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Monday, October 30, 2006

Iraq War's Impact on Jordan - & the U.S.

I just got this email from a Christian friend in Jordan I'll call "Duane" that put a chill down my neck:

“Hi Mike,The situation here in Jordan is tense. A number of Iraqis have come over to Jordan. This has had mixed results though. Some come with money and businessskills, which can lead to higher prices as demandincreases. But many of the Iraqis do not have a good income, and they are (mostly) not permitted to work orsend their children to public schools here. Imagine having children at home with you all day, not being able to continue their elementary or secondaryeducation!Jordanians are mostly negative about the impact. Rent and gas and basic food prices have all gone up in price. But my hope is that as many of them are secularly minded or Christian, the influence on Jordan will be positive in the long run.”
(End of email)
Wow, I thought when I read it. This is news we rarely get here in the U.S. It should tell us that the spill over effect of the Iraq war is trouble and could destabilize some of the surrounding countries like Jordan –because of the economic cost.

We don’t have the luxury of waiting much past Nov. 8 to hear the Baker-Hamilton commission’s recommendations on Iraq. Our troops are facing burnout – and the military is so thin it could not respond to another global crisis, say if North Korea and China get hot.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Europe Delegation -- Terrorism & Rush Limbaugh

I gave a briefing to a European delegation from 11 countries yesterday. Very fascinating people, representing countries from Macedonia to Austria. While the briefing was on terrorism and trade issues between the U.S. and Europe, they mostly wanted to talk about terrorism issues.

My view is that we have always had terrorism and will also have it – even if it is a nonreligious nut case like Tim McVeigh or a religious nut case like Osama bin laden --but with more powerful weapons in the future.

We will need to cooperate internationally to avoid future acts of terror with more deadly weapons that could include compact nuclear bombs. It affects not just the U.S. but all countries, as we saw in the bombings in London, Madrid, etc.

The numbers of terrorists may grow or decrease, depending on how things are handled.

If people like Rush Limbaugh continue to mock those with diseases like Michael J Fox, then the number of people who want to blow us up will increase-- especially if they think we are like Limbaugh. Limbaugh made fun of Michael J Fox who has Parkinson's and wobbled in an ad. Limbaugh wanted drug users to be jailed and executed until he became one (on Oxycontin). Maybe “Rush” needs a dose of a disease like Parkinson's to get a little empathy beat into him. Maybe Limbaugh needs to change his tune or spend some time in jail for drug use if we are going to apply the same rules to everyone. Or do the rules not apply to the rich or radio hosts?

Michael J Fox could go low and mimic Limbaugh on Oxycontin use, but Mr. Fox is a decent guy who doesn’t have the hypocritical meanness that has become standard in today’s leaders.

I have had enough of arrogant, stupid people and policies. They demean our values and our country’s greatness. That is why I tried to convey to the Euro delegation that America can be a leader without being arrogant or stupid.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

TX Senior Senator Breaks with Bush

This is huge. Texas Senior Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, is splitting off from Pres. Bush on Iraq. She says she would not have voted for the war if she had known then about the WMD situation (they didn't exist). But her idea to split the country up into separatist regions for Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis only makes it more likely to draw in Turkey and Iran to a larger regional mess. But hey, who’s listening? It’s like hearing the Captain of the Titanic say: “Stay the course!”

And now I see where there will be a GOP ad showing Osama bin laden’s face. Why?

Is this to be a reminder that Mr. Rumsfeld & Co. failed to catch bin laden when they had him cornered at Tora Bora –and sent in warlord troops instead of our own? Or that the Anthrax killer is still at large 5 years later? (I still believe the Anthrax killer was NOT a Muslim but was an American with a sick mind. We don't know because "he" is still at large...) On the political front, many conservatives I know are telling me that they are voting either independent or Democrat this year.

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Ethics and Being a Christian Attorney"

Yesterday I got a unique opportunity to speak to aspiring law students at TSU about “Ethics and Being a Christian Attorney in the U.S. and Internationally.”

