Monday, February 28, 2005

Visit Tokyo Japan

I would like to thank the Japanese people for the reception they gave me. Japan is one of those countries not many people normally visit, but you should. Japan in the eyes of most people is still a mysterious place, not a tourist destination. I like Japan. I like Tokyo. The shopping there is like nowhere else in the world.

My favorite Japanese destination is Kyoto. It’s totally different from Tokyo. Where Tokyo is a big city, Kyoto is more like a town. It’s the seat of the emperor. It also has the most important temples, museums and parks and gardens.

I wanted to visit Kyoto, but being by myself, I just couldn’t. It’s at these times that I miss Hillary the most. I can’t explore a town like Kyoto by myself. It just doesn’t look right.

When you see a couple walking through the neighborhood, you think, they are taking a stroll. If you see an old man like me, walking around the neighborhood by himself, I know people will think, what’s he snooping around the neighborhood for?

I should’ve brought Chelsea with me, but then again, I guess she’d rather spend time with the mongoose. She’d rather start building collective memories with him. Traveling alone is not the way to travel. You need somebody to share these moments and new experiences with. Next time I’ll take Bobbi with me.

As I said I spent most of the day In Tokyo. I gave a speech, answered questions from people in the audience and I signed books.

Unlike what some people might think after hearing Japan is in recession for the past decade, Japan is actually very rich. If you visit this beautiful and interesting country and you should, you need to bring a lot of money. A hamburger costs about ten dollars. I can afford it now, so I have no problem with it. It’s not a backpackers’ paradise. And that’s a pity, because I think more people should have the chance to experience Japan.

Coming back to the economy, I would like to say that the recession is a man made one. Japan has the same problem as most industrialized countries. It has a top heavy baby boomer generation and a very low child birth rate. Most women only have 1 child. And there is a problem with men and women in their thirties still living with their parents.

In America we have the same problem with a top heavy baby boomer generation about to retire. We are solving it with immigration. Japan wants to stay an ethnic homogeneous country, so they reject large scale immigration to offset the retiring baby boomers and their production capacity in the economy.

Japan does have ethnic minorities, like the Okinawans, Ainu and Koreans. There is also a group called Burakumin. I didn’t know about this group, until my host asked me not to shake the hands of a group of people, who were at the book signing event. I obviously did shake their hands and took pictures with them. Later I was told why shaking their hands was such a problem. For them, not for me. I guess all of us have our dirty little secrets.

Had Japan not been a small island nation, it would have rivaled the United States in importance. But right now I see Japan shrinking, population wise, economically, but also in its ambitions. Japan is settling into a position of powerful country, short of being a superpower.

I had a great time in Japan. I will come back if it wasn’t for the beauty of the country, then certainly for the friendliness of its people.

Another thing I would like to do is climb mount Fuji. You can see this snow capped mountain in the distance when you’re in Tokyo. It’s a magnificent sight. I would like to visit that place next time.

I’m on my way to Singapore right now. I’ve been in Taiwan for the past two days, but I’ll talk about that place next time.

Oh and I might, but this is a long shot depending on my schedule, I might visit Hawaii on my way back.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Visit Seoul South Korea

I’m in Japan. I’ll be in Taiwan in a few hours. The past two days I was in South Korea.

I hadn't been in South Korea for quite a while. Every time I’m in Seoul a strange feeling takes a hold of me. I remember this feeling from the time during the Cuban missile crisis. The feeling that you could die any moment. It’s not the same feeling as knowing that a truck might hit you and kill you. You never know. It’s a darker feeling. Almost like a dark cloud hanging in the air. You just don’t feel safe.

The reason for this is clear. Seoul is only ten miles from the North Korean border. On the other side there are literally thousands of artillery pieces pointed at Seoul. One snap of the fingers by North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il and Seoul will be in ruins in minutes.

I would like to thank the good people of South Korea for their heartwarming welcome. My book sold more than a hundred thousand copies. I'm very happy about that. I stayed for two days and I had a lot of fun. I spoke to some politicians and former presidents. I had dinner with them. I also spoke to South Korea’s number one movie director Park Chan Wook during this dinner. He told me he is interested in moving to Hollywood. To be honest I just nodded. I had no idea, who he was, until they told me he directed the movie “Old Boy”. I never heard of the movie or saw it.

That is until I got on a plane in Asia. They played the movie during my flight to Hong Kong, during my flight to mainland China and during my short flight to South Korea. And believe me or not during my flight to Japan.

The movie is dark, film noir almost. It resembles “Reservoir Dogs” in its darkness.

Coming back to the eery feeling you get, when you are in Seoul. This feeling is increased knowing that North Korea now possesses nuclear bombs. We could’ve taken care of that during my presidency. There was a crisis in the early nineties. The North Korean leader at the time was Kim Il Sung, the father of the current leader. He threatened to build nuclear bombs if we didn’t deliver oil to his bankrupt country.

At the time we did not want North Korea, a rogue state to possess these weapons. My administration was adamant that they either give up their ambition or we would bomb their nuclear facilities. The North Koreans continued their threats.

We came very close to bombing North Korea at the time. On our side all systems were go. I called the South Korean president at the time and told him what was about to happen. He flat out told me, South Korea would not join the war.

He told me, if the US attacks North Korea, we couldn’t use any of his countries bases, roads, air, territorial waters. In other words, he vetoed the bombing campaign.

I can tell you, I was thunder struck.

Here we are trying to help defend the nation of South Korea and its government has this attitude like they don’t care about their safety all that much.

The result of this is that North Korea now has nuclear weapons. And they are in the hands of the strangest dictator on the face of the earth.

When I was president, I read a report. A North Korean submarine was trying to sail to South Korea to put secret agents on its shore. The submarine’s engine broke down. It came up in South Korean waters. The seven crew members and agents, who couldn’t repair the old submarine, didn’t want to be caught by the South Koreans, so they committed suicide. All of them.

When I heard this, I was shocked. It is not normal behavior for any soldier to do so. I commissioned a report. The report told me, these people were part of a decade long program to create human robots. Not electronics, humans so completely brainwashed they behaved like robots and did whatever their leader told them to do.

These human robots begin as orphans in state orphanages in North Korea. They are taught from their first minutes in this world that the North Korean leader, first Kim Il Sung and later Kim Jong Il are gods. They are taught, brainwashed to do whatever their “Dear” leader asks them to do.

When Kim Il Sung died the program had only been in progress for about two decades. So the robots were about military service age. Right now the program is three decades old. I’ve seen reports these human robots are now little by little taking over leadership jobs in the North Korean administration. But I think they’ll need another ten years to be fully trained and integrated into the administration of the North.

The reason I mention this is the nuclear option. If the US hits the North Korean leader and kills him, what will happen? Will his generals give up or give the order to destroy Seoul, a city with 17 million inhabitants ten miles from the border?

In years past, you might say, if the leader dies, the government structure might crumble. But, now, with the human robots taking over all the sensitive positions in the government, I’m sure they will unleash a holocaust on Seoul if they are attacked.

To be honest, now that North Korea has nuclear bombs and the human robots are old enough to operate them, only a major nuclear attack from our side, killing millions of North Koreans might save South Korea from retaliation.

