying this instead: "We will win!!!!! We are on the right side. Methods may differ and change. The end game does not." Man wouldnt that have sounded so much beter than what he said?

posted by Sean McCray | 6:37 PM |

The US is doing the right thing to pull back and give this new plan a chance. It is something they should have considered before. They could have built up security forces, region by region. Going forward I think they should replicate this in other disputed areas. This could be used as a rolling process in turning over sovereignty on June 30. The Generals could then be trained, and monitored first. Then follow through down the ranks. Simultaneously develop and train the police forces. This will require a lot of money, to pay these people a premium pay. After we turn over sovereignty, then region by region, the military will be folded into one new military with a single uniform. The generals will be the focus, and the key. Also the local clerics.
Ito would also give us more time to train the military and the police. The military, once it is under the new government, could withdraw from its policing duties and allow the police to handle those civil affairs.

This country had very strong regional concerns when we were a new nation. Remember states had their own militias.

There are some risk that these generals will turn into small warlords. They will just increase their personal powers, and wait the US out.

I think there are enough groups with influence who can balance each other out. The Shiite clerics are not going to be willing to return to the days of Saddam's rule. I think its a no-lose situation. If some of these military people attempt to usurp power, or undermine the US. The US could have them removed, and quickly bring someone else up the ranks. If these insurgents decide to reload, and still want to fight with the US. Then we will fight them even harder. They cant beat us in a fight. So we really have nothing to lose by giving this a chance.

posted by Sean McCray | 5:07 PM |
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