Monday, January 29, 2007

Trends in political elections pt 2 - 1.29.2007.2

Continued from part 1...

Debates for candidates, even Presidential ones, have been whittled down – presumably to save time – to trite answers on generalized questions. As if a subject like education or the economy or national healthcare or public security can be properly answered in 1-2 minutes. And any public speaking event is carried by few media outlets, and that is generally only carried in part. The net result being that most only get to hear a key phrase or video clip. The soundbite of the actual event. And the public is asked to base decisions on that. Which works well for the youth brought up on a culture of little information and fast delivery.

Of course that is not the best thing for the nation. I think that all would agree, if any party had a plan to successfully end the war in Iraq the majority of Americans would have rallied behind it. Sadly that did not happen in the recent mid-term elections. We were fed ‘There must be a change’ and ‘I will bring you a change’. Neither of which are a plan nor a statement of what will be done. Yet as soundbites they were quite effective. Even now there has only been one plan posed. Whether it is a good plan or not, is not the question. There is no alternative being given. Yet the soundbites ring clear, ‘We need to change.’ [Let me clarify, a plan entails a detailed explanation of goals, with clearly defined resources and actions. ‘We should leave’ is not a plan. We should leave via a gradual reduction of troops over a 6 month period, allowing religious tensions to grow and create a civil war that Iran will back. When all of our troops are gone we will allow Iran to come into the area in force, raise oil prices and set up terrorist groups – that blame us for the chaos resulting from our leaving the country in disarray – that will plan to attack our nation funded by the higher oil prices. Once we are attacked on our soil again we can then nuke the nation in retaliation. That is a plan. It may be bad but it is a plan.]

So the result is that many are using the 30 seconds of information, given by faces that are familiar due to repetition, to base their decisions on. And the next generations of kids are being shown that this is the manner to base their decisions. That is those that are bothering to take the obligation of voting seriously.

I have a problem with this. I have a problem with what I see as soundbite politics. I have a problem with politicians giving one answer in a specific state and an altered, not quite the same meaning, answer in another. I have a problem with politicians avoiding giving a real answer to a serious question because it may take too long. I have a problem with politicians thinking I’m not smart enough to notice the difference.

I’m also scared that this trend will only grow. Fewer people will be involved in electing the President, or any politician and the public will suffer. That is not a democracy, and no one will notice it slip away – well almost no one. But the initial furor over candidates today will be replaced by who is in the finals of some reality show. Don’t be surprised if a debate is scheduled on the same day. It’s your nation too. Don’t let them forget.

For my part I have asked questions. I will continue to do so. I expect answers. And I will call those out that are duplicitous, or so smug to think that everyone is fooled. Regardless of their political party. Copy my letters and send them yourself. Tell me what other questions we should ask. Remind the candidates that they are OBLIGATED to answer our questions and keep their promises if they want our vote.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Trends politicians count on - 1.29.2007.1

Taking a moment to pause, I must say that I am not very hopeful. The reason why may not catch attention at first glance, but my reflection on it says there is much more to be concerned about.

Of course I’m speaking about the 2008 Presidential race. But that is just the surface. There are trends and issues that are more broad and far reaching than just this one event. Of course we all notice that the race for President is starting far sooner than ever before. It’s claimed that the cost to run is so huge that this kind of lead time is needed so that funds can be raised. I have no doubt that this is true. Of course there is another factor in this. America is becoming a MTV educated nation.

I’m not blaming MTV, just using it as an example. We see now that the youth from the last decade or so, up to today, are impatient compounded with short attention spans. This has become so bad that new ‘diseases’ have cropped up [I don’t feel that ADD is real – lest there would have been cases found centuries ago] to try to explain it. I feel that the crush of media has taught kids to not be more patient or thoughtful in part. Cell phones allow instant contact with anyone, text allow the ability to instantly contact multiple people. The internet and IM’s (instant messages) provide instant constant access to like-minded people, information that is both relevant and useless, video of inane acts with the hope of 5 minutes of fame, and the removal of a need to know how to spell (which influences thought in my opinion). Add to this 500 channels of television, each scraping lower for the lowest, cheapest, common denominator to gain a fraction of ratings that are lower than a 30th ranked show in the 70’s. Then throw in the hyper-violent trends in music, music videos (all genres), and sports (fights among teams or against fans) and the future generation looks troubled.

Now take this observation, and put in a political race. Minorities that already are becoming less educated than the generation before them, and feeling besieged by a justice system that is weighted against them, and a law enforcement system that routinely targets them and initiates unjustified unpunished violence upon them. Many minorities feel that politics are of no use as they are not gaining any of the benefits candidates promise to gain their vote. Others just follow the status quo stated by the various media outlets, as if it were a trend or mandatory without any thought to why they have been pre-selected to choice A or B.