And as I said, when North Korea didn’t have any nuclear bombs, South Korea wasn’t interested in going to war with the North. I don’t think they are willing to fight a nuclear armed North Korea now. Nor do we.

Another aspect of this equation is the role of China. It is clear China uses North Korea to try and scare the US out of Asia. This will not happen. In reality I think China is feeding the crocodile, which one day may eat the hand, which feeds it.

We helped the holy warriors in Afghanistan defeat the Soviet Union. It was a major success, but it also laid the groundwork for the foundation of Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaida.

China must understand one thing. The United States is far away. North Korean missiles might be able to hit a few bears in Alaska, but those same missiles and nuclear bombs are only a hundred miles from Beijing. Who should be afraid?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Visit Hong Kong Thailand Indonesia Sri Lanka Maldives

I’m in South Korea at the moment. I’m here to promote my book “My Life”. The reception I received was amazing. I would like to thank the people of South Korea for the welcome they gave me.

Two days ago I was in Hong Kong. I would like to thank the people of Hong Kong too. Every time I visit Hong Kong I’m amazed at it’s beauty. My good friend Stanley Ho and his daughter Pansy invited me to take a helicopter ride above the city. I saw Macao and the Pearl River delta from the air too. What surprised me the most was the fact that the area I saw from the air was so green. I liked watching al the ships sailing around. Thousands of ships, like ants seemed to be on their way to some hidden destination. Fascinating sight. I really would like to come back someday and spend more time in Hong Kong. I had a great time there.

As you know former president George Bush and I visited several countries in Asia, which were devastated by the tsunami a few weeks ago. It was such a heartbreaking, but also enlightening trip. We met a lot of people, we saw a lot of things. I would like to tell you that your donations are well spent. I would also like to tell you how grateful these people are for the help Americans gave and continue to give them.

We spent our first day in southern Thailand. We visited a fishing village. They were busy clearing the debris of the destroyed houses and boats the tidal wave left in its track, but you could still see how hard this little village had been hit. It was not really the physical destruction, which was breathtaking, but the destruction of families. Half the village had died or disappeared. You could see freshly dug graves everywhere.

I felt sorry for these poor people. They told me the biggest problem they had after mourning their dead was trying to continue living their lives. Like most people, these people’s identity is defined in large part by their profession. They are fishermen. The problem for them was, they were unable to go out and fish. First of all they were afraid, which is understandable if you consider what the ocean did to them.

Secondly, nobody was interested in buying their fish, because people were afraid these fish had been feeding on human corpses floating in the ocean. This pretty much brought these people’s lives to a complete stop and it aggravated their distress. I heard this from the local inhabitants.

What I saw was the amazing thing we call human spirit. I’ve learned one thing talking to these people, they will go on with their lives. All they ask for is a little help from the outside world.

Later in the hotel, the owner of the hotel asked me to tell everybody that they should visit Thailand. He may be right, maybe the best way for these people to get back on their feet is tourists spending their money in the local economy and generating jobs for these people.

That night we slept at the hotel. We were using a government plane, a US government plane and we had to wait till the next day to visit our next destination in Indonesia.

I woke up at three in the morning that night. The former president Bush was banging on the door, saying “Bill are you awake?” No, George I was sound asleep. I got out of bed and opened the door. George told me he couldn’t sleep. My first instinct was to shut the door. I mean, he can’t sleep? What does he want me to do about that? George asked me to go to the bar with him and get a drink. He told me at home in Houston, he and Barbara never went to bed without drinking a glass of brandy.

I didn’t want to go to the bar. I wanted to go back to bed, but I thought why not?

I followed him downstairs to the bar. It was just an average hotel bar, with Thai pop music in the background and a few disco lights. We sat down and George ordered Chivas Regal. So did I. As soon as the waiter disappeared a young Thai lady, with long black hair and a lot of make up on came up to us. She got down on her knee in front of George and took his hand.

“Daddy” she said. George looked at me. “I think you got the wrong guy" he said. “Daddy”, she continued “Take me with you to America”. Bush said “I don’t think my wife will agree to that”. He tapped the ring on his finger. The girl got up and sat down on his lap, putting her head on his chest. She said “Adopt me, daddy”.

Oh my God, I had so much trouble trying not to laugh out loud. George replied “I don’t think Barbara will like that either. You know we’re kind of happy all our kids are grown up and left the house”. She pouted. That was when the waiter came back with the drinks. He started shouting at the girl. She shouted back. Everybody looked at us. The girl left. George looked at me and raised his hands. “What was that all about?”

I still have to laugh about that whole scene.

George might look like a grumpy old Republican, but he’s a very decent guy. During our visits, the locals would always hold up their kids to me, so I could take their kids in my arms. They always came to me. Never to George. Every time one of these parents or nurses held up one of these kids, George would take a step forward and take the child in his arms.

As you know I had heart by-pass surgery. The doctors opened up my chest and the only thing holding it together now are stitches. My chest needs a lot of time to heal completely. If I hold a kid in my arms and it kicks me in the chest, kids are unpredictable, it might cause internal bleeding.

This is the reason I didn’t want to hold any of the kids in my arms, but I also didn’t want to have to tell these parents I didn’t want to hold their kids. I never asked George to step in and take the kids. He never said anything about it to me. He just did it, because he sensed it would help me. It was very considerate of him.

Next day we went to Indonesia. To Aceh to be precisely. The first thing I noticed observing the damage the tidal wave had done and talking to the survivors was the lack of women. I asked a Christian nun from Boston, who had been in Indonesia for the past 62 years about this.

She told me, that the reason for this was simple, the rigidity of the religion of the locals. They are Muslims and do not like women to dress in anything immodest. So although they live near the Ocean, women never get to go to the beach, they never get to learn to swim. During the tidal wave men were able to swim and save themselves. Women and girls too, just drowned.

This was such an eye-opener. Things like this, you can’t know, unless you visit the region yourself. So in this respect the trip was very successful and I plan to mention this situation to the politicians and religious leaders I will meet in the future. Women and girls in these areas must learn to swim.

Sister Anastasia also told me that since there was now a huge lack of women, dowries could cost hundreds of dollars. Apart from that, religious leaders told me they now had a problem with homosexuality. Especially in the cities, where gangs of men living together in one housing barracks roam the streets at night using bamboo sticks to fight with other gangs of men living in other housing barracks over male prostitutes, since there aren’t any female prostitutes left. Some died, the rest took advantage of the lack of women and got married.

Later in the day we visited a 90 year old man, who had lost his wife after seventy five years of marriage. We found him sitting in front of his wife’s grave, crying. His children told me that he couldn’t accept his wife’s death and that after they found her body, he locked himself up in their room with her body, so the children couldn’t bury her. After a week they broke down the door and a doctor gave him a shot to calm him down. They buried their mother.

Next morning the oldest son woke up early and went outside. The old man had dug up his wife’s grave with his bare hands, enlarged the grave, got in it and was putting earth over himself and her. The son tried to get him out of there, but the old man resisted, telling him, he wanted to be with his wife and that they should let him go as he continued to bury himself and his wife’s body. With the help of his siblings they managed to get the old men out of there.

