Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Vass thoughts on Senator Clinton

Senator Clinton is back in the national press, this time both defending her vote for the Iraq war and taking advantage of the President's low approval rating. While I agree that the reasons for the war were not accurate, the fact that Saddam needed to be removed is very viable. For various reasons, including oil and strategic positioning in the middle east, our involvement is a good thing. Our timing and manner in enacting this involvement could have been better executed though.

The fact that Sen. Clinton is pumping up her public profile, as she prepares for her re-election bid in 2006 is consistent with her actions. Those how have seen my post Politics for elections know my feelings about Sen. Clinton's publicity efforts. The fact that the Democratic Party is largely anti-war and seeks immediate removal of troops should not influence her statements nor her support of our troops. Immediate removal of troops does not promote democracy or stability in Iraq or the middle east. It shows lack of stregth and ambivalence on the part of the U.S. that we abandon a nation in its infancy for the mere fact that polls are negative. In my opinion we will be back, to fight yet another war, if we leave with the job half-done. The safety of our troops is also put into question as politicians demand timetables for removal while troops are still under-fire. Does anyone truly think that radicals are less likely to continue or increase attacks if we rush to set up a time to leave Iraq?

But as for Sen. Clinton, much is not publicized that needs to be. While she wasted no effort to condem a video game, for adult content (largely ignoring serveral other disturbing factors of the game), and blame the interactive gaming industry for this one company no one has commented on her failure to vote to restore education programs that had been cut or her No vote to repeal the 1993 tax increase on Social Security benifits.

Some other votes made by Sen. Clinton include {the outcome of the votes, or my personal views on the issues picked is not the question. There are many more votes and the descriptions I provide are summaries by me}:
  • Numerous votes to enable low-to-median income families to be excluded, via various exemtions, from responsiblity of debts and allow access to bankruptcy.
  • Yes to reject any plan that requires deep benefit cuts and/or massive increases in national debt for Social Security.
  • No to express the the sense of the Senate that not addressing Social Security will result in massive debt, deep benefit cuts and tax increases.
  • No to increase the death gratuity to 100k for soldiers in combat since Oct 2001.
  • No to provide motorcycle safety programs
  • Yes to improve safety of non-motorized transportation (including bicycles)
  • No to treat Ethanol like all other vehicle fuel (ie no payments for environmental damages)
  • No to increase renewable fuel, and raising the national fuel independance
  • No to protect classified information and protect servicemen
  • Yes to increase by $360 million funds for procurement of tatical wheeled vehicles to deploy in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Yes to not increase the Congress pay in 2006
  • Yes to increase the minimum wage
  • No to increase funding for the AIDS drug assistance programs

  • There are more votes, my point is Sen. Clinton seems very confused on several issues. Sen. Clinton promotes the idea that she is for families and individuals (ie raise wages, leaving SS alone, improving bicycle safety) yet she also has voted to do the opposite (no motorcycle safety, repeal '93 tax, ethanol, AIDS funding). My thoughts are not about the outcome of the actual votes, but how Sen. Clinton has voted. That is far more important. It seems to project an image of someone looking to say anything to get elected, but not caring what the constiuents want as much once elected. Do we want that kind of a politician? Worse yet, do we want that kind of Presidential candidate? {Obviously I don't as I'm republican.}

    I am sure some of the above will be mentioned in Sen. Clinton's bid for re-election, but I doubt the conflicting votes will be mentioned. I would enjoy hearing why Motorcycle saftey is not an issue but bicycle saftey is, or why low income families need an increase in minimum wage and exclusions so they can be fiscally irresposible and claim bankruptcy, but assistance for low income individuals with AIDS is not a priority. I may not agree with many of the views of democrats but I think its nice to be consistent in your message. The real message stated by voting in the Senate and not the soundbites provided via the TV or news releases.

    What do you think?

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    Friday, November 25, 2005

    Radio One and Rev. Al Sharpton - Talk Radio

    You may have noticed my post Who is talk radio speaking to?, on my other blog, that discussed the abberation in listeners to talk radio. Part of that post deals with the choice by Radio One to have Rev. Al Sharpton host a political talk show on the radio.