Also given the apparent inability to follow a thought long-term, an extended Presidential race will not hold the attention it deserves with those of the youth (any race) that can or will be able to vote. So the race boils down to familiarity and not politics nor issues.

Political parties have caught on to this trend, as has the media. There has been a slow trend growing in the last decade or so, towards less actual content. With the growth of channels Pesidential comments, like the State of the Union, must compete with movies, VOD (video on demand), and regular televised programming. Once upon a time not long ago EVERY channel carried the President when he spoke to the nation.

To be continued...

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Senator Clinton's open letter on yahoo - 1.25.2007.1

To see a complete list of all letters sent out to political figures seeking the Presidency to date, please go to Letters to and from Presidential Candidates. To date there has been no response from any candidate contacted since December 2006.

Has anyone noticed the tactic being used today by Senator Clinton? The Senator is asking for the public to tell her what they think to a question she has asked. The exact question is “Based on your own family's experience, what do you think we should do to improve health care in America?” Now perhaps it’s just me, but I find this odd.

It seems to me that Senator Clinton is conducting a poll, seeing what various demographics and regions of America is thinking. Once this poll is does I have no doubt that any comments on healthcare will be shaped by the responses in the given region. That is duplicitous. That is deceptive, if I am correct. I also see it as useless.

As a Senator, and former First Lady, there has been talk about healthcare for over a decade. The opinion of various Americans given in this poll is not going to shape the healthcare plan that she has. Her goals have been decided and recited with little variance through out the time since President Clinton was elected. Given that, why would she ask what we the people think, beyond using it to shape the manner in which she might campaign? Is it not the explicit obligation of a candidate to tell us what SHE thinks on the subject so that we can make a decision for ourselves?

I also find it interesting that Senator Clinton decided to have announced her run on a Saturday, via the internet. That seems to eliminate any potential question from the press that every other candidate so far has had to answer, live. And on a Saturday which is not a day most are paying attention to news. And the video recording seemed to be quite old, to me. I say that because there is no part of the Northeast that has leafy bushes or trees in the winter that I am aware of. If you notice in the background, outside the window the leaves are on the tree/bush.

It’s nice to know that Senator Clinton has enough time to arrange and create an opinion poll (which is what I feel it is), dedicate staff to review and correlate the answers, launch a Presidential Campaign, but not enough time to respond to her email from a constituent.

I refer to the letter I sent to Senator Clinton. It was sent December 16, 2006 – some 40ish days ago at this point. [The link at the top of this post will take you to an EXACT copy of the letter sent to the senator] Other than an automated letter acknowledging receipt of my letter. Considering the extended time off for Congress during the holidays, and the 4 day work week, and the fact that Senator Clinton is not in the Congress every day it is open - nor in New York State for that matter – I think responding to a constituent would be nice. Even a letter from a staffer saying that while there is a delay, an answer is coming.

While I did not ask for an answer on healthcare, I did ask for an answer on, “What are you doing to address the drop-out rate of African American males? And what are you doing for Latino/ Hispanic Americans on the above matters?” Also, “What legislation have you initiated, that has passed, that has benefited those living in NY state and/or this nation?” There are other questions I asked, and have gotten no hint of an answer. I don’t want Senator Clinton to waste my time (she is a public official for my state) on an opinion poll so I can hear a modified soundbite that won’t answer my questions. I want Senator Clinton to fulfill her obligation and state what her platform is, what her opinions are. Anyone who is elected President of the United States should do no less.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Final part of Democratic response - 1.24.2007.3

Finishing post from parts 1 & 2...


The emphasis on change is fine. To question the plans in place is great. Of course that is based on being able to actually provide a plan in place of the one given. It’s of no use to cry sour grapes, in my opinion, when you have nothing to offer in its place. And as well worded as the comments may be, how hopeful for change, it is meaningless when not one Democrat has offered a single plan, in detail of any sort – including leaving, as a counter-offer to consider. I think the reference to Viet Nam and Korea is correct, though not for the reasons intended by the Democrats.

And lastly, I am offended. I do not believe ANY political party should have the indigence to threaten the President of the United States. How dare them. To state that if the President does not do what their party wants (not what the American people want or is in their best interest) they will ‘show him the way.” Who do the Democrats think they are? They are referring to the Commander-and-Chief. Respect is due. Whether or not they block everything the President wishes respect is called for. They have forgotten their place; they are one of 3 branches of government. They are no greater than any other part, just as is the President. To speak in such a manner is to not give the trust given to leaders in the past, to not seek out the best option for the nation, to be partisan above being patriotic and rude. That is what I think.