By the time we met him his son told me they were still guarding him round the clock. We shook his hands, George and me. I offered my condolences. He began crying again. I put my arms around him. So did George. The old man was telling us what a good wife his wife had been. I didn’t understand the language, but I could feel what he was talking about. I understood.

His son told me that the wife had been a local baron’s daughter and that her dad had been against the marriage. Risking death, they had eloped and lived alone on an island in front of the coastline for many years. Apparently someone saw smoke on the island one day and warned the baron. Soon he found out, who was living there, he got his men together and they went to the island to kill the both of them. As he was approaching the house on the island, he saw a little boy and heard a woman’s voice call the kid. It was his daughter’s voice. The baron, who had come to kill his renegade daughter and son in law, just totally melted. He lowered his machete, got down on his knees next to the kid, put one arm around him and opened his other arm to his daughter. That’s how that feud ended.

I tried to console the old man.

Then George began crying uncontrollably. The old man looked at George, then at me. I asked George, what was wrong, he told me he was thinking about his own daughter. He lost a daughter when she was an infant. Someone translated this to the old man. And just to show you how good people are, the old man though heart broken himself, he found room in his heart to grieve for another person’s loss.

He began consoling George.

And the three of us hugged and cried for quite a while as the old man was telling George not to give up, that they were lucky, since they were old they would be with their lost loved ones soon enough. He said to George, it’s important not to forget the living. Remember, when you meet your daughter again, the first thing she will ask you is, did you take good care of my mother and brothers and sisters and how are my nephews and nieces. My wife, I’m sure of this, she will ask me whether I took good care of our children and grandchildren and of her sunflowers. We have to go on.

With this I could feel new energy flowing into the both of them. I had my arms around them, so I could feel it.

By then we were told we had to leave. We left, but we left knowing the old man would be all right. I will never forget him.

Our visit to Sri Lanka was emotional too. They asked us to participate in a sacrificial ceremony, honoring their gods. They had this altar and in front of it is a stone. What we had to do was, throw a coconut on the stone and break it. The gods then could eat the copra and drink the juice.

I had trouble breaking the coconut, because of my surgery, but also because of the fact that the coconut wasn’t ripe yet.

When I was told we had to participate in a sacrificial ceremony I was afraid it would involve animals. I remember when I was in Morocco a few years ago and His Majesty the King of Morocco, Hassan II asked me to participate in a ceremony. I’m one of those people, who respects other people’s cultures and religions. Who am I to tell others that what they do or believe is wrong and that what I do and believe is right?

I trusted the King. He was educated in Europe, so when he asked me to hold the head of a goat, I did. The goat had a beautiful white skin and on it were all kinds of orange signs, made with henna.

As I said I was holding the goat’s head and talking to the goat. All of a sudden, the King took a knife from his robe and cut the goat’s throat. So there I was holding the goat’s head as blood gushed out of its throat, coloring all of us red.

I respect other people’s culture, but that wasn’t an experience I like to repeat. So I’m glad the people in Sri Lanka are Buddhists and therefore vegetarians.

Oh by the way. The king later sent me the skin of the goat. It was prepared, starched and all. I used it as a rug in the living room. Chelsea used to sit on it when she watched television.

On the last day we visited the Maldives. A small group of islands in the Indian Ocean. The first thing I heard from the president was that America should join the Kyoto Treaty against global warming.

None of the Maldives islands' surface is higher than ten feet. So what happened was, the tidal wave, didn’t build up. The wave just went over the islands, like there were no islands. Destroying everything, except for the people.

This is the reason they asked me about the Kyoto treaty. Because of the global warming, the poles melt, the water level in the ocean rises and soon, the Maldives will be under the water level.

Thank God there weren’t many casualties in the Maldives. Later that day we visited the son of the late Shah of Iran’s private island in the Maldives and from there we flew to Hong Kong. George went back home and I had to fulfill my book tour dates in Asia.

There is one more thing I would like to say about my tour of the tsunami hit regions. These people are good people. They deserve your donation. Just like the old man, who was grieving about his wife’s death, but still managed to find it in himself to grief for a total stranger’s loss of his daughter fifty years ago, there are hundreds of thousands of people like him, who need your help. I’m convinced, if it had been us, needing help, they would have extended their hand of friendship.

This trip has left me emotionally drained, but also strangely elated, electrified and energized. Now I know the people I’m helping. Before they were anonymous faces. Now I know the stories, the human beings behind the tragedy. I will work even harder to help these good people in Asia. They are good people.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Asian book tour Schedule

President Bill Clinton’s Asian “My Life” book tour schedule:

Tuesday, February 22: Hong Kong, book signing event at Swindon Books store

Wednesday, February 23: Mainland China, president Clinton will discuss the Clinton Foundation’s role in helping China fight its AIDS epidemic

Thursday, February 24: South Korea, reception and invitation only book signing event at the Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul.

Friday, February 25: South Korea, book signing event open to public

Saturday, February 26: Japan, Q & A session during forum at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo's Minato Ward district from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Open only to people who entered the lottery and won a ticket.

Sunday, February 27: Taiwan, Mr. Clinton will deliver a speech on Asia’s democracy sponsored by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, after which he will answer questions from the audience. Later in the evening, he will attend a dinner party given in his honor by President Chen Shui-bian.

Monday, February 28: Taiwan, book signing session

Monday, February 28: Singapore, meeting with government officials

Tuesday, February 29: Singapore, play golf

Monday, February 21, 2005

Limerick

Every now and then we like to post readers' e-mails on this diary. Here is one of them. Thank you Jennifer.
Bobbi Lamoon

Dear Mr. Clinton,

I only recently discovered your daily diary, so you may have already received this information.

The poem you mentioned may have actually been an old limerick! Perhaps this sounds familiar:

There was a young lady from Niger,
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They came back from the ride
With the lady inside,
And a smile on the face of the tiger.

It is unfortunate that you will not be continuing your diary. I plan to go back and read through your past posts with the hope that perhaps you will be able to write more in the future.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Hite

ADDED:

Dear Mr. Clinton,

I was just about to email you the poem about the lady riding on the Tiger, when I discovered that someone had already beaten me to it.

But I was also able to find out the attributed author.

According to the Columbia World of Quotations, it’s attributed to a British poet named Cosmo Monkhouse (1840-1901).

Here’s a link to the actual entry on the website where I found it:

http://www.bartleby.com/66/78/40178.html

Keep up the excellent work. I sure wish you were still our president!

Sincerely,

Michael Kuntz
Seattle, WA

Thank you, Michael

Friday, February 18, 2005

Tsunami Relief Effort

President Clinton and former president Bush will start their trip with a visit Thailand. They will be there in a few hours.

They will visit the village of Ban Namkhem, a fishing village in the south of Thailand, which was destroyed by the tsunami. They will inspect the reconstruction efforts and meet with local people. They will also meet Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The next day, Sunday, February 20, they will visit Indonesia. They will first meet with the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra. Later that same day they will visit Aceh.

Mr. Clinton and Mr. Bush will fly to Sri Lanka later that evening. On February 21, they will visit Matara, the southern part of the island. They will meet Sri Lankan president Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga and they will visit a water purification plant, which was built by an American company.