    My thoughts on the actual announcement by Radio One - Radio One Plans Black Talk Radio Network - aside, the issue of Al Sharpton and othe "Black Leaders" is one that should be mentioned. Besides the question of 'Who made them leaders?' and 'When did we (Blacks in America) elect these people to represent us?' is the one of what is their actual effect on politics and what is the perception of them? Taking Mr. Sharpton as an example in general and comparing him to say Malcolm X, what do we find.

    Mr. Sharpton is from NYC, and was ordained as a youth. He was active in organizing groups early in his life and created the National Youth Movement in 1971. He attended Brooklyn College for 2 years and worked with Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1969. He ran for NY Senate, the first Black to do so, in 1978.

    Malcolm X, by comparison, had his father killed as a child. While good in school, Malcolm dropped out and became a criminal for a period of his life. This led to his incarceration, and that in turn led to his conversion to Islam. Also during his time in prison he resumed his pursuit of an education.

    Mr. Sharpton really became a regional, if not national figure in the mid-80's. This was due to his presence and boisterous statements to the press during a series of reactions and protests on racially motivated crimes in NYC. Mr. Sharpton is noted for making incendiary comments to Jews, Koreans and Whites as well. More recently he has run for president in 2004 on a platform of increase political consciousness and awareness, affirmative action and anti-death penalty policy, and economic justice at home.

    Malcolm X, upon leaving prison, was a devout practicioner of his faith. He helped create several Mosques across the nation, and promote entreprenuership in several communities. Malcolm X, along with the Nation of Islam, introduced thier beliefs to a nation that had never heard of them. Malcolm X, among others at the time, tackled issues of race (jim crow laws, et al.) and racial equality. Until the time of his death, Malcolm X was known internationally for his pursuit of his religion and equivalent treatment.

    Which of the 2 abbridged summaries sounds like a leader? Who has done more? Who in the eyes of the masses, would have more respect even from his enemies? Both deserve respect for standing up and saying what they think, even when those statements were not positive to a group or political climate.

    Yet, without the sensationalism provided by the newspapers, Mr. Sharpton would probably not have become a known figure. Even with the newspapers influence what has he acheived? Has his presence led to changes in the actions of police in NYC in 1987? in 1989 or 91? Has he helped to create legislation that improves peoples lives? Is he taken seriously politically when he speaks about a subject?

    Leadership is both a factor of what is percieved and done. Leadership is the ability to lead. A leader is one in charge or in command of others. Black leaders, now-a-days, are arbitrary figures that only represent an aspect that the media wants to be popular. Anyone given the title of a leader should be expected to, at a minimum, lead.

    What do you think?

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    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Mike Posted by Picasa

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    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    Stem Cells, ect.

    Over the past few years alot has been discussed on stem cell research, and the potential for cloning. These are critical issues, not because they can be done today (which is debatable) but because of what they mean to the future.

    Stem cell research will lead to cloning research. While proponents state that the goal of stem cell is to find cures to degenerative diseases, and disorders affecting tens of millions there are a few other things to consider. First is the fact that the entire process involves manipulating and working with genetics, which is an arena we do not understand. We do not understand fully how or what combinations of DNA do in a single life, and even less so how any changes in DNA affect the future generations. Nature makes changes over generations in a timespan barely concieved of by humanity. The proponents state that science will understand more as we do more. Right, and science five hundred years (roughly) ago stated that we were the center of the universe, that nuclear power was impossible (roughly 55 years ago), and that AIDS was both airbourne transmission and only affected gays (20 years ago - some of those sources being somewhat dubious I agree). The fact is that science evolves and grows as time passes. Various "facts" are later disproved via better observations and insight. So the problem I state is that what happens when a 'fact' is found to be incorrect and suddenly millions hold a DNA imprint that is worse than what it fixes (for future generations.

    Secondly, and this is important, the more we understand the more it will be abused. From the moment Dolly was cloned the question of human cloning has grown. Various scientists around the world have cloned bigger and more mammals as each year passes. The question of what affect this could have on the genetic pool of those creatures is unknown. But already one group has already claimed to have done several clones of humans. What if stem cell research is used in cloning? They do go hand in hand. And if a fanatical whomever you wish (Neo-Nazi, KKK, Islamic extremist, military dictatorship, ect.) decided to clone their version of a "ideal" being, with resistances to anthrax for example. Suddenly bio/chem warfare gets very ugly. Too Scifi for you? How about a different variant, Same group or individual figures out that by suppling a drug to pregnant mothers, birth defects and reduced natural immunities can be induced. If dispersed via gas (public transportation or in large cities) or via foods (canned goods perhaps) or water (public utilities and resivours) no one dies and may be completely unnoticed for years till the numbers get alarming.