Senator spoke for the Democratic Party. Given that, the Democratic Party has spoken poorly. I am sure they are hoping for few viewers of they comments, few reading the newspapers and internet copies of the President and their response. I am sure they are counting on the few seconds long soundbites to be in their favor, promoted by the media, and convincing the general public that they have the ‘average man’ in mind. Well I am an ‘average man’ and I do pay attention. Their comments failed to sway me, rather they evoked my anger. Maybe my readers, you will think different. Somehow I think not.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Democratic response part 2 - 1.24.2007.2

Continued from part 1


Moving on, Senator Webb makes an interesting statement. Senator Webb discusses how his father, his sons, and he were all military men. The Senator served in the Marines during Viet Nam. I respect the service that he and his family have given this nation. The Senator may well have served with my own father. I or others in my family may have served with his children. That has nothing to do with what the President has decided. His patriotic decisions are not in question, nor those of his family. It added no value to his later statements. I say that with respect, as I do respect those decisions.

But the Senator goes on to mention how the American people had leaders that made wise, informed decisions. That our past leaders placed our troops in harm’s way after careful consideration. I have to ask how this is different than what President Bush has done? And I must ask Senator Webb where that trust was during the Viet Nam war, when the liberals of the nation wanted to cut support of the troops and had daily protests, and called our returning soldiers ‘baby killers.’ Perhaps Senator Webb never encountered the massive attacks against our troops and our leader then, but I know for a fact too many others did. How is the position of the Democratic Party today different than the beginnings of what happened during the Viet Nam War? And where is the trust for our leader today?

The Senator further draws on the action in Korea. How that war was ended ‘positively’ as an example of what to do today. Perhaps I view this differently, but what some viewed as a draw then is a huge loss some 50 years later, today. We left Korea, a stalemate. We never finished the war; we had a cease fire and have been there since. Korea is divided into a north and south, there is a huge DMZ, manned by tens of thousands of troops, mines and strategic missiles. How much has that cost our economy? Added to that fact is that North Korea has never stopped preparing to continue to finish the war with America. That has lead to the nuclear weapon test and potential nuclear arsenal, in a nation that hates us and will support anyone that would fight us. This is the positive reaction that Senator Webb referred to as ‘positive’ and seems to state we should emulate.

Senator Webb stated that diplomacy should guide our actions in Iraq, that we should move out soldiers off the streets, but we should not rush to leave. Yet there has been rampant talk by Democrats to cut funding (which I feel is not supporting the troops) and/or to cap the number of troops, and to create a timetable that has our troops home in a year. All of that before the President even mentioned his new plan. That is not trust in our leader. That is not supporting troops. That is leaving, that is what I call running away.

Continued in part 3...

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Democratic response to State of Union - 1.24.2007

Having just heard the President’s State of the Union speech, and the Democratic Response I feel compelled to respond. I will address the Democratic Response as it has me enraged. With all due respect to Senator Webb I feel that the response was an insult to my intelligence.

That is a strong accusation, I realize. I will back it up as well as I can.

In the first point, Senator Webb states that the economy is being viewed unfairly. He stated that the view of the economy should be seeing from the point of view of ‘Main Street.’ The senator went on to discuss the vast discrepancy in CEO pay vs. the average worker.

I have a problem with these comments. The fact is that unemployment is at a low. Profits for corporations are up. That is important as the money corporations make benefits shareholders, and helps with corporate taxes, and allows for higher research and development funding for future innovation. It is a fact that for the average corporation to make more money more of its product, or the same products at higher prices must be bought. The consumer must have the funds to buy those goods, at either the higher price or more goods. That to me is a direct example of the health of ‘main street’ health.

The fact that CEO pay is up is a good sign. Higher pay equates, or should, to better performance of a company. You can’t pay a massive salary if the money isn’t there. And the extreme of 400x more than the employees (I believe the statement was employee and not average employee which means the comparison could be versus the lowest paid person in the company) is the reason why people own businesses. Don’t we want to be our own bosses to be able to make more money? If you have built up a company, or improved an existing one, don’t you deserve to reap the reward? And if it is too much the company will suffer, the pay will be lowered or you will be replaced. Basic law of business as far as I know. On the other side of this thought is the fact that I, as the owner of my own business, do NOT want the government telling me what is the most I can make in my business. That is the essence of what the CEO pay comparison means. Government regulation of what I deserve to make for running my business. The laws may start off with the intention of affecting the top 1% of CEO’s but they will inevitably affect ALL CEO’s.

The question of corporate profits was further questioned later, as Senator Webb mentioned how the pay has increased since his time in college. Since we are aware of Senator Webb being in Viet Nam, I assume that his college years were in the late 70’s. Considering that, is his comparison adjusted for the rate of inflation? Does it consider how much a dollar bought roughly 3 decades ago as compared to today?

And when Senator Webb mentions how President Roosevelt worked on breaking corporate profits, did the senator consider the philanthropy that CEO’s did then? Did the senator consider the extremes in CEO pay vs. employees? And is that comparison better or worse than 30 years ago, or today?

What about the philanthropy that the top CEO makes because they have such an alleged extreme in pay? The Gates Foundation would not exist id CEO pay was capped. Mr. Warren Buffett may not be able to give away his fortune if he did not make as much, or his incentive (pay and profit) were limited or removed.