Their three day tour will end after a visit to the Maldives, a group of islands near India.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Grammy Award

President Clinton won his second Grammy award recently. He was honored in the spoken word category for his best-selling memoir My Life (on CD). Last year, Mr. Clinton won a Grammy with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and actress Sophia Loren for their recording of the Russian folk tale Peter and the Wolf. If you click on the link you will be able to hear a few audio clips.

Congratulations, Sir.

Former President Bush and president Clinton will be in Asia 19-21 February. Mr. Clinton will keep you updated on his tour of the tsunami hit countries on this daily diary.

Bobbi Lamoon
Assistant PR manager

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Kenneth Dart, citizenship and Tax havens

Howard Dean is the new chairman of the Democratic party. Congratulations Howard.

Howard called me up late last night to invite me to his party. That was very nice of him. I was going to accept the invitation till he told me the party would be held in the house of the wife of financier Kenneth Dart in Florida. Mrs. Dart is a big Democratic donor, but I can’t go anywhere near her or her husband.

His family owns the largest plastic cup factory in the US. He himself renounced his citizenship during my presidency and went offshore to avoid taxes. I mean hundreds of millions in taxes. I remember this episode very well. A few weeks after he renounced his citizenship, we received a letter from the government of Belize asking us permission to open a new consulate in Florida for their new consul Kenneth Dart.

Obviously I said no. It was just another of Dart’s tax dodging schemes. When you renounce your citizenship you are only allowed to be in the US for a limited amount of time. Otherwise the IRS can tax you as a resident. Being a foreign diplomat allows you to stay here as long as you like and what’s more, foreign diplomats can not be taxed.

Apart from that Kenneth Dart is one of the most hated businessmen in South America, because of his what some might call vulture fund as opposed to venture fund activities. He buys large amounts of government debts of third world countries at 20 cents a dollar and forces the governments to pay up dollar for dollar. He almost bankrupted the Brazilian economy in the late eighties with these kinds of activities. He made hundreds of millions of dollars in that transaction. That’s the reason he wanted to renounce his citizenship.

His latest venture is to force the government of Argentina to pay the debt it defaulted on. Again he paid dimes on the dollar for the debt and wants the Argentineans to pay him the face value of the debts he holds. Argentina is bankrupt at the moment. Half its population is living below the poverty line.

I don’t know what he is up to now by donating money to our party, but I don’t want to go anywhere near this guy.

I remember his brother telling a journalist that Dart hated paying taxes so much, after he dies, he wants to keep his brain alive artificially, so his daughters don't have to pay any estate taxes.

Money does weird things to some people.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Optimistic about Democratic Party

I’m an optimist by nature. That is because I was born in the morning. There is this metaphor for your outlook on life, which says, people born in the morning, look at the sun coming up and say to themselves “Great, I have a whole day to do all the work I want to do today. Let’s get started”. People, who are born in the evening look at the sun disappearing into the Earth and think “There is no time left to do the stuff I want to do. Let it go. I’ll do it some other day”. People born in the morning are successful. People born in the evening are not.

This is a very old idea, but there seems to be some truth to it, scientifically speaking. I read a book about the subject of Luck in the plane going to Terry McAuliffe’s farewell party. The professor, who wrote the book says people’s chances in life do depend on Astrological signs and the day and hour of their birth.

He explains how being born during the summer makes you a more happy and lucky person than being born during the winter. It’s a pretty interesting theory. If you know the truth about yourself and you know you have a problem, you will be able to work around it. If you don’t know the truth about yourself, you still have a problem, but you are unable to deal with it. If you ever look at yourself and think I could do better, read the book. I’ll ask Bobbi to link to it. The Luck Factor.

After I finished the book I gave it to Terry. Terry is my friend. He’s a great guy. A funny guy too. Terry McAuliffe by the way has been the chairman of the Democratic party for the past few years. Tomorrow the party electors will elect Howard Dean as the new chairman.

I would trust Howard Dean with the Democratic party any day. He has all the traits a chairman needs. He is forceful, media friendly, a good organizer and he knows the internet. When I arrived at the party venue yesterday Howard was talking to someone. He glanced at me as I came through the door and continued his conversation. I had to walk all across the room to greet him.

Terry was very happy getting the book. He knows how much I appreciate the work he’s done for the party. We were all disappointed when we lost every single congressional election, and not only that, but lost seats too, and lost the presidential election against a president up to his neck in a failed foreign adventure and a failed domestic policy with an economy teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Terry did a good job. And I’m sure the jobs in the private sector are lined up for him.

As I walked across the room to greet the great former governor of the very important state of Vermont, someone grabbed my arm and I heard “haaa”. I looked around. It was John Kerry.

I thought to myself. Terry wasn’t a bad chairman. If I approach someone from behind, that person will turn around with a smile. John approached me from behind and I thought I was going to be mugged. It’s about charisma. Voters have a feeling for that.

I reached governor Dean with some difficulty. I’m a heart patient after all. I have difficulty walking. I greeted him. He nodded back.

Later after the party I tried to strike up a converation with Howard. I said “The anti-war stance lost us the election”. “No”, he said and pointed his finger at me “The Republicans were better at getting out the conservative vote”. Dean looked at me and said “You got something else? No, I have to talk to someone. I'll catch you later”.

"You got something else?". I can't get those words out of my head. "You got something else?" What did he mean? I can't get those words out of my head. There is something about those words I don't like, but did he mean the question to be friendly or unfriendly? What was his intention?

I'm a two term president and I have to walk across the room to greet a failed presidential candidate and I give him some advice and I get a "You got something else?" back?

It's all about ego in politics nowadays and in the Democratic party more than anywhere else. And based on what? "You got something else?" I've never said that to anybody in my life. That's not the way you're supposed to talk to people. "You got something else?" To me? What have I done to anybody to deserve that kind of attitude?

"You got something else?" "You got something else?" "You got something else?" He probably was just trying to ask me whether I had more questions, because he was on a tight schedule. Maybe he was just trying to be friendly. That's probably it. I should stop second guessing people.

I'm going crazy in my old age. Here I've been trying to explain the meaning of his statement and getting upset all night and all day long and all Howard was trying to do is be friendly to me.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Having a Son

I don’t want those last remarks to be the last ones out there. I do like president Bush. We are alike in so many ways.

During the presidential race Bobbi, who was working for the Kerry campaign at the time and it was her job to monitor the Bush campaign’s internet activities, this was before she crashed the computers, Hahaha. Bobbi, I’m not saying it was your fault. Bobbi, it was Peter, who told me they couldn’t use the computers for four hours, because you were importing songs from the internet. What was that song again you imported, oh downloaded? That’s right “Heaven knows I’m miserable now” by The Smiths. Hahaha. Oh, Bobbi, Bobbi, Bobbi.

What was I talking about? Oh yes. Bobbi showed me a short video clip of Geoge Bush campaigning. The clip was on his website. I asked Bobbi to link to it, but it seems, GeorgeWBush dot com is now turned into a GOP website. Anyway, the video showed candid moments in the president’s campaign. The president’s daughters, Jenna and Barbara made comments about the clips.

One of the clips went something like this, Jenna says “Dad has a special relationship with Barney” the dog “He always says Barney is the only one, who wants to go fishing with him. Which is not true”. They show a clip of the president sitting next to a stoic looking Barbara in the back of a limousine. The president says to Barbara “I know mom (Laura Bush) doesn’t like me saying this, but Barney is like the son I never had”. Bobbi thought that was very funny and could be used in the campaign. Peter, he was her boss at the time said no.