    Think it can't happen? Polio was thought to be incurable or preventable at one time, same for Mumps, Measales, small pox and many others. The ability to enjoy powered flight was impossible til the Wright Brothers at Kitty hawk. It was thought that a cars going over 20 miles an hour would shake the skin off a person initally. And my favorite, it was long held that eating tomatoes would lead to insanity, until a doctor sat at mid day and ate a basket of them and was unharmed. The point is it can happen, and will happen given time. Don't think about the effect on just you... think further out. What will be possible and available to the masses in 15 years? In the last 15 years the internet was created and has linked the world. What could happen in the next 15?

    What do you think?

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    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Back again

    Due to work and a severe computer crash I was gone for a while, back now though. So what has been on everyone's mind while I was gone?

    Well for me a few random things. I recently saw the West Wing episode in which the TV presidential candidates had a debate live. It was great to see excelent actor do live TV. In addition the fact that they gave intelligent and mostly solid responses to questions, that represented the views of their respective parties, was far better than the sound-bite ladden "debates" that we get from our real candidates.

    I like the fact that the Republican candidate, played by Alan Alda in an excellent manner, is not a religion fanatic and has strong views to 'big government'. Sometimes the media seems to forget that every republican is not into religion (predominately some form of 'christian' sect) and insisting that it be displayed at every oppourtunity. Religion is a personal aspect of life and is not a political stumping point. That should never be the only reason to pick a candidate.

    And lets not forget that many republicans are quite intelligent, no less so than their democratic counterparts. This was also displayed with equal vigor by Jimmy Smits, as the democratic candidate. Well spoken and with ideas that any party member would be happy to expouse.

    The key is that the characters actually debatted. This is what should happen. That gives us a chance to see what are the plans and attention-to-details that the candidates have. It provides a glimpse of their ability to react quickly and descisively. And it allows a chance to form an opinion about the inner character of the hopeful president-to-be.

    These are important things we need to know. Who cares about smear campaigns. Don't bash the opponent in a flyer, directly confront him on the issues you disagree with and present a better arguement. If any group of candidates had the balls to do that today, we'd probably see number of voters go thru the roof. I mean its hard to care about someone who answers the question of how to fix Social Security in 15 seconds, and uses another 15 to attack his opponent. That is stupid. Its far to serious and complicated to be relagated to a soundbite. And how do you make an opinion based on a poll-generated fluff piece.

    Well what do you think about it? Did you see Who Won the 'West Wing' Live Debate? Let me, and hopeful the cowardly debate rules committee, hear your thoughts.

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    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    What about Afganistan?

    I was just reading some of the current news items today, about Judge Alito, a fragging incedent in Iraq and the interest rate move, when I realized 'There is nothing being discussed about what is happening in Afganistan.' This is very interesting because it makes me reflect on why we don't speak about the other war.

    Of course part of it is that no one wants to speak on the point that we have yet to locate or deter bin Laden. Also the fact that we are still fighting in a country with a technology base often compared to the stone age, not unlike the Soviets did in the 80's. And there is the question of when we can bring our boys home.

    This just reconfirms my thought that we have gone about this "fight on terrorism" the wrong way. I believe that the true solution is in absorbing the extremists and removing them. By that I mean we go to country X and take it over. They then become a commonwealth of the U.S. and we then go in and improve everything. We install a government and officials we approve of, create an infrastructure, (re)build an economy and education system. Basically we build an empire as it has been done for centuries.

    Why? Because in 2 generations max we create a culture that is friendlier to us and less extreme. Mind you we need to do everything that will nurture our new lands. Protecting the people, proper medical aid and feeding the hungry are all essential. Education is always taught from the point of view of the winner, this would be no exception. Give that these steps are done, in 3-4 generations you have a new potential state. It can be that "easy". The fact that it is empire building is irrelevant. To hide from the fact that America is the only current Empire besides the fragments of the communist system in China, is to lie.

    Empire or not, I have yet to hear one person/country that thinks that Afganistan or Iraq would be better without the resourses that America can put to it. The current generation may not like it, but the future one would. And live better while enjoying it. What do you think?

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