Continued in part 2

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Monday, January 22, 2007

What does change mean? - 1.22.2007.2

I have been listening for months now and I have a question. Since shortly before the mid-term elections of 2006, there has been a cry to ‘have a political solution’ to the war in Iraq. There have been calls to end the war because it has been going on for too long. There needs to be a ‘change’ in our policy. And so on.

I want to consider each of these demands. The first I have to question is the political solution. Can anyone mention to me a single war, or even a conflict, that has ended solely via politics? Seriously, just name one. The American revolution, The French revolution, The American Civil War, Viet Nam, Korea, WWI, WWII, The Six Day War, the IRA vs. Britain, and everything else. None have ended due to political action. In each it was the actual fighting of troops that caused the cessation of combat.

As I recall, in each battle there has come a point where one side realized the futility of continuing aggression and then engaged in talks. It is not the political talks that ended the conflict, just the observation that the most probable outcome of continued action would yield no further positive results. Thus one side loses and another wins, the spoils of war being divided accordingly.

In the Civil War it meant the surrender of the South. In Viet Nam, regrettably, it meant the creation of Southern Viet Nam and huge numbers of troops being constantly stationed there. With the IRA, as I understand it, it has lead to Britain making concessions; In the Six Day War Israel gained new lands. It is the way wars go. Perhaps the only case where I think there might have been a viable political cessation to fighting was with Mahatma Gandhi. Like all things there is an exception, and Gandhi was an exceptional man. Considering all the conflicts of all sizes in the history of man, I believe he is the only exception.

So all the calls to have a ‘political solution’ are just a PC, soundbite friendly way of saying ‘we give up, you win.’ At least that is what I think, and I suspect it is what those who would want us to lose are thinking as well. Oh, and by the way, what EXACTLY is a political solution? Has anyone asked what that means? Is there an example that anyone has or can point to of a political solution that has worked, or even existed?

As for those that believe a war is like a video game or a sporting match, wake up. There are no preset timeframes. There are no rules, no overtime. It takes as long as it takes. WWI was never expected to last 4 years. As I recall there was fighting still going on in isolated areas in 1947. The Civil War was expected to be over in 1 year maximum. And so on. There is no way to determine how long anyone is willing to fight for their home, religion, or beliefs. The Afghan rebels fought the Soviet Union for over a decade, if I recall correctly. War is not a game, nor can it be calculated on a checklist like a football match. It sucks, but that is the facts. To assume otherwise is to invite defeat.

Most important I must ask those who have cried for a change, what is the change. It’s easy to say ‘do something different,’ but what is that different thing? Nuking the largest cities in Iraq would be a change. Taking the country over and declaring our status as a colonizing empire is a change. Running away in defeat is a change. Instituting isolationist policies is a change. Are any of these the options we want as a nation? Are any of these the option that is being proposed by those politicians heralding the need to do ‘something’ different? It’s nice to say change; it is a far cry different to actually state what should be done differently.

Imagine a corporation selling widgets. The shareholders and a few of the Board of Directors want a change because sales have slowed; profits are not quite what they were. A new CEO is hired, drops the sale of widgets and starts selling children’s books. The scale of economies plummets, the cost of new equipment skyrockets, marketing budgets balloon, and sales are non-existent as the customer base is abandoned. Shareholders are enraged. The CEO holds a conference and says, “You wanted change, I gave you that. You never said what you wanted changed so I had to improvise. Don’t complain now that it’s not what you wanted, you should have been clear.”

I think my point is clear.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Letter to Senator Obama

This is an exact copy of a letter sent to Senator Obama. Any response will be posted unaltered.

January 22, 2007
Dear Senator Obama,

I am contacting you today as part of an ongoing series of letters that I am sending to many of those that are planning to run for President of the United States. To date I have written letters to Senator Clinton, Mr. John Edwards, and Mr. Mitt Romney.

I am the author/writer of several blog sites including Black Entertainment USA ( My letter to you, as well as any response from you will be posted on these sites without alteration.

Senator Obama I am aware that you are a junior Senator, having served 2 years at this time, representing Illinois. As I am from New York I am not familiar with the platforms you were elected for. What was the main issue that you campaigned on, and what progress have you made in attaining that? What laws have you helped to pass, or prevented from passing, that have directly benefited your constituents and African Americans in general?

As a fellow African American I’m sure you are aware that there are several issues that are of great impact to the Black community. One of the most important may be the issue of education. What have you done to improve the number of African Americans that finish high school and/or seek higher education? If you were to be elected President, what plan would you follow that will improve the education system in America?

In terms of your own education I ask a question that has recently been in the news. It has been stated that during the 4 years in Jakarta you had attended a Madrasa. I wonder if you feel this has any influence on the education you received, or more importantly do you believe that having lived and studied overseas provided you any benefit that your peers may not have had?