I think about that clip a lot, about the president’s feelings. His words touched me. I too sometimes wish me and Hillary had more children. I love my daughter, that’s not what I’m talking about. But I do miss not having a son. Not having someone to continue the line. Maybe it’s the Irishman in me, I don’t know.

I was born on August 19 in 1946. I was Christened William Jefferson Blythe III after my real father William Jefferson Blythe Jr. Clinton is not my real name. It’s my stepfather’s name. After all the abuse I took from him, there were many times I thought about changing my name back to Blythe. I’m not a Clinton, I’m a Blythe.

It pains me sometimes to see all that I’ve achieved and know that it will all be known as Clinton and not Blythe. My father, my stepfather that is, does not deserve a presidential library in Little Rock called the Clinton Library, after the hell he put me and my mom through.

I thought about changing my name often after I left home and went to college. The problem is as time progressed all my certificates had Clinton on it and after graduation I immediately founds jobs in law and politics. It isn’t a wise decision to change your name in politics, not just because of the name recognition, but more because people tend not to trust people, who change their names. So I was stuck with Clinton.

Later after we had Chelsea and she was our only child, there was no reason to change my name. When Chelsea marries, she will take her husband’s name. So the Blythe name will disappear anyway. That pains me.

I understand George Bush, when he says he feels something is missing, because he doesn’t have a son to pass all his achievements on to. Many times, and this must be my Irish inclination for melancholy, often I feel the same way.

Social Security

Did you see Karl Rove on FoxNews yesterday? Sean Hannity asked him about the president’s plans to privatize Social Security. Karl Rove, without blinking said I, Bill Clinton was the one, who first came to the conclusion that Social Security was in crisis and needed reform. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

So that’s the reason for the president’s call “Hi Bill, I admire you very much. I love the work you’re doing. So does Laura. I would like to ask you for a favor. Would you like to help me ask for donations to help the victims of the Tsunami?”

I’m a fool. I fell for the gimmick. I thought he was honoring a former president. He was trying to shut me up. Now he’s using me to sell his hard right private retirement accounts plans to the middle classes of this country.

It’s almost like there are two George Bush’s. One friendly and nice. One a cold hearted calculator.

There is a poem I learned in elementary school. I forgot how it goes exactly and I forgot the title of the poem or who wrote it. I love the poem, so if you know the name or the name of the writer, please e-mail me.

At sunrise, a girl went out for a walk, sitting on top of a tiger. She had a smile on her face.
At sunset, the tiger returned. He had a smile on his face.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Visit Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill North Carolina

I forgot to say earlier how much I like Raleigh. I’ve been there many times, both in public and in private. I’ve also been to Durham and Chapel Hill. With a bus. There is this Tri-State bus service connecting these three towns.

I’ve been to Chapel Hill many times. Not really because it’s the home of the University of North Carolina, but because my friend Harry Wayne Casey lives there. He’s a musician. You probably heard one of his songs. He used to be in a band called KC and the Sunshine Band. They were big in the seventies. I visit him often. As often as I can. I always tease him about visiting him in his log cabin. He’s a Republican.

So that’s the reason I know these places so well. I remember one night and this is many years ago, I went to see him, but he wasn’t home. There were no buses and I didn’t bring my wallet so I tried to walk from Chapel Hill to Raleigh. Big mistake. After a few miles, I couldn’t go on anymore. I tried to hitchhike, but I found no buyers. I gave up. It was extremely dark. People living in New York don’t know how dark rural areas are. The crickets were chirping, I remember them very well. My old friends the crickets. Since I was in the middle of nowhere I decided to go into the shrub and sleep. I did. It's surprising how easy I fell asleep. I mean. In the middle of nowhere. I had no fear whatsoever. Youth.

Next day I woke up, it was cold, but sunny. I was wet. It must’ve rained during the night and I slept right through it. I was soaking wet. Anyway, it was early in the morning, I managed to catch a bus and I went back to Raleigh to my hotel room.

I haven’t been in Raleigh in a long time. What I mean is, I haven’t been there walking around town for quite a long time. As president and former president all you get to see is hotels, limousines and hotels. So my memory is a bit hazy. I remember Raleigh quite well though. There is a statue of president Polk in front of the State Capitol.

By the way president Polk is the one, who declared war on Mexico and annexed Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Next to it is the business center with all the banks. If you walk from the Capitol to the business center, if I remember right, the central bus station is to your left, near by. Very close by is a McDonald’s I remember very well. I used to sneak out of my hotel room to go stock up on fast food there.

Still facing the business center with your back to the Capitol, I think the police station is to your right. It’s next to a major road. If you walk from the Capitol to the Business center and keep on walking you come to a neighborhood with dilapidated houses. I remember looking at these houses, but this is years ago, and thinking what beautiful old houses they were and how with a little TLC these houses could be turned into a thriving new neighborhood. I don’t remember people living there. I was there at night.

I told the mayor at the time, he should give young couples some incentives to buy these houses and clean them up. I don’t know whether he did so or what happened to the neighborhood. I wish I could’ve taken a ride on the bus again like I used to be able to do. It would’ve been a lot of fun.

By the way if you know what happened to this neighborhood, e-mail me. Include your name so I can post the responses here for all to see. If you’re from Raleigh or Durham or Chapel Hill e-mail me and I’ll ask Bobbi to put your e-mails up here too.

R, D, CH, I have a lot of good memories.

Black Ops and The New Yorker magazine

I talked to Seymour Hersh, when I was in Raleigh, North Carolina on Monday. He is an award winning investigative journalist for The New Yorker magazine. For the past few years, he has been writing an alternative history of the Bush presidency. He is the one, who broke most of the stories about the Neo-Conservatives and the Abu Ghraib, prison scandal.

We talked about black ops., that means covert operations. All politicians know or should know everything about this issue. The Republicans did it to me for the entire eight years I was in office.

Black ops is not just about smearing your competitor. It is more about making sure your opponent can’t give the public his views without being challenged. What black ops does is confuse, change and detract from the other person’s message.

The Republicans were masters at this. Every time I came up with a new proposal, their black ops department would clutter the airwaves with paranoid stories and books about my supposed past.

White Water, Ken Starr and the Monica Lewinsky investigations were part of these black ops operations.

I made a stupid mistake and for a while I was actually contemplating resigning. That is until my good friend Seymour talked to me about the machinations behind the scenes. The project set up to bring down a democratically elected American president. Seymour Hersh knows everything about everything and everybody. When Seymour stopped talking that night, I was shocked. That was the night I decided to fight back no matter what. If I had resigned, the coup would’ve succeeded. I couldn’t tell this to the American people, the country was divided, they wouldn’t understand.

A little bit more about black ops. If you try to smear the opponent, it must always be grounded in fact. For instance, The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth started out as a small group of Vietnam veterans, who had a problem with John Kerry’s anti-war activities after he came back from Vietnam. That was thirty years ago. Who cares? The Swift Vets would never have made any headlines or impact if black ops hadn’t taken over the cause and spread it wide and far around America. The reason this black ops stuck with voters was the fact that the accusers were genuine. Secondly, the Democratic party was seen as pacifist in a time of war, so Kerry the Hippie, weak on defense struck.