Since they represent the future I thought it was a valuable investment in time. TSU has young, bright, diverse group of students from everywhere.

I told them a lawyer should “treat people the way you want to be treated, with respect” and “do not let emotions of a client cloud your own professional judgment.” Focus on solutions. Don’t file Motions for Sanctions on frivolous things – it cheapens the process and dilutes your credibility.

They asked insightful, astute questions. One asked if being a Christian made it difficult to work with Muslims. I said no, that there was a difference between ordinary Muslims and extremists. I had been to Mosques in Houston as well as churches, Jewish temples, etc. When you get to know all the religions, the sermons are all about being better, doing good, taking care of your family. People everywhere basically want the same thing –peace, opportunity, family and food. The extremists are a tiny minority – and they don’t like anybody outside their small circle.

Then we had the best part – lunch…!

On another subject, I see where the “terrorist threat” to hit 7 stadiums with dirty bombs was an idiot competing with another idiot to see who could come up with the best “story.” Don’t these clowns have a life? And these were white men, if I have the facts right. If there is a jail for morons, they are serving life terms…

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Houston's Image in Turkey -

I was at an international real estate lunch today where a lady was talking about a recent visit to Turkey.

She said that people are not really fond of Americans in that area, but when they found out the lady and her group were from Houston, the Turks warmed up considerably! Apparently, what Houstonians did for the evacuees from New Orleans made a deep, positive impression even in remote parts of Turkey. The lady was told that Houstonians are viewed as kind, generous and good (vs. ugly) Americans…Imagine that!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

James Baker "Hard Work, Study and Stay Out of Politics"

I went to hear former Sec. James Baker speak at the World Affairs lunch today. There must have been over a 1,000 people in the ballroom at the Hyatt downtown.

To my amazement, I went down, before the crowd arrived, to see where my table “6” was located. A young woman was putting name cards on it. When I saw “James Baker” on one of the cards I realized I’d been put at the speakers table –either it was an honor or a mistake. I decided to check. Apparently someone at the table had invited someone else at the last minute so they gave me another seat at table 9 (the flip of 6).

His new book is entitled after a saying of his father: “Hard Work, Study and Stay Out of Politics.” He gave an interesting talk. He talked of the pain of losing his first wife to cancer at 38 and how Bush 41 got him into politics right after that. Despite losing that first election still led to serving four Presidents.

He didn’t want to discuss Iraq since it had potential to be an election issue and his report "remains unwritten despite what you hear" and won’t be coming out until after the election. At the Q&A, people were sparse at the microphones at first, despite the huge room (or because of it) so I went up and said:

“Mr. Secretary, my name is Michael Fjetland. I have to say that I wish I’d read your book BEFORE deciding to run for Congress.” That got a laugh, even from the Secretary of State. Then I asked something about Iran and North Korea and sat down. People started lining up at the mike after that. Mission accomplished.

I found out from someone who read Mr. Woodward’s book (State of Denial) that Woodward thought Mr. Baker should take Rumsfeld’s job. That was the first I’d hear of it -- funny to think we both thought of the same thing independently. I suspect a LOT of other people have had the same thought lately as the news from Iraq gets more discouraging.

It was great to hear someone who really knows how to make the U.S. look good and manage global issues with the skills of a lawyer, negotiator and diplomat all rolled into one...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The (Coming) Next Nuke Race -

The Next Global Nuclear Race – About to Begin

One reason I’ve always said that our leadership needed global expertise is that without it they can’t see the storm coming – that is what caught them flat footed on 9 11 (that and failing to listen to those who did see it coming and take action --like firing missiles when that August 6 memo turned up that Al Qaida was planning an immient strike on the U.S.).

North Korea’s centrifuge technology to enrich uranium came from Pakistan, before Dr. Khan was booted in 2004. By then he had visited 18 countries~!

So we are looking at the prospects of a second nuclear race –this time among regional powers.

Our leadership can avoid this but hasn’t. That is the challenge we face. If we screw up and let countries from Syria to Nigeria go nuclear, we end up with less security from terrorists who can gain access to fuel from that many more sources globally.