It has also been stated that you are a smoker. If this is true do you believe that has any effect on your views on healthcare? In addition how do you feel about the current trend to leave businesses without a choice and disallow smoking? Do you believe that the smoking ban is fair to businesses, and does it make sense to have a ban while also allowing adult citizens to purchase cigarettes?

As a lawyer that worked on civil rights issues, what do you believe you can do, or are doing currently, to improve the rights of African Americans and Latino/Hispanic Americans or any other people of color in this nation? What do you feel is the largest obstacle and what plan do you have to remove it?

In terms of national healthcare, do you agree with the push for a national healthcare system? If you do how would you have this program funded? What would you do to motivate institutions and individuals to seek out new innovations with the profit motive removed? How would you ensure that a national program would not function in the same manner most feel other government institutions do, such as the education system (which most feel is a failure)?

What role, if any, do you feel religion plays in the government? Do you believe that the fact you have never served in the Armed Forces would have any effect on your ability to perform as Commander-and-Chief?

Speaking of the Armed Forces, at this time there is a general feeling that the war in Iraq is going badly. President Bush has just announced a plan that would elevate the number of troops serving in Iraq. The democratic party is generally opposed to this plan. What exact alternative would you implement in place of this current plan, and what plan would you establish to ensure the safety of Americans if Iraq becomes more unstable (thus promoting terrorist attacks on America)?

Do you feel that the fact you have little experience in the Senate, or with dealing with international politics, is a hindrance to your ability to act as President and if not why?

Recently there has been a growing apprehension among some in the nation about the number of immigrant that are allowed into the nation for non-European nations (as per Rep. Goode). How do you feel about this? Also there is a strong debate on what to do about the large numbers of illegal immigrants. What plan do you have to deal with this issue?

I thank you for taking the time to read and to respond to this letter. As I stated earlier this will be posted on several sites, particularly Black Entertainment USA (at the address noted above).


Michael Vass
President – M V Consulting, Inc.
Author – Black Entertainment USA and Vass

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Sen. Boxer attacks Secretary of State Rice personally - 1.12.2007.1

Who does Senator Boxer think she is? I am speaking directly to the comments Senator Boxer made to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I find the comments insulting and unfair. The implications are insulting, on several levels.

If you are unfamiliar with what was said I quote Senator Boxer, "Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young," Boxer said. "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."

In response, later, Secretary of State Rice said, "I guess that means I don't have kids. Was that the purpose of that Well, at the time I just found it a bit confusing frankly. But in retrospect, gee, I thought single women had come further than that. That the only question is are you making good decisions because you have kids?"

White House spokesman Tony Snow state in regard to this, "I don't know if she was intentionally that tacky, but I do think it's outrageous. Here you got a professional woman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Barbara Boxer is sort of throwing little jabs because Condi doesn't have children, as if that means that she doesn't understand the concerns of parents. Great leap backward for feminism."

Sen. Boxer has since release a statement that tries to clarify what she meant. In essence she tries to make the claim that she only meant to highlight the sacrifices of military families. In my opinion this is a crock.

I have no doubt that the Senator knew exactly what she said and it’s intention was not what she has since stated. To me it sounds as if Sen. Boxer made the claim that any woman without children should have no voice on the war. It can be further implied that a woman without children is somehow incomplete, according to the statement of the Senator.

I’ll even follow the logic a step further. From the statement made, and considering whom it was made to, the logic follows as such. A Black African American woman, that is not a traditional Democrat, that is single, educated, successful, and without children should not speak about a war where someone’s children will serve and is flawed. Whether the flaw is the lack of marriage and children – as Sen. Boxer stated she had – or that Secretary of State Rice is Republican, is unclear.

How dare she. If either point is her logic then I must say to Sen. Boxer that she has no idea of the cost of this war, as she has never served in the military. If, and I do not know the facts on this, Sen. Boxer’s husband and/or children did not serve in the Armed Forces then she, by her logic, is even further removed from speaking on this subject let alone question anyone else on it.

I may not agree with some choices that feminists have decided to take on over the years, but I do recognize that the choices that any woman has made should be respected. The same respect should be given to anyone that has made choices about their life goals. I deserve respect because of what I have done and chosen to do, the fact I am not married nor have children makes me no less of a man nor a success. Any woman deserves the same. Having children does not elevate the position of a woman, just as it does not a man. To imply such difference is rude and wrong.

To imply, or allow to be implied by the nature of the comment and to whom it is stated, that there is something wrong with an individual due to their political affiliation, education, gender, and/or race is deplorable. If this statement were made by a white male to a woman, feminists would be up in arms. If this were a liberal being told this there would be a rage in the media. IF an African American democrat said this to a white woman republican it would be labeled as racist. The race and gender does not change the merit of what was said. But it seems to affect the attention the media is willing to place on this – giving more time to discuss Mr. Donald Trump vs. Ms. Rosie O’Donnell.