On the left you had black ops too. Not very successful though. I remember MoveOn.Org’s ad comparing president Bush with Hitler. A few, very few think that is a good comparison. The vast majority of Americans think that is nonsense. I want to ad another black ops operation. The Ashley story. It was based on the truth. Ashley’s mom died during the World Trade Center attacks. President Bush was told about it, when he met the girl during the race and he hugged her. A picture was taken of this hug. A few weeks later this story was turned into an ad and every American got to see president Bush, teary eyed hugging this girl. It was a powerful commercial. I had trouble not crying myself.

That is black ops too. Michael Moore and the Bush is Hitler messages were countered and as Bush won the election successfully deflated. Why did the Bush is Hitler, Bush is bad ad not work?

Very simple. The day after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, three hundred million Americans saw president Bush with tears in his eyes telling America, we would fight back. Three hundred million Americans have implanted in their mind this image of a teary eyed Bush. The majority of Americans, even though they may not like his policies, feel Bush is a good, decent man.

Along come the MoveOn cowboys trying to tell America, Bush is evil. It didn’t work. The message is not based on reality.

As I said I had a very interesting talk with Sy. He told me how surprised he was that the government would allow its enemies, I mean terrorists like Zarqawi and Osama Bin Laden to put out their messages for the world and their supporters to see. If the CIA allows this, they are not doing their job. If the government allows this and God knows Republicans know everything about black ops, they are incompetent. They should never have allowed these terrorists to have a clear communication tool to the world is what Sy said.

The best way to destroy terrorists is to destroy their ability to communicate with the world and their supporters. Their message should be cluttered, changed, hijacked. For instance, how difficult is it to pay a few locals to dress up as terrorists and make the most idiotic claims, always based on reality of course? How hard is it to fake a few Zarqawi internet messages?

To destroy your opponent in American politics, you need to derail their message. Hey, I was a victim, I know that it works. So instead of talking about my policies I was forced to defend myself and talk about nonsense.

You can do the same with the terrorists. Force them to spend more time on their “PR”, force them to answer your faked messages, bring chaos in the communications between them and the wider world and them and their supporters.

A group, without a dependable communications tool will have a problem getting out its message, but eventually will also have a problem recruiting new people and getting new finances.

This is what I talked about with Sy. If you like books, art and investigative journalism, I would like to encourage you to buy The New Yorker. If you’re in the North East and interested in politics, but don’t want the prepackaged government version, check out the magazine. It sure could use your support. I’ll ask Bobbi to link to it.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!

This year, 2005, is the year of the Rooster, specifically the Green Wooden Rooster.
This means good fortune, good business and a good year for gold. I hope I can catch the last few days of the Lantern Festival celebrations, when I visit Asia later this month.

Greek Myths

Bobbi shows a lot of promise. She is one of those young Democrats I keep talking about. Committed activists, who one day will lead our party. She has a habit of making notes every time I speak. I am a very successful 30 year veteran of politics. The only way you will learn the nuts and bolts of politics is by doing it or listening to someone with experience. She is a smart young lady.

I told her a story from the old Greek mythology. I had to point her to the point I was making, but she caught on pretty fast. Let me tell the story and see how quick you are seeing the message behind the story.

The old Greeks thought there was a reason why tall grass, moved by the wind goes “wash, wash”. The reason for that is the king of Minos. He was born with donkey ears. His parents were devastated and made sure nobody ever knew about it. After his parents died King Minos continued to cover them up with a hat. Nobody knew his little secret, except for his old barber, who was a mute. Now the old barber died, so a new one had to be appointed. The unsuspecting fellow received the shock of his life when King Minos took off his hat the first time. “Your majesty”, he said “You have donkey ears”. “Yes”, said the King, “And if I ever hear rumors about it, I know it was you, who started it and I will kill you”. The barber kept his mouth and did his job.

One month, two months. The barber was a healthy, normal barber and like most barbers he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He was going crazy. He had to talk to somebody. Three months, four months. He couldn’t sleep anymore. King Minos has donkey ears was all he could think about. Many times, cutting other clients’ hair he caught himself almost telling the secret.

One day he said to himself “I can’t go on like this. I have to spread this rumor. If I do it I’m going to die, but if I don’t do it I will lose my mind”. So he runs as far away from the town as possible, gets into the tall grass and screams “King Minos has donkey ears”.

He felt so much better. He went back to town a happy man. The tall grass, entrusted with such a juicy gossip couldn’t keep their mouth either, so every time the wind provokes them they go “wash, wash, wash”.

That sound sounds like “King Minos has donkey ears” in its original old Greek translation.

Recently I heard there is some commotion about teaching evolution and creation as equal theories in school. I believe in the Good Lord. I also believe that we shouldn’t let Christian fundamentalists take this country back to the dark ages. We are creating a national security problem if we teach children that, not science and discovery are the way to explore and explain the world and the laws of nature, but God and the Bible.

I believe in Ronal Reagan’s premise. We are safe as long as our military and their equipment are superior. China turns out 75,000 scientists every month. Now is not the time to question science and it’s benefits.

It isn’t the journalist, who protects Americans’ right to free speech. It’s the soldier, who does so. It isn’t the priest, who defends America against foreign threats, it’s the scientist, who invents the most technologically advanced weapons.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Football Super Bowl

The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. I knew it. The Philadelphia Eagles are good, but just not really on the same level as the Patriots. It was quite a game. I was at the Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Former president Bush was there too. We were there to appeal to the American people to donate to the tsunami relief fund.

One third of American families have done so already. An incredible amount of people. What's more, half of them donated using the internet. I would like to thank everybody, who donated and I would like to ask everybody, who hasn't done so, to do it today. Your donation will do a lot of good. I will see to that in my role as UN special envoy.

I had a great time yesterday. To be honest I'm not a big NFL fan. I used to play football myself in high school. I was pretty good too. I was a really big kid. I was towering over everybody in my class and everybody was always teasing me about it.

I remember we had this very important game against a high school from Prescott, Arkansas. I had broken through their defenses and I was home free, except for one scrawny little kid. Instead of moving to the side, he tried to block me. With my size I knocked him over. He fell to the ground and screamed like a baby. I kept running, but I thought, with my size, maybe I broke his neck. I stopped and went back to him. I crouched down next to him. I said “Are you Ok?” The little weasel grabbed the ball, passed it on to his team mate and they scored a touch down.

We lost the game and instead of playing against other teams during the summer our team couldn’t do much else, but lick our wounds and practice for the next season. It wasn’t just my fault we lost. We lost really heavily. We just weren’t that good a team, you know? But this didn’t keep the team, the high school and the whole town from blaming me for the loss.

So every time we had to practice, and one of my team mates fell down, he would say “Oooh help, call sister Bill”. In high school they were calling me “nurse Clinton”. It’s no fun if a whole town hates your guts and you’re just twelve years old. It was then that it became clear to me that I had to get out of Hope.

Well anyway, I stopped going to practice and not long after that I quit the team. The result of this decision was my heart by-pass operation a few months ago. If I had kept up my condition as it was when I was in the team, I would’ve been healthy right now.