We need to reform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its so-called “Atoms for Peace” that has created these baby nuke powers that could grow into serious threats as Sunni Saudi Arabia and Egypt decide to go nuclear to counter Shitte Iran, South Korea and Japan do the same, etc.

We need to see that IAEA ends its “Atoms for Peace” program….it is inconsistent for the same agency to both prevent and promote nuclear technology at the same time! Where is the U.S. on this? Check out this article on how to deal with North Korea...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A "third way" for Iraq?

Polls have arrived in Iraq, so we can gauge how Iraqis feel about issues. In a recent one 75% said it was time for U.S. and foreign troops to go. They felt that the presence of the troops was now contributing to the violence.

If we are a democracy that listens to the majority, then why isn’t anyone listening to what the ordinary Iraqis think? After all, it is they that are paying the price, and will pay the price in the future. Former Sec. of State James Baker is said to be working on a "third way" to deal with Iraq, which has cost nearly a half trillion dollars so far. But the question begging to be answered is: Why not listen to the Iraqi majority? Isn't that following democracy instead of dictating to them?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

NY Plane Crash - N Korea

I was calling a local radio station yesterday about the Governor’s race after Democrat Chris Bell had asked independent Kinky Friedman to “drop out” which is something I disagree with--the more candidates the better. That was when I heard the news about the plane flying into a New York building. Although it reminded people of 9 11 it wasn’t, but it is a warning.

It was not terrorism but shows how easy it could have been one.

The real mystery is why a private plane would be allowed to fly so low and close to Manhattan after 9 11 -- and why it went out of control with Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle at the controls.

His plane has a parachute which can be used in an emergency, but wasn’t. As a pilot, it is hard to say that pilot error was not involved. As a counter – terrorism advisor, I think it shows that Homeland Security has got some major holes yet. Pack a small plane with military explosive and it would have been a major event.

I have more info on what went wrong with North Korea. Unfortunately, the nuke threat is increasing, not decreasing. The Bush administration act in cutting oil supplies to a desperate Kim Jung Il in 2002 pushed the wrong buttons – instead of keeping him from developing his nukes, it pushed him further toward development, exactly the opposite of what our geniuses in DC intended…now they want to sanction North Korea, which has nothing left to lose. Kim's people are starving but our attacking him will only increase his domestic support - people always rally around a leader when their country is threatened. We need some smart answers this time..

Again I say, bring in James Baker along with former President Carter who has met Kim Jung Il, and knows his character better than those who are operating in the dark…This is no time to make false assumptions like those made prior to invading Iraq. Unlike Saddam, Kim has missiles and could kill a million South Koreans in 30 minutes if we do something stupid…(like dropping a bomb on North Korea).

Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea's Nuke Test - a U.S. Fumble

North Korea’s Nuke Test

I have said for years that we would not prevent North Korea from becoming nuclear by NOT talking to them. The policy of not talking just failed with North Korea’s nuke test.

Prior dialogue in talks between the U.S. and North Korea could have delayed or even avoided it. Now the genie is out of the bottle.

Our leadership needs to learn talk to our global neighbors to address these issues. Had we done so before this test, the U.S. would have had greater influence. Now it has less.

Diplomacy and dialogue were things people by former Secretary of State James Baker knew how to do—and had the world on our side.

That was also the great hallmark of the President’s father, George H.W. Bush, a man of the world who was a statesman who would talk to everyone in the pursuit of global solutions to difficult issues.

So far, it has been missing in this administration. Unless it changes soon, the legacy for Bush 43 will not be a pleasant one.

In a nuclear world, we cannot afford party loyalty above mistakes and failures to communicate…because those can be deadly mistakes.

Too many mistakes have been made already, and Iraq could be a failed state as a result. We don’t need more mistakes with Iran and North Korea. Anyone remember the result of the last Korean war?