Were I a constituent of Senator Boxer, I would contact her and make it clear she did not represent my views with her comments. Thankfully she is not my Senator. But sadly she has made it necessary for me to write this post.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Letter to Mitt Romney - 1.10.2007.1

As part of my ongoing series of letters to known and potential candidates for the Presidency I add this letter to Mr. Mitt Romney. Previous letters have been sent to Mr. John Edwards and Senator Clinton.

January 10, 2007
Mr. Romney,

I am aware of your recent declaration to enter the race for the Presidency of the United States. I maintain several blogs ( is most relevant) as well as being a citizen, a former member of the military, and a small business owner. For these reasons I wish to ask you some questions about why you believe you should be President. It is my intention to also post this letter, and any response from you, verbatim on at least one of my blog sites. I have previously sent a similar letter to Senator Clinton and Mr. John Edwards. I plan on sending a similar letter to several candidates for President, as time and their declarations allow.

I am not familiar with your positions or your actions as Governor of Massachusetts. Given this lack of knowledge can you tell me what you have done for your former constituents, especially those of Latino/Hispanic and African American heritage, that has improved their lives.

In regard to your position on healthcare, I have read that you believe in universal care – at least on a state level. Given this I would like to know, how would you fund a federal universal healthcare plan? What would you do to motivate innovation and the quality of care that currently exists in the current profit motivated system? If the healthcare is universal, does it also mean that illegal aliens are entitled and if so where would the funds for those individuals come from?

In regard to education, I see that in 2002 you were in favor of school vouchers and the reform of underperforming institutions, how effective have you been in MA? Considering that nation-wide there has been a huge increase in African American dropout rates, what would you do to improve those numbers? Based on your reported desire to abolish the Department of Education (2002), what would you have to replace it and how would it function?

It appears in what I have read, that you have a very strong stance on punishment for convicted criminals. I would like to know, do you agree with the death penalty? Since you believe in mandatory sentences, and increasing sentencing, how would you correct the imbalance that exists in the justice system currently? To clarify my point, African Americans, and to a slightly lesser degree Latino/Hispanics, are routinely given stiffer penalties and sentences than White Americans for the same crimes. This is even more evident in sentences that are for life or the death penalty. What initiatives would you take to ensure a more even-handed approach?

In recent weeks a great deal has been made of Representative Ellison’s informal swearing in using the Quran. As an individual of the Mormon faith, if you were to be elected President, would you use The Book Of Mormon to be sworn in on? (Please excuse my ignorance about your faith but I believe that is your religious text) Do you feel that your religious background would have any affect on your performance if elected President? Would it have any affect in dealing with dignitaries and governments that hold a different religion, and if so what? What place do you feel religion has for any elected official, if any?

For some time now politicians have said that they are for ‘family values’. I have heard this stated by politicians and candidates of every party. How do you exactly define family values? How do you plan to promote those values, if you were elected? And what recourse or alternative would be available to those Americans who have values separate of yours?

It appears that your views on abortion and gay rights have changed over the years. What has prompted your change of view? What is your exact position on these issues today?

Consider that America has taken on a war against the ideal of terrorism, and terrorists, in addition to being engaged in an active war in Iraq and maintaining troops in Afghanistan. Given this do you feel that your lack in being a member of the Armed Forces is a benefit, detractor, or of no concern? How do you come to this conclusion? What are your plans to protect America, as Commander-and-Chief?

Currently there have been many soundbites used by politicians of every party in discussing every platform and idea. In each question I have asked I hope for full and complete answers. I would rather an extremely long and complex answer that details exactly your plans and goals, rather than a short answer that details and explains nothing. I feel strongly about the use of snippets of information to almost convey an actual position. I feel that the recent win by democrats in the mid-term elections were due to this use of soundbites. How do you feel about this?

I thank your for your time to review this letter. I, and my readers, look forward your responses.


Michael Vass
President – M V Consulting, Inc.
Author – Vass and Black Entertainment USA

*I have used an email found at , but am unaware if this will reach Mr. Romney. I have also used the email found at .

** At this time there has been no response from any individual I have sent a letter to previously.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ahead of the President's new Iraq plan - 1.9.2007.1

I find things quite interesting lately. Recently the new democratic led Congress has been making a lot of noise ahead of President Bush’s new Iraq strategy. Before the President has even announced word one we see that there are calls to defund the soldiers in Iraq. This I feel is insane.

First the President should be allowed to unveil his new plan without the shrieks of doom and prevention that now fill the air. All that this is doing is provide the enemies of the troops with renewed vigor and impetus. This is so wrong to undercut the President and to show a face of America as being confused and cowardly. I don’t see how these calls to cut and run can be seen any other way. But let me not get ahead of myself.