This is the reason I get mad at parents, who don’t force their kids to participate in sport. They say “Well, little Timmy doesn’t like to sweat”. Well maybe little Timmy likes a heart attack when he’s in his late fifties and spend the rest of his life scared to death not surviving another one.

It’s important for kids to exercise. It will strengthen their lungs, it will grow their heart and it will keep them healthy. If you don’t work out as a kid, you will never be able to do so as an adult. I tried, oh so many times to get back into shape, but it was impossible. If you don’t build it up from childhood, forget it. So my arteries clogged up and I almost died.

All because of a jerk from Prescott, Arkansas. Aaron Johnson, is his name. I bet he still lives there. The little town hero. I still have a score to settle with you, Aaron.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Politics

There is something that amuses me, but I can’t really talk about. Who will run for president? In my experience you have to keep two things apart. One Senators. Two governors.

If a Senator gets asked whether he (or she) is running for president it’s much smarter to be ambivalent, whether you plan on running or not. If you are planning on running, It’s a good thing to get the extra media attention. There are after all 100 other Senators in the Senate, all vying for a spot in the media sun.

If you aren’t really interested in running, you should be ambivalent too. As a Senator you have to build alliances in Congress, if you want your pet projects to become law. If other politicians in Congress think you might be the next president, they will be more interested in working with you in the hope they will reap the rewards after you get elected.

Even if you don’t become the party’s nomination, an ambitious Senator, could still become a vice-president or a secretary of one of the departments. It’s always smart to be friendly with an ambitious Senator.

With governors, politics are different. You don’t want your name to be out there too early in the race. You’re popularity will peak too soon. It’s about momentum. Just look at Vermont’s governor Howard Dean. Long before the Iowa caucuses he had been chewed on by each and every media outlet in America. There was nothing fresh about him. Everybody knew everything about him. You also give your competitors too much time to dig up dirt on you. After the newness wears off, you’ll spend most of your time answering questions about things you did or didn’t do in your past.

A better strategy is to build your campaign machine in silence and just before the caucuses and primaries, you come out of the closet. If you did your job well and your campaign machine works, you will end up a good second or third in the race after the first few caucuses and primaries. This will give you the media attention and the momentum you need to surge ahead as you suck the oxygen out of the other candidates’ campaigns.

So in response to the question everybody asks me these days, will Hillary run for president, I can only say I haven't the faintest idea. (I couldn't suppress laughing after writing the last sentence)

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Trip to Asia

Former president George Herbert Walker Bush and William Jefferson Clinton will lead a United States presidential delegation to Aceh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives on February 19-21.

Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will meet and host a dinner for George Bush and Bill Clinton on February 19. They will visit the South of Thailand, the area devastated by the tsunami.

Bobbi Lamoon
Assistant PR manager

Friday, February 04, 2005

Sweatpants

George Bush and I will travel to Asia later this month. We will check up on the progress that has been made in rebuilding the lives of the victims of the tsunami.

This trip couldn’t have come at a better time. I need some fresh air to breathe. I’m hearing wedding bells chiming ever nearer and I don’t like it one bit. And her mom isn’t helping either. She seems to have been charmed by the cad. They know I don’t like curly, so they’ve teamed up against me. They are cooking something, but I can’t just go to one of them and ask questions. I’m the father, they are supposed to come to me. Especially that mongoose. It’s his job to come to me and ask me for the hand of my daughter if that’s what is happening.

Hey, I tried to be nice. Hillary asked me and I tried. I asked them to come to the house a few days ago, so we could talk a little bit about his prospects. I mean his career. They came by. Curly was wearing sweatpants. Is that what you wear when you visit your future in-laws? Is that how you behave to impress your future in-laws? You wear sweatpants?

When I was dating Hillary and we visited her parents, I always wore a suit and a tie. Even long after we got married. Yes, Ma’am, yes Sir. That’s how it used to be. It was a sign of respect. And now I’m supposed to be happy giving my daughter away to a guy, who visits me wearing sweatpants? How can I trust him with my little sweetheart, when I can’t even trust him to wear normal pants?

Anybody wearing sweatpants, who isn’t jogging, has given up on life. Curly is in his twenties. He should be full of life. He should be exploding with energy and trying to make all my little girl’s dreams come true. But no, that is other people’s sons in laws. My future son in law wears sweatpants.

Hey, I give up. Don’t talk to me, don’t visit me. Just let me sit here all by my self in my barn-office. It’s just my daughter we’re talking about. I guess I’m the old man. A relic from the past. Nobody cares about my feelings.

I spent twenty years trying to put some sense in her head and she comes home with curly. What have I done wrong? For God’s sake, what have I done to deserve a future son in law, who visits me wearing sweatpants?

I give up.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Social Security Crisis

I want to come back to the comments I made regarding last night's SOTU address. I had a good night’s sleep so I’m clearer in my thinking now.

All I can say about president Bush and his political skills as a 30 year veteran of politics myself is Bush is good. Very good. As I said yesterday, the Democratic party stands no chance in preventing the partial privatization of Social Security.

Why? As I said before, I want to use this diary as a communication tool to educate the new cadre of the Democratic party. With my 30 years of experience in politics, I feel that is my obligation. I believe in educating young, dedicated people, who will one day become the new leaders of the Democratic party. If you are one of these committed active Democrats make notes. As I walk you through the SS issue, you will see politics at work. You need to understand the machine behind Bush’s victory in this SS debate.

Let's say there is a Social Security crisis. Let’s say Social Security has a funding problem. More money comes out than goes in. A normal person would say either increase the flow going in, or make a cut in the flow coming out.

President Bush’s solution is taking tax money funding SS and putting that into private accounts. Just think about it. How is partially cutting the flow of money going into SS a solution to the problem?

The problem and the solution don’t match. The reason for this is simple. President Bush isn’t really trying to save SS as his prime objective. What he wants to do is take money going to the government to fund SS and put it in people’s pockets in the form of private retirement funds. In other words, the president is actively pursuing his vision of an ownership society.

President Bush knows one thing. Americans, at least the baby boom generation and generation X don’t save money out of their own free will. That’s why he wants to force them to save and invest by making it a legal requirement.

Using the solvency or insolvency of SS is just a tool to force-create his ownership society. Not just that, it’s also the only large scale government program he could use to divert money from.

The partial privatization of Social Security doesn’t solve the funding question as I said before. Actually as it limits the tax money going in it worsens the funding problem of the program. How will he solve this funding issue?

Although I’m not in Washington, my ears are attuned to the political grapevine like radars. I know exactly what’s going on behind closed doors.

As I said, partial privatization has nothing to do with solving the funding question of SS.

Again as I said: Let’s say SS has a funding problem. More money comes out than goes in. A normal person would say either increase the flow going in, or make a cut in the flow coming out.

Bush has made it clear he does not want to increase taxes to fund the long term solvency of SS. In other words the only solution he allows is reducing the flow of money coming out of the SS fund, in other words Bush wants to cut the benefits people will get.

He proposes several ways to cut benefits, but what I hear is the most talked about compromise is increasing the retirement age by one or two years at which SS pays out the benefits. Americans, who still want to retire at age 65 can use their private retirement funds.