Or the fact that our entire army is now in Iraq… (bombing N. Korea would get tens of thousands of South Koreans killed since they live within artillery range of N. Korea, so that is not a real option).

I wish we had people like Jim Baker and Bush 41 and Bill Clinton running things now.

I was on Fox TV Houston in 1998 when Clinton shot missiles into Afghanistan right after one of our African embassies was bombed by Al Qaida. If Bush 43 had done the same --shooting missiles at bin laden’s camp in Afghanistan and following up on an FBI’s agents warning on Mr. Atta, et al. in flight training schools after getting the August warning –and done it by September 10 --then 9 11 may have been cancelled and never would have happened.

We can’t afford any more mistakes by our leadership in this global nuclear age, including leaving child predators in Congress whose attentions are misguided… Another great opportunity was missed with North Korea by this administration. Americans will pay a high price as a result...(Note: PLEASE LET JIM BAKER HAVE RUMSFELD'S job --TODAY). AND - Start talking to Iran, make America the global good guy (it should be) instead of the country run by arrogant tin ears like Rumsfeld who get their facts wrong. We have over 20,000 service members wounded from IED's made by ammo from all the stockpiles of known weapons Saddam had -no one guarded them during the invasion because Rumsfeld had too few troops to secure them or even the Iraqi nuclear plant. His mistakes have wrecked a lot of lives..!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A New Technology to Protect People and their Pets ..

Many of you know of my time doing TV analysis on terrorism.

About the time Henri started getting sick, I discovered a new technology that will protect ordinary people. For over 30 years I have worked with technology around the world from Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneurs. This one got my attention like no other.

It is a solar film that will make windows hurricane proof and keeps glass from flying all over your home or office. It costs not much more than regular solar film which does not offer that protection. It also comes in clear if you already have solar tinting.

I think of it as something that will protect people, our records, computer systems and animal pets since most people are more likely to be ravaged by a hurricane force wind than a human terrorist attack.

But the technology can be used for that also. A stronger version of the film will keep a 9 mm shot as close a 15 feet from penetrating the window in recent tests. They even used an AK-47 on it with thick glass -- and the bullets were stopped.

I want to do something that does more on the private sector to protect people. Running for Congress was an attempt to do that on a public level. I stuck with it until a corrupt incumbent left office (who was the Majority leader when Rep. M. Foley was going after male underage pages). This new technology has set me on a new course. I’ll be posting info on the web site soon. There is an email link on the website if you what any details.

This also gives me a new focus after losing our Henri, who was with me during four Congress campaigns and during the period I had a home office…

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Obit for Henri

Henri with buddy Louis XIV

Henri Masquelette-Fjetland, 6, died of Lymphoma after a valiant fight on September 27, 2006. He is survived by his human mom and dad, Laura E. Masquelette and Michael Fjetland, sister dog Lexie, male cat friend Louis XIV and his female cat nemesis, Fleur de Lis, a.k.a. Petite Minou.

Henri was a lost puppy who came into our life July of 1999. Named after a federal judge who was single-minded in his devotion to the law, Henri knew what he wanted. He served with distinction as the official alpha leader of the guard dog team during many legal and political adventures. He also was his dad’s shadow who would run off with a pair of shoes or newspaper to use as barter for kitty food. If you didn’t notice, he’d shake the item until you did. He ate the antique french couches as a puppy and mom’s bamboo knitting needles as an adult and used up at least three lives from prior close encounters. Henri had a rough start in life with little food and abandonment issues, but became a loving, kind friend who loved to eat anything (including Lexie’s food). He would open doors to go outside or, in the end, to sit in the van whenever he needed to see his favorite doctors.

Henri will be missed by his surviving family, and many friends, including the Christian Legal Society at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and the Daughters of the King at St. Francis Episcopal Church, Houston. Special thanks to his doctors and staff at the Greenway Animal Clinic, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, and Gulf Coast Emergency Clinic. Contributions in honor of Henri’s life may be sent to Gulf Coast Veterinary Foundation, Inc., St. Francis Episcopal Church, or the charity of your choice.