It is interesting to see that the democrats that were elected to change the policy in Iraq are moving on that mandate. I think that if the current cry to run away with out tail between our legs was conveyed to the public in general there would not have been as many elected. I do not feel that when citizens voted for the change that was never defined they expected these kinds of results. But this is what happens when people run on, and vote for, soundbite politics. Ill-defined policies are later realized in a manner that does not reflect the general consensus, and voter can only blame themselves for this.

I for one must say that I do not agree with anyone that states that they support the troops, but actively debate about removing the funding that directly supports the troops and/or additional troops which directly provide manpower support. Unless I miss understand the word, support, to remove or block either item does not provide for or maintain [as defined by] nor keep from weakening or failing the troops in Iraq. So unless the democrats have found a new meaning for the word support, they have lied to the public and engaged in soundbite rhetoric I feel, which I hate.

I do not question that Iraq needs to be addressed in a new manner. There needs to be changes. No one wants to see our soldiers killed. Everyone would prefer to see our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, and friends home and safe. But that is not how the world is today. Protectionist and Isolationist polices have never worked in the past and they definitely will not work in the future. Wars take time and there is no timetable that can handily let you know when it’s all over. This is not some kind of athletic competition with a rulebook and a clock counting down to when we are done. To act as if this is now overtime is to admit defeat before we have finished what we started. The repercussion of that failure to complete is far longer lasting and far more deadly.

I am reminded of something that my Senior Drill Instructor Sgt. Williams mentioned when in boot camp. As I recall he said, “Your moms want you to be treated nice. They are afraid of you getting hurt. But the fact is the more you sweat the less you will bleed. Moms of America will get you killed. But I’m not going to let that happen. So boys, prepare to get wild crazy and exotic.” It may have been boot camp but I think you get the point.

And if we don’t follow this simple mantra, the troops will not be supported. They will come home to cheers. Cheers from mothers and fathers and friends across the nation. Even louder will be cheers from the militant factions seeking to control Iraq. Cheers from the Al Quida’s and Iran. Cheers from everyone that will fight to fracture the nation into smaller territories controlled by radicals of various temperaments. Then those cheers will turn into tears. Tears from Americans when the winners that hate our nation come to attack us. Tears from the children who have grown up in a war torn country, fed anti-American rants, firmly believing that every drop of food they didn’t get, the electricity they didn’t have, the education they couldn’t received, the family they lost to civil wars, every wrong in their world stemmed from America. That will be all the motivation they need to attack America and its citizens everywhere in the world.

Think I’m bleak? A tad bit over the top? We didn’t win in Korea, and they are still ready to fight us 50 years later – now with nuclear weapons. We lost in Viet Nam, for many of the same reasons we are about to see now I think, and that cost our troops, divided our nation, and left scars across the world. Most Americans had never heard of a Shiite or a Sunni, yet we learned the words after we lost thousands of lives in one day. If you think that not getting Iraq stable, leaving while it’s still weak and troubled, will not be a problem far worse than what we have seen so far, I think you haven’t thought it all through.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Letter sent to John Edwards - 1.5.2007.1

This is an exact copy of a letter sent to Mr. John Edwards, via his website. Any response received will be posted, unaltered.

January 5, 2007
Mr. John Edwards,

I recently heard of your decision to run for President of the United States. I am owner and author of multiple blogs, one of which deals primarily with political issues and individuals. This letter is both based on my personal interest and that of my readers. [My sites include and]

I am a native American citizen, with my heritage coming from African Americans and Latino Americans. I was born and raised in the Northeast, though I have traveled and lived across the country and am a former Marine. The focus of the blogs are presenting news and events from the perspective of an African Latino American view; which I feel is under-represented in the media.

Given these facts, and that I am largely unfamiliar with your past, I have several questions for you. I have already asked several questions of Senator Clinton and am awaiting her response. I intend to ask similar questions of all (or at least most) individuals that intend to run for the office of the President. I look forward to your responses.

I understand that you have pursued initiatives in healthcare, education, social security and medicare throughout your time in the Senate, and previous to that to a degree in your work as a lawyer. In regard to your work in the Senate, what laws did you initiate, that were passed, that directly improved these issues for Americans in general, and Black and/or Latino Americans specifically? What exactly do you propose to improve the education system in America, specifically for those students in the inner city?

In regard to your desire to create a universal healthcare system in the United States, how do you expect that system to be paid for? In addition what do you believe will be a motivation for professionals and medical industries to work to current standards or to create new advances without the benefit of profit?

What exact plan do you have that will allow Social Security to continue to exist or to be modified for future generations as the baby boomer generation continue to age and existing funds continue to fail to meet the need?

In the 2006 mid-term elections, the democratic party won several seats in both the House and Senate with the cry of changing the current policy in Iraq. What is your exact position on Iraq? I feel that it is not possible to support the troops and question the mission that we have sent them on. I further feel that to remove the funding of the troops, while still engaged in the mission, is neither a show of support nor a plan to win. Do you agree or disagree with this? If you were to be Commander and Chief of our troops what would you have them do to complete our mission in Iraq? Do you feel that the fact that you have never served in the military is a benefit or detriment to the country?