Is Bush’s proposal a bad idea only benefiting Wall Street brokers, who will receive big fees investing this retirement money?

It’s not a bad idea in itself. A steady flow of money will go into the stock market, big trustworthy companies will get funded by a steady stream of cheap investments, which they can use to expand their business. This will grow the economy and create jobs for Americans. This steady flow of money will also free up money tied up in big corporations and could be invested in small innovative new companies.

The risk I see is people putting their retirement money in Enron/ Worldcom like companies and losing their money. At least their private retirement fund money. The other problem I see is people unable to work, because of a handicap for instance? What about their private retirement fund? What will happen to stay at home moms, who get divorced?

The biggest problem might be what to do with the shortfall in money going in and coming out of the SS fund until the new program balances this. The government has to borrow billions of dollars to fill the gab between the current system and the new system. Can our economy take that? Who will pay for the borrowing is simple, the tax payer. But is a tax hike to pay for this possible?

Just to illustrate the amount of money we are talking about, look at these figures.

Workers pay 6.2 percent of their taxable wages to finance SS right now. Their employers also pay 6.2 percent per employee. In president Bush’s plan people under 55 could place as much as 4 percentage points of the 6.2 percent they themselves pay into personal accounts.

In other words SS in the future will only receive 2.2 percent of the taxable wages workers pay plus the 6.2 percent the employers pay.

We are talking about a lot of money that needs to be borrowed by the government.

As I said yesterday just after the State of the Union address, I now believe the president will get his way when it comes to reforming SS. The reason why I believe this is simple. Politics is about trust. After the successful elections in Iraq and yesterday's dramatic scenes in the Senate, when the Iraqi lady hugged the mother of a fallen soldier, I'm sure Americans trust the president not just with their safety, but also with their retirement money.

I'm disappointed in my party. They didn't even put up a fight. The president just rolled over their objections like the Democratic party didn't exist. I hope in Howard Dean's capable hands as chairman, the party will come back to life again. A democracy with no opposition is no democracy. And it is Bush, who succeeded in relegating our party to irrelevance. Never again doubt his capabilities. He is good. Very good.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union address

I watched the State of the Union address. I've been around long enough to know whether there is momentum or not. President Bush's most important proposal in the next four years, privatizing Social Security will pass congress.

I wasn't sure about it. A lot of Democratic and liberal groups were making a good case of keeping SS as it is. I thought they might succeed in frightening enough Republican politicians, who might run for reelection, to derail the proposal. I thought they would be able to convince most Americans that Social Security wasn't a problem.

When I saw the Iraqi lady hug Mrs. Norwood, the mother of the marine, who died during the assault on Fallujah, I knew the president would get his way. It's about trust.

The president took this country to war even though the nation was divided. He asked the American people to trust him. It was in our national interest to liberate Iraq. Half the country doubted him.

The elections in Iraq on Sunday and the hug the two ladies shared, made one thing clear to most Americans, president Bush was right. Even the doubters can't deny Bush is succeeding in Iraq.

The president has shown he can be trusted. It means Americans right now have enough confidence in president Bush to allow him to lead them on the Social Security issue. I have no doubt that it will pass.

Well Wishes

I would like to thank everybody, who sent Hillary a get well E-mail. She appreciates it very much. She has recovered completely. I asked her whether she was sure about that and whether she didn't need to stay home for a couple of days. She said "Bill, why are you always being so dramatic? It was just a little pain in the stomach. Some people are worse off." She told me one of her staffers had brought to her attention the case of a little girl, who is severely ill and might never get better. The girl's name is Megan. After I read about her on her website, I was overwhelmed with emotions. She’s such a brave young girl. She’s so strong, confident and positive. I cried. God, sometimes I don’t understand you. I really don’t.

I will ask Bobbi to link to the little girl’s website. Please visit her website and sign her guest book. Megan's Home

I wish you all the best, Megan. I will pray for you and visit your site often to see how you’re doing. May God bless you and your family.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

United Nations

I’ve been appointed special envoy by the United Nation’s secretary general Kofi Annan. My job will be to help raise funds for the victims of the tsunami in Asia. President Bush asked me to do it nationally, but now I’m asked to do it worldwide.

Former president Bush, my partner in the national effort was asked to be a UN envoy too. He declined. My good friend Kofi asked me to talk to the former president and try to persuade him to accept the job. I called George Bush, that’s senior, but he was adamant. He said "Bill, I will not be a rock in the road of my son’s presidency. I’m not going to do anything that could be perceived as contravening or mitigating or contradicting my son’s policies". The current president Bush has a rocky relationship with the United Nations. So I understood I couldn’t change his mind.

I am very humbled, proud and happy that I was chosen for this role. I’m looking forward to doing this very important job.

Feeling Helpless

Sometimes I just want to pull out my hair out of sheer helplessness. Yesterday was one of those days. After I heard what had happened to Hillary I called her up. I asked her and the doctor how she was doing. Hillary assured me she was fine. The doctor told me she needed medical attention, she needed to be hospitalized. Hillary didn’t want that. I pleaded with her to follow the doctor’s advice. She refused.

I don’t understand her. Well I do understand her, but I don’t like it. My wife wants her own legacy, apart from me. That’s ok with me. It’s just sometimes the politician takes over from the human being.

I remember very well what kind of role health played in my first presidential election. George Bush Sr, not long before the election had gone to Japan. He became ill and vomited and passed out during an official dinner. This was caught on film. Bush never managed to shake off this moment of vulnerability. I know Hillary feared something like that might happen to her if she allowed herself to be overpowered by her illness. A politician can’t look weak. People know Washington is a vipers’ den, they will never vote for a person, who seems weak. So even when I pleaded with Hillary to go to the hospital, she said no.

She almost seemed like a tiger protecting her territory, in this case in Washington. She worked hard for her seat in the Senate. That’s for sure. She isn’t a natural politician. She doesn’t connect with people like some politicians do. Like some people say I do, or this president Bush does. Hillary is all about issues. To her being in the Senate isn’t a job. It’s a way to affect policy on issues she holds dear.

I think she is afraid of not being reelected. I understand the fear. After I was elected governor of Arkansas for the first time, I lost the reelection. It was one of the most depressing times in my life. I have never forgotten that. I was full of ideas how to change things. But I walked too far ahead of the people in Arkansas. I made one big mistake. I never took the time to educate them on why policies had to change or couldn’t stay the same. This is a mistake a lot of left leaning liberals still make. They assume everybody understands that the changes in policies they want are good for Americans. So changing laws using the courts seems the right thing to do to them. And when the majority of Americans don’t want their policy changes, they get angry. They must learn the lesson I learned. Educate people, take the time to educate people about the reasons why policy changes are good for them. I learned this lesson and got reelected a few years after my defeat. I stayed governor till I ran for president.

Coming back to Hillary and her reelection. It’s going to be tough. The Republicans are aiming their big gun at her Senate seat. It’s not official, but I don’t think you need to doubt the information. Rudolph Giuliani will be running against her in two years time. He is very popular in New York City and upstate New York. This Senate race will probably, no certainly be the most difficult and most talked about race in two years time.

I understand Hillary, but I’d rather see her home or in hospital, so she could recover. I worry about her, but that’s my right.