Your party, as I have understood, has no stated plan to change the events and status for the war in Iraq or against terrorism, beyond the statement that change is needed. What exact plan do you wish to implement if you were to be elected that could prevent future attacks by terrorists against this nation?

In terms of the economy, what exactly do you propose that will help those below the middle class to improve their standard of living? It is often held that the democratic party believes that taxes, particularly for the upper incomes, should be increased to provide funds for programs that benefit those of lower income, do you agree with this position? As a business owner and member of the middle class I would like to know what are your economic plans for the country?

Considering events such as the shooting of Mr. Sean Bell, the Duke rape case, the Rodney King riots and other similar events have highlighted the racial tensions that continue to exist in the nation, what would you do to help improve race relations.

Perhaps one of my biggest questions is that America has apologized and made reparations to Native American Indians and Japanese Americans for atrocities and crimes made in the past. Given this fact, how do you justify that America has never made an apology or considered reparations for slavery, jim crow, and segregation. Would you as the President finally provide an apology for these acts? Would you make reparations, and if so what might those reparations entail?

I must mention that I intend to post this to the abovementioned blog. In addition to posting this I will post your response, unaltered, on the blog as well.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Michael Vass
President – M V Consulting, Inc.
Author – Black Entertainment USA and Vass

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rep. Ellison and Mr. John Edwards - 1.4.2007.1

Score one for democracy and sensible thought. I’m referring directly to the swearing in of Rep. Keith Ellison. The informal and unofficial ceremony, like every swearing in that has ever been photographed of individual Congressmen, went forward with Rep. Ellison using the Quran. Not just any Quran though, this was a copy owned by President Thomas Jefferson published in 1764. In your eye Rep. Virgil Goode.

I have received multiple responses on the letter of Rep. Goode and my post about it. Some fell off the mark, skewing to other items I touched upon, but most were in defense of Rep. Goode’s position. That still terrifies me.

Even so, those readers and everyone should be relieved to see that the nation still stands after the abovementioned swearing in. Much like when Mormons, Lutherans and other Congressmen and women have sworn in using religious text that reflect their personal religious views, this nation born with the thought of religious freedom continues. So if nothing else the real historic statement that was made was that this basic principle continues to flourish.

In other thoughts, I will be soon sending a letter to recent Presidential hopeful Mr. John Edwards. Prior to this I will be investigating more information about Mr. Edwards and his policies. While I’m sure there is plenty of information that conveys the soundbite he has said, but I want more than platitudes. Kind of like what was reported from a recent “town meeting” from New Hampshire.

When Mr. Edwards was asked about his position on gay marriage, the answer was, “Civil unions? Yes. Partnership benefits? Yes. But it's a jump for me to get to gay marriage. I haven't yet got across that bridge.” Mr. Edwards further stated, “I wish I knew the right answer.”

So does that statement mean he is for or against? At first glance it would seem that he is against gay marriage, and willing to support other efforts for gay couples. But it can also be seen that the answer is more contemplative. That Mr. Edwards is still seeking an answer and that he is just waiting for a convincing argument to be in favor of such unions.

While he may be undecided, as many are, a Presidential hopeful should be more direct. Having had prior experience in the government and Presidential races this is an issue that he should already have an answer on. It’s not the first time he has been asked this before I’m sure. I don’t expect him to know the answer to every question, but I do expect a position he stands behind.

In a similar vein is Mr. Edwards’ response to an elderly woman that reportedly asked for more help for senior citizens. Rather than giving her an answer of what he will do, he instead asked if she would vote for him so he could make changes. The woman said yes, but what did she say yes too? If the reporting is accurate, Mr. Edwards never said what he would do or what he might even try to do. He never said if he supported her position or offered his own. All he did was make a soundbite that the media passed on.

I feel that more is needed from a Presidential candidate. More needs to be said. MTV may have changed the way Americans watch movies and television shows, the world attention span may be decreasing, but the right to become the most powerful leader in the world demands more than cursory attention. It’s the details that make the difference, and I hope to hear of some of them.

So look forward to hearing more on this soon. I also want to mention that I have no preference, at this time, for or against any Presidential candidate. It is the responses of each individual, and their own words at various public addresses that will form my opinion. I especially will value if, and how completely they respond to any questions that I pose to them. And both the questions and any responses, if any, will be placed here for you to see. I will not alter any comment that a candidate may make, just as I never alter any response. You can make your own conclusions, as I will.

One thing is for sure. I will hold each candidate, especially any that respond to my queries, to their words. I will highlight any backtracking or duplicitous actions. And I hold myself accountable to you, my readers, to make me aware if I do the same. I think it’s only fair.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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